So! My city of Brisbane, Australia will host the Olympics in 2032.
For those of you in the room who are ‘neurotypical’ you will have some idea where you will be in 2032. For me, and probably many others who are ADHD, we have no idea what the next hour will be like, let alone 11 years from now.
As I am writing this, my dexamphetamine hasn’t kicked in yet. So for me, right now, 11 minutes from now doesn’t even come up on the radar, let alone 11 years from now.
Like, I know I will be aged 62 in 2032. That is all I know. But, with that thought in mind a panic arises in my subconscious because I have no plan. I’ve never had ‘plans’. There’s a tiny version of me in my head right now running around clutching at his NY cap on his head screaming:
‘What do we do?! Tell me! We’ll be 62! If dad lives to 2032, he’ll be 91! Loki (cat) will be 17! Will they both be alive?! What do we do?! We’ll be on our own if they’re not here! Argh! We don’t have any money! No savings! What will we do for work! We haven’t had a job in 9 years! How can we afford to live in this house!! Who will be with us, then?! WE HAVE NOTHING!! WE COULD BE HOMELESS!! WE COULD BE DEAD!!’
When the dexamphetamine kicks in, inside Grant goes quiet and I don’t hear from him for the rest of the day until at least 10PM. He also takes the other party guests with him, too. Prior to my diagnosis and medication, thoughts like these, when I had no plans, were on a constant loop.
Honestly, I would love it if I had the money to hire a secretary. Someone to clap their hands at me like, ‘Chop! Chop! time to do the thing!’ whatever the thing is I have to do.
A huge part of ADHD is poor time management. When we have too much time on our hands it can lead us ADHDers to do nothing at all, which in turn, gives us the appearance of being lazy.
Some of us will be inherently late, or very early. If I know I have an appointment, or I have to be somewhere at a certain time I will always arrive early. Call it a kind of anxiety. I always feared being punished for being late.
But who was going to punish me? I never knew. At university, I was always there an hour or more before the lectures or classes started and would sit on my own in the lecture hall or classroom, if I could. And simply, wait. When I did have a job I was always early to it, too.
If I were ever late I’d kind of panic, internally. To someone on the outside I could appear to be rude and impatient, as if I were in a hurry. I always hated getting bailed up by people, even worse if they spoke slowly. Then I’d do the whole passive/aggressive ‘Hmm, hmm, yeah, hmm, okay, yeah.’ and stand with my arms folded and one foot extended.
The trouble for those of us who are ADHD, we live in the minute, the right now. Not thirty minutes or an hour from now, not tomorrow or the day after. Next week and next month? Forget it! They don’t even exist. We are “aware” they do, but right now, those days, weeks and months are… not right now.
Time and dates into the future which hold our interest to attend, can at times, be our only thought of the future because we’re excited by it and can’t wait for the date to arrive. Anything else in between can go to Hell!
Speaking for myself, as ADHD is different for the individual, I can come across as quite rude, or brisk unmedicated. Particularly if I don’t know you that well. Prior to my medication, I could get quite cross, too, if I perceived that my “right now” was being interrupted.
The complete reverse happens if I am with someone or people I want to be around at an event. Say like, at Avid Reader for an author event. I like all the people I know who attend, it holds my interest and my brain is alight because I want this “right now” moment to last.
When those moments end, however. I always find the next day difficult to enjoy because another personal aspect of my ADHD is I tend to live in the past on moments where my brain was lit up. A perpetual state of reminiscence.
However, the reverse happens when something bad happens. My mum’s death was one because we never got any final words together, so I ruminated on that to the point of self-destruction through drinking. Then, my arrest five months after her death. The two years it took to get to court. Then the 8 months in prison. When I got out six years ago, those past events ruminated everyday. Every waking moment. The future did not exist. I was in a perpetual state of ruminated anger.
Thanks to a year with my psychologist and now a year with my psychiatrist nearly ten years later after those events. The past, like the future, doesn’t exist in my headspace. Oh, it is there and always will be. I just don’t ruminate on those events any more.
So, to me. The Olympics being 11 years away, may as well be in another dimension. And, 62 year old Grant will probably be just fine. I kind of know this, already. When I reflect back on moments where I was late or panicked about the future “me” at any point, I do know I will be okay.
As for now, 51 year old Grant is just fine, too.