April 2007 - Volume IV - Issue IV

ADHD - The Bull in a China Shop!

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 from the http://www.addcorridorcoaching.com/book.asp

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Many people with ADHD seem to have a difficulty with being aware of spatial distances surrounding their personal space. This often results in us knocking over our drink, bumping into things hanging on walls, catching our coat in the door, missing a step or other problems that make us look clumsy. This doesn't have anything to do with our physical size. I think that we are not aware of things that are just outside our range of motion. I know a lot of people with ADHD have told me that this is not a problem they have.

Contributing to this I believe is our distractibility. We might see someone we know and focus on going to talk to them and trip over an item sitting next to the wall. We might be working on a project and turn around and our elbow knocks something off a shelf.

If we happen to be working with a broom or rake or something with a long handle almost anything is possible. We might find ourselves swinging the tool around and bumping an item, breaking a window or even striking someone nearby.

Many with ADHD have trouble with violating other peoples personal space by getting too close when they are talking or looking over someone else's shoulder and receiving a dirty look unaware that we were so close. Like the Bull in the China shop we seem to not be as sensitive as the average person to people and things that are out of our direct or peripheral vision. You can visualize the Bull with his eyes located six feet in front of his rear end and turning around in the china shop knocking and breaking other things in their wake. Again this is not necessarily because we are large people or the size of bulls.

I have a big personal problem as I rarely go through a day without spilling a drink on myself or all over the table. I have a tendency to miss steps on stairs. I will bump into things hanging on the wall, catch my coat on door handles and other daily mishaps.

Today I was preparing my lawn mower for the mowing season. I got the mower set up successfully to tip it over to drain the oil (it does not have a drain plug). I was so proud of successfully getting the oil into the oil pan and the mower back upright. I filled the oil reservoir and even though I had moved the old oil pan a way away somehow managed while moving the mower to step on the edge of the oil pan sending oil flying onto my pants and running down the driveway. It took me about 15 minutes to clean up the old black oil, get some degreasing cleaner and scrub down the driveway and hose down the driveway. There are still spots left that will require more work to clean up the mess.

The problem of creating more work for myself has always been a problem and even though I take medication, this area seems to continue to be a problem. I guess I don't feel very qualified to offer anyone who has similar problems any solutions to improve. I guess in hindsight if I would have broken down the oil changing procedure down into two separate tasks and taken care of the old oil pan before filling the mower with new oil I could have avoided all of this.

Following is a one day personal experience you might find amusing. I laugh at it now but at the time it was not funny at all.

One day last fall I was helping doing some work at the school my wife is Principal of and the following three events happened within two hours. I was closing a high window in the kitchen with a wooden pole handle with a hook that connects to the window latch. I got the window closed, pulled the hook out, caught it on the edge of the loop and when I went to push it back in poked the metal hook through the window causing glass to fall down over the food serving bins which required about an hour to clean up. Then I was moping a floor in the faculty restroom when I went to rinse the mop bucket out I didn't realize the ceiling above me was lower there than the rest of the room in front of me. I proceeded to smash the mop handle through a plastic light diffuser cover that covered the fluorescent light sending it crashing to the floor. After cleaning up that mess I was out in the hallway and was again mopping the floor near a wall. As I was pushing the mop back and forth I bumped the handle against the wall where a 18 X 20 glass covered picture was hanging. I knocked it off the wall. It came straight down the wall striking an exposed electrical outlet that stuck out from the wall. The picture hit the floor and the glass shattered all over and then I realized that it had also knocked the electrical outlet off the wall and broke the plastic outlet cover off the outlet. I went and got the head maintenance man to fix the electrical problem and told him and my wife that I was leaving before I destroyed something else. I left and went for a drive in the country for several hours beating myself up over what had happened before finally going home.

If any of you can outdo that few hours I would love to hear your story. I would appreciate any feedback you may have on this newsletter or helpful suggestions.

Talk to you next month

Patrick Hurley

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Author's Bio: 

17 years Deputy Sheriff (Lieutenant), 5 years Adult Probation/Parole Officer. 4 years ADHD Life Skills Coach, 10 years facilitator of ADHD Support Groups. Co-Author of book "ADHD and the Criminal Justice System"