ADHD horror story: Waiting for a phone call

Waiting for a phone call has to be the most frustrating ADHD experience.

A few days ago, I was waiting for a scheduled phone call from the doctor and it instantly took over my whole world. I felt agitated, argumentative and stressed out, so I am just wondering …

Is this story familiar to you?

7.15 AM: The doctor’s Surgery said they would call me today. They said it would be in the afternoon. That means I must be on high alert from 11.59

8:00 AM: OK, I have my phone, and my phone has to go on mute for this meeting, but if they call early, I will keep it on the desk. If I miss this, they will not help me, and will think I’m faking everything!

8.01 AM: Should I call them and check if they will call me today? I’ll remember, but maybe they won’t.

9.09 AM: What does my ringtone sound like? I can’t check, this guy is speaking. I should be listening… OK, listen and focus. Listen, listen, listen. Hold on I was focusing so hard on listening that I wasn’t listening. Damn it.

9.15 AM: What if I got the dates wrong? I know what I’m like. No, I announced it to the room and immediately put it in the diary. I am so organised this year.

9.16 AM: I am not organised.

10.00 AM: Thank goodness for the break, I was getting really fidgety. Time to check my phone in the bathroom, because God forbid anyone knows that I, the person who is blogging about how unorganised I am, am unorganised.

10.15 AM: What if they call early? What would I do, would I leave? That would be so embarrassing.

10.20 AM: F this. Do a moment of square breathing. You have looked at this so many times. The current failures of the NHS are not your fault, do your best you can’t control the past.

12.00 PM: Phone sound on BLAST! Time to religiously hold and check my phone. Anyone who talks to me will know about my appointment because it lives at the top of my brain.

12.01 PM: Have they called yet?

12.02 PM: Have they called yet?

12.03 PM: Have they called yet?

12.04 PM: F this, out of sight, out of mind. Unless it starts to ring, I’m not touching the damn thing.

12.10 PM: Have they called yet?

1.00 PM: So if they call me, they’re going to invalidate me. They’re going to try and brush me under the rug. OK, let’s not get angry yet, because then I’ll get snappy at the wrong person.

1.30 PM: OK, wrong tone with that person, I’m going into fight mode. Let’s just reel it in, John Cena.


1.32 PM: Spam call! Time to check 1000 times that they didn’t call in the two seconds I was on the phone.

1.33 PM: OK, they didn’t. Calm down back up in fight mode.

2.00 PM: So when they call, I’m going to be like “You gotta listen to me, you will take me seriously! I am in pain and I will not be ignored!!!”

2.20 PM: OK, again, chill out, calm down. You don’t need to jump into fight mode. Let’s just distract myself, they have another two and a half hours.

3.00 PM: OK, they have to call soon, right?? They have to call soon. They will be finishing the day soon.

3.15 PM: Jumping at every sound my phone makes, I’m pretty sure the rest of the office is getting sick of it. Any message could be them cancelling or messaging instead of calling. Maybe they’re texting to let me know that they’re going to call in 5? (They have never done this before.)


3.45 PM: They didn’t fight me. That was a really good, constructive call…why am I crying?

3.50 PM: OK, no longer crying, but I am so, so, so tired yet full of energy.

Waiting for a phone call, especially for an event that may take a negative turn, can become a whole day event. Having to keep the fight in, the nerves away, and the event’s existence in your head is like running a triathlon but everyone else is on rollerblades.
It is absolutely exhausting.

Holly Knight