True Confessions from an ADHD Coach.
As an experienced and practicing ADHD Coach, my work focuses on having a deep understanding of the signs of ADHD in Adults and helping them manage at a higher level without so much shame and self-doubt.
As the “neuro-typical” or non ADHD family member, I take pride in trying to keep everything working smoothly.
My agenda/calendar/planner system works pretty well. I’m usually on top of my bills, and return calls and emails on a timely basis. My cell is never lost for more than 5 minutes. I don’t run out of gas, miss appointments or forget much (probably because I have to write everything down in my agenda/calendar/planner).
I recently moved my 90-something parents into an Independent Living apartment, packing them up and squeezing 60 years of stuff into a three room living space. Big adjustments for all.
So why do I feel so much shame?
The Friday after hosting Thanksgiving was a busy day with my folks. Doc appointments, grocery shopping (Black Friday…big mistake), setting up credit cards with new pin numbers (how much more do seniors have to remember???), hanging more pictures, I came home exhausted.
Around 12:30 am, our 11 year old dog awakened me to go out. This wasn’t a new routine. I am usually able to get her out and in without too much trouble. However, two variables came into play that I didn’t plan for: 1) the temperature was in the mid teens, and 2) the sound protectors (aka ear plugs) I usually wear to block out sleep noise from husband.
So, I let Lainie out the back door and put on the deck light. Then I went back to bed (as I usually do), but forgot to take out the ear plugs.
Sometime around 1 am the phone rings. I ignore the call, but get up to check on Lainie. There’s a car in the driveway with the lights on. Curious, I go out (in my pajamas) to check on the situation. It’s our neighbor across the street (actually across the highway) with our dog. He had heard her barking and came over to investigate. Finding her on the front steps, he was concerned that she would freeze if she was left alone. Filled with guilt, I thanked him profusely, I called Lainie in and slunk back to bed.
Apologizing to Lainie for my neglect, we finally settled back down to sleep. Twenty minutes later, the doorbell rings. It’s the police following up on a call about a dog barking. Perfect. Another nail in my shame coffin.
I wrestled with my “mistake” most of the night and into the next day. Since husband hadn’t awakened during the episode, I didn’t see the need to share it with him (and still haven’t). Too embarrassed, too ashamed.
As I finally recovered and was able to forgive myself, it hit me that this must be how it feels to get tripped up by ADHD hour by hour, day after day.
Another lesson learned.