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ADHD, ADHD, go away, come again some other day

I was a nurse for over 10 years before getting diagnosed with ADHDi, or Inattentive type Attention Deficit/Hyperactive Disorder. It runs in my family, including a parent and a sibling, as well as in some extended family. Today was just one of those days where I wish I didn't have ADHDi. Let's just start with the time blindness.

This was how I imagined my day to go: This is what my day ended up being:

7 AM- Yoga/ Shower 8 AM- Woke up, ate breakfast

8 AM- Allergy Clinic Injection Appointment 9 AM- Chores

9 AM- Laundry, Chores, post office 10 AM- Laundry

10 AM- Smog Check for Car, hardware store 11 AM- Clean bedroom, Showered

11 AM- Hair Cut 12 PM- Watered Plants

1 PM- Virtual Team Meeting 1 PM- Virtual Team Meeting

2 PM- Museum Visit (Free Day)/Lunch 2 PM- Lunch, watched 2 episodes of TV

4 PM- Pick up new work badge in downtown 3 PM- Allergy Clinic Injection Appointment

5 PM- Pick up dry cleaning, grocery shopping 4 PM- Errands, Buy/Eat Dinner

6 PM- Pump Training 5 PM- Work e-mail

7 PM- Dinner 6 PM- Pump Training

8 PM- Read/Meditate 7 PM- E-mails, Bills, online grocery shopping

9 PM- Bedtime 11 PM- Bedtime

I overestimated my day off to get a long list of things done. Starting with an 8 AM doctors visit to get allergy shots. I have pretty bad allergies to the environment here in the Bay Area where I have lived since 2011. One of the tasks is to take Montelukast medication at night, because it makes you sleepy, and so it's in your system by your appointment time. I did that. The other task is that you have to take your second allergy medication 1-1.5 hours before your appointment time. So I set an alarm for 7 AM and took my Allegra medication on time. Now, I had set an alarm for 7:30 AM to get up and get ready to go to the clinic, which is just a 10-minute walk away. Well, the night before I was up until near midnight after having hosted my weekly church community group. The day prior I had also gotten my bivalent covid booster shot AND a flu shot so I was extra sleepy, plus allergy medication made me super drowsy. Nevertheless, I persisted in this plan to get my allergy shots super early at 8 AM. Then I had planned a curly hair DEVA cut at 11 AM. a virtual team meeting at 1 PM, and was going to meet up with friends at 2 PM to see the Diego Rivera exhibit at the SFMoMA and then complete a diabetes pump training at 6 PM with a client. Well, a lot of those plans were cancelled.

I didn't notice that my 7:30 AM alarm was not selected on the weekday I had my appointment. I had just changed my alarms to go off on my work days only instead of daily! So I woke up late, missed my allergy clinic appointment. When I called to reschedule there was nothing open until 3 PM. And since these appointments require weekly visits or you have to re-do or take a step back and repeat injections, I didn't want to miss a session, especially since I missed my earlier session this week due to traveling, and the second session last week due to traveling. I also realized how tired my body was, so I had to cancel my my 11 AM haircut because it required wearing it washed, dried, without product, unstyled and I had overslept so I didn't have time to let it air dry. I also had to cancel my 2 PM visit to the museum with friends because I realized I couldn't do a 1 PM virtual meeting and get to downtown in that amount of time, that would have required heading there before 1 PM, eating into my hair appointment which usually takes about 2 hours. I ended up going to my team meeting at 1 PM and then was able to reschedule my 8 AM allergy clinic appointment to 3 PM. I had my 6 PM pump training appointment, which took a little longer to chart and e-mail my team about the update that I did. My haircut moved to Saturday 11 AM. The museum is free on the first Thursday of the month to the exhibit, so luckily those tickets were free but I missed seeing my friends and won't be able to do the museum again until next month or I have to pay.

Missing appointments is not unusual for me. Things just slip my mind. I sometimes feel like a bad friend or family member. No matter how many calendar reminders, alarms, or effort I put into making it on time, sometimes I just don't get there. Or I overbook myself too many activities and then end up having to cancel last minute because I don't account for traffic, travel time, or how much I'll enjoy one activity and not want to leave. What's hard is that the world is not forgiving for people with ADHD who miss appointments. There are late fees, wasted time, wasted commuting, and rescheduling effort which then limits that time that was going to be for something else to forward my work or goals. And then the parking tickets, speeding tickets, or wreckless driving stressing to get to the next thing on time. I'm getting better, slowly, and with systems in place. The medication I take for ADHD has been helpful. I was previously diagnosed with anxiety and depression and since starting Adderall ER 15 mg daily (sometimes I forget, obviously) I've been able to slowly titrate off the SSRI medications (yes 2!). I'm able to focus and do tasks more singularly and for longer without distractions. I've also noticed the noise in my mind has really quieted. I'm also able to check off a few more tasks off of my check-lists than before since starting the medication. Don't get me wrong, I never get through the entire checklist, but I get through a lot more than before. I think with time, the more I become aware of my ADHD quirks, and realize how to adapt, I will get better. More on that for the blog in the future.

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