Hey everyone, it’s Lolly. How are y’all doing? I hope the world hasn’t been too cruel to you today. I wish I could say that our life has been all sunshine and rainbows as of late, but alas, that is not the case. Lots of stuff is happening here at La Casa Weed, some good and some bad. Needless to say, we are stressed.
Josh loves this blog and he loves you, his readers. A lot. But, he has been struggling lately with posting consistently and that has been stressing him out. So, I am having an intervention for Josh. A blog intervention. He doesn’t know I’m writing this. So hopefully he likes it! (Hi honey! Hope you don’t care that I hacked into your blog!)
As most of you know, Josh has ADD. It’s not a baby case of it either. It’s a full-on colossal dragon-size case of ADD. I’ll be honest…
before I married Josh I kind of thought that ADD was a cop-out. I thought it was just an excuse for lazy people who didn’t want to work. Josh and I didn’t know what he experienced even was ADD until a few years into out marriage. Had I known, it may have been a deal breaker. (That’s a joke, by the way.) So, Josh, you’re gay? No problem. What, you have ADD? Hold the phone there, pal. I have to think about this a little more.
Now that I have lived with him for 11 years, I am here to testify to all of the naysayers, like my former self, that ADD is very real. And it can be extremely painful and humiliating for those who have it. (And let’s be honest, really frustrating to those of us who don’t have it.) It’s not just a matter of being more motivated or more organized. It’s much, much more than that. It’s brain chemistry and malfunction.
I had an experience when we were first married that helped me to see that Josh’s distractibility was not due to a lack of willpower or laziness. We had just moved to Provo, Utah so that I could finish my degree at BYU. Josh hadn’t applied to BYU yet (surprise, surprise: classic symptom of ADD) and so he was planning on looking for a job that first semester as he was finishing up his application.
Here’s the scene as I left for my first day of classes: Josh was sitting in the middle of our living room floor in our disastrous apartment. There were piles of unpacked boxes everywhere. We had no TV. We had no computer. We had no phone. There was nothing to do but unpack and clean. (And look for a job, I had hoped.) So, off I went for my first day of classes.
I was gone for seven hours. When I got back home, I opened the front door to find Josh sitting in the exact same place as I had left him, in the middle of the living room floor. He hadn’t showered. I wondered if he had even gotten up to go to the bathroom. The apartment looked even worse than it did when I had left. I was completely baffled. What had he been doing for seven hours? It’s not like he had been surfing the internet or watching TV. He was just sitting there, surrounded by papers. Turns out, the first box he had attempted to unpack was a box of my old journals. For someone like Josh, that box was an ADD trap of death.
For those of us who do not have ADD, after about an hour or so (or maybe even two or three hours) of sitting, un-showered, on a floor surrounded by boxes, we would go crazy and have to stand up and do something else. We would feel compelled, like it or not, to move on. But, for someone like Josh, his mind moves from one thing to the next while the hours escape him. He doesn’t need the internet or the TV to “waste time” (although those things are certainly helpful in doing that.) His mind gets trapped and it is completely paralyzing. I call this his “molasses mode.” Observing him in this state reminds me of someone trying to run away from a predator while trapped in a vat of molasses. It is just painful to watch.
If Josh and I were stranded on a deserted island with nothing to do but find food and shelter, you would probably find me frantically creating a makeshift treehouse to shelter us from an impending storm while Josh was sitting in a nearby field contemplating the lifecycle of the butterfly that he just saw. This can be a beautiful thing! We need people in our society who contemplate in this way. (It reminds me of the children’s book Fredrick.) However, to anyone who didn’t know Josh and understand ADD, you might think he was a complete jerk, leaving all of the work up to me. But, I am here to say that Josh is one of the hardest working people that I know. He doesn’t take hard work for granted. No one has to work so hard at working hard as people with ADD. When you see him accomplish something big, you have to know that it did not come easy for him. You have no idea the amount of time he has spent trying to get himself to even get started working on something hard.
I have a sister-in-law with ADD who is a stay at home mom. She spends most of her day thinking about cleaning and trying to get herself to actually do it. After spending eight hours of her day attempting to clean, all the while getting distracted, she has managed to unload the dishwasher. And that’s all she can see that she has done, other than keep her children alive (which, granted, is no small feat). It’s not because she doesn’t want to do more, or because she doesn’t try hour after hour. It’s because her brain won’t focus. Now that is torture. Don’t you think she’d rather be the mom that wakes up in the morning, works really hard for a few hours and has a clean house to show for it? I can assure you, given the choice, she’d rather be able to just work hard and get it over with. So, yes ADD sucks, and it is very embarrassing and humiliating to those who have it. They experience a lot of shame. Shame instilled in them from the time they are very young. Our culture is not very kind to these thoughtful, daydreaming, visionary people.
Recently I put a timer right next to the shower. I did this for myself because I love taking hot showers. It is so relaxing for me, but the whole time I’m in the shower I worry that I’ve been in there too long. So, I got a timer so that I could set the timer and enjoy my shower without having to worry that I was taking too long. Turns out that this has been an amazing tool for Josh as well. It has totally helped him in his morning routine by helping him keep track of his time.