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ADHD – Three Dimensional Spectrum Symptom Disorder

graph slice
This is me!

There’s a mouthful for you.

And it may not even matter to you, I am fully prepared to admit that. But this post will take you two minutes to read and you might well find that it does matter after all.

Let’s just see, shall we?

Here’s the concept, a two dimensional chart can show two variables. They are typically referred to as X and Y. No, I don’t know why that is.

Like a digital image, the X is the width and the Y is the height. So any pixel on a digital image can be located by its corresponding X and Y values.

But on a graph …

There is usually only one relevant Y value for each X value, and vice versa.

For instance, the X may be the date, and the Y might be the high temperature for the day.

But sometimes it is necessary to show more in depth information. Let’s consider average temperature each hour for a month. We could show it with the X-axis representing the day and hour, but that is complicating the value of X. In some instances it might be easier to show a third dimension, depth, as a Z-axis.

Thus, X is the day, Z is the hour, and Y is the temperature. And the resultant graph looks more like a topographical map. And the advantage is that you can see the relationship of each day to the next, each hour to its corresponding hour in the rest of the days.

So what?

Yes, I know. Pretty dry stuff. But what if we were to look at the X-axis as representing all the people with ADHD. I’ll be number one. Or the last one, I don’t care. Fine, put me somewhere in the middle. Sheesh.

Now let’s make the Y-axis represent the list of symptoms and characteristics that we share, inattentiveness, hyper-activeness, inappropriateness, etc, we know there are lots of little things that most of us are familiar with.

Now we have a two dimensional graph where each one of us is listed across the bottom and the symptoms are listed up the left margin. This isn’t a line graph, because all of us will have more than one symptom but none of us will have all of them.

And the Z-axis?

Now lets make a depth axis and let it represent intensity of symptom occurrence. That’s your personal Z-factor.

Now lets get out our markers and shade the whole thing so that symptoms are represented in color from white to blue. And then lets shade in the intensity from green to red.

And now …

And now, through the wonder of modern computer graphing, lets take a virtual knife and slice this graph, top to bottom, in slices that represent us, each one of us, as individuals.

And then let’s line up those slices and look at them.


I’m not doing this because I suddenly got distracted by the idea that this would look really, really pretty … though it would.

The point is that no two of these slices would look the same.

And …

That’s because we are, like every other human on this planet, individuals. We are unique. Each of us is one of a kind.

And each of us deserves respect for that uniqueness.

And each one of us has a way more colorful slice of graph than any of the other people on this planet could possibly achieve, so high fives and “Oh Yeah!”s all around for us.

See, I told you you might enjoy three dimensional symptom spectrum disorder analysis.

We got this!

ADHD – Three Dimensional Spectrum Symptom Disorder

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. (2018). ADHD – Three Dimensional Spectrum Symptom Disorder. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 16 Mar 2018
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 16 Mar 2018
Published on All rights reserved.