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ADHD – Still Climbs Trees

Me, up a tree
Look, up in the tree, it’s a Man of DistrAction

I wrote a post a few years ago for this blog entitled “ADHD – Climbs Trees” and at the time, I was just learning about my ADHD.

In fact, that post is among the first ones I’d written here at Psych Central. And today I looked it up and read it over, and it still rings true.

In the DSM IV TR under ADHD symptoms it states quite clearly, “climbs trees,” and it is not an erroneous statement. Just a little limiting.

The truth is …

I’ll climb anything.

I don’t remember my mother or father being particularly impressed by the fact that I would climb anything that looked like it would offer me a new perspective on the world, but there were occasional comments on the fact that I climbed things.

Why no concern?

Well, my mother seemed to have many of my symptoms and she was most certainly the one to offer effective coping strategies when I was having trouble, so I assume she understood the allure of heights.

And in my father’s case, and my mother’s as well, I suppose, I was their first child and I was the benchmark.

If anything, my brother fell short in his lack of interest in climbing, though he did his share as well.

Now don’t get me wrong …

ADHD doesn’t mean I have no fear of heights, to this day I have trouble watching anything on a screen that depicts climbing or falling or the potential for falling.

But when it’s me, and I’m the one considering the hand holds and foot placement, I’m too busy and too hyperfocused on what I’m doing to care much about the danger I might be in.

It’s like this …

I hate standing on the edge of a cliff, but if you challenge me to climb down it then I forget all about that fear. Funny, eh?

Or, as a real life example, yesterday I was up a ladder trying to put Christmas lights up on a tree. The ladder was a little short, so I had two extension poles from my roof snow-rake with a hook on the end of that.

Still too short!

There is another piece of the extension pole, but standing on the top rung of the ladder with just two pieces snapped together was enough to make me realize that three pieces would be too difficult to handle.

And so, presented with the situation of being up the ladder with the lights ready to go and being just eight or so feet shy of success, and looking up at the problem and not down at the potential danger, it took me about three seconds to realize what needed to be done and another half a second to leave the ladder behind and climb until I could feel the tree’s skinniness and weakness as it did its best to support me …

lighted tree at night
The end result …

Did I fall? Did I die?

Not yet. In fact, I managed to get done what was needed and get down intact, with no more damage than the scratches and scrapes and patches of pitch stuck to me that one might expect from climbing a conifer from the ground and only going up a few feet.

And was it worth it?

I don’t know, the lights are up, but I’m pretty sore.

That may however be because I’m also pretty old.

Well, pretty old to be climbing trees.

Or am I?

ADHD – Still Climbs Trees

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2017). ADHD – Still Climbs Trees. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 19, 2018, from


Last updated: 4 Dec 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 4 Dec 2017
Published on All rights reserved.