C’mon let’s go, let’s go! Move dammit!

I wish to start this post by confessing that I may have been slightly off in my previous posts concerning Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). Upon closer examination, I think that I might actually have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD), instead of just ADD. I say this because, as I will soon explain in further detail, I not only have trouble paying attention and focusing on my current task, but also with being mentally and physically still when I need to. After doing a little bit of “research”, I’ve discovered that this tendency is often a symptom of ADHD, which makes sense to me since “hyperactivity” does indicate a sense of restlessness and impatience. Therefore I wish to apologize for not realizing this much earlier and constantly saying that I am diagnosed with ADD, not ADHD (I am unable to officially verify that I have either disorder, but I will assume that I have ADHD simply because it seems extremely likely).

With that out of the way, let’s discuss my problems with staying still and waiting placidly (probably caused by ADHD). Indeed, a lot of times I find it difficult to be calm and comfortable when I’m forced to wait for something to progress or when something is not proceeding as quickly as I’d like it to.  In other words, if things aren’t moving along at a nice, ongoing pace or if I have to deal with several delays, then I can easily become slightly irritated and “on edge”. This is especially the case when I have to remain seated in a chair or keep standing for a long time, and it’s almost unbearable when I have absolutely nothing to do. On some occasions, it will cause me to complain out loud to others or put me in a grumpy mood.

In my earlier years, this issue with hyperactivity and impatience was much more troublesome, and it led to quite a few temper tantrums and arguments with my parents. I would frequently become very upset if I was told to wait and be patient in a place that was extremely boring and uninteresting for me. I can remember a couple of instances where I made a bit of a scene in public, whining and yelling to parents that we leave a store or restaurant or museum right away. Yeah, my parents put up with a great deal of annoyance and frustration on my part, and I’m immensely grateful that they hardly ever lost their temper with me. They seriously deserve a lot of credit for how patient and understanding they were with me, even when I was driving them insane and would not shut up.

Like with many other problems related to my Aspergers, the issue has gotten much better over time, but has not gone away completely. There are plenty of instances in my current life where I get incredibly anxious because I have to wait for things to move along. A perfect example to point to would be when I’m driving. As you probably expect, I like to drive as fast as the speed limit allows (which I like to think is about 8-10 miles above the limit, depending on road conditions), and I take every opportunity to do so. I am very easily annoyed, therefore, when I am forced to drive slower than I’d like due to the speed of the car in front of me. I will say to myself “Oh, COME ON!” and let out a soft groan, begrudgingly staying behind the other driver and matching their speed. I might keep hoping that the car will eventually make a turn, and sometimes I will consider passing them if I have the chance. Unfortunately, I never feel confident enough to pass a car on a one-lane road, and I will usually have no choice but to just wait until I am able to drive at my preferred speed. Yes, I know that this sort of thing can annoy just about anyone, but I get particularly annoyed by the idea of being forced to wait and spend more time driving.

Now there may be some of you who are a little confused by all of this, after I mentioned in my earlier post “All the time in the world…” that I tend to take more time to complete certain tasks than others do. It may seem logical to assume that I would be perfectly ok with things going slowly so that I am able to keep up. The thing is, actually, that my sluggish, time-consuming pace also irritates me much of the time. I am regularly frustrated by my failure to accomplish tasks in a speedy fashion and to be more productive throughout the day. It’s one of the reasons why I often have  slightly low self-esteem, as I will frequently put myself down for not meeting my own desires for productivity.

Fortunately, as I mentioned earlier, I am gradually getting better at being patient and accepting the fact that things don’t always go as quickly as I’d like them to. At the very least, I don’t whine or complain as much as I did when I was a child, and I’ve learned that demanding that other people pick up the pace doesn’t resolve anything. I still have some progress to make, though, especially since I will eventually be living on my own and have to deal with situations that require a huge amount of patience. With the help of meditation, exercise, and other resources, it is my hope that I will be able to maintain good posture when it is needed the most (e.g. going to the DMV, talking to employers, getting loans from the bank, and attending special events for loved ones).

