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Imagine yourself in a multiplex movie theater. Curiously, no walls separate the half-dozen theaters that form the multiplex. Miraculously, you are watching six different screens all at once, thoroughly understanding and enjoying every scene, word, character.

Welcome to ADHD. 

[You in the Real World, be sure to click on the red underlined hyperlinks!]

white rabbitLast week’s “ADHD Powered” covered the chronological differences between the Real World you folks inhabit and the one in which we live.

To our surprise and delight, the column drew significant response from our many readers. All five of you wrote to let us know you clearly identified with the difficulties experienced in:

  1. keeping track of time,
  2. estimating time to complete a project, and
  3. just plain having a good time.

That last point did not appear in the column, asserts historian Screen Four.

For the breadth of a moment –

Or maybe it was several hours, smirks Three, well aware of my inability to keep track of time.

– I marveled at the fact that a column written about our world, the Attention Deficit (with Hyperactivity) Disorder planet, caught your attention. It’s almost as if I accidentally taught you a – dare I say it? – lesson.

Far more interesting, claims Five, is that Real Worlders identified with the problem of timekeeping.

Better yet, says Six, they had no ready solutions.

No solutions? So you Real Worlders did not find the ones I discreetly tucked in the article? Seriously? Then allow me to reprint the two noteworthy lines that had a single brilliant answer to your troubles. (Yes, the sentences will be completely out of context, but that’s perfectly normal in the ADHD world.)

“And that’s why I now set a TIMER. When that goes off, I know to get myself front and center pronto! It’s made a huge difference in our relationship!

And lest we forget …

 “Set two TIMERS for bed,” I interrupt.

Do you now see the solution to your troubles and incomplete projects? Timers. Just inexpensive little cooking timers that count down from 24 hours to – well, nothing.

I rarely expect a project to take me all day, comments One. Must I set the timer for 24 hours?

“No,” I reply with a laugh. “The ‘24’ just guarantees a nice range of time.”

Five re-directs the conversation, asking, What other lessons can you plug in here to give the readers more value for their money?

“Five, nobody pays a dime for this stuff.”

And yet you see the information is valuable to friends. Couldn’t you part with one more nugget?

Turtle Patrol Heroine“One last story, then. Our daughter, lively Miss Leah –

Do you mean “Turtle Patrol” Leah? shouts Six. Love that heroine!

– is very bright. And she was the same in younger years, yet always struggled to complete her homework. Many nights there were needless battles and endless tears over assignments she could easily answer but never finish.

“At that same time, I am finally diagnosed with ADHD. Learning it’s likely Leah combats the same disorder, I ask the counselor, ‘How best to help my youngster?’

“I am told to barely crack open Leah’s door and, as my daughter sits at her desk and tackles the homework, silently observe.”

Boy, that being quiet stuff nearly killed us, Three frets.

“Leah starts working on math problems. Effortlessly she flies through the first half, then looks over at her pile of books and sees the list of spelling words she must define and memorize.

“‘Oh!’ she exclaims. ‘Gotta get these done!’

“My blondie pops right up and begins that assignment. But two-thirds of the way through the list, Leah looks back over her shoulder and sees she hasn’t finished the math. She sits back down, quickly solves just three difficult problems, then claps her hands as she half-shouts, ‘History! Two chapters to read!’

“I watch this human calliope crash to the ground, suddenly throwing herself against the bed and bursting into loud, hard tears of frustration.”

Having observed that, queries One, what did you do?

“Threw my hands in the air and fought tears, too! Trust me, I understand that problem. Every undone thing is calling my name, and you screens don’t filter out any of it. I couldn’t wait to meet with the counselor again.

Priorities“When I did, she said, ‘Here’s the problem, Blackie. To somebody with ADHD, everything is a fire – it’s all got the exact same level of importance.

“‘And here’s the answer, Blackie. Prioritize. Give everything a varied level of importance, then put things in that order. Because Leah’s so young, you’ll need to help her set the priorities of her assignments.’”

Remarks One, Who’s going to help you help Leah?

“The counselor continues. ‘Maybe the spelling assignment isn’t due for three days; maybe math problems are due tomorrow. Place the assignments on her bed in that order. Make sure she works from most to least important in linear fashion. No jumping back and forth.’”

Leah, the grade-school grasshopper, sighs Two.

“We put the counselor’s words into practice the very next night. Despite Leah’s resistance to perceived boredom – ohhh, this peanuts loves variety and change – she follows the system. All assignments are completed well before dinner.”

Polite applause may now be offered, says Three.

“I am so impressed by my youngster’s progress, guys, I set up a similar system.”

Is it effective, Black? asks Four.

“Column’s written, right?”

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Postscript – Too bad you never see these columns before my beautiful (and brilliant) brown-eyed bride pulls out her editing chainsaw. Because she lives in the Real World, Miss Laura’s able to translate my ADHD Powered thoughts into material that flows.

Though I see she’s right – always! – I sometimes wish I could secretly plug my conversational whirlwinds back in. So I’m doing that now. On the sly. Beginning and ending lines are in blue to show you all that dropped out between the two for this week’s column. Enjoy the sneak peek …

“No,” I reply with a laugh. “The ‘24’ just guarantees a nice range of time.”

And a great TV show, exclaims Three.

“What?” I say in surprise. “We haven’t had a TV hooked up in our house for more than a quarter-century. How do you know about ‘24’?”

Three says, We have to do something while you’re asleep. So we intercept intelligent airwaves. Let me tell you about “My Favorite Martian.”

Exults Six, Caught some of the best World Wrestling Entertainment matches ever.

I order from the Home Shopping Network, claims Four. In Spanish.

Two whispers, Don’t tell the other screens, please. I installed parental controls that block the Playboy Channel.

“Wow, guys,” I say in stunned tones. “I may never sleep again.”

Five re-directs the conversation, asking, What other lessons can you plug in here to give the readers more value for their money?

* * * * *

It’s gonna hit next week, so …

Valentine’s Day for the singles

Valentine’s Day for the engaged

Valentine’s Day for the marrieds