Date: March 4, 2021

ADHD Reality#2 - Don’t You Forget About Me

This is one of my demons, for sure. If someone comes up to me and asks me to do something, unless I instantaneously drop what I am doing right there and then, the chances of said task getting done are virtually zero. This has nothing to do with the aforementioned willpower, this is a memory issue.

When I found out I had ADHD I made all sorts of discoveries about coping mechanisms I had put in place over the course of my 53 years. These coping mechanisms enable me to fudge my way through life and my non-existent working memory was one that I had tried with varying degrees of success to work around.

I realised that when I was asked to do something, and I was not able to instantaneously drop whatever I was doing at the time, I would repeat the task in my head over and over again. So for instance, if I am standing in the shower and an advert comes on the radio for a car dealership and I suddenly remember that I have to book my car in to be serviced, I have to repeatedly say in my head, “Get the car serviced … get the car serviced … get the car serviced …” Until such time as I am physically dialling the phone number to the garage to book it in for said service. Sometimes I realise I’m even mouthing the words as I repeat them in my head which, frankly, makes me look a bit weird.

This lack of working memory manifests itself particularly badly when I am being given instruction in completing some task or other. Unless I repeat, in my head, the steps prior to the one I am being told about, I will have forgotten them all by the time we get to the end.

When I was a kid my mum used to despair of me and, when trying to tell me something, she’d say, “It goes in one ear, and out the other.” Turns out she was absolutely right — it literally goes in and out unprocessed. There again my mum also used to say that if you swallowed chewing gum it would tie your guts up in knots and kill you, so let’s not start relying on her as a credible source of wisdom.

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