Thursday, April 18, 2013

Attention Deficit Disorder


I am going to attempt to explain what it’s like to live with A.D.D., a much maligned and over hyped cognitive disorder.  I hope to give some insights so those without this disorder can have some appreciation for it.  Jumping topics slightly, something that I should hopefully cover later on as it would also give illumination… did you know there have been some really cool improvement on the light bulb lately.  Yeah, it seems boring but improving the light bulb can have a profound effect.  How many light bulbs in you place of living?  In you place of work?  In highways and other places.  If we cut down on power expenditure we improve things dramatically.  Back to my earlier point… a lot of people use ADD as an excuse.  I remember when I was in high school people would self diagnose themselves as ADD.  I would self diagnose them as jerks, idiots and lazy douche bags.  A bit harsh, true, but I’d watch a person complain about lack of focus when they don’t understand what that really means.  I do this as I constantly repeat in my mind that at in twenty minutes I have to excuse myself from class and walk to water fountain  to take an adderal pill.  Did you ever notice adderal starts with the letters add?  And why is it A.D.D.?  It isn’t adding anything.  You’re subtracting from your focus.  The weird thing about the problem is you need speed, or an upper rather, to calm you down.  Sort of.  You need more energy to maintain focus.  The hyperactivity part is not intrinsic to ADD.  Hyperactive is a bullshit term most of the time.  Its mainly applicable to boys.  It isn’t hyper (again extra) it’s the norm.  Young boys have a tremendous amount of energy and a biological need to expend it…  It’s like telling a scorpion not to sting.  You stupid frog in the parable take that… Anyway.  School isn’t designed for the needs of young boys.  Expectations to sit quietly in your seat and absorb knowledge are not built on the true nature of boys.  Of course it’s not a good idea to let the miscreants run rampant and swing from the rafters but an innovation might be needed.  So I would watch them, quelling my rage, as they joked about ADD.  They knew nothing of the sort they just wanted and excuse, a crutch, a reason to avoid shame.
There seems to be a large chunk of people being labeled ADD wrongly.  I think this is simply the culture enabling bad parenting.  Drug your children and avoid responsibility.  Many problems can simply be helped along by time and work.  There is no test to become a parent, well there is but that’s more confirmation than a judgment of metal and psychological ability.  I don’t condone anything so Draconian as restricting parenting to ‘deserving’ individuals I simply hope that more moms and dads make time to improve their children through good parenting, which is laborious and often thankless, over cheap and easy fixes.

I sit at the computer rubbing my eyes and trying to get through this report.  I’ve pulled the information from the core platform brought it over into excel for scrubbing.  Pivoted the data and charted it.  I bring it to another workbook where I change it again from presentation.  Then  suddenly, and unbidden, a thought enters my mind.  It take over my entire thought process and I cannot purge it.  No further action can be undertaken until I see this tangent to fruition.  What happens to those puppetry of the penis guys when they get older?  Does it have a measurable effect in older age.  Is it better or worse for health reasons.  How would you explain to your grandchild why you have to wear really baggy pants as an adult because you need more room due to helping along gravity.  Then I sit unsure if I should be dismayed or amused.  I go get coffee and shake the thought from my head.  I sit down moments later and return to my previous work.  Things like this happen at least three times a day.

Perhaps it is part of the of the creative process for some.  But I cannot have a linear thought for long period of time.  It’s like surfing the internet, or specifically wikipedia.  One thought begets another and the chain can be hard to trace back.  I can sit still now as an adult and I’ve trained myself to deal with things but I have difficulty not checking my phone.  I have to set constant reminders and schedules.  I keep them in my smart phone for easy access.  I’ve made a habit of checking it rather often.  It’s not that my memory is bad my focus just weakens from time to time unpredictably.  It’s like a shield  Some thoughts simply bounce right off.  Some are so strong them blow through.  Others simply slip in once the defense have gone down from the constant barraging attack.

The arch nemesis of anyone with ADD is that fucking windsock puppet thing in front of car dealerships.  I hate that god damn thing.  It jumps and move unpredictably.  It calls to my eyes.  It’s isn’t terribly interesting or entertaining.  But… I… can’t… look… away.  Fuck that thing.  I wish sometimes I could have a better filter for random thoughts.  I wish when one takes hold I could file it the back of my mind and say I’ll think about you later when I have  moment but I need to get this done.  It does not happen.  It is an electric current.  It is immediate and must be satisfied to the end.

This is problematic for many reasons.  It makes reading a nightmare.  I just counted ten books on my night side table.  Four of which I have started at one point.  If I don’t finish a book within ten days it grows discarded.  I might pick it up again and finish it might wait there forever a mark of shame.  It might wait patiently for its turn.  It might eventually get filled away on a bookshelf.

Video games are not as bad as they are intrinsically more engaging by nature.  You are interacting more directly and much less passively.  But still some game sit partially played, possible never to be finished.  My Netflix queue grows faster than shrinks.  My want to consume always higher than my time set aside.
I’ve worked hard to control and constrain my ADD.  I look for no pity.  But I do want people to stop self diagnosing or using drugs to treat this.  The erratic nature of the disorder is only a flaw depending on the lifestyle you choose.  Office cube rats is not the most conducive environment for such things but I manage just fine.

Perhaps this post gave an idea of what it’s like to think in a non-linear fashion.  And sadly not an intentional non-linear fashion more of a o disjointed fractured version of linear thought.  A topic is started and along the way focus drifts and the path back to the original topic is gone and you wonder how you got where you are now.  My method of combat has been time, patience and effort.  The three things that I’ve found cure most everything.  If you have cognitive disorders or learning disabilities (I’m also dyslexic) I feel for you.  I appreciate your struggle and I hope you find a way to improve yourself through it.  My problems have usually been my best teachers.  They have given valuable tools in learning how to function better.  The skills I developed through my efforts have been critical in getting me where I am. 

Ben

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Thanks for posting. You are awesome!

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