If I should die . . .

For The Second Time Around

© Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, CTP, CMC, ACT, MCC, SCAC
Reflections post in the Whimsy Series

Six years ago now, I reblogged my own humorous article from a posting on the personal blog I maintained on a now defunct ADD site.  Here ’tis again, this time in it’s entirety, with just a few edits.

I hope it gives new readers a giggle as you get an up-close-and-personal look into the quirky way the ADD mind tends to work.


You know the prayer:

Now I lay me down to sleep.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep.
If I should die before I wake
I pray the Lord my soul to take.

Even I know the prayer, though I was not raised in a particularly religious household as I remember – which is always an iffy thing since I am the poster girl for a-historic.

I’m famous for the comment, “I didn’t see that movie,” to the very people who are in the position to say, “Yes you did. We saw it together!”

Now, wouldn’t you think they’d ALSO give me a clue about the occasion, their presence or the plot? But then again, why ruin a funny story?

But back to the prayer. Were you aware that most little kids are terrified by that prayer?

“But I don’t want to ask God to die!”
is a response many remember having, chins quivering.

ADD kids aren’t the ones with that response, however.

What terrifies ADDers . . .

This scares ADDers

The truly terrifying part of that particular prayer is that part at the end — the part when we are expected to recite, for God and whomever it is smiling benignly from the bedside (with visions of some adorable-child-at-prayer-we-know-we-will-never-be dancing in their heads) a list of everyone-in-our-lives-deserving-of-blessing!

God Bless Mommy and Daddy, God Bless Junior, and Spot, and Natalie-next-door . . .

Never mind the fact that we don’t WANT God to bless Natalie-next-door, since she was such a pill about the unfortunate beheading of her second favorite doll.

Found on Pinterest

We wish Natalie the exact opposite of such blessings – and wish that God would take HER soul so that we could get on with our really nifty French Revolution game with the rest of her dolls.

Never mind the fact that we can’t reconcile the competing injunctive that lying is a sin, never to be done by good little girls, under pain of yet another round of, “I’m so disappointed in you.”

We know that if we don’t God bless Natalie-next-door we are in for another boring discussion of Natalie’s virtues, after which we will be forced to say God bless Natalie-next-door anyway.

The REALLY Scary Thing

That part is relatively simple compared to the rest: REMEMBERING the list of everybody in our lives!

No ADD kid can function under that kind of pressure.

It’s not that we can’t recall the cast of characters. It’s those NAMES that are so darn pesky.

Come on, we know the names of our relatives and friends and teachers and pets and so on!

It’s just that, for some reason, coming up with them nightly is a unique kind of penance reserved for bad little girls who appear to torture dolls.

Cortexes, Cars and Courtesies

We know now that, under performance pressure, an ADDer’s pre-frontal cortex shuts down temporarily, like an old car with a ten second lag between flooring the accelerator and any car movement what-so-ever.

But that knowledge wouldn’t have helped much with the expectation that our minds would be able to produce, on demand, the monikers of anyone who has ever been so stupid as to entrust us with that information.

Hi, his name is . . .

Introductions are an especially devilish demonstration, fraught with the peril of the look of pain and embarrassment when we, yet again, start brightly with, “I’d like you to meet my husband, …” and can’t for the life of us remember what comes next.

And believe me, my ex made that mean something!

My favorite work-around is something like, “You are two of my favorite people and I just know that you are going to be great friends since you both so enjoy [fill in the name of any activity you can remember each of them ever commenting upon with favor].

I need to run to the necessary, so please introduce yourselves!”
(It was definitely an ADDer who came up with that particular handle for “bathroom,”
as well as terms like, “see a man about a dog,” etc.)

But what comes next is even worse

Given the difficulty we have with remembering names, the next expectation is beyond reason!

After failing the try-to-remember-to-God-bless-everyone-in-your-life torture test, and the attendant discussion where we have do everything in our power to look like we are paying attention and, frankly Scarlet, give a damn, we are expected to be able to drift peacefully off to sleep!

