I went to interview a psychiatrist about mental health and ended up doing an ADHD test myself. ADHD which stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a condition that makes it difficult for a person to pay attention and control impulsive behaviours.
I scored highly on the test. This didn’t surprise me much because in school (and curiously in adulthood), I could never focus. I was easily distracted, very impatient, had a short attention span and I was always restless. My handwriting was and still is like a doctor’s. I frequently misplaced my rulers, rubbers and mathematical sets. I avoided and detested group activities. I had trouble following instructions—and don’t even get me started on my organisation skills.
I asked the doctor what that meant for people like me out there who are in relationships. And he said, “Oh, they will face challenges.” I asked, “Even Libras?” he said, “Even Libras.”
Are you ADHD like me? Or maybe, you don’t know yet? Let us do a simple test to see if you belong to my “tribe.” Do you have trouble paying attention to what your partner is saying? You often zone out or think “Why is this story taking so long to end?” Do you fail to understand why a simple question like, “How was your day?” has to have an answer that seems to run until midnight? If you find yourself zoning in and out of her conversations, thinking about other mundane things like why one of your shoelaces is shorter than the other one, then that’s a sign.
Do you also find yourself agreeing to something you don’t remember later? Things like attending a wedding — hopefully not yours.
Amnesia is the worst trait of being ADHD. There is so much to remember in life, isn’t there? I often forget where I placed my car keys. The only thing I haven’t misplaced, miraculously, are my children. I have a whole folder where I have saved all my passwords — for my mail, Apple ID, my website, my subscriptions and social media accounts log-ins — because I have no more space left in my head. You know, after I spent all my memory cramming the periodic table in high school!
Do you, just like me, forget birthdays often? It’s frustrating. I will know the month but I will forget the date. I have come to rely on the power of the phone calendar. You know your partner will not forgive if you have ADHD and you forget her birthday.
Are you the kind of person whose partner is always complaining about you leaving your stuff all over the place? Your pants are left on the floor, used towels are strewn on the bed and someone has to always clean after you. I have this bad habit where I leave the fridge door open. I just pick the yoghurt I needed and walk away, because perhaps Casper the friendly ghost will shut it for me.
Have you been asked; ‘What sort of man can’t fix a broken iron-box?’ I have. Oh, and she also wonders why I can’t figure out what’s wrong with the TV. To women, a man comes with an inbuilt manual to fix things around the house. How untrue.
Fixing things bore’s me stiff. I don’t own a toolbox. I have no desire to own one. I pay extra for car rescue services to avoid bending over my open bonnet should my car suddenly stall. Changing a flat tyre is not something I take on with vigour. Let’s someone without ADHD come fix it. What’s their use anyway?
So if you have felt less of a man because you don’t have the patience to fix broken things around the house then you are probably in my camp.
They say people with ADHDs do not have money-sense. That’s not me though. I never fight over money, unless the issue is that I am not making enough. Ha-ha. Apparently, my camp people, are always blowing money on things their partners don’t approve of. They also can’t spell the word Budget.
Are you terrible at planning a trip? You just have poor organisation skills. Are you always the one who has to be booked for a trip and reminded that you need to pack a warm jacket because you didn’t bother to check the weather on the other end? You are the guy who likes to know that someone checked in for you. You hate queuing. You hate waiting. You also hate when someone doesn’t get to the point. Are you that guy?
Do you sometimes utter words without thinking? Utterances that can cause hurt? I suffer from that often. But because I’m older and wiser I try to mask it with humour. An ADHD person is the last person you want to ask about your weight. Normal dudes know that your truth in such circumstances is not needed and that what is being asked of you is your support. We ADHD people, feed you the raw truth! We end up having a fight, and we wonder what we said that was so wrong.
Lastly, we long to be accepted. Our strongest desires is to be loved. We don’t want to be shouted at. Because deep down we are human and sensitive.