The inconveniences of attention deficit dis… – squirrel!

Squirrel at University of Michigan in Winter by Corey Seeman CC by 2.0 via Flickr

Squirrel at University of Michigan in Winter by Corey Seeman CC by 2.0 via Flickr

1:51 a.m. And I’d already been awake for about an hour. On a school night. Or morning  or whatever.

I hear that women of a certain age, who might be struggling with hormonal imbalances, might also be developing changes in sleeping patterns.

When I first notice I’m no longer asleep, I try not to let all the parts of my brain know this. It’s kind of like telling the journalism staffs the bus for J-conference is leaving at 7 a.m., when it’s really leaving at 7:10. It’s just precautionary. But as one part of my brain begins whispering to other parts, some of them begin squirming and wondering what time it is. Once an eyelid cracks open to look at the digital clock across the room, all bets are off. I’m doomed. Clock said 12:48. Brain said, “Eh, you got plenty of time. Why, you don’t even have to get up until 5:25 – oh, wait, make that 5 a.m. Remember that faculty meeting this morning. Wonder what we’ll discuss? Wonder if I’ll make it on time? (I didn’t) Wonder what I’m wearing today? (jeans) Think anyone will notice if I wear jeans twice this week? Didn’t the weather report predict rain today? (yup)

Someone shared this Lifehack article recently about loving someone with attention deficit disorder. I read it out of curiosity, but then my jaw dropped. The article described me. I always thought the main point about ADD was that afflicted folks were simply distracted all the time, couldn’t concentrate on anything for very long, but according to information in this article, that’s only part of the problem. ADD sufferers CAN focus on what they are interested in, for long periods of time, to the detriment of everything else. We get so zoned in on something that outside interference for, say, dinner or company or your significant other wanting to have a conversation with you, is just plain annoying. Well, that tidbit was familiar.

The fact is that the ADD brain simply never shuts off.

Never shuts off.

So when one or two of my brain cells accidentally wake in the night and nudge the brain cells next to them and start conversations, I’m no longer in control of the situation.

Thus, I went from what to wear to work to all the grading I am behind on, to the individual conferences I planned to conduct with staff members, but I really need to catch up on the grading first. I jumped from there to planning for next semester, which reminded me that because of campus construction, I may be packing up my classroom to move very, very soon. Have I mentioned that in addition to having ADD, I’m likely a hoarder?

When I took the job eight years ago, I didn’t toss the previous adviser’s curriculum or materials or older, unsold yearbooks or yearbooks on VHS or old, unsold calendars or old software or … So my mind went next to where I would possibly start the tossing process so that I could start the packing process.

Eventually, I dozed, maybe a couple hours later. But then I simply dreamed work. Seems my yearbook staff and I were planning an excursion that required shopping.

Tyson, I got the Funyuns that my dream mind thinks you like, but I forgot the Gatorade that my real mind is pretty sure you prefer over all the soda my dream editor (seemed to be a combination of several editors – idk why) helped me purchase for the dream trip to wherever we were going.

My mind never shuts off. Are you similarly afflicted?


About teachjournalism
I am a high school teacher of journalism, technology and reading. I advise the school's newspaper and yearbook, both student-led publications. Documenting and sharing my experiences is a way of reflecting to improve my own work and and inviting commentary so that we might all benefit. I believe, as I tell my students each year, that we all learn from each other.

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