Reporting difficulties with the particular transition following the “now I lay me” ritual,
we are enjoined to count sheep.

Are you kidding me?!

The non-ADD brain must be very different from mine indeed if that works for them as a sleep aid. Reciting a list of every number from one to eight-trillion-and-two has never done anything for me at all but bore me silly and lead me to wonder, yet again, what was wrong with me.

But I digress.

What’s Going On?

In a flash of insight that comes sometimes in that transition between waking and sleeping (that has more in common with the latter than the former for this ADD brain), I think I figured out the reason why ADDers seldom report terror at the “If I should die” part.

ADDers live in an eternal NOW.
“If I should die” is an alien concept.

We do a quick body check. Not dead now. Not sick. Not symptomatic. And our brains skip merrily on to whatever thought is provided by the next distraction in our environment, inner or outer: coffee spills, dust bunnies, or the doll we really wanted to send to the gallows instead of that stupid now-headless Barbie that Natalie is so upset about.

When the world at large brings up the possibility of dying tomorrow we embrace it eagerly.  YES!

If I die tomorrow what difference will it make if the bed is made or the bills are paid? Don’t I deserve a little fun before I go? Whose life is it anyway?

It would be extremely useful to operate with the knowledge that LIVING tomorrow is also an option, one much more likely to show up in our reality.

Get Ready for Reason

Many of the made-in-the-moment decisions that trip us up might be made another way entirely if we were encouraged to focus on the next day or week or month that always arrives — despite the fact that we drive to work breakfasting on Cheetos purchased from the junk machine waiting to pay for that oh-so-essential substance initiating our quick stop at the gas station that starts practically every journey

I mean, we can’t drive very far on the gas purchased with the dollar-seventy-two we scrounged from the change on the floor of our cars or the bottom of our purses yesterday, necessitated by the fact that we can’t ever seem to remember to go to the bank or to put the credit cards hiding in some other purse into the purse we are currently carrying in our valiant effort to dress for success that, for some bizarre reason, centers on coordinated shoe, bag and outfit colors.

Is that an ADD sentence, or what?!

We eat the Cheetos and lick the orange stain from the steering wheel, at the same time dialing our offices to bemoan the terrible traffic we are not stuck in that is the reason we’ll be late for work, while applying make-up as we speed down the interstate to reduce our journey by as many minutes as we overslept.

We do it all despite repeated warnings of the dire consequences
of not paying attention when we are driving.

Clearly, the possibility of death holds no terror for us
as surely as the possibility of life tomorrow has no reality today.

If we could remember that LIVING a while is a definite possibility when we purchase one tampon from the machine in the ladies room, or one roll of toilet paper from the Quick Stop (because we have run out of the paper towels we have been using since we seem to be constitutionally unable to remember to pick up more bathroom tissue), it might occur to us that the jumbo pack could possibly save us time and money in the long run.

And we might even think of purchasing a jumbo pack of paper towels while we’re at it, since the probability of our living long enough to need them when we run out of this batch of TP would have been reinforced — if only we’d had a nightly ritual that reminded us about that LIVING for a while part.

Or Maybe Not

On second thought, maybe an ADD version of the prayer would be a better solution. I have one I’d like to suggest.

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord my soul to keep
If I should live another year
I pray the Lord to please be here

To help me follow through with . . .

paying my bills . . . changing my sheets . . . paying my taxes . . . painting the rest of the room I started the day after I moved here . . . remembering the name or location of the paint store so I can buy another can of the same color since the one I have would surely be unusable even if I could find it . . .

Now there’s a listing that would be useful!
Much better for us than the God blesses.

Not only would it be something we could produce easily, our efforts would actually be met with approval for remembering anything-what-so-ever on the inordinately long list of uncompleted tasks.

Never mind that it could only be the proverbial tip of that particular iceberg
it would be much better for us than counting sheep!

I know I would certainly drift off easily somewhere near the beginning of that particular naming, especially since God was going to be taking care of reminding me to do it all.

I wonder if any research has been done on the long term effects
of sleeping on your knees at the side of the bed?

By the way, if you’re looking for an ADD Coach who really gets it, after reading this story you surely know I do.  Believe it or not, I have a raft of techniques and work-arounds that really help.  Get in touch if you’d like some.  Help, I mean.

© 2011, 2017, all rights reserved

© The article above is may NOT be reproduced in any form.
It is slated for inclusion in my upcoming collections of shorts,
Turkey Broth for the ADD Spirit.

(reblogs always okay, and much appreciated)

As always, if you want notification of new articles in this Series – or any new posts on this blog – give your email address to the nice form on the top of the skinny column to the right. (You only have to do this once, so if you’ve already asked for notification about a prior series, you’re covered for this one too). STRICT No Spam Policy

IN ANY CASE, do stay tuned.
There’s a lot to know, a lot here already, and a lot more to come – in this Series and in others.
Get it here while it’s still free for the taking.

Want to work directly with me? If you’d like some coaching help with anything that came up while you were reading this Series (one-on-one couples or group), click HERE for Brain-based Coaching with mgh, with a contact form at its end (or click the E-me link on the menubar at the top of every page). Fill out the form, submit, and an email SOS is on its way to me; we’ll schedule a call to talk about what you need. I’ll get back to you ASAP (accent on the “P”ossible!)

You might also be interested in some of the following articles
available right now – on this site and elsewhere.

For links in context: run your cursor over the article above and the dark grey links will turn dark red;
(subtle, so they don’t pull focus while you read, but you can find them to click when you’re ready for them)
— and check out the links to other Related Content in each of the articles themselves —

Related articles right here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com

A Few LinkLists by Category (to articles here on ADDandSoMuchMore.com)

About Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC
Award-winning ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching field co-founder; [life] Coaching pioneer -- Neurodiversity Advocate, Coach, Mentor & Poster Girl -- Multi-Certified -- 25 years working with EFD [Executive Functioning disorders] and struggles in hundreds of people from all walks of life. I developed and delivered the world's first ADD-specific coach training curriculum: multi-year, brain-based, and ICF Certification tracked. In addition to my expertise in ADD/EF Systems Development Coaching, I am known for training and mentoring globally well-informed ADD Coach LEADERS with the vision to innovate, many of the most visible, knowledgeable and successful ADD Coaches in the field today (several of whom now deliver highly visible ADD coach trainings themselves). For almost a decade, I personally sponsored and facilitated seven monthly, virtual and global, no-charge support and information groups The ADD Hours™ - including The ADD Expert Speakers Series, hosting well-known ADD Professionals who were generous with their information and expertise, joining me in my belief that "It takes a village to educate a world." I am committed to being a thorn in the side of ADD-ignorance in service of changing the way neurodiversity is thought about and treated - seeing "a world that works for everyone" in my lifetime. Get in touch when you're ready to have a life that works BECAUSE of who you are, building on strengths to step off that frustrating treadmill "when 'wanting to' just doesn't get it DONE!"

64 Responses to If I should die . . .

  1. reocochran says:

    This was a serious subject but you graciously help those who live with ADD, or know someone who has this diagnosis. Thank you, Madelyn! 💐
    I always appreciate your kindness and sense of humor injected in subjects to lighten the reception. 😊 👏

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Christy B says:

    I missed this post so I’m glad you reshared it here, Madelyn 🙂 I didn’t follow your old site – I am glad to have found this new site though ❤ I don't have ADD but I do live in the now. I didn't realize that those with ADD do poorly (generally) when under performance pressure. So reciting a prayer would be terrible – akin to punishment, indeed. Not a great bedtime routine for an ADDer, and this goes to show that each routine before sleepy time needs to be unique, for the individual. Great info here xx

    Liked by 2 people

  3. E says:

    I have to remember to breathe while reading your posts 🙂 I have social anxiety and forget names all the time. It’s so embarrassing but I’ve found little tricks for smoothing it out. I’ve forgotten names of coworkers I’ve worked with for years if I’m having to introduce them to new people-why?!? Haha. I’m guessing ADD, anxiety and PTSD have similar paths of neuro-disruption. And that prayer was something my great grandmother had us pray when we stayed over. Her home was one of the safest places for me so I guess it bothered me less to think of dying if I got to die in a warm safe place that smelled like apple pie and Ivory soap.


    • Thanks so much for this comment – and for trusting that this is a safe place to disclose. That means more to me than you could ever know.

      YES! “Attentional” elements are a product of kludgy executive functioning – which is also true with PTSD, all of the forms of anxiety, depression (and OCD, TBI and all of what I call the Alphabet Disorders) – and there are many ways it manifests in behaviors that look [un]surprisingly similar. And the same work-arounds (like your “little tricks”) work for ALL of them — in a person-specific manner, which is why I always say you have to tweak to fit.

      For example, you felt safe and supported and loved at your great grandmother’s house so you probably had a core belief that only good things happen there, so you also believed this prayer she prayed with you was probably another one of those good things. (I’m guessing, btw, nobody outside your very own self can tell you what you thought, but this is probably in the nabe.)

      So, piggy backing on that, you felt no anxiety, no fear – but it only became a conscious process in retrospect. At the time, I doubt you actively considered that “die” word because your gg was there and you felt safe because she was – and if it made her happy it made you happy.

      SOCIAL anxiety is a product of not feeling safe in social environments and not being able to “read” what ‘makes them happy’ very well. (not your job, btw 🙂 )

      Now, if your brain has areas where it doesn’t support you well (like those pesky names – lol), feeling and thinking won’t likely change that much – but you CAN feel and think your way out of your own way. Make sense?

      Thanks so much for ringing in and giving me a chance to respond.


  4. dgkaye says:

    You’ve got an amazing delivery gift Madelyn. People can learn from you with ease and often injected humor which everyone could always use a little of, especially those who already suffer with ADD. 🙂 xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Debby. This is one of the most gratifying comments I’ve ever received.

      Liked by 1 person

        • BTW – Your recent book review is right on trend. (ahead of, actually).

          Just read in the Times about the new B’way show – 1984! It’s a British adaptation first staged in 2013 with three successful runs in the West End. It previously toured a few major cities in America, but they decided, thanks to Agent Orange & minions, that the timing was right to give it a B’way debut, Opens tonight (6/22/17).

          I hope it turns out to be a HUGE hit, and am mourning the fact that I am no longer in NYC to be in the audience (or the show itself!)


          Liked by 1 person

          • dgkaye says:

            Wow, why am I not surprised? I’m sure it will be a Yuge and Bigly success LOL. Exactly why Atwood’s Handmaid’s Tale became mini series material! I hope people take heed from the play! 🙂 xx

            Liked by 1 person

            • Nothing else seems to have worked 😦 – but I am praying for a long run for this show. (Yuge and Bigly — LOL)

              But then, NYC is fairly liberal already, so it may be playing to the home crowd. It would be nice if the teachers could get the HS kids in, but B’way tickets are soooo pricey anymore that few schools will have the budget – *certainly* not the public schools. 😦

              Michael Moore’s show “The Terms of My Surrender” opens a block away in July. Posters ask, “Can a Broadway Show bring down a sitting president?” I certainly hope so!

              Article says that commercials for 1984 show Orange, Conway & Spicer along with Orwellian slogans – i.e., “Ignorance is strength.” Apparently there is an underlying theme of how a regime can control reality by controlling language.

              Republicans, check out your party’s tactics for years now, coopting meaning to their own ends. I won’t list examples, just LOOK with an engaged brain and an open mind.

              I really miss my former career!

              Liked by 1 person

            • dgkaye says:

              Fantastic sermon here Madelyn. I’m looking forward to those slogans making their way into our everyday life, lol. And wow, I didn’t know Michael Moore had a new show. I love his work. And interesting question, can a broadway show remove ‘orange stains’? LOL Interesting what’s going on around broadway and movies with the current climate. 🙂 xx

              Liked by 1 person

            • LOL. I guess I do stand on my soapbox from time to time. oops, my Progressive bias is showing. 🙂

              The Times article said that the 1984 producers thought that their window for a B’way production was now or never – and they put the show back together quickly. They didn’t say much about the Moore production beyond his show posters. But count on sho-biz to make art from political disaster. Wish I were there.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. lwbut says:

    We are much better able to deal with our life if we become aware that there is more than one perspective we can view it from. Thank you Madelyn for sharing your perspectives and humour in order that the rest of us can better understand our own lives and those of those we might think of as ‘weird’ simply because we never try looking at things their way once in a while. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Rae Longest says:

    Very informative AND entertaining at the same time. TY “muchly”

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Fioravanti says:

    This is so well done, Madelyn – I’m still laughing! And you taught me a lot about ADD through the humor! Thank you! I wish I had your talent as a teacher.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. John Fioravanti says:

    Reblogged this on Words To Captivate ~ by John Fioravanti and commented:
    Madelyn Griffith-Haynie has gifted us with a lighter look into the reality of ADD – both humorous and instructive. Please, read on…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my goodness. I would love to meet you face to face.

    A few years ago I was diagnosed with complex, or developmental, PTSD. Prior to this, I was misdiagnosed with a variety of other things, which is common with one such as I. However, I was never diagnosed with ADD or ADHD.

    But…. in February of this year, when I received the results of my baseline eeg, prior to having neurofeedback treatments, guess what the printout said that my extremely dysfunctional brain wave patterns indicated I might have?

    ADD/ADHD! And also Autism, Aspergers, Parkinsons, learning disabilities, and head trauma. Well, yeah, about 30 years ago when I was in my early thirties, I had a mini stroke/TIA, and as a child and young adult I was knocked unconscious four times, three of which were due to abuse.

    However, the therapist who interpreted my eeg results said No, I don’t actually have all of those maladies, what I have is severe developmental PTSD. He also told me that when he met me and talked with me for an hour, prior to doing the baseline eeg, he could not figure out why I was there — because I seemed so calm, personable, and “well put together.” But when he saw my eeg, he said, then he understood.

    After about 25 NFT sessions, the therapist told me that my brain is so different, he believes I no longer even have a PTSD dx. Everyone who knows me, meaning my family and church friends, have commented on how different I am now. It’s a great thing and also a bit… strange. I feel calm. CALM! I didn’t even know it was possible to feel this way!!

    I am still trying to get used to this new way of being… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • CONGRATULATIONS!! It’s amazing what a balanced brain feels like, huh? Kinda’ like when a chronic headache finally goes away – or ringing in the ears stop. It’s another of those boiling frog things – you don’t really remember “cool” until you jump out of the hot water!

      Not really exactly the same thing, but ADDers who finally get on stims either say something similar -or- want to stop taking them because CALM feels too weird to them.

      Sometimes their parents want to take them off because THEY can’t get used to a kid with a balanced brain — claiming that meds changed their kid’s personality. duh!

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share. I’m thrilled for you.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Great post Madelyn. Smiled at praying for the girl next door that took your dolls head off. And for forgetting your mates name… isn’t that embarrassing and funny. Its those ahhhhh ummm moments that make us now laugh because it shows our humanness. Its great you are human and funny too.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. ghostmmnc says:

    This is funny, and oh so true! That little prayer never helped me sleep, because after listing every one I knew , and all of their pets, at the end, I would be afraid I’d left someone out. I’d have to start over. It was never ending.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I think that question gets on everyone’s mind from time to time, Madelyn. I know it’s been on mine more often than expected. But… Last summer I reached the age my father was when he died, so I guess that’s to be expected. We’re all human after all, enlightened and reasoning or not — still just human. Happy Weekend. TGIF and it’s almost here. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for taking the time to leave this very different response to this article, Teagan.

