I CAN’T SIT STILL!

In 1998, a colleague said to me: “You have ADHD, you just don’t know it yet. You can’t sit still!”

He had been working with me for a while, he knew perfectly well how to work together with me and we had a good time, but he had absolutely no idea what he just did to me. From then on it gnawed on me, if I weren’t restless yet, making me think back on my childhood years did. He gave a name to what I always knew, but never learned to give it a name myself, let alone to cope with it.

Very soon in life, when I was a year or four, I knew I was ‘different’ than my class mates and my twin brother, I could never sit still. Things around me drew my attention much more than what I was to supposed to take attention to. The blackboard, the voice of the teacher, my pen, other stuff was far more attractive than what I had to watch at the moment. And like a rubber ball with a crack, I jumped from here to there.

After a couple of years it grew worse, autumn outside smelled ten times better than the class room and birds in the sky drew a much better path than chalk on the blackboard. It drove the teacher mad and I myself wasn’t getting any happier too. In my head, ten things were fighting at the same time to get my undivided attention and in a wild chase to that one thing that jumped out I stumbled over my shoe laces, my words, my actions and the beautiful things I came up with. And my parents struggled with me. My class mates jumped on me. And all the time I grew more restless and the space around me became wider, I became lonelier. And I never sat still.

After primary school I remained the worry of teachers and parents and equally proportioned (math being my favourite subject), I became the subject of bullying by my class mates. School and I were enemies and military services was a constant fight. Every new study, challenge or new path I took I didn’t finish, because the intellect I had within me was overgrown by my chaotic nature, the incapability to finish anything at all, or just to persevere. I never seemed to have the energy to go in one direction for any longer than a couple of months.

Hiding behind a mask, fleeing for ever for myself and the people around me I went from here to there and over the boundaries of my country and my capabilities. I often said it to myself, partly desperate, partly stubborn: “Give me space, nog just the few yards on this spot!” Which was the regrettable interlude to the decision to move on to another place. Which I did, new people around me. For as long as it took.

And there I was, standing beside my colleague, after so many years of different jobs, surroundings, challenges and als always the presence of the tension in my body like “Will I finally succeed?” And he just said: “You have ADHD, you just don’t know it yet. You can’t sit still!”

Nowadays I am much less restless. I left the bullies way behind in the past as well as the challenges I never met. I have ample diplomas and they are ever so useful, my kids absorb my knowledge of so many subjects like sponges. I steer well clear of people that cannot cope with me because I am “so restless” and people that talk bad about it are not in my way either. Real friends stayed and The Real Friend hasn’t left me -thank God- either. He’s still keeping an eye on me.

I still can’t sit still by the way.

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Leendert van Gemeren

Dit ben ik, Leendert. Ik ben een beetje ouderwets en houd van dingen die geweest zijn, bijvoorbeeld oude Engelse series op TV zoals All Creatures Great And Small, mechanische horloges, bifocale brillen en oude langspeelplaten. Ik houd niet van moderne dingen en werk regelmatig aan een ouderwetse modelspoorbaan. Ik volg Jezus en schrijf mijn gedichten soms ook over Hem maar ik schrijf ook verhalen over het leven. Excentriek. Op feestjes ben ik vaak te vinden in de keuken.


This is me, Leendert. I am a little bit old-fashioned and I love things from the past, old series like All Creatures Great And Small, mechanical wristwatches, bi-focal glasses and vinyl records for example. I am not keen on modern things and I often work on this old style model railway. I follow Jesus and sometimes write a poem about Him but I also write about my life. Eccentric. You can often find me in the kitchen at parties.

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