Jan. 17th, 2016

proximoception: (Default)
What I talk about when I talk about ADHD:

1. Inattentive symptoms (from DSM V)

- often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or during other activities (e.g. overlooks or misses details, work is inaccurate).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanism: Perfectionism and/or avoidance/procrastination. What I assumed caused it: Boredom with unchallenging schoolwork, sleep problems. Medicated: Solved by any stimulant at any dose.)

- often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities (e.g., has difficulty remaining focused during lectures, conversations, or lengthy reading).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanism: Found ways to seem like I was listening, found other things to do to stay alert (e.g. drawing in notebooks), tic-like obsessive checking of brakes, seat belts and gauges when driving. What I assumed caused it: Boredom with small talk and information I'd heard before or could easily guess, sleep problems. Medicated: Solved by any stimulant at any dose.)

- often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly (e.g., mind seems elsewhere, even in the absence of any obvious distraction).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanism: Avoided talking to people, developed excellent ability to mine context and echoic traces for likely gist of missed words. What I thought caused it: Deafness, defensible tuning out of pointless small talk, sleep problems. Medicated: Solved by any stimulant at any dose.)

- often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish school work, chores, or duties in the work place (e.g., starts tasks but quickly loses focus and is easily sidetracked).

(Unmedicated: Severe, to understate. Coping mechanisms: Ingratiation with teachers, display of compensatory overcompetence in completed work, a large and (to me) amazing toolbox of "last minute" completion skills. What I thought caused it: Acute awareness of the pointlessness of any of these tasks, disengagement due to deafness and other isolating factors, sleep problems. Medicated: Severe, alas.)

- often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities (e.g., difficulty managing sequential tasks; difficulty keeping materials and belongings in order; messy, disorganized work; has poor time management; fails to meet deadlines).

(Unmedicated: Severe, to understate. Coping mechanisms: Avoidance where possible, last minute completion toolset, ingratiation with authorities, displays of compensatory competence etc. What I thought caused it: Not hearing instructions properly, sleep problems, acute awareness of pointlessness of tasks, social disengagement because of deafness et al. Medicated: Severe in most respects - better in some, actually worse in others; Intuniv was good for sequential work, and most have marginally improved keeping belongings organized; my work is over-organized in some ways, under- in others (because of not leaving time to clean it up).)

- often avoids or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (e.g. schoolwork or homework; for older adolescents and adults, preparing reports, completing forms, reviewing lengthy papers).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanisms: Avoiding commitments that would call for such work in the first place, last minute skills. What I thought caused this: Coping with other symptoms (see above), pointlessness of work in question, assumption I could do it at the last minute so why bother till then, sleeping problems. Medicated: Severe, pragmatically - those tasks are actually fun, medicated, but it's very hard to not get sidetracked by something slightly off-task, which ironically leads to further avoidance, since I assume there's no point in starting.)

- often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., school materials, pencils, books, tools, wallets, keys, paperwork, eyeglasses, mobile telephones).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanisms: keys, phone and wallet are always in identical places in my pants even when pants are off, and similarly I leave all school materials in my car or bag - and usually my bag in my car; I used to have near-perfect memory of floor plans, street plans, and object locations so I'd lose, drop, forget but then nearly immediately find again - thus this one has worsened rapidly with age; What I thought caused it: My memory being so good that I didn't need to be organized, the ultimate futility of being neat (esp. for one not wanting much company), sleep problems. Medicated: Solved or mild - I forget things, but usually not crucial ones, and nowhere near as often.)

- is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli (e.g., for older adolescents and adults may include unrelated thoughts).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanisms: Avoiding commitments where I'd need to pay steady attention, convincing myself staying focused on Matter X was unimportant - so not really coping at all, with this one. What I thought caused it: Inherent boringness of whatever I was distracted from, inherent interest of whatever thought I was distracted by. Medicated: Oversolved - whatever is in front of me is goddamn fascinating.)

- is often forgetful in daily activities (e.g., doing chores, running errands; for older adolescents and adults, returning calls, paying bills, keeping appointments).

(Unmedicated: Severe. Coping mechanisms: Avoiding responsibilities where possible, getting used to paying late fees, cultivating a humble apologetic air. What I thought caused it: I don't think I had an explanation for this - I just felt bad. It's hard to excuse thoughtlessness. Medicated: Solved maybe halfway, though I'm more often late for some reason.)


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