the ADHD Zone: Captain WTF
Imagine if you will, another dimension, where time and space exist differently. You don’t understand the world around you, and everything you experience affects you in ways it shouldn’t, in ways others would frown upon. You have just entered “The ADHD Zone”.
(Cue the Music)
Today’s topic: help. We all want it, we rarely want to ask for it, and when you have ADHD, you’re not always happy when you get it. I always seem to catch the things that are out of place or different than I would have done. For example, Sometimes, when I have to work the weekend, my step-mom or my mother-in-law will come to my house (it’s about an 80 minute drive for either them, one-way) to watch my kids. As a bonus, I typically come home to a clean house after putting in my 8 hrs. of overtime. No issues there, right? Wrong. Let me tell you about a little part of my ADHD personality I like to call “Captain WTF. I tend to recognize the rediculous in everything and everyone but myself. Just like my temper has its own name (Tantrum), this part of my personality does too. In the ADHD Zone, I don’t exist as Andrew; I am “Captain WTF.” As in: What-The-F* is going on? Where-The-F* is my favorite beer glass? What-The-F* is up with how this shirt is folded? I envision Captain WTF looks like the picture on a bottle of Captain Morgan.
Except I would wonder Why-The-F* that barrel was just sitting there on it’s side when it should be in use, storing rum. When someone else has been so kind as to clean my house while I’m at work, my first response isn’t typically to melt with gratitude; although, honestly, it should be. It’s usually more along the lines of ” Who the heck doesn’t know where the plates go? And the glasses? Why on earth aren’t these spoons all together in the dishwasher??!?!?!” WTF.
Welcome to my world. The normal person coming home after working overtime on the weekend and having their house cleaned voluntarily by Gradma who also had her hands full all day with his kids would be ecstatic that the kitchen full of dishes were cleaned and put away and all 5 loads of laundry washed and folded! Right?! But this guy, Captain WTF, decided to be frustrated each and every time he opens a cabinet door and has to take a moment to find what he’s looking for because it’s not in the precise place it belongs. What a prick, right? That’s me. Captain WTF is good friends with Tantrum, though Tantrum rarely leaves the house. As soon as I open the cupboard and don’t immediately find what I’m looking for, my heart rate immediately starts to climb. If I’m unlucky, I’ll then forget was I was looking for, and then Tantrum is fully engaged. We make one big complainy family in my head, about to lose it because the person who stayed home and did everything for me didn’t know exactly how I need the tupperware arranged. Any ADHD person reading this will likely relate on some level, and many “Normies” (Neurotypical, or non-ADHD) would look at this perhaps as Narcissism and/or OCD, and they wouldn’t be totally wrong.
Someone once asked how I deal with this. When I initially wrote this, I didn’t handle it well, to put it mildly. In my mind’s vehicle, I would usually get thrown in the backseat and Captain WTF would take over. Nothing was satisfactory. Now I have my daughter load/unload the dishwasher. If anything teaches you patience, is teaching your child to do things (the way you like them), and forcing yourself to accept it as nothing more than a learning opportunity, or an acceptable inconvenience, when they don’t! But imagine if you will, being so thankful someone went WAY out of their way to help you, but then spending the next week being frustrated. I tend not to handle much of anything the way a “Normal” person would. I know I should be thankful. Heck, I AM thankful! I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family. I couldn’t express my appreciation in words if I tried. So now I try my best to keep things under wraps, and remind myself that eventually, I’m going to wear those pants, or use that tupperware, and wash it, and put it away myself, at which point it will be like this never happened. At least when Mom puts away the dishes, I can find them. When my daughter does it, things go missing for a while! The bottom line is: I will have had a break from the washing and putting away for a bit, which is REALLY nice. Of course, I will eventually be pissed at the dishes again; because, while I prefer an organized home, I can never get the gumption to actually do it all.
The bigger picture is this: Don’t expect “Normal” or “rational” from your own Captain WTF or Tantrum because Normal doesn’t exist for us. It may take days to realize the correct meaning of something you say that we misinterpreted. It may take days before we tell you thank you, when you did all our housework and we spent the next week complaining about having to find everything. Remember that behind these mentalities lies a sincere, thankful, appreciative and maybe even polite ( insert your kid/spouse/sibling/parent’s name here).