So, there’s no such thing as ADHD? Let’s examine that, shall we?
ADHD is defined as a collection of symptoms, so to determine if it exists, we’ll have to go through some of them. We’ll need to have an example of someone who supposedly has ADHD. But we’ll also need someone who doesn’t have ADHD for comparison, a control group so to speak. I’ll volunteer to be the ADHDer, you can be the non-ADHDer. Let’s begin shall we?
Let’s start with focus. This is actually not an accurate symptom. I, and other ADHDers, are always focusing, just not usually on any one thing long enough to complete a task. We know that we need to focus on important things. Unfortunately, knowing and accepting this is usually the point at which we relax our guard, the point when our minds wander off.
So lack of focus is a major symptom and I have it. I will suddenly realize that I’m not doing what I should be, what I started out to do.
I suffer also from a symptom called inattention. A close cousin to lack of focus, this one is harder to deal with because I am not the center of what my attention should be on. This will manifest itself during conversations of a slow or less detailed nature. Also, embarrassingly enough, conversations about things I have no interest in will rarely hold my attention for long.
I can tell myself to pay attention, but that lecture usually goes like this
“ … listen, listen, pay attention. This is your good friend talking. She’s really excited about what she’s saying and you need to listen. Just look at how animated she’s gotten talking about this. She’s smiling and laughing and her hair is bouncing and shining, she really has a neat hair color. My hair was nearly that color once, before it got darker and then turned gray. I wonder if everyone’s hair gets darker as they get older? Man I sure have gotten older. Remember when I was a teenager? That was like, yesterday. Ha! I’m still a teenager – in my mind … oh oh, my friend has stopped talking. She’s looking at me expectantly. What did she just ask?”
So, inattention is another symptom.What? You say you sometimes have that too? Huh? Well, here’s one for you … inappropriate behavior and comments. I got that in spades. I do tend to hang out with people who know this will happen, but even they will be astounded, insulted, upset or flabbergasted by what I say or do … oh, you occasionally do that also?
I don’t manage money well, I think it and time are very similar entities in my mind.
Well, I also have poor executive function. I have poor decision making skills, poor prioritizing skills, I make poor decisions, I have difficulty managing time and estimating my time requirements. I don’t manage money well, I think it and time are very similar entities in my mind. I make decisions based on unimportant criteria and end up …
What? You’ve made bad decisions? Something’s wrong here. I know I have ADHD, and you say you don’t, yet you have all my symptoms.
Ahhhhh! Wait a minute. There’s something I forgot. All ADHD symptoms are present in the general population, ADHDers suffer from quantity and quality issues. These symptoms are infinitely more frequent for us and are far more intense. They are normal symptoms, but we suffer an increase in frequency and amplitude.
We have more normal symptoms than you do. That means we’re just more normal than you are. We’re more normal and you’re less normal. Sub-normal one might even say … if one were into name calling.
Well, I’m sorry about you being less normal than we thought. That’s a rather upsetting diagnosis, I’m sure. Maybe if you just applied yourself a little more, try harder, pay attention to how much attention you’re paying to things and try to cut back. Or maybe you just don’t want to be as normal as we are???
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Last reviewed: 8 Oct 2012