A few months ago, one of my adult children announced that he had been diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). “How could that be?” I protested, “you’re one of the smartest and highest functioning human beings I know.” And what’s more, he added, I (his mother) also suffer from ADD (is it inherited?) And so do most of my friends (is it contagious?) What is this world coming to? Are the Martians sending down Gamma rays to damage our brains?
So, of course, I Googled “Attention Deficit Disorder” and came up with a gazillion hits. It’s apparently a very popular disorder, with lots of people, mostly children, suffering from it. I use the term “suffering” in quotes because not everyone suffers and, for some people, it’s the gateway to an extremely productive and creative life. If you go by what I read on line, some of the brightest and most creative people around are “ADD” and actually profit from it. Here’s a rundown of what I learned. I don’t have all the “symptoms,” but I do have many (and so, for that matter, does practically everyone else I know.)
1) We often suffer from mood fluctuations, going from periods of intense productivity to periods of inertia and apathy
2) We feel like we haven’t achieved our potential, even though by society’s standards, we may have done quite well
3) We procrastinate, especially when it’s something we’re not eager to do
(that sounds normal to me) and have a hard time getting started
4) We tend not to follow through; we start projects and don’t finish them
5) We work best under pressure although when we have to concentrate, no one does it better than someone with ADD
6) We’re often late (our distractibility)
7) We’re good at finding inventive shortcuts
8) We prefer creative work and are often in the arts (or law, someone told me)
9) We like diverse forms of stimulation and may earn our income from several different sources
10) We are “adrenaline junkies” who like high risk and danger
11) We work best under pressure, when time is running out
12) We have intense, often painful romances
13) We like to learn visually rather than by listening
Now here’s the best news: According to what I learned, ADD’ers as a group tend to be exceptionally bright, creative and high functioning. They are capable of “hyper-focusing” when they have to, producing work of especially high quality. They also can ‘multi task’ extremely well.
Of course, I could treat my ADD with medication; anti depressants supposedly work quite well and would help me focus. But why be normal when being ADDled is so much more fun?