People often refer to the gifts of ADHD, some raving about them and others denying their existence.
I, being the consummate fence sitter, try not to weigh in on the gift question, though I don’t always succeed.
I will say that it is often presented as “gift vs curse” and, in my opinion, that’s wrong. There is no doubt that ADHD is a curse, but if there are gifts involved they are present along side of the curse. Gift and curse are not mutually exclusive.
And if there are gifts, what would some of them be?
Some people claim that hyper focus is a gift, others suggest that it can’t be a gift if you can’t control it. I say that if you hyper focus on something that is important, there’s your gift. The problem I have with it is that it’s pretty intermittent, thus, no control.
So it’s a gift when it happens for something important, but it’s a curse when it draws me away, keeping me from important things. So, hyper focus on the gift or curse scale, I’d say it’s a wash.
What other gifts can we create?
Creativity is also said to be one of our gifts. But is it a skill innate in those of us with ADHD, or a byproduct, another uncontrollable side effect if you will?
I believe that creativity is a byproduct of the random distracted thoughts and connections that flow through my brain. The fact that they flow through rapidly and randomly is what promotes opportunity for connections others don’t see.
Creativity comes and goes
Admittedly I also spend about 40 minutes a day looking for my coffee cup, my keys, my glasses, my wallet, my mind …
I create original things, I find original solutions to problems. But this isn’t something I do 16 hours a day. For 14 hours a day, I generally create an original mess. Admittedly I also spend about 40 minutes a day looking for my coffee cup, my keys, my glasses, my wallet, my mind … so that leaves 13 hours and 20 minutes of creating an original mess.
During any given day, there is are two hours of productivity, but there is no two hour time period during which I am creatively productive. The two hours of productive creativity is a cumulative quantity, it occurs in random flashes.
Blog posts, for example, are often the result of a flash of inspiration that is only a few seconds in length. That’s followed by a stretch of time during which I try to focus on typing the idea out.
This very post you are reading was an idea I had in church. I was mulling over the idea that I, and several others I know who have ADHD, are often creative on our own, but avoid being creative with others. I am not saying that’s a good thing, but I did wonder if it was because we are so easily distracted that we dare not risk what focus we can muster on interacting with others while being creative. And in a brief and random flash of thought, I also wondered if we couldn’t consider our own creative processes as being collaborations of a sort. They are, in a sense, collaborations of the random, disconnected thoughts of one person, Solo Collaborations.
Hey, wait a minute, is that a gift?