Driven to Distraction
I was browsing in a thrift store and found this nice hardcover version of Ed Hallowell's book about childhood and adult ADD. For only a quarter! I had to be in town almost all day because two of my kids had things going on there so I read it in the car. Helpful and encouraging. It had a lot of stories about different people with different forms of ADD. When the book was written, little was known about adult ADD -- so this book was rather unusual in its case studies of adults who the author diagnosed as having the problem. Diagnosis can be somewhat complex with adults because secondary issues can develop due to misunderstanding of the original condition.
Another thing the book points out is that ADD isn't always hyperactivity. There's a significant number of people. particularly females, who space out in classrooms, have trouble processing information, miss deadlines, drift, and have disorganized closets and drawers. And you can alternate abstraction with hyperfocus. Those things all describe me. Cycles are also a symptom -- firing on all cylinders at one time and then regressing for no reason at another. That is also me. I'm not inclined to seek out a diagnosis but I like reading this kind of book because the strategies suggested are helpful to me and it also makes me feel a little better about my own challenges with attention.
10-10-10 -- 10 Minutes, 10 Months, 10 Years -- A Life Transforming Idea
I picked this book up at the library. Here's an article that explains how it can help with ADD. It's a simple but apparently valuable decision-making strategy that allows you to make choices that fit your values. The book was mostly stories about the author or other people who had used the idea to make decisions in different areas of life -- work, education, family, relationship, friends, etc. The principle itself is so simple that it didn't really need much explanation. You just reflect, for the available alternatives:
- What will happen in ten minutes?
- What will happen in ten months?
- What will happen in ten years?
I think that the idea is that when you work through it this way you get some distance from the emotions of the immediate moment and figure out the alternative that is most in line with your long-term goals and visions.
Here's the author's website. She says she is a Christian and there is a chapter in the book about how the 10 10 10 strategy is in line with Christian thinking. Catholics refer to proximate, mediate and remote consequences and this is basically the same thing. She quotes St Ignatius who recommends making decisions in light of eternity.
My problem with decision-making strategies is that they usually don't help. I don't figure out that I need to make a decision until the time is past, or I forget to use the strategy and go into default. This one is so simple to remember, though, that I may actually try to use it next time I'm confronted with a fork in the road.
The basic point is that there is not necessarily a "right way" to decide these things. Rather, the process is to clarify and prioritize. One couple in the book decided they needed to exclude their troubled, drug-addicted adult son from their home for the sake of the younger children, until he cleaned up his life. Other moms used the process to decide whether to stay late on the job or be there for a child's activity, or how to balance caring for an aging parent with caring for one's marriage or family. Some people use the process with their kids to help them make life decisions.
And that's 52 books for 2011! Now I can relax. Another ADD trait is being extremely project oriented. I am glad that being a mom gives me the opportunity to develop skills and discipline in doing the daily, little, non-project type things that need doing.