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Adapting to ADHD --- It isn't good or bad, it just is what it is
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Do we ADD'ers deeply fear boredom?

Posted 04-24-12 at 10:18 PM by KCTang
Updated 04-29-12 at 01:53 PM by KCTang
A great question was asked in the general forum yesterday by beradical.

Do we fear boredom on a subconscious level?

Some people found my response helpful, so I thought I'd post it here, in case anyone else might be interested.

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Quote:
On a certain level, yes.

But it's not really fear as much as 'avoidance', or 'aversion'.

We are continually motivated to seek 'interest' and 'thrill' due to our brain's neurology, and avoid things that aren't interesting (ie boring). Really, all brains do this. But our brains are misdirected due to the problems in its' wiring.

  • Motivation is caused by experiences that feel good and release dopamine, making us feel pleasure.
  • But our brain's neurons have too many dopamine-storage pockets, so it doesn't 'last' as long as it would in a normal brain.
  • This leaves us feeling constantly unsatiated, and unsatisfied by things that normal brains would find satisfying.
  • Our brains compensate by only seeking out things of high interest or excitement.
  • At the same time, it learns to avoid things recognized as boring or mundane.
  • Both the seeking out and the avoidance become habits and ingrained subconsciously, as part of our brain's wiring.
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  1. Old
    Wow you two - you are both so helpful!! First KC, I so appreciated your flow chart, it is so clear and helps me to visualize and understand precisely what I experience; and Ginnie you expanded the discussion with really helpful points that helped me to enrich my understanding of my problem.

    Right now I am at the very begininning of waiting to be seen by a psychiatrist for a diagnosis - which I have absolutely no doubt will be confirmed. I am 43, my old school reports say it loud and clear - but just the fact that I am exhilarated by having you describe what I have struggled to describe to anyone else shows me that it is most likely to be diagnosed as ADD.

    I recently watched a documentary by Patrick Mackenna (of the Red & Green Show) called "ADHD and Loving It", where the Narrator described people with ADHD seeking out risky behaviour, or stimulation that kept them on the edge - something I could not relate to. I am quite anxious about risky stuff and the pain that could follow if things go wrong (I am still adventurous and do tons of fun, interesting stuff, but I know my comfort zone), so I couldn't relate. Anyway that component of the documentary just niggled away at me - everything else held true for my own experience. Then suddenly I had an idea whilst listening to an interview on the radio. I love listening to current affairs - local and international, and I am always making connections. But for me, my brain really comes alive when I start picking up on a problem. Then I work even harder to mentally bring all the pieces together in a coherent way that makes sense to me. I know that I have the ability to grasp the big picture and to problem solve. Consistently I find myself explaining the problem to people, and being approached to be part of the group that works on solutions - often at quite a high level. I am always stunned at the fact that I can appear fairly new on the scene and have this happen. I am now more self confident in my ability to make unique and valuable (because I get such positive affirmation from those in the field) connections that are innovative and grounded. I am now beginning to wonder if my constant need to be out there scanning for material that feeds my base of understanding and helps to support/challenge my belief systems, isn't part of my living on the edge? Once I am onto an intellectual thread that challenges my belief systems, I follow the challenge relentlessly until I understand it (from every angle), whilst recognizing that my understanding is time sensitive (in other words, given the current set of circumstances, it holds true - but as circumstances change, so too will the understanding of the situation/problem). That is when my brain is really alive - and I can see so clearly - and explain it to people from virtually any angle. Now on the flip side of that - I experience really poor working memory. So, for example if I am sitting in a meeting, I find myself unable to contribute anything meaningful for about the first half of the meeting (because my thoughts and perception of the discussion is very fuzzy), however once I recognize that the common perspective is too narrow or is missing the point (within the context of the big picture) I can suddenly focus and articulate clearly in order to get things back on track. But, if the meeting runs smoothly and everyone is on track, I find it hard to jump in, because there is no challenge and I struggle to hold the complexity of the problem in my mind. Hmmm - would love to hear your perspectives. Do you think that chasing ideas/belief systems/modes of thinking down until they ring true is the same as living on the edge physically? I should mention that in order to find that resonance with truth (my measure that I have got there), I sometimes/often have to forge into unchartered territory - in other words I understand that I may be the only person who thinks that way (but, I am always checking back with those who's thinking I respect, to see that they are able to resonate with my line of thinking). Ok, I know - I am going on too long - but I am really excited to have found people who are articulating some of my experience . . .

    Thank you, if you have read this far
    Posted 04-25-12 at 09:19 PM by clarej clarej is offline
  2. Old
    KCTang's Avatar
    Hi Clarej, thanks for taking part in this forum and for commenting on my blog!

    Won't lie --- it took me reading it in 2 parts to get through it, but I did, lol.

    I think the comment was meant for the other post, but no matter, you've brought up some new areas of discussion.

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    I've clipped out your examples and the main question:

    Quote:
    if I am sitting in a meeting, I find myself unable to contribute anything meaningful for about the first half of the meeting (because my thoughts and perception of the discussion is very fuzzy)...

    however once I recognize that the common perspective is too narrow or is missing the point (within the context of the big picture) I can suddenly focus and articulate clearly in order to get things back on track...

    But, if the meeting runs smoothly and everyone is on track, I find it hard to jump in, because there is no challenge and I struggle to hold the complexity of the problem in my mind. Hmmm - would love to hear your perspectives...

    Do you think that chasing ideas/belief systems/modes of thinking down until they ring true is the same as living on the edge physically?

    Yes. I do believe that they're both caused by the same ADHD tendency.

    That tendency just manifests differently in different people.

    You're being stimulated by 'mental adventurousness' and that's not much different from 'physical adventurousness', although the activity may be different.

    What stimulates each individual is unique to that person, ADHD or not, because it stems from their unique interests.

    All of us with ADHD seek out stimulation.

    We just look for it in our unique list of likes.

    It's like how I like anchovies, and my wife likes cheese & thick crust. We may like different kinds of pizza, but both of us are drawn to placing that order.


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    I think the classification of Physical risk-taking as a symptom of ADHD is more specific to people with the physically restless ADHD symptoms, like those with Hyperactive or Combined type ADHD.

    When Adult ADHD was first recognized, the first descriptors were mostly based on Hyperactive type ADHD, because those were the first cases of ADHD found to persist into adulthood. They were the most apparent, because they were the most disruptive.

    It wasn't until doctors recognized that many adults with ADHD were suppressing their restlessness as they got older, that it was found that purely Hyperactive ADHD was in the minority. As we got older, we got better at hiding our need to move, even though that restlessness was directed inwards.

    Those of us who have more Inattentive type symptoms, I believe, have mental restlessness. And our 'fix' comes from mental stimulation, instead of the physical stimulation like those of us who 'need to move constantly'. And the people with Combined type have both.


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    So your examples of 'big picture vigilance' and being on the 'mental cutting edge' are great examples of creating mental stimulation.

    If fact, I have those tendencies myself as well.

    This blog, and the work I'm doing to define a new model of ADHD, that's me getting passionate --- and mentally stimulated --- by being on the ADHD cutting edge.

    And like you, I also rely on my pattern-recognition abilities, to stay vigilant of big picture goals, and make sure my team (my family, lol) does stay on track with our future.
    Posted 04-26-12 at 12:56 PM by KCTang KCTang is offline
 
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