Chava Berman Borowsky

Washing the Dishes

It’s raining outside and I don’t have a jacket or an umbrella. I decide that now is the perfect time to walk five miles in the rain. After all, I have Spotify playlists and earphones and walking doesn’t really take any mental concentration or effort. “Are you crazy?” my neighbor justifiably asks me as I enter my building soaked to the core.

My קובע עיתים that takes precedence over everything else is washing the dishes. I mentally prepare myself for it beforehand and once the job is done after only 20 minutes I’m mentally exhausted. I feel way more burnt out than walking five miles in the rain.

A customer calls me up because there’s a bug in the software. Five reps before him weren’t able to figure it out and he’s yelling on the phone. I’m a woman with a mission; if there’s ever a problem to be solved I won’t rest until I figure it out. The customer thanks me for great service, but what really happened was that my brain went into overdrive looking for a solution.

Dressing up in the morning is extraordinarily difficult for me. I therefore own just five black identical dresses that I wear in rotation.

I forget to go grocery shopping and my pantry and fridge are completely empty. I find a few eggs in the fridge and a can of mushrooms and I make a to-die-for omelet. I take challah from shabbos and make incredible home-made croutons. I find a red onion that I add to roasted carrots and one yellow pepper and I make a salad.

My closet needs to be organized badly. “That’s what Pesach is for,” I excuse myself.

I pick up a book that looks interesting. I start reading and three hours later I’ve finished the entire book. I’m completely unaware of my surroundings the entire time.

I have piles of clean clothes on the bed in the guestroom. I don’t even bother folding the clothes anymore and I just use the bed as a closet.

I finish a call with a customer at work and suddenly notice that the entire room of 20 people is now empty. I then see people trickling back in and ask what happened. Apparently the managers yelled that there was an אזעקה and every single person except for myself had gone to the miklat. I was completely oblivious to my surroundings and hadn’t heard a thing while I was on the phone.

My floor hasn’t been properly washed in weeks and most of my appliances need a deep cleaning.

I debated with myself to author a book titled How My ADD Destroyed My First Marriage, but decided to write this blog post instead. 

Let me explain. PEOPLE WITH ADD ARE NOT DISTRACTED. I want to shout it from the rooftops. I want to write it in the sky. I want to graffiti it onto every wall. 

You see, while to a normal person everything looks like a pita with felafel, to a person with ADD everything either looks like carrot sticks or strawberry shortcake. 

The only way you will get someone to choose the carrot sticks over the strawberry shortcake is either if they’re extremely externally motivated or if you just take away the strawberry shortcake. The strawberry shortcake is not a distraction from the carrots. 

Our brains are wired to either not be focused at all or to be hyper-focused. That means if we enjoy something it will hardly take any mental effort or concentration on our part but if we don’t enjoy what we’re doing it becomes physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually excruciating.

We are innate hardwired addicts. Our reward system works differently from NT people. We essentially become addicted to anything that we enjoy doing. The only distinction of which people with ADD become massively successful and which people don’t is just the tiny question of what they enjoy. If they happen to enjoy programming they’ll become wildly successful and if they happen to enjoy medieval Greek literature more than anything else, on a material level they’ll probably be less successful. 

Instead of viewing ND (neurodivergant) people as having a shortcoming, we should instead celebrate all different types of learning and creativity. So long as we can master the understanding of  how and why people are wired differently, the world can become a much more considerate and compassionate place.

About the Author
Chava Berman Borowsky grew up in Los Angeles, CA in an Orthodox community in the La Brea Fairfax neighborhood. She moved to Israel in 2008 and has since lived in Jerusalem, Bet Shemesh, Holon, and Ashdod. Her hobbies include cooking, hiking, painting, and writing.
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