Remember this one? – Driven to Distraction

While there are thousands of books about ADD and ADHD, let me be clear: Driven to Distraction by Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. and John J. Ratey, M.D. is THE definitive book.

It came out in 1994, at just about the time I was finding out about my son’s neurological disorders; including ADHD. He wasn’t breathing when he was born and was actually far more disabled than anyone knew. He’s now in his 30’s and has gone through more than any kid I know… from incorrect medical diagnoses to suicide attempts. He was so misunderstood, mislabeled and misguided, though not purposely or with malice, in most cases.

I was working at a community college, in the DSPS office (Disabled Students Programs & Services) … of all places, right?… and boy-oh-boy, did it turn out to be a God-send! By the time I left the job (in 2000) I would find out more about him and myself than I ever thought possible, along with my own diagnosis of ADD.

Note to self: Sometimes, things happen for reasons that only years afterward you can see clearly and appreciate.  

When Hallowell was touring with his book in the late 1990s, a group of us from the college signed up for tickets.

I remember getting up super-early and meeting my closest work bud (and great friend outside the office) while it was still dark. We knocked on the door of our Director, who answered half-ready. We had to wait outside. Ha! I bet she never gave that another thought… and here I am, twenty years later… remembering. Haha! And then we were off!

The seminar was held in a hotel in Hollywood. The morning session was wonderful. Then we broke for lunch. We walked to the House of Blues (or was the Hard Rock Cafe? That, I don’t remember. Ha!) and enjoyed lunch with the group. Then it was back to the hotel.

About an hour into the second half of the day, my friend and I were about to pass out. Early wakeup, excellent morning, great lunch = nap time. We looked at each other and nodded our agreement that we needed to meet in the lobby and make a new plan for the remainder of the day.

We’d noticed a palm reader on the way to the restaurant, across the street. She was in a kiosk-thingy before there were kiosk-thingies. We walked over and asked how much… and were told it was something like $25. I don’t remember exactly. She went in first and came out with the strangest look on her face. She said, “Sheryl, this is serious. She knows what she’s doing!”

I went in. It didn’t smell like incense like I expected. She wasn’t wearing chiffon scarves, nor did she have a crystal ball. She was just a woman in a hut on Hollywood Blvd or whatever street it was. I sat down, she took my hand. Then she said three things.

One of my children was suffering.

An elderly woman in my life was healing from a fall and in pain.

My job situation would be resolved in my favor.

My son was suffering… and my grandmother had recently fallen and broken her shoulder… and I was waiting to hear if my contract at the college would be renewed. I was gob-smacked. Or gullible. Or naive. Or maybe it was wishful thinking. Or maybe she was right.

But I digress. Which I do a lot, as you know, and is one of the biggest indicators of ADD. Hallowell didn’t say it. I am.

Also, I am not one of those people who listen to music while I study or have a tv on in the background or listens to loud music in my car. I get super-distracted.

Also, I go off topic a lot. I wander. Sometimes aimlessly. I get bored. I keep going and going until I can’t anymore. And my insides often feel like a whirling dervish. For all that movement, why, oh why couldn’t I be a skinny kind of hyperactive person?

What’s the point… or better yet… the moral… of my palm reading story? Heck if I know. I just wanted to share it as it came to my mind.

Now, where was I?

This book just happens to be the one and only book you’ll ever need on the subject, unless you just-plain like to read books about ADD/ADHD. I’ve had a bunch over the years. About six years ago, I passed quite a few along as I didn’t need them for raising my son anymore… I thought someone else could get some better use of them. But this one? This one I kept. It’s that important! It really is!


*Originally written for this blog by me on April 10, 2018 – link HERE

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