Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Katherine Ellison has trouble paying attention. She’s impulsive, hot-tempered and disorganized. She’s also brilliant, creative and often inspired.
So when her son was diagnosed with ADD, she looked into the diagnoses for herself. Yes, her psychiatrist said, that would be you.
Knowing she and her son both had ADD was only half the battle: Katherine still struggled with what to do about it. So she did what she knows best: she wrote about it. She spent a year paying attention to attention: in herself, in her son, in their relationship.
She researched treatments, from medications to meditation. She took notes. She bared her own soul about what it was like to live with this disorder – and to parent through it.
The result is Buzz, a recently published memoir about her year of paying attention.
I’m the kind of mom who gets up from a game to fetch her child a glass of water and forgets, by the time she’s arrived in the kitchen, why she’s there. I’ll start unloading the dishwasher or making a snack and ten minutes later an exasperated kid yells, “Mommy! Can I have my water yet?”
So when I had a chance to review Buzz, I pretty much had to leap at it.
Given my own challenges with attention, it’s maybe not shocking that I haven’t read this book cover to cover yet. Not only does Ellison have a lot to say on the subject, but she’s nailed the emotional challenges of being an ADD mom perfectly.
The rattling monologue; the sudden lapse in attention; the hot temper you struggle to control; the dizzy feeling when you get overstimulated and the whole world spins for a few minutes.
The book is a rich blend of memoir and research, detailing everything from the history of impulsive behavior to experimental modern treatments. Not that I skipped to the back and read the appendices when my mind wandered in the middle of chapter three or anything.
Katherine’s insightful, personal writing offers two things I’ve been yearning for as an ADHD mom: that huge sense of relief that comes from knowing I’m not alone, and a treasure trove of solidly researched information and advice on how to handle parenting with my brain chemistry. This book is a gift to parents with ADD. I suspect I’ll be handing copies of it out like candy at Christmastime.