The Attention Magician

Something you recently saw or heard just disappeared from the radar. You know what I mean? Sometimes your memory, vision, or hearing seem to fail you. It doesn’t happen all the time, but often enough to create problems in your daily life. Such events are common among adults with ADHD. These episodes are like magic tricks…now you see it, now you don’t! It makes no sense to people who don’t have a brain that is wired like yours. You lack credibility when you try to explain it. 

You heard the dishwasher stop thirty minutes ago, and you know there are clean dishes that you should put away. You will do it later, of course, because you are in the middle of something. You are always in the middle of something, right? The next day, you open the cabinet and see that there are no clean dishes there. So, you take just one clean dish from the dishwasher for your 15-minute meal. You don’t have time to unload the dishwasher right now. You are always in a hurry, right? By the next day there is a tower of unwashed dishes in the sink because the damn dishwasher is still full of clean dishes!

You got the vacuum cleaner from the closet and started vacuuming the bedroom. The phone interrupted you, and you had a nice, long conversation with your sister. While on the phone, you noticed that the litter box needed to be scooped. After hanging up, you scooped litter and then watered the drooping houseplants. And there were clean dishes in the dishwasher that needed to be put away…remember the dishes? All this time you have been in and out of the bedroom, not noticing the vacuum cleaner. It was there each time you entered the bedroom, but your vision seemed to have acclimated to its presence, and you sort of didn’t see it. Like a magic trick, it became invisible to you. Try explaining that to your spouse!

Your wife insisted that she told you her brother would be passing through and staying overnight on Friday. You agreed to go out to dinner, she said. You even answered yes when she asked if 7 pm would work. But you couldn’t have had that conversation, because you were planning to watch a game on television. You are certain that she never told you. That is something you would have remembered, especially on a game night. She was just taking advantage of your fragile memory. She wants you to feel weak and inferior, right? Of course! She makes up these stories and believes them, and there are no witnesses to prove her wrong. You begin to question her memory. She forgot to tell you that her brother was coming. She forgot because you are just not that important, right? I didn’t think so.

The attention magician might recede if you could stop sprinting and “jog” at a more deliberate pace, start getting regular sleep, exercise routinely, eat healthy foods on a schedule, meditate every morning, and take your medicine or supplements at the same time every morning. You vow to yourself that some day soon, maybe next week, you will start doing those things. But you are too busy right now, and you don’t have time. Time is what other people have. You will begin once there is less stress in your life, right? Other people are just lucky that they don’t have the stressful life you have. 

So…what if that is true? If your life is so stressful, and you don’t have any time, which of these mental hygiene routines should you sacrifice?


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