Finding My Focus In Life And Writing

I’ve always had trouble finding my way from Point A to Point B and often end up at Point Z.

With thoughts in a constant state of flux, the only way to anchor them is to purge them onto paper. If I didn’t write, my backed-up brain would need an enema.

It’s hard for thoughts to stay in one place when you’re ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). While flitting around inside my head, my thoughts are every place instead of where they should be–at my desk focused on writing.

Most days I curse the ADHD gene (my son has it as do brother 1 & 2). Yet, I do enjoy the creative component of the trippy brain bugaboo, the other Stooge-like stuff, walking into walls, not so much, “N’yuk N’yuk N’yuk.”

When my mother was pregnant with me, she didn’t send a memo to the birth procurement department asking for her daughter to be born with a circus in her head. The circus was part of the bundle my parents received when the nurse dropped me off without instructions.

I didn’t know that I had a circus in my head until the adolescent years when my thoughts traveled to distant places and followed the spotlights sweep across the tent.

Sometimes my thoughts played hooky from the circus and took a trip to the beach, usually Tahiti.

I return from a head-trip with my gaze fixed on the same wall I was staring at when my thoughts went MIA.

I say to Myself, “Myself, where was I?”

Myself finally responds after repeating the question several times.

“Sorry, I didn’t realize you were talking to me,” she says.

Myself and I have a lot in common. She has good intentions but slips up every now and then.

“You were working on a blog post,” she told me. “… You were in hyperfocus mode until you flew to Tahiti.”

Let me explain the ADHD trait known as hyperfocus, which is similar to hyperspace because you’re in the zone, a Get Smart-like dome of silence, but invisible and does not appear on TV.

When I’m in the zone, I can focus for hours, an ironic comorbid ADHD condition in which half my thoughts want to party while the other half want to work. While in hyperfocus mode, I don’t eat, shower or pee. My thoughts fuse to the computer and I write for hours (or cruise the Internet if my thoughts were out late partying the night before.)

Distraction and hyperfocus are the two most vexing attributes of ADHD. Of course, there are others: obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, lack of time-management skills, impulsivity, difficulty transitioning, i.e., etc.

On days I have an open-ended, schedule my thoughts endlessly pinball in my head as I try to catch them. If my thoughts can’t latch onto a point of focus, they disappear in the Bermuda Triangle of tangents where ships and planes are lost and a clock becomes a quaint mechanism of time.

When your body’s constantly catching up to your thoughts, time passes in a parallel dimension. One minute it’s 10 a.m., the next 12 p.m.

And you scream, “Holy Shit! I missed an appointment. That’s why many ADHDers use tools like timers and/or medication (Concerta, etc.) to manage their thoughts.

That’s what it is like to be ADHD, a lifelong condition. The traits don’t suddenly appear one day while you’re shopping for spaghetti. They’ve always been a part of you along with that birthmark on your ass.

Are you ADHD?

What tools do you use to manage the symptoms?

9 Comments Finding My Focus In Life And Writing

  1. ReformingGeek

    Yikes. I think I’ve found some of your thoughts down here. I will package them up for you and send them back…..SQUIRREL!

    Where was I?

    Seriously, I have noticed ADHD tendencies as I’ve gotten older but nothing compared to what some people are going through. My brother has it.

    1. Lauren

      I’m glad you found some of my thoughts and are sending them back.

      Is your brother able to manage his ADHD symptoms? It’s an ongoing battle to get back your brain.

        1. Lauren

          The Social skills issue can be associated with ADHD or Asperger’s Syndrome. My son has both. My brother, too. Does your brother speak with inflections or in a flat monotone-like voice? Was/Is he sensitive to sounds and/or food/clothing textures?

  2. Teri S

    I have never been diagnosed with ADHD but as I was reading I realize that I can spend hours thinking, analyzing and remembering things, or daydreaming. Sometimes it is very hard to concentrate, just as you described it, there is a Teri who wants to listen to some music and the other one who knows that she needs to focus.
    Back in School I never studied, I just concentrated and tried to enjoy what the teacher was explaining but was never able to sit down and read or to memorize a lesson because after reading a few sentences my head was away.
    I know how you feel and I think that I have to find out if I’m part of the ADHDs.

    1. Lauren

      Hi Teri,
      Thanks for swinging by and commenting. ADDitude Magazine is a good place to start.
      ADHD symptoms are lifelong and involve the frontal lobe, the part of the brain that directs executive function. In addition having spacey tendencies, I have terrible time management skills. Time, itself, seems to happen in a parallel universe at times. Even though I enjoy the creative aspect of ADHD, I am frustrated by a lack of time management and ability to function without a schedule. It’s both vexing and disturbing.
      I hope you find a way to bridle the beast.
      Have a great day!


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