A while ago I did a research paper on "Adults with Attention Deficit Disorder" and did a Yahoo! search (yes, that long ago) for "adult ADD".  My search results were an entire page o:

  • ADD ADULT sounds to your web page!
  • ADULT images ADD to your hits!

and so forth.

I learned that even if one is NOT "the H" (hyperactive), it's a good thing to add it to the search string.

I got my "official" diagnosis when my son was in third grade.  I took Ritalin for a while and the folks I worked with at the time could tell when I didn't "take my meds".

When I went to talk to the psychologist, I took my elementary school report cards...if "ADHD" had been around then, I think I would have been a good example.  The problem is, many girls are "missed" because "ADHD" tends to manifest along gender lines.

Girls tend to be "space cadets" and boys tend to be the "wild child".  So boys get drugged and girls get passed over.

My personal belief is that ADHD is not a "disorder", it is a personality type.  Distractable?  YES!  a mental disorder?  No.

Here is a link to a paper I wrote to explore the "disorder vs personality type" idea.

How does this personality type manifest in me?

  • easily distractable.  I use a kitchen timer for almost everything!
  • "Leaps" in logic - how do I get from one place to another?  I just do...and although sometimes others fail to see the connection, most often I can explain it.
  • difficulty tracking conversations.  Especially on blogs - if there are more than 3 or 4 people on the "other side" (no matter what the topic is), I try to be very careful when replying, since I will most likely lose the train of the conversation.
  • Not seeing "personal".  Somebody will accuse me of "getting personal" and I will sit back and truly not know where or how.
  • Taking things personally - this I am getting better at.  Some people's issues are just their issues and have little or nothing to do with me personally.  Sometimes they do, most times they don't.

ADHD can be a fascinating thing to look at.  As with many people with ADHD(ADD) my IQ is high.  As with many people with ADHD/ADD, the common sense factor is sometimes low.

The more I work with people with special needs, the more this issue comes into play.   Shoot...the more I work with people, the more this issue comes into play.  Strategies, tricks to play on myself, ideas to stay focused.  All of these get attention.

And the classroom view of little boys...a whole different topic.

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If we look at a “disorder” and call it “normal”, then we fail to support a child’s true need for support and assistance, if truly needed. However, if we look at behavior which is actually normal for a child and call it a “disorder”, then we instill in the child (many times from a very early age) a belief that there is something “wrong” with her; there is something wrong that cannot be “fixed”, or that must be fixed with drugs.

Is there an alternative to labeling a young child with a mental disorder? Is it possible that “Attention Deficit Disorder” [2] is not a “disorder”, but rather something more natural, a remnant of necessary skills that brings not only challenges, but a skills set that may be seen as helpful in certain circumstances?

Read the rest...(this is the only thing that we were graded on and I got an "A")

I'm reading a book by Thom Hartmann (it's a book I've had for years but don't remember the title and it's sitting in my desk at work). It questions ADD/ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder - with or without Hyperactivity) as a disability and looks at it through the screen of a personality type, or skills set.

I have an "official" diagnosis of ADD (inattentive); it gets me ritalin if I want it during exam weeks, although I have not used prescription meds in years. I do self-medicate with caffeine.

The prescriptions that work for those with this diagnosis? psycho-stimulants.

But wait...why would a stimulant work to slow down a person?

Here is the theory: There are a certain number of people who have a function in their body that releases less of a chemical than the body of the person living next door to them. (Do I remember the name? no, but the book is at work.) This chemical stimulates the nervous system.

So (the theory goes) I have less of this chemical running around in my body, so I feel less "stimulated". How would this affect the way I run my life?

How would a child sitting in a class for hours give him(or her)self stimulation. Impulsively jumping out of the seat? Pulling the hair of the nearest child? Bouncing legs, doodling, watching the birds fly by the window?

How would this play out in an adult life? Waiting until the last minute to write a paper, somehow liking the stress of the impending deadline? Careening down a hill on a piece of wood called a "snowboard"? Strapping a big piece of fabric to one's back and jumping out of an airplane?

"Normals" look at this behavior and say, "That person has a death wish." They are wrong.

We have a life wish. If you ask somebody at the bottom (or top) of a cliff after a rappel or climb, they will tell you that they feel alive.


It is the desire for the feeling of "aliveness" that brings with it the urge for "high risk" behaviors, whether sports, exploration or sexual acts.

I have a "life wish" - I want to do new things. I want to experience the wind in my face, snow in my eyes, water in my ears. I want to feel the sun on my back as I climb, the cool of water in my face as I dive.
I want to experience danger, excitement, even fear. I want to feel the flash in my limbs as adrenalin shoots down to my fingertips and toes. These are the feelings that life is made of and I want to experience life.