Helen V. Reese shares at her website of the same name. This post was originally featured there.
Adults with ADD often have an extremely difficult time staying focused. They may look at you blankly after a conversation and plainly ask, “Can you run that by me again?”
It’s no wonder that they’re often late, turn up at appointments on the wrong date and/or at the wrong time, and forget to stop by the grocery store to pick up something for dinner, even though you gave them a shopping list just half an hour ago.
It took me years to realize how specific I have to be when I ask my husband, Reese, to meet me somewhere. If I say, “Meet me at Panera,” there’s a 50-50 chance he’ll be waiting for me at Starbucks. And there’s a 100% chance I’ll be totally frustrated, because I’ll be at Panera, of course, trying to reach him on the cell phone he probably left at home. What can make living with adults with ADD even more confusing is that, while they have difficulty focusing on some things, they also often have the ability to hyper-focus on things they find stimulating and challenging. Which means that even though my husband can sit at his laptop for hours working on a single photography project, there’s a good chance that everything else on his to-do list will still be undone at the end of the day.
My husband’s distractibility affects me because I allow myself to be distracted by it. I get caught up in whatever crisis is occurring in his world at the moment. For example, the other day we decided to go to a coffee shop so we could both do some work. We were on our way out the door when the following interchange occurred:
Reese: “I can’t find my phone.”
Me: “You had it 10 minutes ago.”
Reese: No response.
Me: “I’m dialing it now.”
Reese: “It’s ringing.”
Me: “Did you find it?”
Reese: “Not yet. No, wait — here it is, under my desk.”
Me: “Good. Let’s go.”
Reese: “Did you see my bag?”
Me: “Which bag, Reese?”
Reese: “The one that goes over my shoulder.”
Me: “Not sure which one you mean. Can’t you take another one?”
Reese: “I used it yesterday.”
Me: “This is my writing time. I need to go. Do you want to meet me there?”
Reese: “I’ve got it. Have you seen my keys?”
Fifteen minutes later, we were on our way. In the end, I took my own car, drove straight to my usual Starbucks and finished writing this post.
I have no idea where he ended up. Probably at Panera. I didn’t try to call him, because somehow or other – even though he’d found his cell at home and should have had it with him – I just knew he wouldn’t answer.
Helen V. Reese’s debut novel, PROJECT EX – which was inspired by her experiences as a single parent and therapist returning to the dating scene after her divorce – is now available on Amazon. PROJECT EX is a funny and fast-paced story with a mature protagonist whose romantic misadventures show you never outgrow feeling clueless about love. Helen shares her musings on her life as writer, self-publisher, mom and second-time-around wife on her blog/website, helenvreese.com.