You'll never know what I wrote ten minutes ago. Ten minutes ago, I wrote a lovely and very long blog about how having ADD effected my early childhood and teen years. It was insightful and profound. As I pushed "save," my computer flashed a screen to say, "We are rebuilding your blog app. Save your work and post in a few minutes." I did so. And now its gone.

It led me to the same impulse, the same thought that prompted my blog about having ADD. As I get older, I am getting more organized and less affected by my ADD. Or so I think. Until I run into something I didn't notice. And all the past times in my life when I failed, or was embarrassed, or lost something because I WASN'T PAYING ATTENTION come flooding back. Because, to be honest, I read the notice through very quickly. Maybe it meant to save the blog into Word. Maybe it meant to copy and paste the blog into another editor and paste it in later. But I wasn't paying attention.

This doesn't happen to me nearly as much as it used to. In grade school, even though I love music, I never played an instrument or joined band because I forgot to get the permission slips in on time. In high school, I often skipped gym in order to go to the library and read. And write papers for AP English that I'd forgotten about until that day. I skipped so many gym classes that, in my senior year, I had to take 5 classes of gym a day to catch up in order to graduate. And I really hated gym. My love was dance. Not volleyball. Not basketball. 

I went to the only college I applied to -- because I didn't get my act together in time to get any other applications in to any other colleges. I went to the college closest to my high school because it was too hard to focus on looking further afield.

No one knew I had ADD. We all suspected my sister did -- she couldn't sit still if her life depended on it.  But my tendency to feel helpless and avoid trying to tidy up my room were written down to laziness. And my forgetfulness in doing projects or getting papers in on time was put down to stubbornness or "rebellion." Because I was an "A" student, no one ever really noticed how often I lost my purse, or misplaced my keys. Called the "absent-minded professor" in my family meant that everyone believed my disorganization, forgetfulness, and inability to force myself to do things I hated were character foibles, rather than symptoms of a brain that just couldn't pull it together.

Never would I say that having ADD is ALL about negative aspects. My ability to "hyperfocus" is common for those with ADD, and for those on the autism spectrum. If I am focused on a topic or task, I can excel at it. Of course, when I am no longer paying attention, it can often seem as if I've forgotten how to do it at all. That this is irritating to employers is an understatement. As a VP of marketing, I have painful memories of regional VP's who just couldn't understand how I could write a brilliant presentation for a client, and forget the details of that client's contract a minute later. But that's the way it is with my brain.

It is only recently that I've become aware that my intense interest in people I've just met is usually followed by a ratcheting down of interest as I know them longer. Its not that I am less fond of them, not at all. Its just that I really do lack the capacity to pay attention for long periods of time. 

Through the years, I am positive this aspect of having ADD has caused pain to people around me. Case in point: I recently ran across someone on Facebook I'll call Jane, though that is not her real name. Jane and I went to college together. We were good enough friends that when she graduated the year after me, I persuaded her to move to Boston to be my roommate. After a year and a half of living together, I moved into a studio apartment in order to be closer to someone I was dating. I only saw her a few times after that. There was no disinterest or malice on my part -- but having spent my entire life moving (I've never lived in any one place more than a few years) I simply didn't know how to pay attention to people in my life over a long term. I didn't think much of our drifting apart--it happens right? 

But a few years ago, a mutual friend asked me a poser: "Did Jane ever forgive you for abandoning her?" I was shocked. It was a version of our friendship story I'd never even considered. 

This is all surfacing for me as I watch my Aspie teen struggle with understanding friendship and navigating personal relationships. at 15, he is still stuck in 6 year old "my friends are the people I tease" mode. And while he is undeniably brilliant, and uncommonly funny, his cleverness and wit aren't endearing him to people he likes. He doesn't really know how to make or keep friends.

As I struggle to find ways to help him, I am coming right bump against my own shortcomings in that direction. Because I can converse with anyone, because I excel in social settings due to my natural curiosity and love of people, I seem to be better at relationships than I really am. The two of us are going to have to learn how to do this together, I guess. 

I'll start with this: I am going on Facebook and putting in a friend request to "Jane." We'll see what happens.