"When I was young I walked ten miles to school, up hill each way through blinding blizzards ..."

“When I was young I walked ten miles to school, up hill each way through blinding blizzards …”
ADHD is the ghost of my Christmases past

“Are you the Spirit, sir, whose coming was foretold to me?”

“I am.”

“Who, and what are you?”

“I am the ghost of Christmas Past.”

“Long past?”

“No. Your past.”

I’m not offering my faith here. I’m not offering to share my religion either. In fact, were I to attempt that, I’d have to write a book, nay, a veritable tome. I certainly couldn’t give it to you in a couple of blog posts.

But still, I’d like to offer you this:

When I was young, the religion I was brought up in offered the background of the painting of my childhood Christmases. Choir practices, Christmas concert practices, the concert itself, and special church services were all hints that something was stirring.

And if that religious structure was the background, what part did my ADHD play in this painting? Was it the paint, the brush? No, I was the brush, and my time was the paint, my time with my family, my friends, my world. Then I thought that maybe ADHD was the canvas. But no, that couldn’t be right. Surely the canvas was my life.

Though conversations about how unique I was were not unusual occurrences, and they weren’t always pleasant ones, my uniqueness (read ADHD) was not significant enough for me to have noticed in detail. ADHD was not background, brush, paint or canvas.

So what part of this painting of my past could it be?

Then I had an inspiration. My ADHD was the flaws in the canvas, the dried bits of impurities in the paint, the stray bristles on the brushes that left paint where it needn’t have been. My ADHD is the flaws that make the painting of my past truly unique, and truly mine.

Just as my random thought connections often give me the advantage of solutions that others call “thinking outside the box,” so did my ADHD make parts of the painting of my Christmases past bits of accidental brilliance. And sadly, it made other parts of that picture embarrassing. Paint blotches, holes in the canvass, blurred lines that should have been crisp and true, all come together to mar parts of the image.

My past Christmases are powerful memories

The quiet building of excitement over those long ago Christmases was enough to put an already over-active boy into turbo-whirling-dervish mode. I was a dynamo, humming away at the quietest of times, but more often I was a spinning top bouncing off anything and everything I came near.

I don’t regret any of it.

It was a long time coming, but I’m now learning from those memories. I’m putting them into perspective, thankful that they were powerful enough to remain with me all these years.

My ADHD flaws make images of my past rather less like art and more like a psychology exercise, but I will accept the gift of growth and learning that they are finally offering me … now that I have the key to unlock them.

My ADHD dwells among the ghosts of my Christmases past.