11.12.2004

My Wacky Brain

I'm 99% sure I have ADD, it's good and bad but I think most people just see me as kind of weird. Anyway, I found some good quotes online by someone with it that explain what it's like:

"Attention Deficit Disorder. First of all I resent the term. As far as I'm concerned most people have Attention Surplus Disorder. I mean, life being what it is, who can pay attention to anything for very long? Is it really a sign of mental health to be able to balance your checkbook, sit still in your chair, and never speak out of turn? As far as I can see, many people who don't have ADD are charter members of the Congenitally Boring."
Amen to that!

"In other ways it's like being super-charged all the time. You get one idea and you have to act on it, and then, what do you know, but you've got another idea before you've finished up with the first one, and so you go for that one, but of course a third idea intercepts the second, and you just have to follow that one, and pretty soon people are calling you disorganized and impulsive and all sorts of impolite words that miss the point completely. Because you're trying really hard. It's just that you have all these invisible vectors pulling you this way and that which makes it really hard to stay on task."
That's an understatement. The point is that I try really hard, it just doesn't look like it.


" Lines. I'm almost incapable of waiting in lines. I just can't wait, you see. That's the hell of it. Impulse leads to action. I'm very short on what you might call the intermediate reflective step between impulse and action. That's why I, like so many people with ADD, lack tact. Tact is entirely dependent on the ability to consider one's words before uttering them. We ADD types don't do this so well. I remember in the fifth grade I noticed my math teacher's hair in a new style and blurted out, "Mr. Cook, is that a toupee you're wearing?" I got kicked out of class. I've since learned how to say these inappropriate things in such a way or at such a time that they can in fact be helpful. But it has taken time. That's the thing about ADD. It takes a lot of adapting to get on in life. But it certainly can be done, and be done very well. "
I don't do lines, I can tolerate drive throughs because I have the radio on. The new self checkout things are the best thing to happen to me in a long time. I was talking to a girl at a bar the other day and she said. "You're weird" I didn't reply but I was thinking, "you're boring".

" Many of us with ADD crave high-stimulus situations. In my case, I love the racetrack. And I love the high-intensity crucible of doing psychotherapy. And I love having lots of people around. Obviously this tendency can get you into trouble, which is why ADD is high among criminals and self-destructive risk-takers. It is also high among so-called Type A personalities, as well as among manic-depressives, sociopaths and criminals, violent people, drug abusers, and alcoholics. But is is also high among creative and intuitive people in all fields, and among highly energetic, highly productive people. "
I think this is why I race my car and have a trunkload of speeding tickets.

"Which is to say there is a positive side to all this. Usually the positive doesn't get mentioned when people speak about ADD because there is a natural tendency to focus on what goes wrong, or at least on what has to be somehow controlled. But often once the ADD has been diagnosed, and the child or the adult, with the help of teachers and parents or spouses, friends, and colleagues, has learned how to cope with it, an untapped realm of the brain swims into view. Suddenly the radio station is tuned in, the windshield is clear, the sand storm has died down. And the child or adult, who had been such a problem, such a nudge, such a general pain in the neck to himself and everybody else, that person starts doing things he'd never been able to do before. He surprises everyone around him, and he surprises himself. I use the male pronoun, but it could just as easily be she, as we are seeing more and more ADD among females as we are looking for it. "
I need to learn to better cope with it.

"What I am saying is that their cognitive style is qualitatively different from most people's, and what may seem impaired, with patience and encouragement may become gifted. "
I'm not normal. I got the gifted label when I was a kid but most people preferred weird. My college philosophy teacher probably had it too because she "got" me. She would constantly ask me to tell the class my opinion on the day's topic. Here's a good way of explaining what it's like. I'd get the best grades on tests in class through high school and college but I'd get a C in the class because I never could finish my homework. I was offered a job by my professor as a Calculus tutor in college even though I had to retake the class. I had to take a remedial art class to have enough credits to graduate from High School which was right next to my advanced placement Government class. I can forget someone's name that I've met 15 times but I know little details about their life. That's all totally counterintuitive but such is my brain.

So I hope those of you that know me that read this understand now a little better where I'm coming from. Read the whole article I was referencing here.


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