Tuesday, November 23, 2004

ADD: When Brain Fog Attacks

I have been meaning to do more ADD blogging; after all, it's my title. Today is a good enough example of a "Day in the life of an ADD Ewin"; and per most personal-life blogging, YMMV.

This morning, I looked outside at the drizzling rain, and felt a sickening lump of tension forming in my stomach. No walking, no time outdoors. HULK SMASH!

Making it through the work day was difficult. I got horribly brain fogged around 3pm or so, and went blog-surfing. I recognize it these days for what it is: self-treatment. I read something about politics or the daily news, and it upsets me, which abruptly pulls my scattered brain together toward a singular purpose... and that state of disturbed alertness is far more tolerable than the blindly frantic lack of focus.

I exercised Saturday and walked around taking autumn pictures on Monday, so Monday's work day was more productive than today's. I still managed to turn out a halfway decent report by the end of the day. Then I left the office, and forced myself to go to the store.

A brief selection of my thoughts while I was at the store:

I need oranges, okay, oranges. There they are. Wait, lemons? No, I need oranges. Oranges. *picks up oranges* Okay, now what do I need... *checks list* I need cranberries and a flour sifter, and chopped citron. *passes by someone* Wait, what? *checks list* Cranberries and a sifter, and chopped citron. Wait, what? *checks list, growing frustrated with myself* Cranberries! Sifter! Citron! *gets cranberries* Now what? *checks list again* A sifter. And citron. Damnit.

When I was diagnosed with ADD last year, I scored clinically significant levels of ADD-type effects in five categories of symptoms.

The category I scored the highest (or the worst) on was memory problems.

The other four categories, I can't remember.

No, I'm not kidding.

(But yes, it is funny.)

By the time I was done with my ridiculously short shopping list, I was gripping the rung handle of my shopping cart with sweating, mottled fists, and flinching every time another shopper passed by. Brain fog irritates my agoraphobia. It's as if I go into survival mode; somehow, I know my reflexes are at their worst and my ability to deal with stress is cut to a fraction of normal levels (and those aren't exactly the highest in the land), and I'm automatically nervous of any situation where I'm surrounded by unpredictable objects. Like shoppers two days before Thanksgiving. The store really wasn't very crowded, and I didn't have to stand in line, but I was very relieved to get home.

I got home, promptly changed and lifted weights until I couldn't stand up. Then I stood up (heh), and headed for the shower.

Situation now: I still have quite an array of things to accomplish this evening, but they have all fallen neatly into intervals of time in my brain. I probably won't be able to get much exercise on Thursday, which is my next calendar workout day, but I'll live, because I won't be at work. I can supplement my sanity by spending as much time outdoors as possible; also, I will be cooking, and that helps.

Tomorrow evening, I'm going to try to make that cranberry bread that Megan McArdle keeps pushing.