My ADD mind… Part 1

10 Mar
I was diagnosed Hyperactive as a child.  It’s what they now call ADD or ADHD.  And they’ve discovered it tends to run in families.  It implies to most people that we have trouble focusing and bounce around like bunnies on speed.

And often it means exactly that, especially in over stimulating environments. But what many folks don’t understand is there’s another side to it.  We who have ADD also have the ability to hyper-focus.  There are many theories on how this condition became part of the human genome sequence… especially in Americans.
Some say we are descendents of the human equivalent of intruder alert systems when our species were but hunter-gatherers.  Sort of like the meerkats seen in the National Geographic specials and magazine.  Or like our Zelda dog who’s hyper aware of everything around us.

Our human ancestors had to be able to detect anything that might be a danger and who better than those who could switch quickly from movement to movement or stay still and hyper-focus on whatever threatened the tribe.  It allowed humankind to move past the dangers and explore new territories.

It also seems to have encouraged innovation, adventure, and art.  Why would so many defy convention and become inventors, artists and adventurers when in certain times of history it could have meant anything from exile to death.  And why else would any one leave their known world and immigrate especially illegally to somewhere as dangerous and uncertain as America.  Most seem to have exhibited the qualities of the ADD mind.

After visiting Finland, Montreal, Canada and Honduras in the past few years, it really does seem America has more than it’s share of the ADD sort.  It appears like it’s helped along by advertisement, sports, TV and the common grocery store.  The amount of choice and stimulation in our culture is overwhelming compared to other countries and cultures.
Several years ago, my wife suggested that I get formally tested for it since I’ve always had difficulty staying on track especially with paperwork.  When the results came back it turned out I was quite far along the continuum towards ADD.  My friends were like “Duh, of course you are.”  Well, I knew that too, but it allowed me legal access to medication that helps when I have to interact with the non-ADD world.  You’ve heard the expression–Better living through modern chemistry.
I take the lowest dosage possible and only use it when I absolutely need to focus.  I find it interferes with my creativity.  Creating art for me means letting my mind leap and bound as it wills.  I’ve often remarked to others, “You wouldn’t want to live in my head, even I have a hard time being there.”

Fortunately, my wife is extraordinarily gifted in interpreting my brain.  Me to the rest of the world and vice versa.  She’s exceptionally good when I have trouble verbalizing and can only gesture.  She gently reminds me to use my words and finish sentences.  And even she has difficulty at times.

I chalk it up to my being Irish in the fortune I’ve experienced over the years.  Whether it’s being able to end up with the right family to take me in, to somehow find parking spaces where none seem to be, or meeting my life partner in another state who happens to be years younger and have the ability to figure me out with humor and love.  I’m grateful.  A sincere Thank You to the Universe.  Even if it’s still difficult living inside my ADD mind.

One Response to “My ADD mind… Part 1”

  1. Elizabeth March 11, 2012 at 8:35 am #

    My dear, it’s a challenge living near your mind, too. Love you, honey…

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