Thursday, August 27, 2020

With ADHD, Who Needs Sleep Anyway?

I came across this old blog post that I never shared here. It’s from March 2013. I updated it a bit. I hope you enjoy it.

If I thought ADHD could throw monkey wrenches into my plans before, divorce was like dumping the entire plumber’s toolbox into the works instead. It’s taken a bit of time to heal, to sort out the mess, and to know what to do with all those monkey wrenches.

We have joint custody so we split parental duties as well as time spent with the kids right down the middle. She gets medical, and I get school. Since I am in charge of making sure my girls’ school paperwork is in order, I like to use my iPhone to keep things straight with the Calendar, Reminders, and Clear (todo list) apps. With those apps I keep track of everything that needs to be taken care of. My skills are awe inspiring—that is assuming I remember to write things down in the first place. Unfortunately, life gives me helpful reminders of how important it is to use my reminder system, like that weekend last month…

The girls were at their mothers (we switch every two weeks), but the teacher mailed me a packet of forms. It was time for my youngest daughter’s reassessment in the special needs cluster program. She has cerebral palsy and epilepsy, along with other issues that make school challenging for her. I used the “Put the packet out in the open. You can’t possibly forget about it if you trip over it” method that weekend instead of usual iPhone reminder system. Too bad I absentmindedly put another pile on top of that reminder pile. Sometime around 2am on Monday, early early on a schoolday morning, I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t filled out the paperwork.

My first panic was that I couldn’t find them. Once that problem was taken care of, there I was filling out psych evals and questionnaires for hours. Needless to say, I didn’t get much sleep that night, but I got the paperwork filled out on time. I was able to preserve my reputation as an awe inspiring, responsible father — assuming my ex doesn’t read this blog. The silly thing is that I have systems in place to avoid these types of stressful situations. That’s why I designed them. Adults with ADHD benefit from having systems in place to help avoid careless errors. We resist the structure at times, but nobody needs it more than we do.

There are plenty of reasons why I didn’t use my iPhone system that weekend. I had the flu…I was busy establishing world peace…I was abducted by aliens. No one really cares. Whatever is due is due. Fortunately for me, I didn’t let anyone down, so I’m not beating myself up over it. If losing sleep was the price I paid to pull it all together, so be it. I’ve now recommitted to using my reminder system, and started training myself to use it more instinctively going forward. At least until the next time I forget about it.