ADD/ADHD CPS (Close Proximity Syndrome)



For the record, I am NOT ADD or ADHD. โ†That’s my disclaimer. ๐Ÿ˜‰

However, there is a little-known condition associated within the ADD/ADHD spectrum that I have suffered from for a number of years. Techically, it doesn’t officially exist, but I know its a real thing!

I call it the “ADD/ADHD CPS” (Close Proximity Syndrome) – which is what many people who live with people who have ADD/ADHD develop after living for years in interpersonal relationships with and/or in close proximity to people who suffer from ADD/ADHD.

Its an unconscious, somewhat sanity-preserving way of dealing with the sudden shifts in conversations, misplaced items, forgotten tasks, and other manifestations of distractability. What does it mean in real life for somebody like me?

It means I’ve followed rabbit trails for so long that I find myself following my own.

Where do you think the name “Shiny Things” came from? It’s certainly not derived from my previous nickname of “LlamaMama”! (Note: that would be one convuluted bridge to bridge the gap between those two!)

No, Shiny Things was adopted one day while chatting with a then co-worker. We were brainstorming ideas (on a helluva roll too!) and had moved our session out to the parking lot so she could smoke. (Note: I quit over a decade ago.)

As I exuberantly rambled on about an idea, I stopped and asked her what she thought. I listened and like all good brainstorming sessions, I began to bounce and build off of what she came up with, my mind’s momentum building. Excited, I tried to describe all of it coming together in my head, when I happened to look down at the ground. A tree root had pushed the fairly recently poured concrete up into a wrinkle, creating a deep, gaping rabbit hole in my mind.

I stopped mid-thought and said,

“Hey! If there’s a root buckling this concrete, where in the world is the tree? I mean, it can’t be far, but the edge of the drive is way over there. Hm.. must be this Japanese maple, but I didn’t know they could grow THAT long! Or maybe its one of those tall oaks next to it…hmmm”, walking towards the edge of the driveway as I babbled on.

My coworker, still back where I had left her, chuckled and said (in her very Southern voice),

Daaymn Girl! You’re like a damn raccoon! Can’t resist something shiny when you see it. You’re here one minute, then off with an ‘oooo! LOOK! a shiny thing’ before I can blink or switch gears!”

I’d never really thought of it before, because compared to my family, I was a fairly straight-forward, logical, methodically inclined person. But after logically and methodically looking at what she said and lining it all up in my mind, I really could see what she meant! Hello? Can you develop ADD as a defense?

The more I reflected on how I did things, how I saw things, how I acted and reacted, the evidence was pretty damning. So I decided if I was indeed a bit “distractable”, I would embrace this potential defect and turn it into an asset. I started asking people who knew me well if they thought I was easily distracted by rabbit holes in my mind. Yes, they all agreed, I did indeed wander off fairly often. A couple of them even said sometimes they called just to hear where I may veer off to within a conversation! Hearing me talking about something, then suddenly begin to question (having just been distracted by a butterfly floating by my head),

“where did butterflies migrate from anyway? and how do they just KNOW?! I mean, how cool would it be to have that sort of inborn sense ability ?? (haha – ‘sensability’..that’s pretty punny!) I mean, I wonder what abilitites I would have if I had some super-senses that I just didn’t recognize…”

Yeah. So began the use of Shiny Things as a nickname (or “ThingsShiny” when it wasn’t available…for continuity of course!). And since I was now aware of it – and like Alice in Wonderland, I couldn’t go backwards and NOT see it – then whenever I would catch myself, I would stop and mentally say,

“Whoa, whoa, whoa, wait! Now what were you thinking about again?”

I would follow the rabbit trail backwards and retrace where my mind had gone until I found my way back and focus on following THAT train of thought. Or I ask the person I’m talking to to remind me to tell them about (Fill in the blank with whereever that rabbit hole was leading). If I’m trying to complete a task, I make a list that I can consult when I begin to wander. My eldest even has followed me around clapping her hands and saying, “Task completion, Mom!! C’mon…finish what you started”! (Note: a very humbling way of being reminded, but effective!) ๐Ÿ˜‰

I have good days and bad days. But I have to admit, even the “bad” ones are pretty damn entertaining!!


4 Responses

  1. luv the way you got your name! and a nice one it is too!

    i’ve been living with ADD all my life, my son has it too, hubby just looks on and shakes his head… rambling on, drifting, changing, that’s the way it goes. CPS is something i need to think about…

    CPSis just a fun acronym-esque way of me rationalizing why I get so scattered!

  2. oh, we had this for dinner the night of my dream….

  3. You know that 7 degrees of Association for Keven Bacon gamey thing? That’s for amateurs…

    I recorded the steps one time by writing them down as I jumped from Task A to Task B. There were 11 different associations. And, that’s really how my mind works. Let’s say I think, “Some ice water would be nice”. My brain says, “Ice….cream is pretty amazing. mmmmm, and it would be tasty.” and then “There is no cream in nonfat milk, and that’s better for me” and then “We’re out of milk, I need to go to the store”, and when I get to the store, well…… might take me an hour and a half and $100 of additional groceries to buy a half gallon of milk, IF I remember to buy it. Now, in your case, you are hoping , “Hmmm, milk. Let’s see what’s on the cereal aisle.” to “Rice Krispies are on sale” to “Leigh loves Krispie Treats, let’s get some marshmallows and go whip up a batch for her!” and I come home and say, “I love you”.

    Silly man! and then I eat them ALL up, cussing your very fattening display of affection all the way… ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Wonderful! And I can relate to the condition. Happy New Year. Good to see your face (photo) again. Life has been too busy too long. I need to get back more often.

    xox Rick

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