Wednesday, August 15, 2007

ADHD: Nocturnal Exercises in Thinking Positive

© Tiger Aspect Productions Ltd.Ever lock yourself out of your house? Ever do it at 3am? If you have AD/HD, chances are the answer is "yes".

This is going to be one of those articles my family will hate - if they bother reading it. Apparently, my joke of a life is too painful for them to read about. I say "joke" because I do my darnedest to make fun of everything whenever possible. Nothing is sacred. All topics are fair game for the scathing wit and sagacious words of Douglas R. Cootey, including my own ineptitude. It's how I cope. Otherwise, I'd be a morose, ornery cuss like some of the poor misfits who feel I don't take their disability seriously and then leave peppered comments in reply. Fortunately, the majority of my readers are in on the joke.

And speaking of jokes...

Reluctantly, I donned my shoes and prepared to make a 3am trek to the grocery store to purchase diapers for my five year old. Her cerebral palsy and epilepsy have made toilet training difficult. At 1am the last diaper was soiled beyond redemption and my wife broke the bad news to me: I had to go shopping. I decided to go after I finished my project and thus the 3am trek.

My daughter's seizure earlier that evening was not the only thing on my mind. Since our minivan's transmission died last Wensday, we were forced to purchase a new one, so I didn't have my old set of keys anymore. I stepped through the front door, quietly shut it behind me, then realized to my horror that I had left my apartment keys inside. I stood there for a few moments dumbstruck, then I laughed a very unkind laugh. Not very impressed with myself was I. However, I quelled the urge to loathe myself further and took a deep breath. I had to go through my options.

Option 1: Ring the doorbell. A lot. Heck, I was going to have to wear a hole in the wall where the doorbell was before anybody would hear me and awake. Then I'd feel really stupid. Again. So that wasn't an option.

Option 2: Break in. Nope. I had made sure all the windows were sealed shut. Short of shattering the glass, there was no way I could get in through the windows.

Option 3: Get the stupid diapers and sleep in the minivan until my wife left for work. Wait. I did have the key to the minivan, right? Phew. Another disaster averted.

Then brilliance struck me. I'd like to call it being smartstruck, but I wasn't really that fortunate.

We just turned over our broken minivan to the dealer earlier that evening, so our minivan was probably sitting in the dealer's car lot. Tucked away in the chasis was a magnetic box with a house key in it. I had forgotten to retrieve it before closing the deal. All I had to do was drive onto the car lot at three in the morning, fish around inconspicuously underneath a minivan that no longer belonged to me, retrieve my key box, and drive away without attracting any attention. Easy.

So off I went. Option 4.

Trying not to think "You stupid eeeediot!" was very difficult as I pulled into the car lot. What a risky thing to do. Fortunately, I did not have to search long. I found my car, got my apartment key, and was on my way in no time. As I pulled back onto the street I shook my head ruefully and vowed to not be so unprepared again.

The laughable position I had found myself in was something that reeked of AD/HD. Sure, everybody makes mistakes. Who hasn't locked themselves out of their house or car at least once in their lifetime? However, I have AD/HD. I do this with so much frequency that I have spare keys all over the place just in case. This time, however, my coping strategies failed me. Too much had disrupted the routine. Dead car. New car. New keys. Child's seizure. I hadn't re-established my coping strategies because life hadn't settled down yet.

Crawling around a car lot at three in the morning may not have been the brightest solution, but it worked in a pinch. In the end I solved my problem without involving anybody, even curious policemen. Although I was tempted to scold myself and get a good hate on, I didn't succumb to such tendencies. I have learned that negativity merely feeds Depression, and besides, the situation was rather Mr. Bean-ish. I eventually bought the diapers and had a good laugh in the process.

Coping Strategy: Don't beat yourself up. Being negative wastes energy better spent on solving the problem. Besides, when you turn 50 you'll have so much bonehead material to pull from you can invite all your friends and family over and roast yourself. Unless your family is like mine and doesn't appreciate self-deprecating humor. You might not want to invite them to that party.

Coping Strategy2: Now that you've admitted to the world that you store a key box under your car you can't store one there anymore. Dang.

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