I Need a Disclaimer

Warning: This post includes gratuitous use of “bad”, or as I like to call it, “expressive” language.

Hi, I’m Cam, I have ADD.  I’m not being rude, I swear.  It’s just really, really hard for me to pay attention to you.  You will probably have to repeat yourself and I will probably not make eye contact for very long.  But I promise, I’m not an asshole.

What do you think?   I know, it’s a bit rough.  I’m still working on it.

As I continue on in this epically disorganized and frantic life I’ve created, I notice ADD poking its nose into my business at the weirdest times. Like when I miss out on important information because I’ve “tuned out.” My lack of focus and impulsive decision-making causes like 90% of all arguments with my gentleman caller, and my mom can’t stand that I wait until the last minute to do things. And my friends, they probably think I’m tied up in the trunk of a car because I’m constantly forgetting to text them back. Living with someone with adult ADD is a challenge. It’s a big cluster of miscommunication and misread signals. So much so, I’ve compiled a list to help my friends and family understand my behavior: Things people with ADD do that aren’t assholish in intention, I promise.

Also, making lists is a strategy I use for organization. I love making lists.

Adult ADDers might exhibit the following symptoms:

1. They make lists for everything. But inevitably they misplace said list or forget the list existed in the first place. This may lead to a second list, or even third list,  contributing to a never-ending cycle of lost and found incoherent notes scribbled on used envelopes and napkins.

They may buy more rainbow socks because they forgot they already had rainbow socks.

They may buy more rainbow socks because they forgot they already had rainbow socks.

2. They’re obsessive about organization. They may spend hours and hours meticulously organizing cabinets only to be thwarted by the desire to now, at this very moment, organize the dish towels. This is often accompanied by the irrational fear of “If I don’t do this now, I will never have another chance, ever.”


Warning: They may be hoarders. Who needs that many socks?


Which leads to..

3. They may have a skewed sense of priorities. Everything is the most important task in that moment.  This is a hard one for loved ones or colleagues and typically leads to the assholish labeling.

4. Speaking of labeling, they generally say things that are “inappropriate” or as I like to call them, “true.”

5. They frequently… I don’t remember what I was going to write here, honestly. I got sidetracked by my chick Jenn, here at the airport!

It keeps putting us sideways, I don't know why.

It keeps putting us sideways, I don’t know why.

6. And lastly, they just might write their blog post on a tablet in the airport because they were up all night making costumes for their race on Sunday. No minute like the last minute!

How do you stay focused and organized, internet world?

Climbing the Walls

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but I’m a bit attention deficit.  A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with Adult ADD and Depression.  I get distracted easily, I switch topics, I talk during movies.  Actually, I talk all the time.  I can’t stop the thoughts from flowing out of my brain and into the universe where they are likely clogging up some cosmic energy highway.  And I get bored.  A lot.  Right now, I’m bored with my fitness routine.  In one way, I love routine.  It’s dependable and I know what to expect.  I know I won’t fail because I’ve done it before.  For example, I know I can run a half marathon on very little sleep and/or training and still live.  Yeah, I might be miserable the whole time and it’ll probably take me the entire four hours to finish…but I am confident I will finish.

Inevitably, there comes a point in my workout routine where I give up.  I stop going to the gym.  I hit snooze when my morning run alarm goes off.  I give in to a bunch of cravings that I haven’t indulged in months, which usually means chili fries and beer for dinner.  Staying fit for me really is a two steps forward, one step back process.  And I’ve totally made peace with that.  But in order to recharge my fitness battery, I need lots of different activities.  I’m a member of five different gyms.  FIVE.  I’m paying five different establishments when I could, theoretically, weight train in my living room and run my neighborhood for free.  Instead, I’m spending a small fortune because of my workout ADD.

One of the places I’ve joined is Hangar 18 Indoor Climbing Gym.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I signed on for this.  I’m afraid of heights and I have trust issues…rock climbing probably isn’t something that is going to come naturally to me.  I struggle with it every time.  And that’s why I’m hooked!

Or it could just be the shoes.

Or it could just be the shoes.

My first experience climbing the indoor rock walls tested all my limits.  First, I had to properly settle into my harness.  There is nothing more flattering than a strap of canvas cutting off the circulation to your groin.  I spent a great deal of time worrying about the way the harness made my butt look.  Someone was going to be standing down below me.  I wanted to make sure they had the best view I had to offer.  Once I was uncomfortably strapped into the device, I had to sit and listen to this dude teach me how to belay my climbing partner.  Do you even understand how hard it is for me to sit and listen when there are colorful things to touch?  I thought the training would make me feel more secure but my partner was my strong, yet tiny, friend Amy.  I was seriously doubting her ability to support my weight if I fell, even with the help of the pulley system and her amazing biceps.

Does this harness make my butt look big?

Does this harness make my butt look big?

Once our instructor turned us loose, fear immediately took over.  The idea is to keep to one path, using only the grips that are color coded for a specific climb.  The climbs are rated by difficulty.  That red one I’m on in that pic was rated as super easy…the second to the easiest climb in the building.  What makes the task so difficult is that you have to problem solve as you’re climbing.  You’re supposed to survey the layout and find the best path up with the holds you are given. It’s like a game of chess, only with more sweat. My problem is that the best path isn’t always evident to me so I waste a great deal of energy just holding on while I determine my next move.  Then my hip would start to cramp or my fingers would give out.  Then I’d think of falling and how that would probably catapult poor Amy into the air.  It was an awful sight in my head.

This was my problem. I couldn’t get out of my head long enough to focus on figuring out a strategy.  And I realized, as I was straddling this wall and holding on for dear life, that this was a metaphor for my entire life.   And you know what I did?  I gave up.  Yep.  I called down to Amy that I was ready to fall.  She tried to push me, telling me I could do it, but I felt so uncomfortable with my new epiphany that I couldn’t stand to be up on that wall for another second.

I tried a second climb but it ended pretty similarly to the first.  Halfway up and I bailed.  I was starting to piss myself off.  The more I failed at this, the more motivated to conquer my fears I became.  I didn’t make it all the way to the top that first day of climbing.  I still haven’t made it all the way to the top.  But there’s something therapeutic that comes from the stress I feel during climbs.  It’s exhilarating to know I am strong enough to literally lift myself up and over a mountain.  Even if the mountain is made of plastic.  I’m excited to see where this exercise will lead me.  And I’m excited to experience what it will be like when I finally reach the top.

Hard Core

Like a Boss