A Day in My Life

Dear Coach,

I’m sorry. 

There’s no excuse for totally losing my cool when John reminded me that we were wearing blue, not white, tonight. 

I knew when I heard myself yelling that I was overreacting. I knew when I threw my bag and refused to run home to get my blue uniform that I was being totally illogical. There was plenty of time.  It would have been easy.

My brain was just stuck – stuck on the fact that I had screwed up.  Again.

I’m really working on it – on doing what I know makes sense.  My mom and my doctor say that noticing when I’m off track is a necessary first step.  

And trust me, I’m noticing.  All day long.

Again, no excuses; but maybe if I explain all of the noticing I was doing last night and today before the game it will help you understand.

After practice last night it was really hard for me to turn my brain off and fall asleep.  I kept replaying how you told me I was too slow getting back on D (true) and how I cost my team 12 points in the scrimmage (also true).  When negative things get into my brain, which is pretty much always, it can be impossible to stop the loop.

I think I dozed off around 1 a.m., which made my 6 a.m. alarm clock really tough.  Let’s just say the morning did not start on a good foot.

I did get up right away, which was good because I had saved what I thought was a little homework for the morning.  I was starving, so I made a nice breakfast (without waking my mom – bonus there) and then I went out to shoot a few hoops.  Action clears my head like nothing else.

So, I was feeling great, even when my mom stuck her head out and reminded me that I had 20 minutes before I needed to leave for school.  I figured I’d make two more threes and then head in.  No problem. 

But as you know, I have NO sense of time.  None (except for the basketball clock).  So the next thing I know, my mom is back out, trying hard but looking less cheerful. It’s now 10 minutes before we have to leave, and my homework isn’t cracked, my breakfast mess is all over the kitchen, my lunch isn’t packed and I don’t know where my socks are.

Fast forward – I barely finished my homework (or so I thought – stay tuned on that), my mom had to pack my lunch like I was in third grade and I got to the carpool five minutes late, socks in hand.  The breakfast mess was still in the kitchen, adding to my list of after school chores.  My mom kept her cool, but it crushes me when I can tell she’s irritated and disappointed. 

And why shouldn’t she be – I screwed up.  Again. 

I went off to school feeling awful. 

And it only got worse.

I had a paper due in second period, World History, and I had checked five times to make sure that it was still in my folder.  A few times a week I do my homework and then accidentally leave it on my desk at home, or it drops out of my backpack in the car because I’ve rushed to shove everything in.  I had to turn this paper in on time or risk a C for the quarter, and I was feeling pretty good that I had it under control. 

Until I realized that I didn’t.

Kids started coming into class lugging boxes and poster boards and a bunch of other stuff. One guy was dressed like a World War II fighter pilot. And that’s when I remembered.  I was also supposed to present my project to the class – with props. 

My face flushed, and I started to sweat.  There was no way to fake this one – I’d land a C for the quarter, or maybe worse.  I could see my dad’s face now; and I could kiss my Xbox goodbye until summer.

By the time I got to lunch I was totally wound from my morning and dying to blow off some steam.  But I had trouble with my locker combo, so I was too late to join the hoops game in the gym.  It was raining, and I wasn’t hungry (my ADHD medicine kills my appetite) so I ended up in the library – at least until I got kicked out for tapping my foot and singing along with the tunes on my headphones.

I made it through the afternoon (thank goodness we got to run in P.E.) but then I had to sprint down to Mr. Battle’s class to make up a math test that I missed last week. I had studied, a lot actually. But I have a terrible time focusing in the afternoon, especially after sitting for 90 minutes in English block. As soon as I sat down to take the test every single formula left my head.  

I was totally blank and my tank was empty. 

I’ve got a list of coping strategies in my notebook; but all I could do right then was slam my hand down on the desk and bolt.  That at least seemed better than letting loose all of the thoughts that were in my head. Mr. Battle is pretty cool, and I’m hoping he’ll understand and let me try again.

Meantime, add that to the mess that was floating in my head by the time John told me I was in the wrong color.

The tough thing is that this was a pretty typical day for me. 

It’s better than it used to be.  I’ve got an ADHD coach who helps me get organized (obviously a work in progress) and a counselor who is teaching me to react better when things go awry.  Last week I turned in three summer job applications on time, and I totally kept my cool (at least until I got home) when my scout leader dressed me down in front of the group for forgetting my lantern.

So I’m hoping you have some patience left – and that it helps to know that I’m trying. 

As for the uniforms, I’ve written the colors on my calendar next to the times for the rest of the season, and I figure I’ll bring both colors to every game. 

Just in case.