flustered woman

I just got back from the CHADD Conference in Chicago, where I presented on two topics: one for women with ADHD and one for parents with ADHD raising kids with ADHD.

I’ve now been working in the field of ADHD in one way or another for nearly 20 years. I’ve written two books. I’ve given many presentations locally and all around the country. I’ve been a guest on NPR, been interviewed for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Redbook, and more. I have a zillion websites on ADHD (my main ones are at www.ADDconsults.com and www.QueensOfDistraction.com).

So wouldn’t you think that I’d have a pretty good handle on my own ADD? If you could see the clutter on my desk from where I’m sitting right this minute, you’d probably say- what? What’s up with this? How can you tell ME how to mange clutter when yours is pretty out of control?

Well, I have a secret for you. Most of us ADD “experts” still struggle with clutter, procrastination, time management and all the rest. But there’s a difference: for the most part, we’ve moved on from hanging our heads in shame over it. We’ve learned coping methods. We’ve learned to forgive ourselves and realize…hey…we will get to the piles (or whatever) and until then, we aren’t going to call ourselves lazy, unfit or incapable. I’m telling you this because we ALL have our ADD “moments”- even those of us who have ADD and are psychotherapists, coaches, writers, etc.

Let me tell you a little story about how my ADD blew up in my face only three days ago.

When flying home from the Chicago CHADD conference to my home in the Detroit area, I had a horrific ADD experience at O’Hare Airport. Lately, I haven’t been asked to remove my coat, shoes, belt, phone, laptop, etc. while flying- I just get swept through the scanner and go on my way.

On Sunday, however, the security regime changed and I was told to take off my shoes and coat before heading into the x-ray machine thingie. That right there threw me off. But I did as I was told and once through the machine, the TSA fellow with the short black hair berated me loudly for having left my laptop in its case. I apologized profusely as he grabbed the bag and put it through the scanner again, while I rushed to grab my coat and pull on my shoes so I could get the heck out of there, red-faced and all. Yessiree!

Ms. ADD expert had her head hanging real good as others glared at me for holding up the line. I didn’t even have a wailing toddler to blame it on.

Dashing to my gate, which as usual was the very last one, ¼ mile away, I grabbed some lunch, bought the latest People Magazine with some big celebrity on the cover that I’d never seen before and found a cozy (?) spot where I could wait until it was time to board. While munching on the cardboard, I mean, turkey sandwich, I figured I’d check my email. After all, I had about 20 minutes and you know what 20 minutes is like with nothing to do. It’s hell!

I pulled out my computer cord, plugged it in, then grabbed the case and to my horror, realized it was empty. The TSA guy must have put the computer in a bin instead of back in its case! That meant one of two things: either it was stolen or…it was stolen.

I ran the ¼ mile back to security check, but as expected, they couldn’t find my MacBook Pro (that’s a code name for VERY EXPENSIVE LAPTOP). But the fellow with the wide grin and kind green eyes offered to look at the video to see if he could track what happened to it. Mr. Kind Green Eyes spotted it! And traced it to the security room that- alas- was locked up for the weekend.

Long story short, when I got home, I arranged for security to UPS the laptop to me, though it’ll be days before I know for sure if Mr. Kind Green Eyes really did solve the problem for me.

So what’s the point of the story? We ALL have our ADD moments. I SHOULD have checked my computer case to make sure my laptop was, indeed, in there. I SHOULD have removed it from the case to begin with. I SHOULD NOT have eaten a cardboard turkey sandwich before sprinting ¼ mile to find my beloved computer.

But the biggest lesson of all? ADD will always be with me. And without those crazy moments, hey…what would I have to write about?

How about you? What crazy ADD moment can you share? What happened and how did you get through it? Post your stories in the Comment section below.