Archives for July, 2011
In Almost Famous: Re-thinking Being a Famous ADHDer, Part I, I began to think about what it might be like to achieve my goal of being a famous writer. ADHD + success = trouble? With the recent passing of British singer Amy Winehouse, I started worrying about success luring me to the dark side, unleashing my less healthy tendencies. Would fame and fortune erode all my hard work, neutralize my ADHD meds, and unleash the pre-diagnosis beast within? Worse, would it exaggerate my less-than-desirable traits?
I haven't read the articles about Amy Winehouse's passing, but you'd have to live in a cave not to be at least peripherally aware of her story. The salient details which stand out for me are: young / talented + struggling with addiction / in & out of rehab. I've never been to rehab, or to addictions counselling, but ever since a young age I've been terrified that I'd end up an alcoholic, living under a bridge. It's all too easy for me to slip from yoga every morning to vodka coolers every night. I vacillate between these lifestyles on a more regular basis than I'd care to admit. As I thought about Amy, I wondered: do all famous people have mental / emotional health problems?
I was about 27 or 28. There was a certain dance club we used to frequent in my town. When you entered, you had to walk through a corridor to get to the bar and dance floor. The wall was lined with men, drinks in hand, all eyeing you up and down as you passed by. I hated it. It was like running the gauntlet. I became so fed up with being ogled by lecherous creeps that I began to stare them in the eye, just long enough to make them uncomfortable, then I'd run my eyes slowly down to their feet and back up again, to once more challenge them by looking directly into their eyes. Seldom would a man meet my gaze. They could dish it out, but they sure as hell couldn't take it. I was nobody's prey. I was a hunter. But I didn't know that then.
I was curious about where I was this time last year, so I looked up my post from July 21, 2010. It was an interview with Nancy Ratey, author, The Disorganized Mind. Nancy and I have been friends ever since that interview, but I'm sorry to say we haven't been in touch for a while. With my mom dying recently, and changes in Nancy's life, and both of us being so busy with work, we haven't talked in months. I miss her. I realize that, same as a year ago, I still have very few ADHD women friends. Ok, make that - no ADHD women friends, except Nancy. Why is that? I think it's because I'm much more a guy when it comes to ADD. I have the hyperactivity thing, the extreme libido thing, the Chutzpah thing, I'm loud and active and sexual and unpolished. And I'm ok with that.
Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be cowboys Don't let 'em pick guitars and drive them old trucks Make 'em be doctors and lawyers and such~ lyrics by Willie Nelson I'm frustrated. The only reason I'm writing this blog is that my mama let me grow up to be an untreated ADDer. Ok, blame isn't the point. The point is that, I see so many parents in denial. I hear the hype about how ADHD is over-diagnosed, and over-medicated. I watch as parents watch their children struggle, and yet they don't get them the help they need. (I can relate to denial; I struggled with accepting my own diagnosis, but now that I know what it's like to live untreated and treated for the condition, I'm trying like the dickens to lasso in as many nay-sayers as possible and let them know that growing up with ADHD is about as much fun as being the rodeo clown who's stampeded by a wild bull). I know what a HUGE difference treatment can make. I've spoken with other ADD adults who had a parent, or teacher - someone - who acted as an ad hoc coach when they were young. Whether or not the word "ADD" was ever spoken, somehow, someone had the right idea about what that child needed.
I was thinking about Independence Day. I’m a Canadian. A Canadian with Eh!-D-D, the Canadian subtype of ADHD. When I think about independence, I think about freedom. If I am being independent, I have the freedom to make my own decisions, and to act on them. One of those decisions has been to come “out” about having ADHD. One of my hopes and dreams is that things will change for the better in BOTH our countries for those of us with the condition (and elsewhere; ADHD is represented in the same numbers in adults worldwide as it is in North America).
I’m still swimming against the social current. I’ve noticed that happens mostly when people around me are behaving badly. Lately, a lot of them have been behaving very badly, indeed. In these situations, I’ve been the one displaying maturity. Odd. Am I shedding my lifelong status as perpetual teenager?