OK, kind of a weird question, and I guess not really accurate in terms of what I mean. What I’m getting at is kind of hard to describe.
Let me do it this way: my ADD lives in my head and mostly in the future. That means that I spend too much time “in my head” – thinking, analyzing, second guessing – and not enough time in the here and now.
That’s especially true if I’m in an unfamiliar or uncomfortable situation. I tend to be sort of on hyper-alert – noticing everything around me, taking stock, figuring out my next move. Kind of sounds like I’m in battle-mode, doesn’t it? But the truth is, I could be at a BBQ or a restaurant with friends.
People with Attention Deficit Disorder tend to have poor social skills; most of us are not likely to be thought of as charming or gracious, although we could certainly be the life of the party. Because we have ADHD, we tend to miss certain social cues that others pick up on naturally. That leaves us in the position of having to constantly monitor our environment to make sure we have some idea of what’s going on.
Although the process I describe isn’t perhaps as extreme as it sounds, the effect is that it keeps us from being present, right now. If I’m busy monitoring everything around me, and trying to anticipate my next move (which could be something as simple as what I’m going to say next), I miss out on what the person in front of me is saying. At best, I only catch part of it and give them the impression that I’m not really interested in what they have to say, which is far from true.
It helps that I know that I do this, because I can catch myself and bring myself back into the moment. People close to me know that it’s a part of who I am, and they understand. Of course, the people I’m most comfortable with rarely cause me to go into my vigilant mode.
As for the others, hopefully we will have the chance to get to know one another better until I feel comfortable enough to let my guard down and let them see the real (ADD) me.
Where does your ADD live?