Adult ADD--"You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid, or Crazy?"

This hub is a commentary on the subject of Adult ADD and the book, "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy," by Kate Kelly and Peggy Ramundo. I'm partial to this book on the subject of ADD, because it's written by women and does a wonderful job addressing the specific issues in trying to identify, treat, and understand ADD in girls and women. I have lost the book, (fitting), so I'll have to do this commentary based on my recall of the book. I read it about a year and a half ago, when I was exploring the subject for a friend. I found the book to be light-hearted, but factual. The authors certainly don't write up ADD as an animal that needs to be reigned in and/or killed, but it does not dismiss it as a collection of quirky, little mishaps either. It's a good balance.

The diagnosis of ADD in a female is a tough one, as addressed in the book. It's hard to overlook the reality that a hyperactive boy in class tends to be an unruly, but almost adorable troublemaker, that teachers are often charmed by. That's the truth. For all the ways that Jimmy drives the teacher crazy, she's sighing, shaking her head, but also laughing to herself. I saw this a lot. An unruly girl is an entirely separate issue--defiant, headed for trouble with boys, and doesn't she know any better? Why won't she just behave? Personally, I have 3 brothers, two older, and one younger, and I got in more trouble then all 3 combined. I had detention so much I thought it was a class!

School-age boys, usually find any attention to be good attention, and their unchanging disruptive behavior will get them a doctor's appointment and a Ritalin Popsicle before the end of the day. Girls, on the other hand, usually respond quickly to negative feedback from their behavior, and will very likely change. For a girl with ADD it likely means introversion and shyness. There are boys that would react this way as well. ADD is many things, but it starts as a neurobiological illness. I don't love the word illness, because there are many aspects of ADD that I love and am grateful for, but there are aspects of it that really do require awareness, and treatment. ADD is very misunderstood, very under treated, and very complicated.

How We Are Lazy: As brought out in the book, the average ADDer will tire easily from an overworked mind, and give the impression of laziness. In my own case, I was always, and still am, very energetic, but a mundane task would literally take me hours to complete as a kid. If my mother told me to wash the dishes, that would likely take the whole evening, because at some point, I probably was washing dishes in a time of war, and there had been a tragic war accident of a soldier, and he needed my dishtowel, and some dishwater, and...that's ADD for ya.

How we are Stupid: Adders have, drum roll...a hard time paying attention. In class, that looks like poor comprehension, slow test-taking, possibly slow reading, it could mean stuttering, it did for me. Adders are usually not without thought, they are usually with TOO many thoughts and will come out in a disordered way--for some verbally, and for some their writing will reflect completely scattered and disconnected thoughts. Teachers are often at a loss with the average ADD child, as there is usually something about them that defies their school performance--IQ tests, or even some sort of talent or ability, In my own case, I would repeatedly test out of average classes and in to the coveted 'gifted and talented' classes where I would get mostly C's and occasionally B's. My father was sure I wasn't trying hard enough. So was I. The average kid with ADD is pretty sure they are broken, or "stupid" in some way because that's what they're told. They may be told that they are not living up to their potential--but they may not actually see that potential. In my own case, I certainly was not ever told I was stupid, but when everything is not adding up--why is the smart child not succeeding in school-- then that child will eventually doubt themselves. And will likely continue. Just as an illustration, my nursing board exam--I took it in 40 minutes, without sleeping the night before, and somehow passed. But I was certain that I failed that exam. I literally cried all the way home. But that's just self-doubt, which is almost never reality. What helps a person with ADD the most with respects to the emotional issues associated with ADD, is a supportive environment and social network.

How we are Crazy--This one's my favorite! People with ADD often excel in a creative environment, or any situation involving alternative or "abnormal" thinking. This may look like craziness. (This may BE craziness). Those of us with a little hyperactivity probably also do well in anything that involves staying busy, or in motion. ADDers on average tend to have heightened sensory response, specifically to light, touch, and sound. This usually makes for an exaggerated impression of both good and bad things in life--the fodder for great artistic work. Let's just be honest. How a person with ADD sees things, experiences things, or describes things will often come out very funny, or at least in a unique way. I usually don't see things normally, or I will see things normally and then 10 other ways. Because of this, I broke many molds and stood down many barriers which I credit, in part, to ADD. I just didn't think any better of being bold, impulsive or crazy. Even so, I have to watch it, or listen when others are watching it. ADD is not a free-pass for rudeness, or being irresponsible. Channeled in the right ways, however, the "crazy" of ADD can make for one very happy individual.

