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ADHD Poster Girl #1: Maria Von Trapp, Part II

[Feel free to check out Part I of this series if you missed it!]

Part II

In Part I, I talked about how Maria in the film, The Sound of Music demonstrates a lot of the characteristics of a typical, hyperactive, Chick-A-D-D.

I left the story at the point when Captain Von Trapp expresses his love for Maria. We’ll pick it up there.

*  *  *  *  *

Loving the unlovable – ADHD low self-esteem

When the Captain finally professes his love, Maria responds in typical, deflated ADHD fashion. She wonders how he could possibly love her. She searches her memory to find something lovable about herself. “Somewhere in my youth or childhood, I must have done something good,” she sings. Only she can’t for the life of her think of what.

Self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, and…mountains?!

By the time an undiagnosed ADHD er reaches adulthood, their self-esteem is shot. It’s hard to find that “something good” among the perceived failures. Feeling like a failure, we may not hide away in a convent, but we might hide behind drugs or alcohol, self-medicating to treat our undiagnosed symptoms.

Or, like Maria, some of us discover exercise helps us to focus and calm down. Running up and down the Alps and through the Abbey halls could easily be a few of my favorite things, too.

Undiagnosed ADHD = unhappy ADHD er

But without a nearby mountain to spin on, or a proper medical diagnosis, untreated adult ADHD can lead to a lifetime of pain and confusion. So, how do we solve a problem like ours?

Maria found her happy ending in the Captain’s arms. Many professionals stress the importance of a healthy relationship to help stabilize ADHD symptoms. Achieving this isn’t always easy, and stats show that divorce rates are higher among ADHD ers. What if Maria had been one of these statistics?

An ADHD-inspired sequel

Roll the sequel: The honeymoon’s over.  Zoom in on a disillusioned husband. He’s sick of Maria being late for social functions; he’s fed up with her unladylike behavior; he’s mystified by her ineptness at simple household management. Yet, anyone with severe ADHD knows that household management is anything but simple. He gives her an ultimatum – conventionality or convent – and Maria heads for the hills again, after yet another devastating rejection.

Back to reality

We’ve been spared the pain of an ADHD-inspired sequel, and as far as we know, Maria has her happy ending. But some of us adult ADHD ers still feel like we’re alone and spinning on a mountaintop.

For us to succeed, most of us need a proper diagnosis; without it, many will never find Captain or Concerta.

Oh Captain, My Captain – clever code for executive function?

There are many more parallels in the movie The Sound of Music and the life of a hyperactive Chick-A-D-D.

For one, notice that Maria finds her – er – “Captain.”  The master and controller of the ship. And what is it that ADHD ers lack? Their executive function – the veritable Captain of our brain, the controller living in the frontal lobe. Clever, ain’t it?  She got the Captain, I got the Concerta. OK, fair enough – but I’m still hoping to eventually have both.

So, my dear blog readers, I think I’ve given you enough examples here. If you really want to have a mind-blowing experience, watch the movie The Sound of Music again, this time with your ADHD-radar on. You’ll find many, many more examples, including, perhaps (as I did), verbatim lines from your own childhood and/or adult life. Enjoy! (And try not to choke on your popcorn.)

As for me, I’m off to sing loudly in the nearest Abbey. Maybe I’ll take Maria with me. We could perform the “Concerta Concerto” or the “Ritalin Requiem.” Now, where did I put that tiny piece of paper with Maria’s phone number on it?

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ADHD Poster Girl #1: Maria Von Trapp, Part II

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2012). ADHD Poster Girl #1: Maria Von Trapp, Part II. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 10, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Jan 2012
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