How long has it been since we talked about medication? That long, eh? Well, that won’t do. Lets have a chat, shall we?
Many of you may remember that I am not pro medication, but that I’m also not against it.
I happen to know that ADHD medication has been around for a long time. I know that the established medications have been tested and that the newer ones are being tested. Rigorously tested.
I know that there are some people for whom the medications may not work. I know that there are some people for whom the medications will cause side effects.
So, you’ve been hearing so called experts say that there is no such thing as ADHD. Well, I’d buy that, I guess, although, I still think I have some doubts that tell me it’s real.
Let’s start with the argument that it has been made up by pharmaceutical companies. That makes sense, I suppose. I mean, if I could make a ton of money by inventing a drug and then inventing a disorder to use that drug as a treatment for … well, sounds like a pretty sweet deal to me.
But wait, there have been documented descriptions of psychological case studies that describe the symptoms of ADHD long before it was treated with stimulants. How does that fit in to this theory?
I’ve been doing some writing about ADHD the last five days or so. No, not this blog. Well, not just this blog.
I’ve been engaged to write a few articles on the subject.
And I’m learning some things, relearning some things, and remembering some things.
I’ve been reminded of how young this disorder is and yet how far back in history you can go and still find descriptions of it.
I’ve met a lot of people who may have ADHD. Some say “I have that. Well, I’m pretty sure I do.”
Others don’t say anything, possibly not recognizing themselves as being on the spectrum.
But without a diagnosis, you really don’t have a starting point for treatment. In fact, without a diagnosis, you’re just guessing.
When I first realized I had ADHD, I was stunned. I spent long moments trying to rationalize my life up ’til this point, and other long moments trying hard to deny and disprove the theory I had managed to create. It’s a very long distance from realization to diagnosis.
There are things I don’t do well. And there are reasons for that.
No, I’m not talking about paying attention … well, not just that.
I don’t do well at running a nuclear reactor. Or, at least, I imagine I wouldn’t. I’ve never really tried, because I’ve never had any training. I suspect that it involves more than just flipping a switch.
I don’t do all that well shifting gears in big trucks and tractors that require double clutching. It’s not that I don’t know how, it’s that I don’t practice much.
I know some of you are determined to view ADHD as a gift. And I’m not going to argue with you.
I’ve also heard from some folks who say thinking of ADHD as a gift is being delusional. I can’t really argue with that either.
But the truth, as far as I’m concerned, is very different. I look at it like this. This quirky, far ranging, rapid firing, often absent, wickedly misbehaving, thrill seeking, bicycle on a bobsled track without brakes brain of mine is what I get to work with.
I don’t write a help column. If you’re looking for tips & tricks, hints to a happy life, what the kids are calling “hacks” these days, you may find a few that work for you here, but that’s not my job.
What is my job? Well, among other things, I talk about what my life is like and the things I notice that are likely part of, or at least influenced by, my ADHD.
If you read my blog and you catch yourself saying “Me too!” or “So that’s why that happens.” or even just “I understand that totally … I don’t do that, but I see how that could be.” then you get the big part of why I’m here.
I live half way between the equator and the north pole. Well, not quite, I’m a 40 minute drive from the 45th parallel.
Close enough though. I can say that “half way” thing without feeling like I’m lying. I’m not standing on the line, but I’m a stones throw from it in a global sense.
What that means is that I’m living in an area that experiences real winters. Frozen ponds, several feet of snow in a normal winter season, and daily high temperatures that are well below freezing are the things my winter days are made of.
I look at cats with their nine lives and I say to them, “Amateurs!”
I mean, really, just nine chances to dodge death? I’d never have made it to kindergarten.
Okay, I didn’t go to kindergarten, there was none in my town when I was the right age for it. Remember, I’m a dinosaur. I started my education in a one room school with one teacher and eight grades.
I don’t know about you, but over the years I’ve had to learn not to open my mouth every time there’s silence. The result is that I’ve had less things to apologize for.
Note that I said less things and not no things. That’s because, even if I do pause before speaking, I don’t always make the right choice about whether or not to say something. But there are times when it helps.
In 55 years of life I’ve managed to maybe reduce the inappropriate things I say by perhaps half.