Time Waits for No One


S Sepp CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

I have recently realized that I can get a considerable amount of writing done under pressure. In fact, I wrote a 500 word article in about 20 minutes. I’m not kidding, I had 48 minutes to get the article done. I know because I stared in disbelief briefly because I had forgotten all about this particular article and saw how little time I had left. Granted, it was an easy (really easy) article to write, but that doesn’t change the fact that I did it.

So, I decided to test my theory. For the past 2 days, I have left myself about an hour before a deadline, and damn it all if I haven’t gotten more work done in that one fracking hour than I have in an entire day. What is it about deadlines that makes it so easy for my brain to (finally) put words into a sentence?

I Heart Pressure

I’ve actually always been good under pressure. There’s a reason I was in the medical field for so long. If you have an emergency, I know exactly what to do, and how not to panic. When my husband had a physical done for a job prospect, and the nurse accidentally injected him with the TB serum instead of putting it just under the skin (you know, instead of doing it RIGHT?), he ended up passing out. I’m probably the only wife whose brain kicked into “medical ER” mode and knew exactly what to do. I didn’t panic until AFTER he was out of the hospital and safely at home. Go figure.

I admit, I thrive on adrenaline, but there’s actually a very good reason for that. I’m not a junkie or anything, and I don’t actively look for risks that will give me an adrenaline rush. But I do have ADHD (for those of you who have no clue what that is: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder). Actually, both Greg and I have it. The thing about ADHD is that it is actually a chemical imbalance in the brain (yes, I’m unbalanced, I know).

An ampule of epinephrine, aka adrenaline.
intropin CC BY – NC 2.0, via Flickr Creative Commons

The chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine are usually much lower in the brains of those of us with ADHD than in those without the disorder. Norepinephrine is actually adrenaline. Most people in the medical profession who are actually adept at handling emergencies (like doctors and nurses in the ER) have ADHD and many of them don’t know it.

Have your eyes glazed over? You may need some adrenaline. Interestingly, adrenaline helps us focus, which makes sense from an evolutionary standpoint. You kinda need to focus if you’re trying to prevent a large cat or other carnivore from eating you or if you’re trying to find dinner. Our bodies have evolved considerably from the caveman days, but we haven’t lost out “fight or flight” response.

Unfortunately, no one has figured out why the ADHD brain doesn’t produce as much of the chemical as it should. You would think if the brain needs it to focus, and there wasn’t enough, the body would make more until it has enough, but it, sadly, doesn’t work that way. Most animals produce their own vitamin C too, but they can still be deficient.

But I digress… yet again.

So how does a deadline stimulate adrenaline? What an interesting looking question! Actually it’s quite simple. The challenge. Very House M.D., like don’t you think? Since I started this whole writing endeavor, I have fought and fought with what I believed was writer’s block. Turns out, I just didn’t have much of an incentive aside from keeping the lights on, and in my brain, that ain’t no incentive. Right now you’re thinking “what do you mean that’s not an incentive?” Don’t get me wrong, it is, but writing just to get paid doesn’t do much to keep my brain interested, which means it wanders and BAM! I have the ADHD version of writer’s block.

So how do I deal with this? Well, when I figure that out, I’ll blog it. The pharmaceutical industry has come up with meds that are supposed to help us focus, but they don’t work nearly as well as a the challenge of finishing a 500 word article just under the wire. If I could bottle that, I’d be a fracking millionaire!!

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5 comments on “Time Waits for No One

  1. Mel, I don’t have ADD, but can relate to getting things done faster, when I am under pressure. Seriously, not sure, why but I too strive under pressure. Just my personality I suppose, but just always been this way.

    • I really wish I could figure out why that is, because there are many people who work well under pressure and don’t have ADHD, so I wonder what the commonality is!!! I’ll have to delve into the issue with some research (my answer for everything lol) I know my parents always gave me a hard time about waiting until the last minute to do reports and other projects, and I always wish I wasn’t like this, but you know, it’s not so bad!! lol

      • My parents always told me to get my schoolwork done before doing anything else, so maybe that is a bit of the commonality here, because otherwise it just is ingrained in me now.

    • I wonder what the commonality is between those who work well under pressure with ADHD and those who work well under pressure without it. I’ll have to delve into it with some research (my answer to everything lol) I know my parents always made a big deal out me waiting to do reports and other projects. I did wish at times I wasn’t like this, but it’s not all that bad apparently. 😀

  2. Cyndi says:

    Well, I definitely don’t have ADHD then, lol, b/c I don’t like working under pressure. I freak out, sweat and just get nervous. That being said, I completely admire you and your efforts to create writing masterpieces under the wire. Kudos to you! 🙂

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