Overflowing with ADHD Appreciation

January 14, 2010 Douglas Cootey

There I was in the bathroom, innocently blowing my nose and bopping to music on my iPhone at 12:30am. I had many things left on my ToDo list that needed doing, and with the quiet a sleeping home brings, I could finally focus. I flushed the tissue away and began to wash my hands, deep in thought about all those undone things. That's when I heard a splashing noise.

[caption id="attachment_18" align="alignleft" width="240" caption="by Tintillanta"]by Tintillanta[/caption]

For the briefest second, I stared at the sink and wondered why the running water on my hands sounded so strange. In the next second, I whipped around and verified what my mind told me in a lightning burst:
The toilet was overflowing!

Another half second was spent realizing that the plunger was upstairs, but a scrubber was to the left. Without hesitation I grabbed it and while standing on one foot, I created an ad hoc suction effect by pumping the scrubber up and down frantically. I hadn't seen a toilet overflow this badly in years. There was at least a half inch of water covering the floor, but the disaster had been averted.

What the heck happened? I had only used three tissues. But another thought occurred to me. Why couldn't I respond this rapidly and effectively on everything else? Why hadn't my ADHD gotten in the way?

This incident reminded me of a time in college when a phenomenally bright roommate, who could speak fluent Mandarin Chinese, burst a pipe. He had plugged up the kitchen sink somehow and had grabbed a coat hanger and rammed it down the drain to clear the blockage—straight through the u-bend. He stood there dumbfounded as water spilled all over his feet. I leapt off the couch, flew through the air, dove for a pot, and saved the day. I could barely speak English without getting my foot hopelessly tangled with my tongue. How could I have out-thought such a bright guy‽

Perhaps I have simply missed my calling in life to be a plumber. Or maybe I have just rediscovered that adrenaline is my friend. Panic, fear, anger, excitement — intense emotions trigger the flood of clarity from adrenaline—sharpening my mind into a shiny blade. But only then.

Put me in a classroom, for example, with a live model to draw with dozens of students around me with skritching pencils, squeaking seats, shuffling feet, and whispering voices and I stand there with my mind as blank as my canvas. I remember those days all too well; my instructors thought I was an idiot. If only the model had overflowed a sink or pulled a palette knife on me. Now then they would have seen me spring into action.

All is not so bad, though. Adult ADHD may be a burdensome annoyance, but it also comes with a joyful side full of creativity, humor, light, and the occasional saved day. As I write here for, I'll be exploring the upsides and the humor of Adult ADHD. There are a lot of stupid mistakes to be sure, but there are also the quirky moments of inspiration that need to be celebrated. I invite you to come along and celebrate with me.

Tags: adult adhd

APA Reference
Cootey, D. (2010, January 14). Overflowing with ADHD Appreciation, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Douglas Cootey

Douglas Cootey
April, 19 2010 at 12:53 pm

Sara~ It was perfect. Thanks for releasing it under the creative commons.

April, 19 2010 at 8:41 am

Nice to see that my picture came to good use!

Douglas Cootey
January, 23 2010 at 12:41 am

Aimee ~ Very similar to my wife. She closes her eyes and hopes for the best. I believe that can be trained out of you. Have friends and loved ones start tossing things at you unexpectedly at all hours of the day, like Kato for Inspector Clouseau. ;) I know I used to flinch quite a bit in years past but I’ve had so much thrown at me I’m an old battle axe now. Arrrr.
Did you ever leave comments over at A Splintered Mind? What name did you use? Or were you a lurker? I’m looking forward to working with you here. But if you need a plumber call Roto Rooter!
Semi-Organized Mom ~ You are very kind except for that Band-Aids bit. I’m not a bad luck shield! But you may want to have me around in your kitchen. I have a superpower. I can step in invisible puddles of water. The kitchen will be full of people, but I’ll step in the water. My socks need constant moistening apparently.
Claire ~ Thanks for the kind words. Hope to see your comments here. I always love to read those.

January, 22 2010 at 1:18 pm

So excited to see your new home. I love your writing, and am looking forward to seeing more of it!

Semi-Organized Mom
January, 22 2010 at 2:21 am

Remind me to be near you when something bad ever happens. You know, like when I'm shopping for Band-Aids and someone decides to hold up the pharmacy...that sort of thing.
As for your new gig. Well done! I love your writing. You never fail to make me laugh or think a bit more deeply. Can't wait to read more!

Aimee White
January, 15 2010 at 12:57 pm

Good to see you on here! I love reading your funny stories. I am a splintered mind fan as well. Adrenaline doesn't seem anywhere to be found when I actually need it, only when everything is perfectly fine lol. I am the kind of person that completely shuts down in fast acting situations. Instead of reacting, I brace for impact! I am sure to die a young death.
If I'm ever in need of a good plumber I'll be sure to look you up ;)

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