A note about ADD and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Following a traumatic event, I learned from this book that person a with ADD has a far greater ability then average to repress, and block the memory, but that when the memory returns, it can come back in a very dramatic and extremely stressful way. The ADDer's ability to displace is what will act as a mental anesethetic of sorts, for a time, but the ADDer, due to higher sensory perception may experience the kind of flashbacks and recall that resemble a nervous breakdown to an observer.

In this same vein, in my own research, I found that children with ADD are more vulnerable to child predators, as they tend to be sensitive and trusting as a rule, and are oftentimes "fringe" kids socially. Parents with children with ADD have to exercise twice as much caution, as well as providing direct and frank information about child predators.

I definitely recommend this book to those who want to understand, and explore ADD in adults. Fun reading!

Comments 13 comments

4FoodSafety profile image

4FoodSafety 6 years ago from Fontana, WI

Superb Hub! Very difficult and yet very much needed topic. Interesting how the person has a greater ability to block - makes logical sense but we don't think about that and IF it comes back in a dramatic and stressful way - that helps all of us cope and cope with our grieving loved ones too. Rated it up!


ilmdamaily profile image

ilmdamaily 6 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

Wow - based on how you've described it, i'm starting to wonder why ADD is considered a bad thing!

Does it actually cause harm to a person - or is it just a case of people diagnosing as an illness what they can't control?

I notice an awful lot of those tendencies in myself - where is the line drawn between ADD and just general lifelong manic-hyper-craziness?


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

I've been diagnosed with so many letters of the alphabet I can't remember them all, SJ. But honestly, this hub is a wonderful treatment of the 'disorder,' and it demands attention. No pun intended! :)


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 6 years ago Author

4FoodSafety, thank you, and yes, the return of a blocked memory is usually a far more intense and distressing experience for someone with ADD--higher sensory. Kristin,--ADD is a difference experience for each person with it. I believe some things about it are indeed blessings, but it can also be very debillitating for a person. Really just depends. What I read says that usually the climate of the upbringing of the child greatly effects how well they do. Depending on the degree of it, specifically with the anxiety component some have, I'm all for meds! But then finding the right one can be tricky. Lorie--awareness helps many things, can't improve if you don't understand the problem. Love your responses, thanks for reading!


ilmdamaily profile image

ilmdamaily 6 years ago from A forgotten corner of a dying empire. OK, it's Australia :-)

Thanks for answering my question - very interesting to see a condition which is physical in origin, though behaviourally/environmentally influenced.

Am much more conscious of ADD now!


Nordy profile image

Nordy 4 years ago from Canada

Excellent hub about an excellent book. I agree with you - some traits of ADHD are not just challenges but strengths as well!


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 4 years ago Author

Thanks for that! It can mean a lot of productivity, and A LOT of creativity! Can also mean a little chaos too. ;-) Thanks for stopping by. SJ


KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 4 years ago from Sunny Florida

Awesome hub. I work with ESE students and come across many who are ADDers, both boys and girls. I have found what you say is true - girls do tend to react more to negative attention. Boys are seen more as an unruly class clown. You have a wonderful point of view.


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 4 years ago Author

thanks for reading KKG! I'm sorry i missed your comment. Yes, girls with ADD internalize negative feedback and get shy or make changes, boys being unruly is still seen as adorably wrong. I doubt that will change. I have not minded being different, and probably won't ever mind being different. It has its advantages. I appreciate you stopping by.


Danny 2 years ago

I can really relate to ADD... I can remember as a young boy in school I had learning difficulties but was advanced in other things like art and drawing. There was never a diagnosis for any disorders like there are today. It does explain the reasons why I was behind all the others kids in school and it gives me the answer to my problems in school years ago. Thanks so much for this info.


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 2 years ago Author

Hi Danny! I haven't written on HP in so long I forgot I even had articles...thanks for the reminder. It is so helpful when people who learn differently can be given the right direction. It makes a world of a difference. My guy attributes ADHD to why we both accomplished the things we have. If you can figure out how to work with your individualized learning model it can be awesome! Thanks for stopping by.


gmmurgirl profile image

gmmurgirl 16 months ago from Pilipinas

Hi there! Great article written by someone that deeply understands this controversial subject. Thank you!


ahostagesituation profile image

ahostagesituation 16 months ago Author

Thank you!! I continue to learn about ADD/ADHD and the spectrum within. I'm sorry for my delay in resonse, I am no longer actively writing or participating on HP and I missed your comment. But thank you!

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