my eye

Oh, I see …

I’ve been struggling to describe ADHD in a way that could be understood.

And part of that struggle comes from the fact that I don’t really understand what it is like to not have ADHD

In the past I spent time not knowing I had ADHD, thinking I was just like everyone else. I thought that I was maybe a little different, but nothing definable.

And I continue to struggle

In the past I have often used analogies to illuminate certain aspects of ADHD. And that has been somewhat successful.

But ADHD is such a vast issue, that an adequate analogy has evaded me … until recently.

But …

… yes, there’s a but. The analogy I have come up with is complicated. And that worried me for a while.

The beauty of an analogy is usually its simplicity. And then I realized something.

An analogy …

An analogy has to match the thing it is being used to describe.

And ADHD is a complicated subject.

So here it is

Having ADHD is like having a different kind of vision.

Some people have perfect vision, others are near sighted, and still others are far sighted.

In this world

In this world there are people with ADHD and there are people without it. Lets say that, for the sake of argument, the people without are the people with perfect vision.

I know, wait though. They may have what is referred to as perfect vision, but that’s just a standard.

I’m not perfect, but …

I am far sighted. My issue is that I cannot see things close up very well. The thing about this optical diagnosis is that it focuses (forgive the compound pun) on that fact that I cannot see things close up. It fails to observe that my distance vision is perhaps a tad better than adequate.

Liken this to the ADHD/non-ADHD comparison, I cannot concentrate on one thing to the exclusion of all else, but my mind can take in and proccess things at a much faster rate.

Added to this is …

Oh, I also have an astigmatism. And not just in one eye, but in both. And they seem to be opposing. There’s nothing simple about me and there’s nothing simple about my vision.

So, I’m far sighted and I have, shall we call it compound astigmatism? Sure. I’m not an optometrist, If that’s not right I can make names up.

But here’s a funny thing

Apparently, according to my optometrist, in some odd way, my astigmatism compensates at least partially for my other ocular issues.

In other words, given my farsightedness, I should not be able to see very well. And given my astigmatism I should not be able to see very well. And if either of those were corrected without compensating for the other issue, I might not be able to see as well as I do now.

How does this compare to ADHD?

We, with ADHD, have a different brain as a result of an alternative development of our frontal lobes. It’s very much like having different eyes. And we may be able to “perceive” things at different distances, just as we see things differently in our minds.

And we may have put in place different coping strategies to help us cope with the need to perceive things at what are considered “normal” distances, not unlike my astigmatism. It looks wrong, but it may actually help.

It’s maybe not so much wrong, as it is just different?

Well, that’s what I’m going with.