There are days when my lack of concentration is so bad that I wonder if I have Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD). The older I get, the worse I seem to get at times. I am a very organized person for the most part, but when I am having concentration issues, I will jump from one thing to another. I am like that with my thoughts as well. If my body can’t jump from one thing to the next, my mind will work overtime.
Author Edward M. Hallowell, MD describes what ADD feels like. See if this sounds like you with ME/CFS at times:
It’s like driving in the rain with bad windshield wipers. Everything is smudged and blurred and you’re speeding along, and it’s reeeeally frustrating not being able to see very well. Or, it’s like listening to a radio station with a lot of static and you have to strain to hear what’s going on. Or, it’s like trying to build a house of cards in a dust storm. You have to build a structure to protect yourself from the wind before you can even start on the cards.
In other ways it’s like being super-charged all the time. You get one idea and you have to act on it, and then, what do you know, but you’ve got another idea before you’ve finished up with the first one, and so you go for that one, but of course a third idea intercepts the second, and you just have to follow that one, and pretty soon people are calling you disorganized and impulsive and all sorts of impolite words that miss the point completely. Because you’re trying really hard. It’s just that you have all these invisible vectors pulling you this way and that which makes it really hard to stay on task.
“It’s like being super-charged all the time”. Isn’t this how a lot of us end up sick? We are on overdrive and doing the work of two or three people.
“It’s like driving in the rain with bad windshield wipers. Everything is smudged and blurred and you’re speeding along, and it’s reeeeally frustrating not being able to see very well. ” The cognitive dysfunction, when it is bad, is very bad and nothing makes sense, you can’t figure out a simple math equation like 2 +2, and remembering your own phone number or address is a difficult task.
“You get one idea and you have to act on it, and then, what do you know, but you’ve got another idea before you’ve finished up with the first one, and so you go for that one, but of course a third idea intercepts the second.” I will find that on a rare day when I have a lot of energy I will be like this. I feel so good and my mind is working so well, I get excited and go from one thing to the next – trying to get it all done before the good feeling goes away.
I also find that when someone is talking to me, I can only listen and pay attention for so long. I don’t do this on purpose because I really do want to listen fully to what someone is talking to me about. My lack of concentration, however, does not allow me to listen well to someone for more than five minutes. This can be a problem at times in my marriage because my husband is a talker – a BIG talker – and he is very detailed when he talks. Before he has finished telling me about his day, I have done tuned out and he has lost me. I try, but I just can’t focus. I have always blamed this on my ME/CFS as well because before I became ill I never had this problem.
I try to explain that I have limited concentration because after a few minutes my mind goes to something else and that when talking to me, keep it short, to the point and simple. Anyone else experience any of this? Do you find you have these issues with your ME/CFS? Leave a comment and share with us!
If you would like to purchase Dr. Hallowell’s book on ADD, click the link below!