ADHD & Adulting
So, I may have mentioned in previous posts that I have returned to college to finish that psych degree that I started 30 years ago. I am loving the classes and subject matter just as much as I did all those years ago.
BUT, I am taking some huge issues with the diagnosis and prognosis for those with ADD or ADHD. I have no issue with diagnosing people with ADD or ADHD- it is REAL and I know what I am talking about because I have it. I was not diagnosed as a child because mine expressed itself as day dreaming mostly and I was labeled a ditz versus ADHD and I am so grateful for that mistake. But, I have huge issues with saying that the way these brains work is a flaw.
The reason I am grateful is that if I had been properly diagnosed I would have been “properly” labeled and fed a total load OF CRAP. Like that fact that I would always struggle with keeping a job or wouldn’t have friends. I do not argue with the fact that my brain operates differently than other brains. I do not argue the fact that interpersonal relations are difficult at times but theses differences are not necessarily bad, they are just different.
My brain is VERY active and I do have trouble sitting still for long periods of time.
Yes, to the classroom setting or certain job settings this can be a problem- not for me but for the others who have set ideas about what makes for a good student or employee.
I produce a LOT, much more than the average person BECAUSE I have ADHD. In the course of writing this article, I will have gotten up from the desk no less than three times. BUT, in those moments when I had to get up and move- I washed and folded three loads of laundry, emptied the de-humidifier, watered my plants, and sent three texts. Let’s also not forget that while I was physically active, my brain was putting what I wanted to say in order. I was crafting my response to the information I am reading and thinking about what I wanted to say to those of you who share in the blessing of ADHD or are parenting a child with ADHD. Remember, my brain is NEVER still.
While I write, I wear earbuds so that the hyperactive side of my brain is busy so the other side can write.
Another falacy in the preception of hyperactivity is that we can’t focus. This is completely UNTRUE. I can focus but I have to really be into what I am doing. When I am writing fiction, reading, being creative, gardening or any other one of my passions, I can focus so intensely that I do not hear a thing that goes on around me.
Some see this as a flaw- why?
Because I am different from the average that makes me flawed? Nope, that makes me unique.
Stop framing these people that operate differently than the average as flawed. Just because a kid does not perform well in school is not a sign that they lack intelligence. More than likely they perform poorly because they are more intelligent than the average and are not interested in what you are teaching. Or, they need the material presented in a different form.
Saying that those with ADHD have memory deficits is also a lie when applied as a generality. I have an amazing memory. If I read it, I can remember it. If I write it, I can remember it. If it is interesting to me and I hear it, I can remember it. However, I can forget an appointment because I was engrossed in a project. This is not a memory problem. If I find you boring, I won’t remember you or what you said. Not because I have a memory problem but because you are uninteresting. Furthermore, just because I am doodling on my paper it does not mean that I am not paying attention. I won’t lie, I found it insanely satisfying when a teacher tried to put me on the spot by calling me out and asking me to repeat what she just said. Yes, I was doodling and “not paying attention” in your world, but in my world? I heard every word and could repeat it back to you. Which I did, much to their consternation.
How about instead of trying to force every human to learn a certain way, we attempt to teach in a way that engages the brightest of minds and encourages the celebration of differences.
If you believed what you were told as a child concerning your brain, reject it now. Lean how to yoke your strengths and compensate where you are struggling. For instance, wear earbuds and listen to music when you need to concentrate. Choose a job that allows you to be physically active if you need it. Set timers on your phone so you can remember important dates and times.
But, for the love of God, do not put your beautiful, active mind into a boring box that pleases society because you no longer challenge the “norms”.
I acknowledge that to be a friend or family member of mine comes with some challenges. I might forget your anniversary date, this DOES NOT mean that I am not stinking proud that you have built a beautiful marriage against all odds. I might forget your birthday, but this DOES NOT mean that I am not glad that you exist. Because my thought process are randomized, you may get unexpected notes in the middle of the year as a total surprise. But here is the thing, I have to accept you and all your flaws, as well if we are going to have a relationship.
I guess the thing that just irritates me to the point of desired violence is that the basis of a diagnosis of ADHD is based on that human performs based on society’s norms. How many times has society gotten it wrong? Really, do we even want every person able to sit quietly in a room for hours and never have moments of passion in which they can’t control themselves? How boring.
I would like to qualify my thoughts with the fact that I understand that there is a range of intensity in which the symptoms express themselves. I also understand that medication is needed at times. I am not judging on the choices that people are making, I am simply stating that if we framed it differently, we would see the gifts in these brains versus what is “wrong”.