Sometimes, I Wish I'd Taken the Blue Pill: Living with ADHDMorpheus: This is your last chance. After this there is no turning back. You take the blue pill the story ends you wake up in your bed and you believe whatever you want to believe.

You take the red pill, you stay in wonderland and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.

[Neo reaches for the red pill]

Morpheus: Remember. All I’m offering is the truth, nothing more.

[Neo swallows the red pill]

- from the film The Matrix, 1999

 

Sometimes I wish I’d taken the blue pill.

It can be exhausting knowing about, learning about, writing about, talking about, and living with ADHD day in and day out.

Still, it was my choice (all but the having it part, that is).

Shortly after my diagnosis, I decided to talk openly about having ADHD. I’ve received a lot of flack for that, especially when I admitted I’d voluntarily shared that I had ADHD at my workplace. This wasn’t, as it turns out, a popular choice.

As if this weren’t enough, after reading The Highly Sensitive Person, by Elaine N. Aron, I realized that in addition to the hypersensitivities that come with ADHD, I also have the gene for being an HSP (about 15-20% of us do).  Double whammy.

Yes, sometimes I wish I’d taken the blue pill.

Sometimes, I wonder if it’s all worthwhile.

Last week, I was reminded of why it is.

HSP’s and humming don’t mix

Many years ago, I’d lived with my friend Carol and her family. The noise in a house full of kids, cats, friends, and neighbors, drove me crazy. Fifteen years later, I was finally able to tell Carol what an HSP was, and that I was one.

I told her that loud noises sometimes felt almost physically painful to me, but that now I know that not everyone feels the same way. No wonder our friendship had been strained when I’d lived at her place: neither of us had heard of HSP.

While visiting last week, Carol mentioned that one of her co-workers likes to hum while working. This didn’t bother her, but she’d noticed one of her colleagues becoming agitated.

When her colleague muttered, “Oh my God, he’s humming; I just wish he’d shut up,” she recognized what was happening.

Carol approached her workmate.

“Do things totally irritate you sometimes, and you can’t understand why it doesn’t bother other people, because it irritates the hell out of you?”

Carol’s co-worker said, “How do you know that?” She was shocked that someone understood how she was feeling.

“I told her what an HSP was, and said I recognized it because one of my friends has it. You could see a sense of relief come over her that she’s not the only one,” said Carol.

“Some people would say, ‘Aw just get over it’ but she felt that I really understood her then, that she wasn’t just some freak.”

Carol’s co-worker said she usually listened to music to block out the humming, but she’d forgotten it that day.

Now, whenever she forgets, Carol lends her her iPod so she can concentrate at work.

ADHD for you and me and…

A few days later, the conversation with another friend came around to times when we’d felt socially awkward. She said she could stop herself from blurting things, but I told her I couldn’t before my ADHD diagnosis and treatment.

Having recently attended a webinar with Dr. Ned Hallowell (co-author, Driven to Distraction and many others), I shared Dr. Hallowell’s analogy for why we have trouble stopping ourselves from verbal impulsivity (or what I like to call being “blurtatious”).

Hallowell describes people with ADHD, who think super-fast, as having a Ferrari engine for a brain. Unfortunately, he explains, we also have clunky old brakes to go with it.

This analogy is a great way to explain ADHD, especially to kids, without blaming or shaming them. Instead, said Hallowell, when a kid’s been impulsive, a parent or teacher can say, “I guess we’d better work on those brakes” instead of telling the child he or she is bad.

This way, the child can buy into it and work with you to strengthen their “brakes” (i.e. impulse control).

As I was sharing this, I noticed my friend’s gaze shift away. I suddenly remembered she had a very hyperactive grandson with ADHD, whom she’d often take care of.

“You’re thinking about Kevin, aren’t you?” I said.

I pointed out that if she used this explanation for Kevin’s impulsivity he might even feel proud of having a Ferrari engine for a brain.

My friend was grateful, and I was excited that (thanks to Dr. Hallowell), I could pass on an empowering tool to help her with her grandson.

So, yes, I guess after all I’m glad I took the red pill.

So, yes, I guess after all I’m glad I took the red pill.

If only I had the sexy black leather trench coat to wear when I’m dodging the

“ADHD doesn’t exist”

“You can’t have ADHD, you’re not a boy!”

and

“Just try harder”

bullets.

 

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    Last reviewed: 9 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). Sometimes, I Wish I’d Taken the Blue Pill. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 21, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2012/11/sometimes-i-wish-id-taken-the-blue-pill/

 

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