November 7, 2014

Ray Augenstein

Ray Augenstein

I finally found out what is wrong with me. I have ADD. I never knew it before. You see I was raised in an era that didn’t put such a fancy tag on my behavior. In this modern age that we’re living you can get a label for anything that occurs in your life.

I remember as a child growing up with undiagnosed ADD, and the problems that it caused. I couldn’t focus on any one task to completion, but had a multitude of things going on in my mind at the same time. I was easily distracted, and often abandoned what I was doing, to go attend to something else that caught my attention, making me forget about the original task. This made it difficult for me when in school I was supposed to be working on a certain project, and I would leave it to start another that caught my attention. I easily became bored with anything that didn’t challenged my interest, and commanded me to focus on anything that did interest me for the moment.

Algebra and math was a couple of subjects that I failed in school, I just wasn’t interested in them. However after I left school, I became determined to master them instead of letting them master me, so I took courses while in service on algebra and passed them.

When as a child, my parents and teachers called me lazy, uncaring, and sloppy. It was at a school parent/teachers meeting, while I was amusing myself with some toys, that I heard the teacher telling my parents, that I was a very bright person, if only they could get me to pay attention and make me focus on what I was supposed to be doing.

Now I repeat, they didn’t have ADD or ADHD back then, the cure for inattention was discipline, or punishment, and I did receive my share of paddle board lessons applied to my posterior. The application of the paddle did not touch the area of my situation that needed correction. It did cause a kind of resentment toward those who did not understand why I was compelled to do as I did.

Now I’m in my 70’s and I finally realize what my problem has been all along. I have ADD, I finally have an excuse. I still have to force myself to concentrate on what I’m doing, and when I begin a task such as typing this column, I have to make myself stay with it until it is done, otherwise I will have left it several times to do something else, forgetting what I was doing.

When I went to college, and got my degrees I had to turn everything off and focus on the subject I was studying. Sometimes I would have to go over it several times. Because my mind would wander in the midst of the study. Now I can blame ADD. But I beat it. It did not beat me. Don’t judge someone too harshly, that older person may have undiagnosed ADD.


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