Friday, December 3, 2010

ADD And Loving It

Last night, I watched a documentery on PBS called “ADD and Loving It”. It was about the symptoms and treatments for Adult ADD. The largest myth the program tried to debunk was the idea that all people have a little ADD and that ADD isn’t really a condition at all. While I know these are “myths”, deep down I still kind of believe them. Not because I don’t think people have ADD, but because I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to not have ADD.

I am sevierly dyslexic. I was diacnosed when I was very young and have had the benifits of extensive treatment/support my entire life. I have managed to lead a successful life dispite my dyslexia. But I still know that dyslexia isn’t a “good” thing. I can imagine a world where letters have meaning, and I’m more than a little envious of it. There have been many times in my life that I’ve wished I didn’t have dyslexia. But I’ve never wished I didn’t have ADD.

I don’t think of ADD as a condition, but a personality type. Pretty much all my relatives have ADD, as do many of my friends. So I think of it as normal. But more than that, I think of it as solely a positive. Dyslexia has its downsides. In general knowing how to read is always better than not knowing how to read. But what’s wrong with being completely incapable of turning off your brain? What’s wrong with always thinking about at least three things at any given time? What’s wrong with having a tendancy to get so focussed on one topic that you loose track of everything else? And come on, a little compulsive figiting never hurt anyone.

Yes, I am a textbook example of ADD. And yes, I’ve known what ADD is and that I obviously have it since I was very young. I just don’t think it’s bad. I’ve never thought it was bad. The list of “succesful people” with ADD is ten-million miles long for a reason. Once properly channelled, the so called symptoms of ADD make success easier—not harder.

I’ve never taken ridalin. When I was a kid, it was obvious ridalin wasn’t going to teach me how to read. So my parents chose to focus all their attention and money on fighting my dyslexia and they just ignored the whole ADD thing. In fact, many of my ADD symptoms were major assets in helping me compensate for my dyslexia. Now that I’m relatively literate and dyslexia is no longer significantly disrupting my life, do I want to start taking ridalin? Of course not! I like my ADD. And I really can’t imagine what it would be like to live without it. Can the brain actually slow down? Why would anyone want that to happen? I just don’t get it.

Joke of the Day

On last nights documentery there were several questions about ADD that were addressed.
While holding up a sign that read “Does ADD increase the likelihood of Dyslexia?” the host asked “Does ADD increase the likelihood of diareah?”
I’m still laughing about that one.


Ray Ray said...

Sometimes I wish I had never learned that I'm dyslexic, which I learned when I was in my sixties. At first I was elated because it explained all the difficulties I suffered in ignorance all my life. Now though I use it as a crutch, a crutch that increases my feeling of being an inferior individual. When I didn't know I had an affliction in my brain, nothing stopped me from accomplishing what I wanted to do. makes me kinda want to live my live over.

NoDramaCollegeCounseling said...

I agree with your perspective that "everyone has a little ADD." Well, maybe not everyone, but most people, and everyone has at least a little bit of SOME disorder, right? (OCD, anxiety, narcissism, whatever.) And our world is inarguably speeding up--just look at the difference in scenes from old movies vs. how they edit movies now--and people with ADD/ADHD are better poised to keep up!

"The list of 'successful people' with ADD is ten-million miles long for a reason." Absolutely!

Personally, I think my Virgo-ness naturally makes me lean more toward OCD, but I work at a high school for students with attentional and learning challenges and I see the positive aspects of ADHD every day.

Keep up the good work getting the message out!