Yesterday, when I was out and about, I noticed there was some light reflecting off a car next to the one I was in (my sister-friend had a doctor appointment and I was waiting in the car), and I was entranced by it. The way it reflected off my nail polish (black diamond – black and glittery) kept stealing my attention, kept shining and flickering and glimmering in my peripheral. I was attempting to read, but the bright spark of sunlight kept drawing my attention.
This isn’t the first time something small and inconsequential has caught, and stolen, my mind and attention. Small sounds can draw my attention – like the sound of chickens in the yard under my sister’s porch or the way her cat would dart by the sliding glass door. Sudden noises and quick movements draw my eye as easily as bright, colorful bursts of light (or objects) do.
As a child, and then into my teenage years and into early adulthood, my attention would shift and turn onto something that catches my eye. A butterfly landing on a flower by a window I just happen to look over and see, a field of colorful flowers that look like gold, the sudden sound of a river after being in a car, the way the wind howls and groans while I sit and type this now. If a room is quiet, and people in another room start talking – it draws my attention, distracts me from whatever I may be attempting, and, reflecting on all of this, I really should have realized my lack of attention wasn’t exactly normal in any sense of the world.
I’m sure we all have a moment of inattention, but there’s this one moment that happened just recently that comes to mind. The town I live in is small. We have a church on every corner, it seems, and we have just as many banks and gas stations. My hometown is a stop away from a local tourist attraction (rivers and a few natural parks), but the town itself is sleepy.
One of the gas stations has a tower and panel directly in front of it, in the parking space. It’s tall, easily seen from the station a few blocks down, and it’s been there for a long while. However, it wasn’t until this year that I realized it was there. After six or seven years, I finally noticed this tower was sitting in front of the gas station. Inattention at its finest.
I remember asking my friend when the tower was put in, and she just stared at me. Then she blinked and said, “Britt, it’s been there forever.”
Forever, while an exaggeration, is accurate when one thinks on six or seven years. Those years, shy of a decade, seem like forever ago. My own memory isn’t all that great. Long-term memory is difficult to acquire and my short-term memory is like a drain: whatever I put in the colander, it sticks for a moment and then leaks out and vanishes. Learning something, in that manner, is no small feat; if I want to learn something, and want it to stick, I have to enjoy what I’m learning.
However, the more I learn about myself, the more my world shifts and turns.
Sometimes, I have a hard time knowing if I’m falling up or if I’m dropping into darkness. It isn’t something easily explained. Perhaps a few of you know what this feels like, knows what it’s like to be stuck in a foggy middle-ground where the monsters of our minds prowl the shadows that lie under our feet and the angels of light are distance pinpricks of light hanging far above our heads. Some of you may know how it feels to live in a place where all we feel is a neutral ‘I don’t care about much of anything,’ know what it’s like to drop into bleak despair and rise, on rare occasions, to heights of unexplained happiness and pleasure.
ADHD (ADD, actually) and Depression are two things I deal with. Most of us who suffer from depression are aware of it, to an extent. I didn’t know I have a mild cause of Attention Deficit Disorder, but seeing how easily my attention could be distracted, or how easily I’m distracted from my work by noise and scents and brightly colored objects, I should have put that together.
Then again, I have a habit of not noticing things around me unless it’s important.
As we make our way through life, however, choices have to be made. I made the choice to go to therapy and get a mental evaluation. My assessment confirmed things I had already thought, had already suspected, and, armed with that knowledge, I can push forward in life. I can make changes that works and do it in a way that makes sense for me.
Part of life is health, and health means knowing what goes on in my body and mind. Targeting these different aspects of life are important, knowing what I need to do, as a person who some troubles with depression and social interaction and paying attention, is of vital importance. If I know what foods and drinks can make things harder for me, eliminating them is the best course of action. Knowing if some objects or sounds distract me, pulling away from those when I need to study or get work done is just as important.
Overall, I cannot say what, exactly, makes my mind and thoughts work the way they do. I would say you, or anybody else for that matter, could claim otherwise. None of us know how our minds work, or why we’re wired the way we’re wired. All we know is that each of us, in one way or another, has some aspect in our lives that proves to be difficult.
Maybe you have depression. Maybe it’s anxiety, social awkwardness, deafness, or some other condition that’s rare but very real. Some of you may have troubles that make mine look small, have nightmares that leave you awake late at night and jumping at shadows. Some of you may be “normal,” as far as society deems, and are well off and aren’t struggling to get through each and every day (if you’re that person, then be grateful for what you have).
In the end, each of us have demons we face. Each of us have nightmares we struggle with.
We are human, we’re flawed, but there is beauty in our imperfection.
Never forget that.