One Thousand Squirrels When You Just Need One.

Ok, time to take a step back. A moment if you will to explain a little about the blog and perhaps to give some insight into the thinking behind it. As a result, I’m going to talk about squirrels for a moment. Actually, scratch that, I’m going to talk about squirrels quite a lot.

You have been warned.

I have a major problem with squirrels. I am not of course talking about the actual furry, eat nuts, have a big tail, climb up trees and occasionally do cute things on youtube type thing. Mine are more metaphorical.

To explain, I have a couple of good friends. I love both of these guys. We’ve known each other for ages, and as such, a number of running jokes have sprung up about each other over the years. Now, I have a tendency to go off on a tangent sometimes – actually a LOT of times – sometimes in the middle of a discussion, something ‘shiny’ or distracting will catch my eye and WHOOSH – I’m off. Sometimes these shiny things are little flashes of oddness that just pop into my head without warning. Occasionally this can be down to some obtuse, long-reaching connection I’ve made to the subject matter. Other times it can be just because I’m bored with whatever route the conversation is taking and I’ve been holding on to what wanted to talk about for a good 3 minutes, so dammit, I want to talk! There are other occasions where I will drift off in my mind to think about something – even though the conversation is going on and I had been heavily involved. When this happens, I usually end up staring into space and one of the guys has to bring me back to reality.

This type of behaviour has been going on for years. I do it with pretty much everyone I know, My wife, family, people I’ve worked with and of course the previously mentioned ‘dynamic duo’.

I’m assuming you’ve seen the Pixar movie ‘Up’? Just in case you haven’t, there is a character in the movie who happens to be a ‘talking’ dog called Dug. Dug is able to speak due to a translator built into his collar. Of course, Dug is still a dog. This makes him a loveable character, noble, friendly, enthusiastic. But also REALLY easily distracted. Usually by squirrels. Indeed he says the word ‘squirrel’ – usually with a lot of enthusiasm – fairly often throughout the movie when he spots one, often whilst he’s in the middle of saying something else. It is, in fact a running joke.

Can you see where I’m going with this?

To spell it out, I get the ‘squirrel!’ joke thrown at me quite a lot. And I mean A LOT. It’s been going on for a few years, and to be honest? I don’t really mind it that much. I love my friends, and I tear them up over their quirks and foibles just as much, so it was entirely fair.

Then I had my ‘I’m fairly sure that I’ve got ADD/ADHD’ moment. Suddenly the squirrel thing became a lot more serious. My ‘squirrels’ suddenly made a lot more sense for one thing. Getting distracted by random crap is one of the conditions major symptoms. As is not paying attention. As is drifting off in the middle of conversations. As is daydreaming when you’re not one hundred percent engaged in something (regardless of what you may be doing at the time). As is being inanely focused on something to the point of excluding all else one minute – and then being utterly bored and disengaged with the exact same thing the next.

And I have a MANY squirrels that I get distracted by. If each random thought or distraction or bright idea or negative thought is a ‘squirrel’ and the average ‘normal’ person has – I don’t know, say – 10 maybe? Then it’s fair to say that I and (as a broad generalisation that I will no doubt get shot down for so will apologise in advance – and breathe!) other ADD/ADHD folks have considerably more. Put it this way, if my squirrels were ACTUAL squirrels, then I’ve got enough up here to keep Bear Grylls – and probably his family too – well fed, three square meals a day style for the rest of their days. Incidentally, that’d be a whole lot of furry underwear wouldn’t it?

Now it goes without saying that squirrels can be fun, they look all cute and stuff. They eat nuts, climb trees and do really funny things on an assault course that people have built in their back garden. And having a few running round isn’t bad. But now lets talk about dealing with  a hundred. Or maybe more. Or how about just a couple when you’re trying to do something really important and you’ve got two climbing all over you looking all interesting and funny and stuff. Now imagine that you are dealing with a mental horde of sciuridae (look it up, I had to) at any given time. It might just get to the stage where you shout ‘AAAAAAARGH SQUIRRELS!!!!!’, have a bit of a freak-out and then just freeze up entirely. Or have a bit of a squirrel related meltdown. Or (and this is the last one I promise) you have one squirrel that is really important, you need to spend some time with it, but the rest of them are a vindictive bunch so they’ll do everything they can to try and take you away from the one squirrel that you really should be focusing on. And the more you try to focus, the harder it is to shut the furry S.O.B’s up.

In a nutshell (I hate myself for using that one) this is my ADD life. I have so much going on in terms of thought processes, so many things I’d like to try and concentrate on, but can’t due to the noise of distraction. I’ve got unfinished projects lying around everywhere. And that’s not even including those that I’ve daydream about every day, but can’t/won’t/daren’t start because I don’t have the faith in myself to manage the ‘squirrel mafia’. To the point, where days go by without me actually doing anything. That’s without going into the basic stuff that I should/must do – eating and sleeping being a couple of examples – that I get distracted from far too readily.

Now I know I’m not the only one dealing with a rodent infestation. You might know someone who else who is. If so, have a read and a bit of a think about what I’ve said. Sometimes one of the hardest things about having ADD is trying to explain it to someone else who doesn’t. I know I’m using a hackneyed metaphor to get the point across, but if this helps to understand or be understood a little better, then I’ll be glad to have helped.

I said I’d try and write every day, and this is my second day. So thus far? I’m keeping up the commitment. Let’s see what happens tomorrow.

As always, thank you for reading, and please free to comment.

J

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