Dear Perfect Person,
I feel the need to write and explain myself because I think you may have gotten the wrong idea about me.
When you walked into my house today, you saw a disaster zone – stuff scattered all over, finger-printed walls and dust proliferating in the far corners of the floor. You saw counters littered with homeless debris, old dishes and clothing displaced like refugees from their rightful homes.
You didn’t see how many times I cleaned up this week, only to have my work undone by some other disruptive demand.
I know this shocks you, Perfect Person, because I’ve been to your home and seen with my own eyes just how perfect your home is. Everything in its place, including the dust – which lives not on your house but in your garden – where it should be.
When I interrupted you today (each time), I sensed your disgust at my utter lack of manners. You don’t interrupt, Perfect Person, but I am sorry that I can’t contain myself as well as you do. I just get excited when our conversation inspires new ideas in me.
You don’t know how many times I wanted to interrupt you, but held myself back – even though what I had to say was really good. How is it that you are always so stoic and controlled in your conversation? Where’s your enthusiasm?
And another thing – when you asked me if I’d gotten around to doing that thing you asked, your disappointment was palpable. I know it was very important to you. I really do want to be someone you can rely on.
But everyone in my life has something to ask of me – something that is very important to them. I don’t want to disappoint any of them, so what should I do, Perfect Person? I say “yes” to everyone. I’ve tried to say no, but I can see the distrust in their eyes when I do. I see it in your eyes, Perfect Person. When I admit the things I haven’t done, you don’t see the things I have.
When I’m late, I can tell how annoyed you are, Perfect Person. I don’t know how you manage to get everywhere on time, looking perfect and having it all-together. How can you possibly manage it EVERY TIME, hey Perfect Person? Maybe you don’t have enough to do, maybe you should be busier, maybe you should quit being so damn punctual, PERFECT PERSON!
By the way, back to the whole conversation thing… I know it annoys you when I go off on a tangent about something. I see your eyes glaze over. If you stayed tuned for just for a minute longer, you’d see the association I am trying to draw out is not only completely relevant, but also – very, very interesting!
Can I ask you something, Perfect Person?
How come you always blame me for not listening when you’re talking trite small- talk? I may waffle a bit, but why should I listen to your boring stories when you don’t listen to my long-winded ones?
And one last thing…
Yes, Perfect Person, I am scattered. I am disorganized, and waffly and forgetful and dithery. I am restless, and irritable, and sometimes – a bit emotionally unstable. I’ll admit to all these things.
Why is it that these things are so easy to point out in me, just because someone diagnosed me with ADD? If I take you to a psychiatrist, and he diagnoses your insensitive, arrogant, puritanical, anal, holier-than-thou finger-pointing as “Hypocriticalitis”…
Can I take YOU to task on all those things, the way you repeatedly blame me for my symptoms?
Good. I’m glad we talked and got this all figured out, Perfect Person. I certainly feel a lot better. Thank you for “listening”.
Now get out of my head, so I can start imagining what all the other people in my life are thinking about me too.
Sensitive About ADD
Nine times out of ten, the critic who scorns you most for being scattered is you. That’s who this letter is really for, just to be clear. “Perfect Person” is just a figment of your imagination, just as anyone who pretends to be perfect is a figment of their own imagination.
Stop imagining what other people think about you and your ADHD, and get working on what you think about it.
How many times in day do you notice all the things you didn’t get done, instead of the things you did finish?
When you look at your home or your office – how often do you notice the clutter but fail to acknowledge all the other things you do on a regular basis just to maintain it?
If your ADD flares during a conversation with a friend or a new acquaintance, how much of your “post-mortem” focuses on repetitively replaying the silly things you said, rather than the meaningful and successful parts of the encounter?
How frequently do you focus on what sucks about you, but COMPLETELY IGNORE WHAT IS AWESOME!?
You gotta wake up, friend. The only person you can never get away from is you.
So if you want more from yourself, you’d better start with being a little bit kinder.
Please share this with anyone who needs a wake-up-call to their awesomeness.
And have an awesome day.