ADHD and Childhood Daydreams
I remember when I was little sitting in the snow and eating, eating, eating. There was something delicious about the soft, cold nothingness that melted in my mouth. I needed to get up and shovel the sidewalk more. I could see my older brother pushing away the snow on the sidewalk at the side of the house, and he’d soon see me and be annoyed that my area wasn’t done. But the beautiful silence of snow that nestled around me was too nice to do things in. Better to sit and eat and fall into daydreams.
During the summer there was a certain amount of cash for each basket full of berries we could pick. As much as I wanted to be productive and make money, the strawberries were just too delicious. They were so ripe and once placed in the mouth they burst with sweetness and warmth. At first I made the excuse that I would only eat the ‘bad’ ones — sorely misshapen ones or perhaps those with some brown spots. Then it turned into — I’ll just eat one per three that I place into the basket. And then it turned me just sitting out in the field, the sun beating down on my face and arms, and eating all my berries. And while I ate, I dreamed.
My go-to activity at home, the “Imagination Game”, had to be carried out in a very specific way. First the living room had to be empty, as siblings or parents made me too self-conscious to go deep in thought. Then, I’d start pacing. It was always in a clockwise circle, as counter clockwise just didn’t feel right. I’d circle with my eyes on the pattern of the carpet, stepping with my feet sometimes along the lines and sometimes in-between them. Each circle would end with a jump into the couch, the worn cushion embracing my face, and then the next circle would begin. Over, and over, and over again.
In my daydreams, I’d be everyone. I was the knight jousting for the love of the princess — I was the princess who wore clothes made of gold and stars, rejecting the advances of the knight for I was far too beautiful. I was a young boy kidnapped by the Shawnee tribe and brought up in their ways, I was the mother mourning the loss of my son who refused to return home. I was a drunken mob singing openly of hatred for God, I was a powerful angel about to destroy them all.
“Should I stop?” I remember thinking this as I stood in the shower, coming to consciousness from the depths of a dream. In this one I was a celebrity on a red carpet, having just made the most incredible movie and no one could get enough of me or my beautiful figure. The shower was my other safe spot — I’d spend literally hours under the hot water slipping away into my thoughts until the water turned cold. Part of me realized that what I was doing probably wasn’t healthy — I was never really doing things but rather just stuck in my head.
“I’ll stop in the future”, I thought. And I let the water wash over me, and the comforting darkness of dreams consume me.