I spent a few days this week away at a state meeting for work. It was the first major meeting that we’d had since my adhd discovery and I learned a lot about not only how the disorder affects me, I learned much about myself as well.
I had been looking forward to the meeting for a long time, but not for the actual meeting, but the social aspect of it. I knew quite a few of the staff from the different regions in the state and I hadn’t seen some people in years. These are people that have always appreciated my ‘uniqueness’ and have never judged me, and a few are my closest friends. So there were a few late nights had but what happens on tour, stays on tour (not that anything overly exciting happened anyway! lol). But the actual meeting part- that was actually freaking me out a little. The first day looked pretty boring on paper and the second looked like torture. It was a workshop on public speaking- my favouritist thing in the world… NOT! I was envisioning having to stand up, in front of the group and do impromptu speeches and all of these other nightmarish activities as well.
Day one- My team leader decided that my team should mingle with the other teams and not sit together- which was fine as I didn’t really want to sit with her. But talking with strangers- not my strong point. I found a table near the back of the room where I knew a couple of people, and there were a couple I didn’t know as well and sat down. Another one of my team members also sat with me. So much for spreading out! So the first session of the meeting- I can’t actually remember what it was. I think it was our new general manager telling us some really important. Oh hold on, I took notes… Ahh, it was our GM, but she just introduced herself and then we got cracking into what they called ‘Communication Cafes’. I must say that the cafes were the greatest things ever introduced in our organisation. An ADHDers best friend. What they were were fifteen minute sessions on particular topics such as media, learning and development, volunteering and a number of other areas prevalent to our work. Fifteen minutes only meant that the presenters, who were ultra passionate about their topic, had to condense a lot of information in so were really focused and had beaut hand outs, flip charts and other visual aids. I didn’t have time to get bored. Plus you had to get up and move between cafes so I got to get rid of my wriggles every 15 minutes. Awesome. Some much different to every other meeting I had been to in the past seven years.
But it wasn’t all rosy. We only had two or three cafes each go, and they were broken up by a sit down sessions from the GM, CEO or other National Office person. All of five minutes into the first talk and I was distracted. Tapping, squirming, bored, looking at everything around the room, thinking about lunch, avoiding lollies etc. Ironically, the complimentary writing pad on the table had a message on each page- the first page one being ‘I will try to stay focused on the speaker’. Whoops, that didn’t last long- although I was actually trying extra hard to be focused. I had brought along my tablet computer and was trying to take notes to force myself to keep focused, but it didn’t work. I couldn’t focus, no mater how hard I tried. Watching and listening to someone up the front of the room standing behind a lectern just wasn’t going to happen. It got to the point that at one stage during the CEOs talk, I forgot what she was talking about- who is this person she is talking about and why?…a few minutes pass… Oh that’s right, someone asked her who was on the board and that’s who she is talking about (not bored as I was! lol).
I couldn’t tell you much of what the important people talked about, however, I could tell you about the room we were sitting in. Like that it had three identical clocks- which I figured out was because the room could be split into three because I saw the doors to which the room divider partitions were behind, and there was a clock for each room; that there was a recessed section of the ceiling which had what looked like modern version of pressed metal panels in a bronzy- coppery colour and you could see reflections in it; where the controls for the lighting were etc. Other than checking out the room, I was also checking out the people. They say 1 in 25 people have adhd, which meant about four people in the meeting have it. Me being one, I tried to figure out who else may have it. I am positive my regional manager has adhd- he can’t sit still, fidgets, paces whilst on the phone, gambles big time on horses, is impatient (I was once stuck in a traffic jam with him- lots of swear words came out), not a details person and I’m sure there are many other traits he has. So I was trying to work out who the other two were but everyone else was looking very attentive and focused- except for someone behind me who kept clicking a pen.
So that was pretty much the way the first day went. Not as bad as anticipated but still difficult to maintain focus, sit still and all those other important things ‘normal’ people can do without thinking. Grrr.
Day Two- Public Speaking- Oh Joy!
Can you guess I don’t like speaking in public? lol. Too many things can go wrong and I could make a complete fool out of myself as has occurred in the past. I wasn’t looking forward to this day. I arrived and a very nice man greeted me at the door. I found out he was the presenter, Peter. So that was a positive start. He also went on to say that the workshop would be interactive, questions and discussions encouraged and if you needed to get up and walk around then do so. Good. Peter was very charismatic and added in humour, personal stories and plenty of time for us to ‘practice’ what we were learning in an effort to spice up the workshop, and I was actually engaged for a long while. It was through this that I discovered something about myself. Before my ADHD journey began, I never thought I was impulsive. But part way through the workshop, I realised I had been fooling myself and was very impulsive. One question that I always answered no to in adhd quizzes was the one about blurting out answers before a question was even finished being asked. No, I don’t do that. I’ve never done that. How wrong I was. Peter would ask questions and I’d give say the answer usually before he’d even finished the question. However, I must have done this for a very long time because I’d actually developed a strategy to counter the yelling out the answer and making a fool of myself aspect of this impulsive behaviour. I might have been answering the questions before they were finished but I muttered them softly, to myself, and the only person hearing my response other than me was the person sitting immediately next to me. Rather than blurting a response out a loud and embarrassing myself. Wow, it always amazes me how, even though up until nine or so months ago I thought I was normal, I have created all of these strategies to counter my adhd without even knowing why I needed to or what was the reason behind the actual behaviour causing me to require such strategies.
So that was the good news from the workshop- my new self discovery. If you want to call it good news. Bad news is I lost it after lunch- BIG TIME. Couldn’t sit still, couldn’t concentrate on anything, got the giggles, squirmed uncontrollably etc- did I say I got the giggles? I tried to stop, some jaw clenching and strong self talk didn’t work, nor did going for a walk, nothing. I knew it was happening, and I was getting frustrated because I couldn’t stop it. All I can say is thank goodness no managers were in the room as I would have probably got in to a lot of trouble.
Again I say the only reason I still have this job is because I work in an office on my own and no one comes to visit to see how chaotic my life really is. I was so happy when the workshop ended, I needed to get away from everyone and ‘compose’ myself. And I was so tired after the afternoons shenanigans, I needed to have a rest. Luckily the evening went ok, we’d decided to head into the city of dinner so lots of fresh air, walking, new sights and sounds to keep me occupied. No more craziness!