Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Fog

Although this is an extremely personal subject, I feel compelled to open myself up and divulge a bit of my true identity. Beneath a jovial and fun-loving exterior, I am tortured by a debilitating condition I refer to as “The Fog”; although, the medical profession will call it Attention Deficit Disorder. I have been aware since my mid teens but I suspect it has been with me since birth. I’m not sure if mine is a medical condition, or just an annoyance that I have learned to live with, but it has the potential to wreak havoc on my daily life. Take the writing of this blog entry as a descriptive example. I am typing away, spilling out my thoughts, when suddenly I type the word “tortured”. I keep typing, without realizing what I am writing or where the written word is headed. My thoughts are in another world. The word “tortured” has made me think of prisoners at the Hanoi Hilton, then of the napalm that was utilized during the Vietnam War, giant explosions of super hot gas…cool, then of the movie Apocalypse Now, Robert Duvall, the movie Days of Thunder, stock cars, the death of Dale Earnhardt, then an old neighbor that drove a dark green Ford Explorer with a #3 bumper sticker, my old pal JJ Wilson who drove a green explorer, University Commons, and so on. It’s like the six thousand degrees of Eli. Before I know it, I have typed an entire paragraph about which I have no idea. I hold down the delete key and backtrack…trying to refocus. Then the process starts over again. The fog will strike at anytime, day or night. I can be in the car on my way to run an errand, say to pick up a gallon of milk at Braum’s. I will lose track of space and time then suddenly realize I have driven to Target, parked, entered the store and began shopping the electronics section before I realize I am at the wrong place. Then I think how much I want to go to Best Buy and look at a new iPod. Never mind there is a case of iPods one aisle over. Milk, what milk? You can only imagine how this condition can make for an extremely unproductive day at the office. I am thankful that I spend very little time sitting in my office and the majority of time in the field. Sticky notes and a day keeper are vital for me to remain focused throughout the day. But there are times when the fog rolls in so thick that all the 3M and Franklin Covey products in the world won’t make a bit of difference. Those are the days I feel are wasted. I have toyed with the idea of seeking some medical advice, but an earlier post will enlighten you to my issues there. I also do not want to utilize a stimulant to help fight a war I have been covertly and successfully attacking for 20 years. I realized I was not alone in my fight when I read an article several years ago by a contributing editor to Men’s Journal magazine. Ok I admit it, he is the one who renamed ADD, calling it “the fog”, but that is exactly what it is and so now I have adopted the same name. When traveling, I am most vulnerable to thought disruption and experience extremes of good and bad. One day, I am completely with it…highly motivated, productive, and in sync with the outside world…the next; I cannot complete a single thought and spend the day being 100% reactive, knowingly procrastinating to provide for a better time in which to be productive. So the moral of the story, if you are engaged in a conversation with me and I am staring blankly into your eyes, it’s not because I am intrigued by our banter. I have developed a technique for masking the inner workings of my brain during moments where I have no control of my thoughts. I stare because I care. And please don’t be surprised to hear me ask you to repeat most of what you just said. Maybe I should have a signal to communicate whether I am in, or whether I have stepped away from my mind for a few minutes. That would save us both some time. So, here’s hoping the fog burns off quickly, clear skies are ahead, and thoughts are coherent!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Oh my gosh! Is that what it is? I just thought I was insane...maybe I have this too....I'm with you man, it's bad. This is how things like the remote end up in the fridge at my house...odd, odd, odd.