Within a moment… it’s gone. The fully-formed sentences in prose form, as well as the captured ideas, vanish from my mind. A perfect essay that would have unfolded if it weren’t for my scattered mind. As I cracked my laptop open, all that remained was a faint memory. Ever heard of the cliché, “the memory span of a goldfish”? Yup, that’s me.
That’s what it’s like to have Attention Deficit Disorder. However, the term ADD is outdated. The new term is Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s primarily a disorder of vigilance, which is characterized by deprived concentration, a lack of ability to pay attention, and may result in difficulties staying awake. My doctor said I don’t have the hyperactivity part, but in the grand scheme, it isn’t really an upside. The downside of having ADHD is that I can’t focus on whatever I need to, also it’s not curable. Which means, I could be fifty years old and fidget with those stupid spinners while I’m reading the same line from a book for the twentieth time.
When I was an adolescent—which felt like yesterday—I wondered why I found it difficult paying attention in class. Having ADHD as a child was difficult because I always helped my friends with their work, but never got my work finished. I remember receiving A’s, but not A+ ‘s because I would get docked marks from handing my homework in late. I was able to focus on things that would interest me, then I would start gazing off when my teachers would mention the word “math”. Math was my weakest subject, I wonder why. The numbers and equations would perpetuate in my brain for hours, unable to solve the questions. When my parents looked at my math mark, they forced me to attend Kumon. I felt like a failure because the other kids were able to solve the problems with such haste, it made me question if we were even the same species. As I got older, I was able to obtain some techniques which help me focus.
I try to write everything down in my journal, such as the due dates of assignments, and tests. In the planning process, I disassemble studying for my courses into weekly to-do lists, this allows me to stay focused on the tasks at hand, and not become overwhelmed. This technique has become an irreplaceable aid. Another amazing tool in my “anti-ADHD” arsenal is to not procrastinate, and in the same vein, not pull an all-nighter the night before my midterm. Studying a few weeks before my exams helps me retain information more efficiently. These techniques allow me to focus on the more pertinent work I need to get done, versus the enigmatic noise coming from the glacial blizzard outside. I used to enjoy this weather, frolicking in the snow, tobogganing. . .
Oh yeah, my focus techniques. I try to sleep early, but my brain starts wandering off into another world; I gaze at my thoughts run up to the ceiling. I start creating inventive stories in my scattered mind. Imagine watching the glistening sun slowly descend behind the horizon as it paints the clear sea with the radiant rays in California. Back to the topic at hand. Instead of falling into this nightly cycle, I recently have been trying pre-emptive measures to aid my sleep before I take any more unwanted vacations.
Another focus technique is challenging my mind to rest by meditating every day. I try to add an extra five minutes to my meditation time every day. From day one, I started off with 5 minutes. Day two, 10 minutes. Now I’m on day thirty, but there’s no way I can sit still for 150 minutes, I can’t even sit still for 20 minutes before my mind starts to scatter into different directions, heading toward all the realms in Narnia. Maintaining focus is the biggest obstacle I have encountered. ADHD has been a constant, obumbrate, shadow falling across many aspects of my life. ADHD is my assailant.