In my early 20s i got my diagnose.
With mixed feelings. I would never be “normal” but finally I knew allot more about myself, and I could bring it into my equation.
In a way, I always knew something was different and I felt different.
We had a couple of kids diagnosed, and they kinda set the standard. They were all over the place, acting out on the teachers or other students.
That was not me, I had control over my “rage”, although it was lurking.
I did allot of strange things born out of impulse, but I never acted out.
If you don’t have ADHD/ADD, you would never understand the reality of it.
But you could understand glints.
Let’s say you’re watching a movie that you will write a report on afterwards.
During the movie, the sound will frequently be turned off.
Someone will knock on the door, you’re phone would ring, the cat would jump on your lap and so on.
During these events you would not be able to pause the movie.
How would you do on the report?
This is as close as I can draw a parallel. Let me explain.
The ADHD mind doesn’t release dopamine like a “normal” brain.
A normal brain will have a more steady release, while an ADHD brain will release less frequently and larger doses. Now what does this mean in general?
Well, when a normal brain is learning it will release dopamine regardless of the subject. That helps focus and short term memory or working memory.
When an ADHD brain is learning it depends on the subject whether or not dopamine will be released.
So, if the subject is boring or dry. What will happen? The brain wants its dopamine, and it doesn’t care if it screws up your learning! Therefore it will switch focus to something that does release dopamine. Maybe that treehouse you’re going to after school or that new video game.
This WILL happen very frequently during “boring” lessons. And symbolize the pause in the movie.
If the neighbor is scrabbling on his paper, tilting his chair or anything else this WILL steal our attention based on the same principle. And represents those other events.
Then, the teacher calls out your name, because he/she can see you’re not paying attention.
And this is where it gets interesting…
I guess allot of teachers want to set some sort of example. Or embarrasse you on purpose.
So they ask you to retell what they just said, or ask you a related question.
This ultimately gives you two options as a kid.
1. Try to puzzle together what you recall. By doing this you will risk being labeled by the teacher, but also by the other students.
2. Play the tough guy, which will label you by the teacher. But give you credit by students. (I might go into depth about this subject later)
Either way you look stupid.
But the big question is, what is this really doing to a child?
Kids have receivers way longer than adults. And they will suck it up like sponges.
Kids/adults with undiagnosed ADHD will develop coping mechanisms. So it will actually be increasingly harder to see the symptoms.
From a young age we’re told that it’s more important to participate than win.
I soon discovered the flaw in this statement. Even tho I did the best I could, it was never good enough. In fact I was treated like I didn’t even try.
So that’s exactly what I started doing. I tried explaining myself, but I can assure you, it’s very difficult when you’re already labeled.
“Why can’t you pay attention to this, but know everything about that?”
As a kid, it’s very hard to argue with that logic. So what’s the conclusion?
Personally, I had to find an answer for it. Why couldn’t I just pay attention? Why didn’t school make sense? Why did I forget things? Meet up at the wrong place at the wrong time?
Well, the conclusion was simple, I couldn’t argue with the adults logic. According to them i was seemingly “normal”. Everyone struggled with these things and dealt with it, and I couldn’t.
There is only one explanation as a kid, and that is that you’re stupid.
Even tho this broke me somewhat down, mentally, and gave me a low self respect, self worth. I came to terms with it, everyone can’t be smart. And that’s ok.
I think this quote fits in here perfectly:
“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Because I was treated the way I was through school. I developed a sort of issue with authorities.
Teachers was in a way and is our first encounter with authorities, and I think there should be a bigger focus on this in our society.
Because the teacher knowingly made a fool out of me, not just in front of me, but in front of all my friends and classmates. My first encounter was “unhealthy”. Not only that but they also dragged my parents into it, and made me look like a fool to them as well. This led me to allot of trouble with authorities further down the road. I still don’t trust authorities. Although my view has changed rather dramatically, I don’t hold any grudges to anyone, like I used to. I now understand they did what they thought was right. But it doesn’t change the facts.
It’s also worth mentioning that i’m not only ok, but happy with how it all turned out. I think it gave me a wider perspective.
ADD can be a pain in the ass, because I still struggle with much of the same things. People still view me as stupid. Take you for example, you have probably made up an opinion already. Based on my spelling and how I write.
Its actually a pretty good reflection of what’s going on in my mind, it’s messy. And I got to filter out the important stuff from all the noise. As for the spelling, like all the other classes I flunked. So this is all self taught.
The list of challenges is long when you have ADHD. When you are interacting with other people it’s difficult to formulate yourself while talking, because you forget the actual word. Maybe you have to re phrase the whole sentence. While the conversation is going you might have other thoughts going, and maybe a song playing in the back of your head. Ultimately you will look stupid. Which will result in you being more withdrawn, this is actually defying how most ADHD people are. We like to interact, talk, discuss. A combination of these things often leads to other mental problems. Like depression and anxiety.
The challenge with ADHD is really an advantage. You see, “normal” people find a hobby and a job then stick to it. I believe this creates not only a narrow mind but also a bubble mentality. People with ADHD are very lucid, they change hobbies and work frequently. Their interest change thus expand the horizon in every possible way. Another amazing trait is our ability to “hyper-focus”, this is a state where the world seemingly cease to exist, and our entire world evolves around one entity. Dopamine is being released in such large doses, you can actually get high. Learning is suddenly the most natural thing in the world, and oh boy we learn, faster than anyone else. Imagine just sitting on the computer, reading the entire day, and getting high of it. Apparently, not everyone with ADHD has the ability to hyper focus, which I find a bit odd. Personally I’m dependent on it, and I believe I would be depressed without it. The downside is, you can’t control it. But from personal experience it is directable.