The scene of the wreath hanging crime ...

I decked this hall without a ladder - (yes that's a full sized door.)

I helped a friend move a few weeks ago. It was good timing, I needed to take my mind off some problems I’ve been dealing with lately and she needed the help. This friend has ADHD, as does her son.

Spiderman, Spiderman, does whatever a spider can

At one point my friend asked if I could figure out how to lift and hang a giant wreath on an existing nail, some 14 feet up. I looked at the wall and my mind started clicking and whirring (it doesn’t really do that, I have to make the clicking and whirring noises myself, and I don’t do that very often any more because of the looks I get). The wall in question had a stairway going to a landing. The landing would make a good place to stand but I still couldn’t reach. I grabbed an oak kitchen chair and put it on the landing and stepped up onto the seat. Still I couldn’t reach the nail.

But having gotten this close I was loath to step down, to give up. I took stock of my position again, and without hesitating … stepped up onto the stair railing that surrounded the landing. It was narrow, a little wobbly, but it was solid wood and heavy enough to support me.

I clung to the wall and assessed the situation once more. I looked down from my perch and said to my astounded friend below: “Can you hand me the wreath?” To her credit, she hesitated for no more than a second before she grabbed the wreath from the back of the couch and raised it up to me.

I took the wreath from her and to put her at ease I commented on the situation: “This is in the DSM-IV-TR (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision) you know, ‘Climbs Trees’!”

Her son, who was looking on with interest, exclaimed: “That’s me! I climb trees! It’s not my fault, it’s the ADHD.” He sometimes used the tree outside his house as his personal home entrance.

Well, you can’t argue with logic … or can you?

I agreed at the time that it was a truth that could not be argued with. He climbs trees, he has ADHD, how do you not just nod your head and say, oh well?

But wait, let’s examine this situation. I know that half of the equation that ends up with us climbing things is that we see something that is do-able, we see unique ways of accomplishing things, opportunities for unique experiences that others miss. But the other half of that equation is that we put those opportunities into action without assessing the possible negative effects.

Assessment and vigilance

I still climb trees

A view of my neighbourhood, from a tree

As people with ADHD we maybe need to be vigilant against the urge to put into practice those adventurous activities that we see the opportunities for. More vigilant, perhaps, than those who do not have minds like ours. We possibly need to coach ourselves to stop and assess potential for success or failure or even for disaster.

Six of one, a half dozen of the other

I’d hate to see someone whose mind is capable of solving problematic situations train themselves to be less spontaneous. But maybe before we put plans into action we should be aware of all the potential outcomes, especially if we have ADHD.

Of course, that doesn’t apply to me, I got the wreath hung and lived to blog about it.