Time Stands Still in an ADHD Brain

Today, my dad is currently in having both an endoscopy and colonoscopy procedure which means he has to be put under entirely. So, naturally my ADHD brain goes into automatic, ‘Doom Merchant’ mode and time stand still until I know he’s done.

Sure! Everyone has a Doom Merchant in their heads if a loved one or family member is in hospital, or receiving some form of medical procedure.

But! In an ADHD brain where emotions aren’t really regulated well, and in a case like today, for me, my brain shuts down to everything else. Time stops, literally, and nothing else matters.

You might be thinking that this is an entirely normal reaction to a situation such as today. I wrote previously about me not seeing a ‘future’ which, even now, knowing why I have never been able to think or plan ahead still weirds me out. Even on my dexamphetamine it still happens.

My trouble is, no one told dad or I how long the procedure would take today. I couldn’t even go into the medical centre with him due to COVID-19 restrictions. Dad has trouble walking, even with his wheeler-walker, so I sweated about that. Obviously he made it in there as no one has called me to tell me otherwise.

Now, because I don’t know what time he will be done, my brain is reaching for a time. Like, will it be 3hrs from now? 4? 6? Will he be out by 3PM, or 5PM, or 6PM… Will he come home at all?!

Which, believe me when I say, ‘I don’t know what to do?’ if anything happened, I literally mean, I DO NOT KNOW. I have no planning or organising abilities in my head. I don’t see a future.

I’d know who to call and ask. But, I am on my own in life, for the most part. Like I said before, I literally need to hire a secretary to keep my life in order.

In the past, if I didn’t have to go to work, or had plans with friends, or any other event. I would do, nothing. I had never thought about it before as it never ever bothered me that I had nothing to do.

I’ve never had any lifelong hobbies, or interests. I used to draw a lot when I was a kid and into my teenage years. I was quite good at it, too. The guidance to move forward with anything I got interested in has never been there for me. More to the point, even now, I still don’t.

I can’t really blame anyone, especially my parents. ADHD wasn’t really diagnosed when I was a kid. As far as everyone was concerned, I was healthy, reasonably smart and sociable all my life. Maybe a little odd to some, because my social skills weren’t particularly strong in my younger years.

But, until I had something to do which required me being there at a certain date and time, say if I had an appointment at 3PM. It would be timestamped in my brain and every other minute and hour up until that point, did not exist.

I would never go out of my way to arrange to actually do something with anyone, unless of course, there was something I wanted and was interested in to do, then I would humbug the crap out of anyone to come with me.

I could/can get quite annoying in a nice way when I want to do something that interests me. Prior to me being medicated, I used to get really annoyed with “friends” in the past when no one would come with me. I stopped asking people to do things years ago, now.

I have lost many “friends” in the past due to this behaviour. Even as a kid, on reflection. Remember when I talked about the dark side of ADHD in adults with being quick to anger as a trait in some. I bet you any money those of you quick to road rage may just be ADHD, too. Or quick to rage and anger in general.

Fortunately, this is where my medication does help, to an extent. I am just not sitting here staring blankly at social media as I normally would prior to dexamphetamine or overthinking about today to the point of my brain creating immense anxiety.

What my dex does do is this. I knew dad had to be at the medical centre by 7:20am. I have been getting up religiously at 5:30am for two months or so, now. I also knew by taking my dex at 6am it would be working well and truly by the time we had to leave.

Over the last nine months being on dex, even more so, recently. Even before the dex kicks in I know I have things to do on days such as today. I ate breakfast, made sure dad was up and ready. I had to put his bedding on to wash, and did that before we left.

So, normally by now I’d have sat here and done nothing and stared at the TV or the internet until I get a phone call to come collect dad. Since I’ve been home, I hung out his bedding, put on his blanket, I’ve been writing this blog which has helped me remain focused on anything but dad. Now the blanket is done, I have a load of his clothes to wash.

Non-medicated me would not have done any of this, maybe one thing. The dex helps me to be more aware of the current time. The future thing is still non-existent.

Having just typed that last sentence, I kid you not, the phone rang and dad is okay and I can now go collect him. Huzzah!

Published by G.D. Ison

I'm a neurodivergent heavy metal loving motorcycle riding cat owning writer living in Brisbane (Meanjin), Australia. Always was, always will be Aboriginal land. I hold a Masters degree in Creative Writing from the University of the Sunshine Coast and a Bachelor degree in the same, obtained from the Queensland University of Technology. I also hold a Bachelor degree in Visual Communication (Design) from Griffith University College of Art. Considering those academic achievements, I actually failed high school.

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