26 April 2007

So much noise!

It was very, very noisy on my way to school this morning. Way too noisy!

It reminded me of, when I was a little kid, covering my ears when my dad would use the circular saw or table saw--I referred to the former as the "screamer saw" because of it's loud high pitched sound. My parents have often told me how I cried (likely in pain) when, as a toddler, they took me along with them to see "Start Trek II: The Wrath of Khan." I allegedly fell asleep at some point during the movie, but there were many complaints that the sound volume in the theater was very loud that day.

Today it was the lawnmowers, weed-eaters, and small tractors in use by university groundskeepers that had my "inner 5-year-old" desperately wanting to cover her ears and run--or scream. It's not that the sound was painful, but that there was so much of it and that it was so loud. The accompanying anxiety was a kind of sensory overload--like when too many people are talking at once.

I've recently read that some people with ADHD are especially sensitive to light, sound, and touch1,2.

Light and touch I'd already recognized in myself. I seldom go outside without sunglasses on sunny days in spring or summer . I vividly remember experiencing the "tags-in-my-clothes-drive-me-bonkers" syndrome as a small child. In fact, my mom once asked my grandmother to re-sew one of my nightshirts with cotton thread--it was originally made with stiff, plastic "invisible" thread, which itched in a way I absolutely could not stand.

I'd never thought about the sound sensitivity until today--at least not in that negative way. In one book, the author describes the most sound sensitive person he'd worked with--a boy who could determine what word someone was writing by the sounds of the pencil on the paper3. When reading this, I noted that I too could hear fluorescent light bulbs (in very quiet rooms) and that I have an unusually good sense of directional hearing. I can often hear the high pitched sound of a CRT (cathode ray tube) computer monitor or muted TV from several feet away and behind a closed door.

1 Jeffrey Freed and Laurie Parsons. Right-Brained Children in a Left-Brained World: unlocking the potential of your ADD child (Simon & Schuster: New York, 1997), 56, 58-61.

2Daniel G. Amen. Healing ADD: the breakthrough program that allows you to see and heal the six types of attention deficit disorder (Berkeley Publishing Group: New York, 2001), 14-6.

3 Freed and Parsons, 56-7.

17 April 2007

My days are packed, and that sucks.

This week, my days are packed. I have stuff in the morning, stuff in the afternoon, stuff in the evening. Today was like that. Tomorrow will be like that. Thursday will be like that. Friday? Maybe not. Yesterday wasn't, but I napped most of the evening. Very tired, and I had a headache.

Some of the "stuff" will be fun. Some is class. Class is usually fun once I get there.

Getting places -- seldom fun. Getting places on time -- often stressful.

I've read that people with ADHD know two kinds of time: now, and not-now. I've read that we suffer from "time-blindness." I say, I always forget to remember how much time it takes to do things -- with very few exceptions. It takes 30 minutes to travel between the university and my parents' house. If I absolutely must be on time for something, I should allow 45 minutes in case there's an accident on the highway or I get behind a farm tractor on the country roads.

This week, my days are packed. And it sucks.

Why I'm a giraffe.

Ok... of course I'm not really a giraffe.

But in another life or another universe...
I might have been, or I might like to be.

When I was little, I loved giraffes.

The family legend is that at the end of a visit to my grandparents' house when I was still very small, I refused to let go of a green giraffe from a Noah's Ark playset. I had named him "Raff Giraffe." It was time to go home. I wouldn't put down the giraffe. My grandparents eventually told my mom just to let me take it home. Over twenty years later, "Raff Giraffe" lives on top of a bookshelf in my room at my parents' house.

Today, I still love giraffes.

They're oddly-shaped. Extra-long necks, long legs, spots, two or more small antlers, long black tounges -- giraffes are an odd assembly of features. Yet, they're beautiful! They're beautiful not in spite of their odd assembly of features, but because of it.

I've always been a bit odd. Growing up, I never quite fit in -- not with classmates at school, not with the cousins near my age, not with any of the typical peer groups. My interests were different. I didn't like sports. I didn't care who had a crush on whom. I liked to read. I liked to watch science-fiction shows on television. I liked to draw and make things.

And sometimes it would be nice to have a giraffe around.

Giraffes have a different view of the surrounding territory. They can see trouble coming from much farther off than, at 5'2", I could ever imagine. In my life, it would be nice to have someone who can see trouble coming from far off. Here I mean "trouble" in a more metaphorical context. I'm not particularly worried about an attacking pride of lions showing up on the university campus. But troubles often arise in life; troubles can be sneaky. For me, troubles can grab me by the throat before I even realize they have teeth.