The Simple Things Are Usually the Hardest


I have never been diagnosed with ADD, but sometimes I wonder if I would benefit from the medication. But maybe that is just the hypochondriac in me talking. My last doctor insisted that it would wreak havoc on my bipolar symptoms to be placed on such a substance, but she didn’t offer any other helpful alternatives for improving my concentration.  

I can’t focus. I can’t organize anything without becoming extremely overwhelmed and brought to tears. I can’t follow conversations because my mind wanders.  And I can’t read my email.  

Yeah, it’s pretty odd, but I can read a few pages of a book (on a good day, at least) but God forbid I try to read an email from someone that is longer than two sentences.  It takes even longer to articulate my words to respond.  That’s me, a freelance writer, admitting that I can write articles, short stories, even books, but I cannot sit still and focus long enough to reply to a simple email.  

Maybe it’s not an ADD issue as much as it is that I have some hangup about email.  And thinking about this reminds me of my younger years, back in the days of snail mail, where it also took me forever to pen a letter, especially if that letter was a thank-you note!  Oh my goodness, how hard it is to say “thank you for that mint green sweater you sent for Christmas” in a creative, sincere way.  The horror of it all! I didn’t even write thank-you notes after my wedding shower.  I was 19 at the time and I guess I figured people would understand what a hardship it was for me to write out about 75 cards of gratitude.  It was so much harder than their effort to pick a gift for my husband and I, to purchase it, to wrap it and bring it or mail it to me.  Well, that’s what I thought, but apparently many of them didn’t agree with that line of reasoning.  I know because they liked discussing it with my mother, and she liked reminding me what a shitty thing it was of me to have done.  I learned my lesson and made sure to send out thank you notes after my baby shower, which was not quite as difficult because at least I could add in cute little tidbits about the baby.  

I think there’s just something about writing personally to one person that makes me feel inadequate.  I can’t generalize; I have to be specific in my response, or at least I think I do.  So then I start questioning whether I should add this or that.  And even reading their initial email or letter is stressful because I feel like there is something demanded of me: a response, a laugh, a kidney.  And of course this is crazy nonsense, and I don’t want anyone to think I don’t welcome personal greetings or questions.  But, if I take a really long time to respond, please understand why.  It’s because you matter to me and I am so afraid of getting it wrong.  And that admission alone kind of proves the problem has more to do with my OCD than ADD.  More on that later.  

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