Sometimes I feel I am a joke of my own devising.

October 25, 2011

Good day to you, Internet.

Today is the penultimate day of my current contract at work.  I then have nearly two weeks to make some significant progress on the PhD, undistracted (HA!), before I return to the same place (but a different department) in order to begin a new contract. In honour of my last day in this office, tomorrow I am going to make a concerted effort to arrive on time less than an hour late. I am making this promise here and now, in writing. Because, clearly, if I tell the Internet something that makes it true.

I am so fed up of having to call in to work at 9.05 and explain, in my sleep-hoarse voice that I have overslept (again), and then make a promise to be in by 9.30 even though I know that it takes at least 30mins to get ready and at least 20 minutes to actually make it from my flat to my place of employment. Add at least 15 minutes to account for ADHD, and it is clear to anyone with only a rudimentary grasp of mathematics, that it will be AT LEAST 10am before I make it to work, overheated, overstressed, and dangerously under-caffeinated. Why do I do this??! Why is being late for work once not enough? Why engineer the situation so that I am compounding the original lateness, by further tardiness so that I have to feel humiliated by my own inadequacies not just once but twice?

The thing is, they’re kind of used to it here. It’s not that the chronic lateness goes unnoticed but it’s tolerated. It helps that I seem to have accidentally cultivated this image of myself as a sort of lovable scatter-brain.  I think it might be an ADHD survival strategy that enables one to get through life being a bit crap but without incurring the same penalties as other people might. I think I’ve inherited it from my father who is anything but lazy but whose working days were a scramble of missed meetings, forgotten deadlines, and lost paperwork. Strangely, he was always well-liked despite these short-comings, and I am fairly sure that he retained the affection of his colleagues by the same means as I do now: 1) Apologise profusely, even when things aren’t your fault. 2) Be more cross at yourself than your colleague is – this results in their irritation metamorphosing into sympathy before your very eyes. 3)  Seem a little bit helpless. Instead of wanting to kick you in the face, they want to help you.  4) Cultivate an attitude of self-deprecation which encourages others to laugh affectionately at your difficulties and roll their eyes with a smile instead of a final written warning.

As I write the above, I realise that this sounds very manipulative and a little exploitative, as though I purposely deploy these tactics of defence. This is absolutely not the case. It is a defence mechanism in the same way that a squid releases ink in response to attack. It’s the ADHD equivalent. In the face of attack by completely normal, everyday challenges, it’s me rolling myself up into a little ball with my arms wrapped protectively over my head, shrieking ‘I’m not very good at this, it shouldn’t be this difficult, but rather than you take my shortcomings too seriously, I’d rather you just took me less seriously. I am therefore prepared to relinquish some of my pride and dignity in return for your forgiveness and tolerance’.  I don’t want to be seen like this. I would quite like to feel that people took me seriously. I would quite like to feel that people looked at me and thought, ‘there goes a capable twenty-something woman who is going places’ rather than ‘ Awww, how typical – Rose has fucked up again, bless her. How *does* she make it through each day without close supervision?’  Sometimes I feel like I am a joke of my own devising.

But when I move departments, I would really like to try to minimize the extent to which my crapness is immediately obvious to my colleagues. I want to start a clean sheet, a new leaf, and other paper-related metaphors for a fresh start. And this brings me to the thing that I was actually going to blog about today but which might need to wait until tomorrow now because I am running out of working hours in which to do some actual, y’know, work etc: Namely, I have decided that coming off the Ritalin was probs the worst decision I never actually made (I lost my repeat prescription and was too embarrassed to admit to it.  And as an(other) aside, by the way, the staff at the GP surgery are definitely not as susceptible to the whole lovable scatterbrain thing as my employers seemingly are). So that whole post is now going to have to wait until tomorrow. Tomorrow, when hopefully I will be able to report that my punctuality has (at least temporarily) improved.

Until then, Internet, I bid thee farewell.





3 Responses to “Sometimes I feel I am a joke of my own devising.”

  1. jeg700 said

    I agree 100% with your comment about how we portray ourselves as a defence mechanism:) Been there, did that and sometimes I still do. As for being late all the time, I have devised a complex “fool myself” technique to prevent being late to work. Even though I am always early and have time to kill when I get there, at least I’m no longer late and I don’t have to use the “joke of my own making” anymore at work. My plan, that has taken YEARS to implement, is convoluted at best, but it works for me and that’s what counts:
    a) determine the amount of traveling time to get to workplace (i.e. 1 hour)
    b) determine the amount of time it takes to get ready for work including how long it takes to do EACH and every item of preparation (i.e. 1.5 hours) THIS can be shortened by doing a lot of the prep the night before! mine has been whittled down to .5 hours!
    c) add these 2 amounts of time together, then double it. (i.e. 2.5 X 2 = 4.5)
    d) set the alarm (or whatever you use to wake up in the morning) for 4.5 hours before you need to get to work. (i.e. work start time 9AM = alarm set for 5 AM)
    e) because of the major cut into my sleep time, I have managed to do all I need to do and get to work on time every day by preparing a ton of stuff the night before, so that I only have to set my alarm 3 hours before, at 6 AM. Why double c)? Because I’m ADD and morning means I will go round and round in circles doing heavens knows what til my meds kick in LOL
    You should have seen me in my early twenties trying to get to work on time, 3 alarm clocks, 2 in different rooms, an uncle that called me every morning and let the phone ring for as long as it took til I answered (he had time to get ready for work while he waited) and a live in boyfriend that would literally pick me up and put me in the shower, turn on the water and wait to make sure I didn’t drown LOL, (as for my private life, forget it, my friends are my friends and take me as I am, always late or sometimes not there at all cause I forgot! They love me anyway:))
    Keep trying, eventually you’ll find a way that works for you!

  2. Wow. That is impressive. I think you might be on to something here but I would need to go to bed at about 6pm in order to stand a chance of getting up at 5am and I just can’t put myself to bed at night. Still, I’m glad to know that others relate to this feeling that ADHD somehow causes us to make a joke out of shortcomings that can actually be very distressing. No wonder ADHD often goes hand-in-hand with low self-esteem.

    • jeg700 said

      I go to bed at 11 or 12 PM and, of course, sometimes sleep is elusive but I don’ t change what I do. At this phase in my life I wake up anytime between 5AM-7AM no matter how much sleep I get! All in all, when I do have a sleepless night and still get up early I am assured a deep, comatose sleep eventually:) Joking about ourselves is indeed familiar to most of us ADDers and humour is our best defence. I must admit, I love my sense of humour; it has gotten me through some very tough times with some very inappropriate humour however, as a friend once told me, outrageous is always popular:) There are worse things to be known for I guess LOL
      But, no worries, you are not alone. And don’t worry, you are still unique even if there are 1000’s of people out there with ADD suffering through the same issues. My self esteem is not low, as you can probably tell:) It might even be a tad “too high” LMAO

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: