As I sit in my chair waiting for my cue from Jon to start playing, my mind starts wondering. I’m trying to focus on my cello and not my ADHD. I just want to play music and this is one of the first practice sessions we have left before our concert. I can’t let Jon down this time, I have to do my part. I try to focus all my attention on the strings and the bow, trying to plan my next couple of steps that will come up in a few seconds.
My cue is coming up in a couple of seconds but I’m afraid I might freeze up. Am I going to mess up? Am I going to miss my cue? Right before my part started, I heard Jon clear his throat as if he was bringing me back out of my mind.
I place my fingers on the strings and draw my bow across them when my time comes. Yes, I didn’t miss my cue. Now, I hope I can do this when we actually perform in a few days. As I switch to the next chord I hear a loud bang coming from outside our home built studio.
My head snaps up and eyes focus on the door. Did someone fall? Is someone hurt? Was one of Jon’s kids hurt? Was his wife hurt? Did someone drop a box? How heavy was the box? What was in the box? Were they carrying at TV? Boots? A table? A dog kennel? No, probably not a dog kennel, Jon doesn’t have any dogs. What if they dropped some music equipment that we ordered? Oh no, how much was it? Is it broken? What if we needed to use it and it’s now broken? What are we going to do? Should I go check it out? I think it’s important, I think I should go check it out.
My fingers fly across the keys as if they are on autopilot. I’ve played this song so many times that I don’t even have to look at the keys anymore. I shift my gaze to admire the pictures on the wall and the cool lighting we have. As I move my eyes across the room I glance at Steve who looks lost.
He looks like he can’t tell the difference between right and left right now. I think he’s having trouble with his ADHD again so I decided after this song I will call it a day.
I keep my eyes on him as he continues to stare off into space. I know his part is coming up and he will be so embarrassed and devastated if he misses it. So, I decided to cough a bit, hoping that will bring him back enough so he can register what’s going on.
To my luck, it worked and Steve started playing right when he was supposed to. Maybe we won’t have a problem after all.
I continue to play the song but I keep half my attention on Steve, in case he’s having trouble playing his part.
About halfway through the song I heard a bang come from outside the room. It sounded like someone had dropped something so I just shrugged it off and continued playing. Shortly after the loud noise though I noticed there was no cello accompanying my piano bit.
I looked up and noticed Steve wasn’t playing. He had the same lost look on his face like he did before. I guess the loud noise distracted him so much that he literally got lost in his own thoughts. Knowing that I couldn’t get him out by clearing my throat this time I stopped playing and went to his aide. I walk over and pull up a chair and I didn’t get a reaction.
“Steve?” I asked, “Steve?”
I reached out and placed my hand on his shoulder, “Steve,” I said, “Are you okay?”
I felt him jump under my hand as he looked at me. I could see that he was replaying the last 5 minutes in his head. He quickly went from confusion to embarrassment.
“Yeah, I’m fine,” he answered, “Sorry.”
“Is your ADHD bothering you again?” I asked and continued once I saw him nod, “Hey, it’s okay. It’s nothing to be embarrassed or ashamed about, it happens sometimes. Did you have trouble sleeping last night? Is that why it’s acting up today or is something else bothering you?”
“It was sleep at first but then it was that noise while we were rehearsing. I couldn’t stop thinking about it or coming up with different scenarios of what could’ve happened,” he explained as his eyes filled up with tears, “Why does this always happen at the least appropriate time? Every time we sit down for practice I can’t concentrate. This is so annoying!”
“I know, I know but it’s okay.” I said as I wiped a stray tear away from his face, “I understand that it’s frustrating but we just have to deal with it. Why don’t we take a break and relax?”
“Okay,” he nodded as he got up and followed me to my spare room that I like to call the relaxing room.
I’m so grateful that I turned my spare room into a relaxing room for Steve. I got the room padded so it’s sound proof, I have a comfy couch, a big bed, calming colors, etc.
I led him to the couch and sat down next to him before asking, “Do you want to talk about it more?”
“No, I’m fine,” he said as he crossed his arms, trying to signal to me that he wanted to change the subject.
“Okay,” I sighed, “Why don’t we just relax for a bit? I’m going to put on a white noise playlist and you are going to relax.”
I put on a white noise playlist like I said before leaning back into the couch. After a couple minutes of listening to the playlist, I put my arm around Steve’s shoulders and brought him closer so his head rested on my shoulder. Once I knew he would stay where I put him, I began to run my fingers through his hair, attempting to help him relax.
This is something that we normally do when one of us has a bad day, especially Steve. Sometimes when we are recording in my studio and Steve is having trouble, all 5 of us would go in here to help him relax. We all have a soft spot for him because he’s smaller and much younger than some of us. He’s always struggled with ADHD and sometimes it gets the best of him some days. Personally, I see him as more of a son than anything else. After I lost my daughter, I guess Steve started to fill that hole. I don’t think I tried to, it was just one of those things that just happened.
I continue to run my fingers through his hair for the next couple of minutes. Once my hand was getting tired, I rested it around his shoulders and grabbed my other hand. I was holding him in my arms, trying to give him as much love and comfort from this awkward positioned hug as I could.
I stayed like that for the next hour or so and I noticed he started to relax. His tightly crossed arms began to loosen and give himself more breathing room. His body became heavier and his breathing started to slow.
I know that people with ADHD have trouble falling asleep so if Steve was falling asleep this fast then he must’ve been really exhausted.
I continue to hold him as he falls asleep and wait a couple minutes to make sure he’s really asleep before moving. Once I knew he was asleep, I laid him down gently on the couch. I cupped his head and braced his back as I lowered him down, I brought his feet up to rest on the couch, and I took his shoes off. I also covered him and tucked him in with a big blanket.
I kissed his forehead before going to sit myself down in a chair beside the couch. I left the white noise playlist on because I know it helps him relax. I guess it also helps me relax because I was asleep not to soon after Steve was.