Inattentiveness seems to be defined as “not paying attention to what you’re supposed to be paying attention to.”
But what, or who, decides what you’re supposed to be paying attention to?
Our minds decide what we want to focus on.
And my mind knows I like to write.
Now it’s true …
There’s something a little thrilling about paying attention to something you feel guilty about focusing on. I sometimes will turn on Netflix with my lunch and “allow” myself to watch an episode of something.
And yes, it’s difficult to turn it off when you only get ten seconds before the next episode preempts the credits. But I’ve discovered that just turning it off without exiting with grace will leave you right where you left off. G’bye netflix, I have work to do.
I like to write
This is a good thing. I can sit outside on the deck at the cottage and write. I can be distracted by boats going by and birds singing and family asking questions and then just go back to writing, because there’s a little bit of that thrill that I get knowing that I’m indulging myself.
Yes, getting paid to write the things that I do get paid to write takes a little bit of that thrill away. But I’ve learned to cultivate that thrill, to augment it, to tell myself I’m getting away with this, and that helps me focus.
The Deficit of Attention
What the mental health community refers to as Attention Deficit is our inability to control our attention. That’s why the word attention is rarely used in descriptions of symptoms. Instead, the word “focus” is used, the word that means the actual controlling of our attention.
So anything we can do to control our attention is a coping mechanism for dealing with the deficit referred to in the name ADHD.
So the dichotomy is that we have amazing attentiveness, but we have the greater challenge in comparison to the Neuro-Typicals when it comes to bringing that attentiveness to bear on something that requires it.
Am I One Of The Lucky Ones?
What do you call luck? It took me fifty years to discover that I had ADHD. I spent a half a century bouncing between thinking I was having bad luck and thinking I was broken in some undefinable way. I’ve been the better part of ten hard fought years of figuring out that I need to do what I love until I don’t love it any more and then do something else that I love.
Right now, I love writing, and looking back on my life I realize I always have.
For a guy with ADHD, I’m lucky that I’ve found this much good.
And I’m lucky I recognize this dichotomy in my life, and how to deal with it.