Advertisements

Why I’m not a casual reader

Ok, it’s time for a little confession. This is something that I’m not exactly proud of, and I can’t help but feel guilty about it. However, I think it simply has to be said. All right, here goes: I honestly don’t like to read that much. There, I said it. Reading through entire novels, textbooks, short stories, and even brief articles tends to feel like a chore for me instead of a pleasurable activity.

Now this does not mean that I have trouble reading or that I find reading to be a boring hobby at large. Far from it, I can read text just as proficiently as anyone else, and I know fully well that reading is extremely vital for a successful education and a successful living. Reading is obviously necessary to have sufficient knowledge of the world around us, and it can introduce people to a fantastic world of imagination and creativity. I wholeheartedly believe that people should read as much as they can – both fiction and non-fiction. Unfortunately, frequent casual reading is just not for me, at least for right now.

The main reason I say this goes back to my post about having so much trouble focusing (“Focus, man, focus!”). Remember when I said that it is massively difficult for me to stay attentive to what’s currently in front of me or to what I’m currently doing? Well this applies almost perfectly to when I’m reading. As hard as I try to keep my mind on the text that I am examining, I can’t help but be regularly distracted by something – whether it be an external stimuli, or simply a thought that I want to contemplate. Consequently, I have no choice but to keep going back several times on a single page to make sure that I’ve truly absorbed the material in the book. This, of course, means that getting through a single chapter or article will take a lot more time than it does for most other people.

So basically, I’m not a huge fan of reading because it simply takes waaay too long for me to do. It is impossible for me to go through each paragraph just once since my mind will constantly drift away, forcing me to skim through it at least twice, until I feel confident that I understand what the text is telling me. This quickly becomes very tedious and irritating, thus preventing me from getting the same enjoyment out of reading that many others seem to experience. It is especially problematic when I’m trying to read an article or non-fiction book for class. Much of the time, I do not complete the full reading assignment because I simply don’t have the time or patience to read through the whole thing.

I also wish to make clear that I am not implying that I never read in my free time. I read articles on the web pretty frequently, and I will sometimes try out books that people recommend to me (I rarely finish them though). Nonetheless, the vast majority of my reading is done as part of an academic assignment or a duty at work; as a requirement. Leisure reading, especially of longer works, is considerably rare for me. This isn’t to say that there haven’t been novels that I’ve genuinely enjoyed and that I like to revisit occasionally (e.g. Harry Potter, Phantom Tollbooth, Redwall, and Bud Not Buddy). It’s just that you won’t typically see me reading stories from a newspaper or a well-known work like Lord of the Flies.

The thing is that I probably would be reading on my own much more often if I could do it without retracing myself every 2 minutes. Indeed, the only thing that prevents me from truly appreciating fantastic writers from Mark Twain to George R.R. Martin is the fact that going through their works would require many, many, MANY hours of my time. I am all too aware of the joy and excitement that people receive from reading these authors’ stories, in addition to the vast amount of knowledge I could gain from looking at more non-fiction pieces. Therefore, I sincerely do wish that reading long texts didn’t have to be such an arduous task for me.

Well, I think I’ve done enough lamenting on this particular topic for now. I promise that in my next post, I will discuss something unrelated to my ADHD or obsessive mindfulness. In fact, perhaps I will write something a little more positive to let you guys know that these difficulties CAN be overcome; to remind everyone with Aspergers Syndrome that there is always hope for improvement.

Focus, man, focus!

I consider myself to be a fairly productive person in terms of academic work, occupational duties, and personal chores. Whenever I’m given something to do, I am usually able to finish it with rather satisfying results. Even if the task seems especially challenging or I come across many problems while handling it, I can at least get it done in most cases.

