I was having a conversation with a friend not long ago, and we got onto the topic of how we (people with ADHD) are perceived by the public. She told me she didn’t like people knowing that she had ADHD because, to her, it’s a weakness and she didn’t want to appear weak (I may have been wearing a revealing shirt at the time …).
I told my friend that I refuse to accept people perceiving me as weak, I deal with more than they do and I survive. I’m tougher than any one of them. “I’m the toughest guy you know!” I said.
Not over by a long shot
I thought that would be the end of that, but it was not. I guess I don’t look as tough as I think I do.
She said “But even if you think you’re tough, and I’m not saying you’re not, people may still think you’re weak. And I’m bothered by what people think.”
I talk to myself. I talk to myself quite a lot. Yes, I talk back to the radio, and to my computer, the DVD player, the hockey announcers, the fools in advertisements trying to sell me stupid things that I’ll never buy and those brilliant people in advertisements who are telling me about the wonderful things I could buy …
Yes, I talk to the microwave, the toaster oven, the dishwasher and the thermostat. I’ve had some brilliant three-way conversations with the coffee maker and its friend, the coffee grinder. They’ve given me some amazing feedback on my work and may even have come up with one or two of my blog post topics (I think some of them sound like the coffee maker came up with them and the grinder convinced me to run with them … sorry).
But that’s not all …
I talk to myself too. I’m not saying those conversations are any more scintillating than the ones with the coffee twins, just that I need conversation. I need feedback, even if it is only in my head. And in the absence of real live conversation, I need self-dialogue.
In my research I’ve found that scientists and doctors are studying the development of the human brain and how that development relates to ADHD. These studies have shown that the human brain has developmental milestones, times when certain areas of the brain are supposed to mature, activate, connect with other areas. If that development is arrested or delayed the resultant brain is considered underdeveloped.
Running fast just to stay in one place
The ADHD brain is a victim, supposedly, of a lack of development. On July 14th, 1996, results of a study by F. Xavier Castellanos, M.D., of the National Institute of Mental Health were released. In this study, Castellanos and his colleagues suggested that MRI’s (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) showed the existence of abnormalities in the brains of ADHDers. The differences were significant enough to be detectable, but not significant enough, as yet, to be used as a test for ADHD.
I’ve always been fascinated by group names. Not musical groups, collections of like entities, herds and flocks.
We are unique. Any one of us is an entirely unique individual. As ADHDers we often define ourselves as unique, quirky, one of a kind. As an undiagnosed one of these individuals it never occurred to me that I might be part of a group. I always felt singular. Now that has changed. I now belong to a loosely knit organization of like minded individuals.
What’s in a name?
A collection of ADHDers is a no mans land for the so called normal members of society. They don’t fit in. They think to linearly to be able to keep up with the speed of our thoughts. They can’t mentally change gears fast enough to follow along. I think it behooves us to come up with a name for a group of ourselves, a group of ADHDers.
You know, I’ve seen some magic shows. I’ve seen some pretty amazing things happen, and I’m at a loss to explain how the results were obtained.
Yeah, sometimes the tricks were not that great and sometimes they were downright bad, but the good ones were really worth seeing. And weren’t we the perfect audience? Easily distracted and eager for excitement.
But what about the show in our lives?
Now, though, I’ve been wondering about some of the disappearing acts that seem to accompany the ADHD life.
For starters, where did my life go? I’m 52 for a couple more months, but I swear I feel like I’m 22. Okay, my body feels more like 72 some days. And it’s true I don’t get out of bed in the morning with the same enthusiasm that I did when I was 22, but I bet I’m as enthused as a 22 year old non-ADHDer.
It seems that this person thought that calling ADHD a “disorder” was, perhaps, an insult to other disorders. Or to put it another way, “Is ADHD debilitating enough to be considered a real disorder?”
You would have been proud of me, I kept my cool. I took a deep breath and took inventory of what I wanted to say, what I should say.
On Monday I went to a workshop on grief for suicide survivors. The speaker was John R. Jordan, Ph.D., author of the book, Grief After Suicide. This isn’t a blog about suicide so I won’t review the book or the man here, but if you are a suicide survivor this book and this man are compassionate places to start on your journey to recovery.
I was not surprised to find that I didn’t know as much about my own grief as I thought I should. My experience with that very thing began less than four short months ago. The pain is fresh, the situation is current. Shouldn’t I know exactly what I’m dealing with?
But no, as I said, I was not surprised to find I was in the dark – about a lot of things.
You know, we’re not all alike. I love to point out the ways in which we ADHDers mesh. I love to point out that we understand how other ADHDers think and feel, and to a great extent that’s true, but we are not all alike. In fact no two of us are alike.
As you’ve heard me, and others, say before; ADHD is a symptom spectrum disorder. To be diagnosed you must present a certain number of symptoms and they must impact your life in a negative way. But no rule says that I have to have the same symptoms as you, although there will be overlap. And while symptoms are either present or not present in any one of us, they manifest at different intensities. It isn’t like having a third ear (and if I had a third ear I still wouldn’t pay attention to things that don’t interest me).
It’s Friday, November 11th, 2011, Veteran’s Day in the United States, Remembrance Day here in Canada. This is my tribute.
I’m not a fighter, I know full well that I would be unable to do what a soldier must do. Part of this is that I disagree with the concept of war, I know that, in the moment of truth, I couldn’t justify killing someone. That’s me.
But make no mistake, I respect the women and men who have stood up against those who would take away our freedom. And I mourn, without redress, those whose sacrifices have cost them so much. Lost time, lost families, lost limbs and lives, a cost too high, a price they often paid without hesitation.
We celebrate their gain every day of our lives. We celebrate with our freedom, we make good decisions and bad ones, but we make them ourselves. We make mistakes and we learn from them, because we can.
Yes, there would appear to be a preponderance of ADHDers among the artists of the world (or a glut of artists among the ADHDers of the world), but lets not become victims of false logic here. It may be that ADHD does play a role in creativity, but to date there is no proof of that. Perhaps ADHD and creativity are both caused by the same developmental anomaly.
False logic is when one observes that B follows A and concludes that A must be the cause of B. What may not be observed is that C may be the cause of both A and B but because C is not easily observed it isn’t implicated through casual observation.
Having said that …