You may have heard me quote from the International Consensus Statement on ADHD from January 2002 before. I rather like what it has to say. Basically, it tells us that there isn’t the “the jury is out” scenario that some journalists would have us believe.
I borrowed the title of this blog post from that statement. The full quote I wanted to use as a title was too long …
ADHD is not a benign disorder. For those it afflicts, ADHD can cause devastating problems.”
Today is the first full day, since the birth of Robin Williams, that we will have to make do without his presence in our world. For so many of us that is going to be difficult.
I’m not prone to fame fuelled hero worship. A person has to be more than well known for me to admire them. Admittedly, it is easier to determine whether or not a person is worthy of admiration if they are well known.
Mr. Williams was thought to have ADHD, though he never confirmed that. He was known to have substance and alcohol abuse issues, and was reportedly known to have Bipolar Disorder and Depression.
So many people think that Depression (with a capital “D”) and depression are varying degrees of the same thing.
Like all health issues, an ADHD diagnosis requires that you manifest a certain percentage of the symptoms that define the disorder.
But there’s more to it than that. You also have to manifest those symptoms in more than one setting.
And still you may not receive a diagnosis. There is one last requirement. You see, these symptoms also have to impact your life negatively.
There are people who say that having ADHD makes you creative. And there are those who say that that hasn’t been proven. And there are those who say that ADHD creativity is a myth.
I say that creativity is a matter of creating. And creating requires you to be able to concentrate on the process. And concentration on a single process is what is known as focus.
Having ADHD is pretty much the opposite of being able to focus, at least on things that you choose to focus on. “But we have hyperfocus.” I hear you saying. And yes, there are times when we can zone in on something But Dr. Charles Barkley suggests that “hyperfocus” is the wrong name for that.
Interesting how the mind works, or in some instances doesn’t work. I went to bed on Wednesday night, a tired man. I was counting on getting lots of sleep, counting heavily on it.
And sleep I did. I know this because every time I woke up I realized I’d been asleep. I’ve had this happen before, it isn’t pleasant.
Sometimes it occurs because I had my last cup of coffee for the day to long before going to bed. I need that coffee to be right before my bedtime if I’m going to count on my mind not zinging around like a bullet in a steel barrel. Counter intuitive, I know, but that’s me, your friendly neighbourhood ADHD enigma.
I’ve told you all before how I get caught up in my schedule. Not caught up as in everything done, caught up like a fish in a net.
And I know I’ve mentioned that it seems to happen without me seeing it coming. It’s usually like a walk in the park … that suddenly results in being lost in the woods in some nightmare situation with wild animals and movie demons chasing me.
Then there’s a bunch of different colored doors but they’re all locked and I have a key but I don’t know which door it opens and it’s color is some kind of wonky plaid tie-dye …ENOUGH!
On Monday we had a little talk about a friend of mine who has a local business and told me about how much he valued the strengths that an employee with ADHD could bring to the table.
I asked him if he had to do anything differently to make the value evident, and he offered the following suggestions.
He suggested that lists were a bad thing. I looked at him kind of oddly, and he clarified by explaining that if a person makes a list of things they need to do, that’s fine. It’s their list, they’re invested in it. But if they are handed a list, it will get lost.
What did I say on Wednesday? What were those fateful words? Yeah, I don’t remember either, let’s look them up.
Here they are, “And what about all those things you’ve been unable to keep track of that have caused you so much aggravation? Sure we can call that a flawed memory, but we could also look at it as training in the fine art of trouble shooting, of salvaging situations when they go pear shaped. And we didn’t get good at that by being normal, did we?”
And on Monday, I was talking about being overwhelmed. In that post I said, “Some missteps can be lessons, and I’m always ready to learn. True, I have to experience some lessons an inordinately large number of times, but eventually I clue in.”
There are lots of treatments for ADHD out there. Sadly, lots of them are drek!
There are the mental exercises that I like to call “mind games” because that’s pretty much all they are. I don’t deny that they help you. They may make you more capable and confident and that’s worth lots. But they will not cure or even treat your ADHD.
However, being more capable and confident should reduce stress. And ADHD is a context sensitive disorder, stress makes the symptoms more intense and more frequent. So reducing stress should be part of an ADHD treatment regimen.
I had a great childhood, but I had a rough time anyway.
When I was growing up, we didn’t know about ADHD. That was partly because we lived in a somewhat remote area, but mostly because ADHD had not been defined at that point as ADHD.
Back then, it was called Minimal Brain Dysfunction, and we certainly had never heard of that.