These are the words from Ecclesiastes chapter 3, … and are my favourite verses in the Christian holy bible. Since 11 years of age this ancient poem containing such simple, inherent wisdom, has struck a cord with me, never did I just quite understand why.
A Time for Everything
3 There is a time for everything,
. and a season for every activity under the heavens:
2. a time to be born and a time to die,
. a time to plant and a time to uproot,
3. a time to kill and a time to heal,
. a time to tear down and a time to build,
4. a time to weep and a time to laugh,
. a time to mourn and a time to dance,
5. a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
. a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
6. a time to search and a time to give up,
. a time to keep and a time to throw away,
7. a time to tear and a time to mend,
. a time to be silent and a time to speak,
8. a time to love and a time to hate,
. a time for war and a time for peace
(Ok beautiful ancient poem huh ? Except I’m not here to give a religious sermon, just to comment about a human topic that spans thousands of years, from the perspective of those of us born with ADHD.)
This ancient writer of ecclesiastes 3. tells us about his experience of the true nature of time. A Time for everything. Adequate.
I want to tell you about mine.
It’s untrue. It’s inadequate. And there’s never enough time for anything.
So ok, you’re with me on this one- time is a great, mysterious precious thing for all of us .
But here you lose me .. for I guarantee you’ll never see it my way unless you’re a part of the alphabet tribe itself –
TIME, is my absolute, -absolute nemesis.
Now, you might say “everyone has an issue with time”, “you’re being a drama queen”, or worse, “it’s just your disorganised personality”-and fair enough, but can I tell you this?
..until you’ve had medication that’s “opened your eyes” to a different reality of time, you can have no way of believing that it’s possible to be at total odds with the sun and moon itself. Totally out of time because of a wacko different rhythm and tick- tocking of your brain function.
Only then can you ever understand how deceitful and annoying this old clock master time can be.
When I began taking dexamphetamine I would look at the time in disbelief , “how can that be possible?” I’d exclaim to myself , it’s only 1, 2, or 3oclock and I’m finished! Or, “oh! I’ve got LOADS of time” – “I can do something else. Now!”
Just one little proof (and I have more ..will save for another post) that for most of my life , -space and time itself, had been seemingly against me.
The nature of time as you know it, annoying in its fragility, is the opposite to how I’ve known it, time has been a monstrous antagonist. A ravenous dinosaur stamping out so much of my potential productivity and nearly all of my credibility as a reliable person.
While I was growing up , the jangle of my father’s keys were like a siren to me. Jangle-jangle – bling bling- clang clang – I don’t even have words to describe the sound! Worse than a screeching fire truck or ambulance siren, because they were right outside my bedroom door.
Ten minutes or so before it was time to leave for church my Father would pace up and down the carpeted hallway of our sound brick and tile house, making a sound that would make me want to scream in absolute agitation.
“STOP IT” !!!!! —-Of course I couldn’t, or wouldn’t scream this out , I knew I was running late or strangely I knew I needed it! This signal.
I knew the only reason I was going to be out the door on time was if I listened to the cue of those keys and hurried along my business of getting my clips into my up hairdo.
The irony of this story is that at least one hundred times since I have left home , I have longed to hear the jangle of those keys.
A never failing signal to me that I had exactly ten minutes, or, if it wasn’t ten minutes, my Father would announce this. And boy! the tone in his voice sounded so anxious and so very stressed that it would tear at my heart. Sometimes it would even make my fingers start shaking.
Thing is, it got me moving and during adulthood oh! How I have missed this signalling … this call to me from the hallway.
Russell Barkley speaks about making people with ADHD “more” accountable, rather than allowing us the privilege of lateness or mistakes, to bring in closer consequences and reminders , and motivations , and signposts and signals to inspire us, drive us to perform more adequately. I agree with this!
My Dad was unwittingly assisting both himself and myself to be accountable and timely, to arrive to church on time and in the right frame of mind. He was putting a handle on time, devising a signal of jangling keys , setting an uncomfortable consequence of louder , more sterner voice tones of stress and exasperation as the minutes ticked over to deadline. And he was absolute genius.
I’ve missed this all my adult life. Although trust me I still shudder when anyone merely makes any jingling sound around me when I’m getting ready . Only my DAD will ever get away with jangling keys at me and telling me to hurry the fudge up. Anyone else and I’ll shoot you.
You see , I’m an adult now. And I know I should be capable of prioritising moves and actions across the course of time. I should be able to gauge how long it will take me to get ready or prepared to be at a certain place by 1, 2, 3 or whatever the dreaded appointment time will be. I say dreaded because any ballpark in time is a stress out for me.
My experience with time seems to be “there’s only ever a time to stress out.” Time moves too quickly throughout the course of any given day , I look at the clock and think, “that can’t be true” , … most of the time I fear looking at the clock. I resort to clockwork routine-like tasks and ringers in the course of work so as to get a handle on it , anywhere outside of ordinary where I have to be ordinary ie accountable to time, I’m floundering.
It’s severely affected my attempts at dating, and it’s confused the heck out of my friends. I say “I’m leaving” and 1 hours later I’m still there or here. Thankfully only my (non-committal) ex boyfriend is intolerable towards this, he shows no mercy to my ADHD “personality” of not doing what I say” , interesting when it comes to the big stuff my word is gold. Solid.
But moving on. One of the most demoralising things for me as an adult sufferer of ADHD has been the inability to be true to my word re time. I’ve tried all sorts of methods.
A very dear friend of mine is an ultra organised wee thang. She’s always 15 mins early. How I love her for that! Well you can imagine the circus .. she arrives 15 mins early and I arrive 15 mins late and all at once you see the conundrum.
I would ask her how she managed ?, why, she’d say, “it’s easy” …”set the clock 15 minutes ahead of time. ”
“Right” I’d mutter.
“But, that doesn’t work!” , “because I know it’s 15 minutes too fast so I feel like I’ve got more time”
“Hmm”. She’d mumble, thinking about that one. Thinking no doubt I was my own worst enemy. A lost cause! But she loves and tolerates me anyway ! Thank you Del. (Love you).
We’ve stopped meeting for those weekly walks of ours where she would sometimes wait for me, for 30 minutes in her car. I’d like to start them up again with dexamphetamine.
The beloved little white pills that seem to slow down time for me. Curious isnt it that something so little can effect something so huge.
So, time to stop rattling and wrap this post up. I want to reiterate this point and say that time for the alphabet tribe is our uttermost adversary . Sad because we live in an encasing fabric of space and time . Time is our space to live in, time is our world. And so in our world time just doesn’t ring or jangle true for us.
For your little children that have ADHD, help them ease into this harsh world with parent given gifts of behaviour modification strategies, post-it notes, and loving, ever patient reminders. The job you do as a parent having ADHD to your child with ADHD is award worthy on every tiny little effort you make. And, think of it this way, .., when they’re gone, you’ll miss them more than most, they helped you be more organised without knowing it. And, they’ll miss you more than most, because you helped show them what they need in life to function at their best. . This may help you endure.
I surely miss the others in my life that helped me reign in a truer experience of time. My Dad, my Son. Of course I have my meds. And for their help and magical ability to slow down the clock. I am most thankful.
Thanks for taking the time to read me. Always make time to love. Love, me. ❤️You.