The actual process of getting things done, however, can sometimes be a little difficult and take longer than it should for a number of reasons. Perhaps one of the biggest factors that contributes to this problem is the fact that I have a lot of trouble focusing on the task at hand. This is partially because, in general, it is near impossible for me to pay attention and stay perfectly focused at any given moment – meaning that I suffer from Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder (ADHD). As a result, I have to take some medications each morning to significantly help me concentrate on things like work and studying, while also remaining somewhat calm and non-agitated.

The meds that I take do a really good job at significantly reducing the effects of ADHD on my overall behavior. Unfortunately, they cannot make the ADHD go away completely, and so I still have trouble keeping a steady focus during the day. I constantly find my mind drifting away into space and being so easily distracted by all sorts of things; even when I’m trying my absolute best to concentrate on what I’m currently doing. A lot of the time, my mind will go to something that has nothing to do with what’s at hand, though I’m deeply interested in. To put it more simply, my mind almost never sits still; it’s usually all over the place and frequently keeps me sidetracked.

So, for instance, while I’m sitting in class trying to listen to the professor and take notes, I may end up continuously pondering the logical validity of modern-day feminism. As I’m exercising on Wii Fit U, I will engage in a mental debate concerning the true plausibility of Rand Paul being nominated by the Republican Party for the 2016 presidential election. Even when watching a movie that I really enjoy, I might find it really hard to stop thinking about how Gravity Falls is predominately a kids’ show, and yet contains so much writing aimed for older audiences. Yeah, I think you guys get the overall gist of it.

In situations like the ones I discussed above, this honestly isn’t too much of an issue. However, it can be extremely bothersome when I’m trying to accomplish important tasks. I’m talking specifically about schoolwork assignments, duties at work, and various personal errands here – ones that take a considerable amount of time and require a good amount of concentration. This primarily includes things such studying for exams, writing documents, filing reports, conducting research, weeding the garden, or simply cleaning my room. As hard as I try to stay present to the task and get it done as efficiently as I can, I find it impossible to resist letting my mind drift somewhere else, or sometimes engage myself in another task.

Allow to me use the writing process behind this very post to illustrate how it works. While I am composing it, I’m switching to my internet browser about every minute or less to do things like chat with a friend and check up on my Facebook page. Once in a while, I will look up information on topics that I’m slightly obsessed with, such as which rock songs have been #1 on the Billboard lists for the past couple of years. In fact, just a second ago I looked at my YouTube home page to see if any of favorite channels posted a video during the last hour. After about another minute of writing, I will most definitely go back to Facebook again or surf the web for more information regarding my favorite video game franchises. I simply cannot stay focused on this post for more than 3 minutes at best, although it will most definitely be finished in the end (if I didn’t complete it, then you wouldn’t be reading it right now, would you?)

Indeed, if everything were to go my way, then I would have it so that I could stay far more attentive to what I’m supposed to be doing at the moment. This would mean that I could get my jobs done much quicker and perhaps significantly better, giving me much more free time and allowing me to feel a ton more productive. I could finish cleaning my room in 10 minutes rather than 30 minutes, or complete editing a web page in one day rather than five days – with the same results, of course. Sadly, it doesn’t look like my ADHD is about to leave my body anytime soon, so I have no choice to continue putting up with it. As someone who truly does care about his work and wants to do his very best, the entire issue is rather disheartening and makes me worry about my future at times.

Being a hard, productive worker is not an easy thing to do when I can’t remain focused on my job for very long. Therefore it is my hope that I’ll find a much way to better cope with my ADHD in the near future. I would certainly not like to face being regularly criticized by my supervisor for not handing in reports on time or not being engaged in my work as my colleagues. I think that the best way to do this may be through regularly engaging in activities like exercise and meditation, as well as helpful books such as the Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle (a book that I highly recommend to anyone). I certainly don’t expect my ADHD to improve dramatically, but it is reasonable to at least hope that it doesn’t impact my life too negatively in the years to come. For now I guess it’s just something that I will have deal with as an Aspie. It seriously isn’t pleasant one bit, and I wish with all of my heart that it didn’t exist, but complaining about it further won’t do that much good.