- Mental Health
ADHD: A Different Way of Thinking
Thank God no one can really read my mind! Especially when I struggle inside to maintain focus and become completely frustrated and angry when it seems to vanish like a puff of smoke! What I feel so strongly is so often never shown to others. No one would understand! How could they when I definitely can't explain it to anyone!
How could this continual change of emotional state and mental clarity ever be explained? Instead, there is an attempt to swallow the anger, push the frustration deep down and attempt to show a calm façade on the surface. This façade doesn’t last long before it is blown with a seemingly harmless offense as forgetting where you put your keys or the car! One offense doesn't seem like much and really isn’t. But when it’s a day of forgetting said key, car (or even your kid’s name), the events stack on top of each other and the frustration only grows. Only so much of this kind of frustration can be pushed down before it erupts into a mini-meltdown!
Constant Channel Changing in your Mind
Data Retrieval Errors
Some people say, “It’s like someone else has the ‘controller’ to my brain and keeps changing the channels. Others describe a tornado of thoughts that whirl around in their head so fast they can’t catch one before another comes along. This causes great challenges for remembering things when you need to! A memory problem is not the same thing as a knowledge or intelligence problem. The information is there but recall may or may not be at the given moment! If anyone who experiences this life of frustration tries to explain it to those on the ‘outside’, no doubt they’d probably be looked at like they’re crazy. Trying to make someone understand that this way from day-to-day is routine for some of us and not receive the insane label is hard to do. I can totally see how easily this type of behavior and way of thinking can be misunderstood because it seems so illogical. Truth is, at least for appearance sake, there is nothing logical about it!
A Condition called ADHD
This condition, which seems to spontaneously turn focus and memory on it’s head is called Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. Many believe that it is just a ‘cop out phrase’ for parents who want to drug their children into well-behaved kids or adults who are just lazy. Those who really have this disorder know the disruption it causes and the energy that it can drain from your life. I don’t believe anyone would choose to live this way. Without warning it can totally disturb the mental balance that allows most people to complete most tasks to disappear. I call these my “on days” and “off days”. There are days when I seem to have endless energy, creativity and productivity. Then, there are days when I drop everything I touch, spend the day searching for everything I need and feel as if I would have trouble finding my way out of my own back yard! Many times the person with ADHD will be her own worst enemy. So,’be patient with yourself’ is often my montra!
A Mixed Bag of Traits
Good with the Bad
Usually, people who have ADHD are the most creative, motivated, funny, likable and highly achieved people you will ever know. Why is this? Because, the creativity that they have during the ‘on-days’ is what they remember to keep them going on those ‘off-days’. Many use a sense of humor (which is also another positive trait common among those with ADHD) to deal with the stress of getting through one on “those days”.
Many see a person with ADHD as someone who “can’t follow through” or “is a slow learner” or lacks motivation. The truth is, the successful ADHD person must be extremely disciplined to achieve their goals. The fact that an ADDer (as I like to call us) can and usually does focus several things at once requires a lot of discipline to finish a project or task. Others see the ADDer as having non-stop energy or someone who can’t slow down (the Hyper part of ADHD). This is true sometimes but there is always a crash eventually. Fatigue follows hyper-focus episodes and can tend to be very frustrating for the ADDer and confusing others. I’ve been asked many times why it can’t just be stopped to make life ‘easier’. The mental processes involved aren’t brought about by ‘descision’ but by chemical pathways in the brain that are different from those without ADHD. Much is still unknown about the brain and how it works as well as how differently people can think, learn and recall memories.
Medical Description of ADHD
ADHD Needs Patience!
So, for anyone who has been diagnosed, or just realizing they may have it or know someone who does, there’s one thing to remember that will greatly help the situation. The more patience, compassion and understanding that you can give, even if it’s to yourself, the less stressful the situation is for everyone involved.