Books, Characters, Climax (contemporary), General, Musings, Research

Creating Lila Frost proved I wasn’t stupid after all

Lila Frost, the determined rancher featured in No Strings Attached, had issues being organized and focused.

It wasn’t until I was nearing the end of the book that I realized the character I created had the symptoms of attention deficit hyperactive disorder, though I never mention ADHD in the book.

Lila was easily distracted and impulsive and had poor organizational skills. She was called lazy, scatterbrained, and was accused of reacting without considering consequences. No matter how hard she tried, even knowing she could lose her position on the ranch, she still screwed up.

When I pulled Lila Frost from my subconscious I had no idea how doing so would change my life.

cover of Climax Montana 4, No Strings Attached

No Strings Attached: Lila Frost of the Circle C Ranch

I spent a crazy year writing ten Highland Ménage books before I could think of anything else. When I did, I realized I had a few of Lila’s symptoms.

I researched further, discovering many women are being diagnosed with ADD/ADHD. So I checked out an ADHD self-test form for women.

And there in front of me was a list of things I’d blamed myself for, which were common in women with the (inherited) disorder. Things I thought I should be able to do if only I tried harder…

* I spend a lot of time looking for things

* Though my home is clean it has papers and books and projects sitting out. Other people don’t have that cluttered look, so I must clean it up before inviting anyone over. So I never do…

* I have a hard time organizing to act on my ideas, no matter how good they are (I think, not do)

* I often start the day determined to get organized/ clean up, but it doesn’t happen

* I’ve watched so many others of equal (or less) intelligence and education pass me by

* I am amazed at how others seemed to be so organized. I can’t figure out where things should go so I will remember where they are (and that they exist), so I leave them out

Where I work: have to see it or I forget it

Where I work: have to see it or I forget it

All my life I’d been accused of being lazy, messy, and disorganized. I refuse to listen or work up to potential. I must not care enough about someone if I can’t remember what happened unless I have a photograph.

I didn’t get along with girls as I couldn’t understand their social requirements and boys didn’t mind as much when I blurted things out or changed subjects in mid-sentence.

You expect me to concentrate here?

You expect me to concentrate here?

In 2012 I was forced into early retirement by a boss who insisted I could concentrate in a giant room with a hundred cubicles, and should be able to learn organizational skills, if only I really tried. Now I knew why I got panic attacks at the thought.

I read how medication, along with learning tips and tricks and changing how I do things, could change my life. One year after Lila Frost was published my doctor sent me to a psychologist to be tested.

Imagine if these were constantly moving, flashing, and making sounds....

Imagine if these were constantly moving, flashing, and making sounds….

Turns out I am a classic case of AHDH-combined (both impulsive and distracted), at a moderate level. Smart enough to get by yet almost always under-employed. Feeling stupid and lazy and obviously a failure at the things women are supposed to be good at (organizational skills, clean home, a social life).

Three months after I started I’ve taken charge of my life, knowing I may not do things the same as other women, but what I do works for me. And that is okay. I’m not stupid. My ADHD allows my mind to jump all over the place, creating characters and plots and more. If I keep myself under control…

I note that writing this has taken me six hours, focused so much that I barely moved from my chair, when I really should be completing Climax, Montana 6.

And no, unlike Lila Frost I do not have a pair of tall, handsome dominant men.

Yet…

I highly recommend checking out the online “ADDitudemag” which has strategies and support for ADHD. They have a special site for women, who are often diagnosed with depression or an anxiety disorder (which may be secondary conditions) instead of being treating their ADHD.

Note that ADHD is a neuropsychiatric condition that is genetically transmitted — you inherited it. It is a biological condition that you were born with, not a moral weakness, or failure of your will.

Your parents, siblings, or children may have symptoms. If you grew up in an AHDH home you may not have learned cleaning and organizing systems.

There are many sites on the Internet that can help, and you might find a local support group.

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2 Responses to “Creating Lila Frost proved I wasn’t stupid after all”

  1. On September 6, 2016 at 3:04 am meacatmom responded with... #

    I wasn’t diagnosed with ADD until I was 40 although I shared them same doctor as my brother and male cousin who were diagnosed before they were teens. As is often the case, symptoms for women can be different than those for me. Hyper-focus is common in women… like focusing on a blog entry to the exclusion of what you are supposed to be writing…:) But because I could, and still do, sit still for hours at a stretch, reading or beading. or writing, I couldn’t have ADHD, or ADD. This condition is under-diagnosed in females, and results in a lot of us being chronically under or unemployed, as well as damaging almost every relationship you can think of.

    ADD makes me a great reader, a great although reluctant editor of reports, presentations etc, at every place of employment, and a font of “useless” knowledge that somehow shakes loose at the right time to make me a pretty good teacher. It also makes me impatient, completely unable to hold a conversation in any room that has a TV on, or a video game playing, and gives me the time management skills of a 10 year old.

    Many of our best creative artists, thinkers, entrepreneurs, and comics have ADD or ADHD. If ANYONE in your family has it, have EVERYONE in your family, regardless of gender, take the test. It can save a lot of heartache, anger, frustration and depression, not to mention money (divorce is so expensive these days)

    Thanks so much for mentioning this, Reece. You may have saved someone`s heart, soul, or life! And thanks for the good reads!

    • On December 30, 2016 at 5:24 pm Reece Butler responded with... #

      I am SO sorry that I have not responded to your comment until now, Meacatmom. I have been reluctant (avoiding) going on the site because I knew there was so much I needed to do.

      As a result, you didn’t get any feedback to say how much I appreciate hearing from you. 🙁

      I put information on my Facebook page that I hope will help people. Regarding ADHD, a number of women have commented that they saw what I described in themselves, and were going to check it out with the doctor. Yeah, I “just write romance”, but as you say, I might have helped someone along the way.

      And this morning I got texts from my younger brother who has ADD, and likely the inherited depression I have. He commented on how 2017 would likely be just as bad as the past 50 of so. I would have been the same if I hadn’t found the right anti-depressant as the rest of my family is very negative and some (like my mom) are extremely bitter. Getting (much later) diagnosed with ADHD and getting medication has helped me a lot, though perhaps that’s why I have problems writing.

      I will be taking steps in 2017 to schedule my days to write. As in not getting on the Internet to check the weather at 8 am and now, almost 4.5 hours later, still haven’t worked on my novel. (I did, however, complete the background planning to do my 2016 business taxes!).

      Big hugs, and thank you so much for the feedback. It helps to know that someone out there really does read it, and pushes me to post more.

      Best wishes for 2017, Reece