There was a time when I thought I was normal.
Okay, you can stop laughing now. What I meant was I thought I was well within the normal spectrum and that, while unique and quirky, I was still just your everyday, average guy.
You’re laughing again, I’ll wait ’til you finish …. done? Good.
Then everything changed and I realized I’d never be within that so called “normal spectrum.”
I hear from people all the time who tell me about their ADHD. I hear directly from people who comment here, and from people who email me privately (do some snooping here on the blog and you’ll find an email address for me if you are so inclined).
I also hear from people on social networking sites, in online support groups, and from people who know me and just want to talk.
They, well, you, or people like you, tell me about the ways that ADHD manifests itself in your lives.
And one of the most amazing things about ADHD is that, while you or I may not have the manifestation that someone else has, it is almost always an easy reach to understand the symptom that is being described.
It’s Thanksgiving here in Canada, and soon it will be Thanksgiving in the U.S.A.
Maybe we could be thankful for something unique. What about our regrets?
What regrets you ask? Well, for starters, we forget. We get distracted. We make poor decisions. We practise deluding ourselves. And as a result, our lives suffer.
But all these things are parts of many peoples lives. True, we do these things and others to extreme. But it’s the phrase “we do these things” that is at the root of our regrets. We make bad choices, bad decisions.
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.
Have you had enough of being considered unusual and different? Have you had enough of being judged and found wanting?
Or do you line up with those who are judging you? Do you agree with those assessments. Do you wish you could “cure” yourself? Do you wish someone could offer you a cure?
If it’s a cure you’re wanting, there is hope. But it’s not maybe the kind of hope you were … well, hoping for.
It’s not a change in the way you are or the way your brain works. It’s a change in your perception.
On Saturday I went to a Pride picnic in my town. I have some friends in the LGBT community and the annual celebration is for members of this community and their friends.
I know what being marginalized is like. I know what being judged for who and what you are is like. And I don’t think it’s right.
Now I’m not suggesting that people with ADHD have been treated as badly as the lesbian/gay/bisexual and transgender community. There is absolute vehemence and intolerance in this world directed towards members of this community.
We, as the human race, deal with spectrums all the time. There is the spectrum of intelligence. And within that there is the spectrum of so called normal intelligence.
There is the spectrum of wealth, from extreme poverty to the one percent. There’s the spectrum of physical health from terminally ill to in the pink. And there is the spectrum of behavior, from locked up with the key thrown away (and in some places that would be on death row) to being the pinnacle of society and a shining example to all of humanity.
Sometimes I get worked up about promoting mental health awareness. I get upset about stigmatization and marginalization of persons with mental health issues, disorders and disease. I get angry with people who would either judge people whose mental health is less than optimal, or exploit us for gain.
But if you’ve read my blog before, I’m not likely telling you anything new. And in all sincerity, I sometimes feel I rant about these things too much. (Although I also often feel these topics aren’t addressed adequately in public forums.)
So if I get a chance to bring awareness to the public, in a positive way, I’ll usually jump at that opportunity. And such an opportunity presented itself to me recently. I was asked to participate in a public show and book launch at the local hospital.
You know I get upset when I hear people say things like “You don’t seem like you have a mental disorder, are you sure?”
But let’s consider the world in which opinions like these have been nurtured. We live in a world where mental health is considered a vulgar topic of conversation.
If you’re not feeling emotionally or mentally stable, you’re supposed to keep it to yourself. If you need help, you have to figure out how to find it with little to go on in the way of signage and less in the way of knowledge in the community.
It said: “[sic]your article is not a true fact. going into a store and coming out with something different is being stupid. having a list read to u and trying to remember is more accurate. it has to do with being able to pay attention and listening without being sidetracked”
I had to give it some serious thought before I figured out why this bothered me. And here’s what I came up with …