      I had a similar reaction on the birthday when I reached the age at which my mom died (and sometimes on either of their birthdays or on Mothers or Fathers Day). I expect it again if I’m still around at the age my father died.

      Yep – we’re all human.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Really stuck on “Hey Macarena!” And wow! You need a diary and a routine. Cheers,H

    Liked by 1 person

  14. well said… you hit the nail on the head ;o) but I have to admit that I used this prayer often to stretch the time with adding fictive names who deserved god’s blessing too ….

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Oh Madelyn, this is so funny. I never had to say that particular night time prayer even though I was brought up a Catholic. My older son has OCD and, when he is more stressed that usual (that is saying a lot as he is stressed most of the time), he asks questions repeatedly in a very specific order. When he is finished he will often start over by saying that he didn’t ask properly, I didn’t answer loud enough, etc. Your post reminds me of this for some reason. I must add, that sometimes these questions make me feel like I am going crazy!

    Liked by 2 people

    • I have an OCD friend who makes me feel crazy too – so I get it. OCD is one of the toughest disorders to deal with from the outside, IMHO.

      My friend is an adult, so I can’t do much to get HER to get help (they seldom think they need it), but your son is still young enough to have to do what you recommend (as long as he’s not “in the grip”). SO, I want to strongly suggest that, if you haven’t already, you check out Jeffrey Schwartz’s website (and book, BrainLock: Free Yourself from OCD Behavior).

      For my money, he is **THE** OCD guy – great results for 20 years now (non-meds, neuroplastic “re-wiring” approach for the most part).

      Thanks for the kudos, btw.


      • Thank you for the book recommendation, Madelyn. I will get it. Greg has had a lot of treatment and is under a psychiatrist and a psychologist. They do help him but we have bad periods when Greg is very stressed. Every little bit of advice helps. Have a lovely day.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are most welcome, Robbie. BTW – I know you already do TONS with and for both of your boys – mother of the decade in that regard. I hope it didn’t appear that I was suggesting otherwise with the recommendation (OR that medication was always bad).

          Greg’s psychologist is probably using similar cognitive techniques with him already.

          Schwartz’s book will, no doubt, help you feel a lot more positive about Greg’s future, as well as giving you a suggestion you might not have tried to help him when he gets “stuck in a loop.” Good explanations of what’s going on in the brain when that happens too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you, Madelyn. I am very pleased that you offered some advice as, sometimes, it is very hard dealing with Greg. Sometimes it feels very lonely having to try and make decisions abut Greg on my own. Have a lovely Sunday and hugs to you and Tink.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Since I don’t have kids, I can only imagine the fear that accompanies having to make decisions for one’s children that might affect them life-long — even when children who are neurotypical. I agonize enough over decisions on health care for my puppy!

              I hope BrainLock gives you a bit of understanding and comfort as you deal with Greg’s OCD – and I’m relieved that you are open to my suggestion.

              I have only coached one person (adult) whose OCD seemed more extreme than her ADD – and it was quite the challenge. That’s when I had to do the most research. Keeping stress managed was essential – which was its own challenge for her. “In the moment” tapping seemed to help the most.

              In clients where the OCD piece was “mild” I found that it actually helped mitigate some of the impulsivity and helped them deal with distractions (once they learned to remain calm about them).

              I hope your Sunday was lovely – hard to believe it’s very early Monday where you are. I’m just up and heating water for coffee, so Sunday is just beginning here for me and Tink.

              Have a great Monday.

              Liked by 1 person

And what do YOU think? I'm interested.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: