Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A few myths about ADHD...

Kids will grow out of it. Ha! Don't I wish. Certainly, people who have an ADHD-type personality may mature out of some bad habits. And I will even give you the hope that people learn coping mechanisms and may find they have instilled within themselves the ability to conquer issues that once plagued them. For instance, I learned pretty early that if I take notes in class, I pay closer attention. Even doodling while a professor speaks can make listening easier. I still use this tactic. I write poetry during sermons. I allow my son to mold clay or draw when I read to him. My attention-span didn't get longer. I just learned to work with my brain instead of against it.

ADHD meds will turn me/my child into a zombie. Um, no. If you are on a med that is making you a zombie, please speak to your doctor. Not all medications work the same from person to person. Body chemistry is unique and reacts in a unique manner. Medication should be a tool that helps you help yourself. It's like this: my brain is an iPod set to shuffle. My medication creates a playlist. The songs in that list may play at random, but only the songs on the list will play. Meds impose loose order on the chaos. They do not change who I am. 

I am not hyperactive, so I must not have ADHD. Most people would not call me hyper. I would probably pass for the inattentive type of ADHD. My brain, however, is quite hyper. While you are talking to me, I have probably been making multiple connections to your every word and plotting 15 different ways in which I might respond when I can. This leads me to interrupt...a lot. I am working on that. And, when I do talk, you might see no relation between what you said and how I respond. 

For example... you are telling me about your first day at a new job. Specifically, you are explaining how you feel about the boss, whose name is Angela. I hear you and remember I once worked with a lady named Angela as well. I remember how my Angela always wore really high heels, even though we worked retail and were on our feet all evening. That reminds me that I need to pick up the shoes I am wearing to a wedding next week, which reminds me that I have not asked if you are going to the wedding. You finish listing the reasons you dislike Boss-Angela, and I reply, "Are you going to Jennifer's wedding next week?"
You see no connection between your work day and my inquiry. You probably feel like I wasn't listening. I was. My brain is just hyper and doesn't slow down. Probably, at the exact same time I was making those random connections, I was still hearing you talk and making more connections in the background of the original set. 

ADHD is bad. No, it isn't. It is a different way for the brain to work. It may require extra tools to bend your brain to your will, but it isn't a negative attribute. Because of how my brain works, I look at the world differently than most. This unique outlook allows me to write. It also means I can see different sides of the same problem. Because of that, I may come up with a solution no one else could see. 

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