The sense of shame that accompanies ADHD is the worst part of having it, in my opinion. Here is the latest example.
Renee wants to visit her family in Wichita next weekend for her niece’s 1st birthday. We don’t have much money, having just gotten back from the beach. So, I go on Priceline and “Name My own Price” for a $400 ticket with Delta, which is 30% cheaper than I can find anywhere else.
But because of my ADHD, my mind goes somewhere else and I have a ‘moment’ and accidentally type her maiden name in the form, and not her married name. None of her ID has her maiden name on it. Because we have been married for five years.
So I call Delta. They tell me I have to call Priceline. A nice man at Priceline named Joe (probably not his real name, because Joe has an outrageous accent, but who knows) tells me this is no problem. We just have to cancel the reservation, they will refund our money and I can bid again.
Oh, and there is a $40 fee for their doing this for me.
Oh, and the money won’t show up in my account until tomorrow – or maybe Thursday. You know, at the latest. The money I needed to buy the ticket. That money.
So, because of my pisspoor attention span, I am out $40, best case, and worst case, it is two days before I can try this again, and God only knows how much it will cost then.
No matter how often you repeat to yourself, “It was an honest mistake, it could have happened to anyone”, you never believe it.
If this were an isolated incident, I would shrug it off. But it isn’t. Stuff like this happens to us with ADHD all the time. Most of the time it only affects me. But when it affects others, the sense of shame is palpable.
Like last spring, I was scheduled to speak at a conference. I was to speak 4 times, and it was a three day conference – Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Because I have preaching responsibilities at our chapel service, I made sure I was not scheduled to speak on Sunday, so I could leave the conference Saturday night to get back in time.
By “made sure”, I meant I made sure. I checked the agenda. I specified in my agreement that I was not to speak on Sunday. I verified it by phone weeks in advance.
And, you guessed it, when I got there, I was scheduled to speak on Sunday morning. But rather than assuming they screwed up, I assumed I screwed up. I called someone in to cover me on Sunday and was embarrassed about going to the organizers because what if it actually was my fault? What if I only thought I had verified it? (When you have ADHD, sometimes thinking about a thing feels like you did the thing.)
Turns out, it was their mistake, and I finally mentioned it to them, and they were profusely sorry, and canceled my Sunday talk and payed me anyway for the whole event. But none of that matters, because of shame. You tell yourself that this is your fault – because your whole damn life, things like screwed up schedules have been your fault.
So, we struggle on. We struggle on.