By Andrew R Duckworth

Photo, photo editing, and poem by Andrew R. Duckworth
Simple yet complicated tasks sink beneath my skin,
Simple in their description, complicated in their implementation.
Too many tasks, an inflating balloon reaching capacity...
Continuing to inflate.
Inflating with questions, a million or more,
All running together, tied together,
Blending into a string of barely interpreted words
That dance around the brain and mock.
"Wait, what did you say?"
Sometimes completely tuned out,
A million words go unheard,
A tuba blast to the ear, but I can't hear...
Music from the speaker, talking on the television,
Fast flowing water from the sink,
My mind twirling around some past event that won't go away
And a sentence I heard five days ago from a complete stranger
From a conversation I was not apart of,
And a loud, colorful shirt on a billboard ad...
My mind and soul seek silence...
But I have no control,
Like a radio with the power switch permanently turned to "on"
And nothing but static.
Words, sentences, echoing without end,
Swirling, shifting, looping,
A rollercoaster that never stops at the loading station.
I began reading an article the other day.
Two sentences in and I began thinking about food.
Fast food two times in a day?
I can't go in a restaurant right now...
Off to the store for groceries! Or the phone to order pickup...
A social media notification.
Tagged in a status.
Oh, one of those mass group tags.
Wait, look at those shoes.
Bet they're sold out.
Wait... What was I doing again?

I really don’t like being so blunt. This is probably the most straightforward poem I have written. I suffer from ADHD. I say “suffer” because that is precisely what it is… suffering. It is often impossible to stay locked in on one thing. Even if I isolate myself to a quite room, my mind will find distractions (wall color, random thoughts that just come to mind out of nowhere, etc). This can make something as simple as engaging in a conversation aggravating as I zone in and out. Before I realize it, I’ve been told ten important things and I might have understood half of one. Even with medication, it is EXTREMELY agitating as I have to work extra hard to try and focus in. Occasionally I will get lost mid-sentence and have to think about what it was I was saying. It is painful. When I say it is “painful,” I don’t just mean that it is irritating. Often, it is actually physically painful. It can sometimes lead to migraines and I might be down for an extended period of time. Sometimes, I have so many things going on around me that my mind goes from one thing to the next extremely rapidly. I suppose out of some coping mechanism, I shut everything down and retreat in order to be completely unengaged, a sort of “overload” if I had to put it in a single word. Occasionally, I will have to ask people to repeat themselves three or four times before I find myself capable of hearing them. I wrote this poem, staying awake until an ungodly hour of the morning due to so many things that happened yesterday, so many aggravating things. I have several tasks I am needing to accomplish. Having minimal instruction from the institution that I’m needing to complete the tasks for, I’m often working on several things at once to try and get it all done. Yet, I’m still not able to keep up with these tasks. It ads to my already crippling anxiety and depression as I ask myself if getting these tasks completed is at all possible or even worth it. It leads to an extreme self hatred that often ends up consuming my energy and leaving me practically lifeless. Often, I wonder if this is what this sort of thing feels like for everyone or whether this is some unique hell that exists just for me. It brings out my worst. And so, seeing as I found myself incapable of doing much else, I wrote this out of frustration. I don’t consider this art, I consider it fire poured out on a keyboard because that is what it felt like. After writing the poem, I saved the draft and left an explanation for later as I was in no shape to explain myself between my self loathing and my draining energy. Perhaps ADHD is like this for everyone, perhaps it is like this for only a few. Either way, it is pain that I have to tolerate and somehow work through to make it through each day. Whether I’m trying to complete tasks or whether I have absolutely nothing happening on a particular day, my mind will find some way of making it much harder than it has to be. I find that I am able to do my best communicating through the written word. Perhaps I should opt to do all of my communicating via writing.

This writing is the work of its author, Andrew Ryan Duckworth, and can in no way be reproduced, copied, or distributed in any form without request from the author.

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