December 2007 - Volume IV - Issue XII

Statement: My intent in this newsletter is to express as quickly as possible my own beliefs and opinions on matters. I have no problems with people who disagree with my opinion and have even been swayed to rethink my position from time to time. We are still taking book orders for my new book "ADHD and The Criminal Justice System" and you can get my author's discount at

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I am not sure how many of you have experienced problems with sometimes feeling clumsy and having trouble with bumping things, breaking things, spilling things, tripping over lint on the floor or other sometimes seemingly minor problems with spatial problems. With me it is not always present but appears frequently enough that it is very frustrating for not only me but those close to me. Some people have even suggested that I seem to intentionally do things like this to draw attention to myself. I got to thinking about that and it really bothered me to think that I might be talking to someone holding a hot drink and move my arms while talking and knock the cup out of their hands. I don't feel that I am the type of person to do something like this intentionally but maybe I do it subconsciously. I sure hope not.

I may have mentioned in an earlier newsletter that before I was diagnosed with ADHD I used to walk my wife off the sidewalk when we were out for a stroll. If she was on my right I would move toward her, over a block or two, she would find herself on the grass and complaining to me. If she switched to my left I would gradually move toward her and she again was in the grass on the other side. I found out after starting medication in 1996 that this issue no longer seemed to be a problem. Unfortunately not all my spatial issues have disappeared.

When I am talking I often apparently am moving my hands around or gesturing with them and have had problems realizing the length of my reach. Twice in the last year I have knocked drink cups out of peoples hands. The most recent incident just occurred today. I also have a problem running into things while walking that I had seen but did not realize I was as close to as I was. Spilling drinks and knocking over glasses also have been life long problems, not necessarily daily occurrences but all too frequent. Being consciences of having these problems probably has helped me to avoid some accidents but it almost requires a ongoing constant awareness which is probably impossible.

I have recently read up on some of the spatial problems related to ADHD. Most believe that this spatial issue contributes to such areas as maintaining order in our workplace and bedrooms---Guilty here , occasionally violating others personal space---Guilty here, Sometimes taking excessively large bites of food---Guilty here, Trouble using time wisely and efficiently---Guilty again.

I found it both interesting and confusing to find that being a little clumsy at times to be related to my tendency to be disorganized in my immediate surroundings. They don't seem to be related issues.

After reading about it I still don't feel I have a good grasp on the connection. I have read where some gifted athlete likes a superstar soccer goalie had taken up the position only because he was horrible on the midfield trying to keep track of other players and the constant movement of the ball. As a goalie he has a fairly stable position where he can get the big picture of the whole field and as the ball approaches his last line of defense he can focus in on things and finally react to the imminent danger of the approaching ball. On the field trying to move and track other things he found himself tripping over his own feet and falling down. This same athlete could run a sprint race down a track at unbelievable speed with no problems falling down.

I also knew a ADHD kid who could dribble and shoot a basketball with incredible accuracy from almost any point on the floor. But put him on the floor with other players where he had to dribble around others and shoot on the run and he was considered a below average player, constantly loosing the ball off his foot and shooting air balls. He worked hard to overcome these difficulties but no matter how hard he tried and despite some minor improvements he never mastered it. He still could shoot and dribble by himself better than anybody I have ever seen.

People like me had problems in school with slouching in our chair and having our foot in the aisle and unintentionally tripping other students. Walking down the narrow aisle between desk and bumping the books or pencils off a classmates desk. After a while fellow students, teachers and even family would have a hard time thinking that are actions were not somehow deliberate. Well nobody wants to be known as Klutzy. We find ourselves apologizing constantly and compensating by laughing at ourselves and telling people in advance that we are clumsy and to beware when we are around.

I have gotten to the point in my life where I tell my friends about my latest INCIDENT voluntarily. I even have friends who are anxious to hear about my latest adventures when it has been a week or two since they have seen me. Sometimes they almost seem disappointed if I don't have a recent problem to tell them about.

After reading this newsletter over I came to the realization that I don't know what it's real point is, it almost sounds like random thoughts about my frustrations that I can't seem to find answers for. Well maybe one of you has similar issues or found something in your life to help explain these paradoxes in life. If you did I would love to hear from you. If you share some of these problems maybe it will just be nice to know you are not alone.

Hope you have a great 2008!!!

Patrick Hurley
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Author's Bio: 

17 years Lieutenant Johnson County, Iowa Sheriff's Dept, 5 years Adult Probation/Parole Officer. Diagnosed with ADHD in 1996. Moderator of Adult ADHD support group since 1997. 4 1/2 years ADHD Life Skills Coach. Co-Author "ADHD and the Criminal Justice System"