Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Worrying with AD/HD: Waiting for the School Bus

The hyperactivity of AD/HD really shines when it comes to generating ideas. You tell me a problem and I can 'brainstorm' ideas for it as fast as anyone. They may not all be good or useful, but each can lead to a handful of others and on until a whole web of possibilities exist. That is a good and wonderful thing when one is in a creative field, provided one can catch hold of one and shift from ideation into production, which doesn't always happen. Sometimes too many ideas can become a handicap to progress, but fortunately the hyperactivity comes and goes in cycles and periods of brain calm allow me to evaluate the ideas and choose and move on to actually accomplishing something.
But at no time does the flurry of ideas kick into high gear more than when I perceive that a loved one might be in harm's way. When my mother does not answer her phone, when a friend is late for an appointment, when my kid is late getting home from the school bus, then I can fast as lightening think of thousands of horrible scenarios, each one more terrible and gory and awful than the last. My kids never understood why I was so frantic when they were a mere 20 minutes late after school. To them, it had been a lark, the school bus late arriving so they messed around in line outside the school waiting, or the school bus stuck in construction or taking a wrong turn, giving them a novel but thoroughly safe ride home. But try as I might to generate innocuous possibilities for why they were late, the flood of nasty ones was unstoppable and richly varied. Accidents, crimes by the bus driver or dastardly others with various nefarious motives, attacks by wild dogs or gangs of roving drug-crazed teens or pedophilic predators working in concert to nab my children on the walk from the bus stop to home, visits by the police, reports of sightings by eye-witnesses that were only false leads, years of them being missing. Oh, no mystery novel ever written or horror movie ever filmed could begin to equal the plots and disasters and horrors that I could imagine in a few short minutes.
Such is the stuff of AD/HD worry. The creative twists and turns and the sheer quantity and speed of thinking can generate a thousand seemingly plausible logical reasonable terrible possibilities for everything from the results of a medical test to the diagnoses resulting from a routine doctor or dentist visit to a letter with an official return address to someone not answering a phone call or not showing up for a appointment to the noise you can hear from the basement to simple things like driving a car or even just leaving the house. Sometimes, these fears turn into actual phobias, and sometimes, those rampant possibilities lead me to fail to make the medical appointment or to snack on some ancient box of crackers instead of going out to the store. I make myself aware of all the phobias and their names and try to recognize when I am beginning to give in to one and take steps to counter it immediately. Fears and worries are just one layer of brain buzz that someone with AD/HD must manage on a daily and nightly basis. It is not undoable, but it does take energy and sometimes it works better than other times.

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