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Old 11-25-12, 10:36 AM
SodaCrates SodaCrates is offline
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Same old story

I don't really expect anyone to read this in it's entirety, but I felt I needed to write it. I normally spend more time on writing and don't like first person very much.

I'm a shrink's kid. My Dad was a full-time professor at a University and he was a clinical psychologist. He told me about many of his patients (no names, of course, but he enjoyed talking about his work), and he had his own thoughts about ADD. He got his PhD in 71 I believe, so he was a straight Skinnerian behavioralist. He always told, me that ADD or ADHD were many different disorders with similar symptoms. My sister also became a psychologist, but she has her PhD in educational psych. She and him would regular merrily argue over whether spectrum disorders should be employed in the DSM-V. I think they were both wrong, but that's not that important. My sister thinks that ADHD is very much over diagnosed (I agree, but it's under diagnosed as well), and she makes the compelling argument that the brain is so very complicated that tying most disorders to a neurological cause (be it environmental or genetic or both) is useless and certain disorders ADHD and Autism are nothing like disorders. She says they are obviously natural. And I always said, but what if someone cured them. She, literally, finds that idea repulsive. Until I realized I had ADD, I never knew why.

I did moderately bad in school for my entire life. They were constantly asking me to do things that I seriously was considering whether they were playing a joke on me. In math I can't remember getting a question wrong unless they forced me to "show my work" (I'm sure I did, but the vast majority of what I got wrong was because they couldn't tell whether I had cheated or not, so it didn't count). To this day I don't know how to go about solving long division up to integral calculus by showing my work. I don't what that means. Some problems are too hard for me to keep in my head, so I split them into a few parts. If the parts can be done simultaneously than I do it at the same time, but if not I write down the answer to each part. Every math teacher tried to get me to show how I did the problem, but I can't explain that. I swear it would the same as asking someone, whose momentarily happy, to show their path to being happy. There isn't any conscious path to emotions. When asked to read aloud, I found that quite perplexing, because while I can somewhat control how fast I talk, I can't imagine controlling how fast I read and like most people my lips are much slower than my mind. So I stumbled over mounds of consonants and vowels.

My mom could never pick up on it, not only because she shares many traits, but I would go and read for 8 hours (hyperfocus, but I knew that concept as flow before I ever heard of hyperfocus. My mother and I would both push the world so far out of our minds that if someone interrupted me walking back and fourth in my backyard or my mom while she was writing we would sometimes jump and it would constantly annoy us). Now my best friend in 2nd grade was mildly autistc (by my dad's standards which means a disorder seriously effects someone's life; anyone who can speak at a quasi normal pace is at most very mildly autistic). As school was extremely stressful on both of us, we bonded over hyperfocus, playing "games that were in" and living the vast majority of our school life in a very different world. I have ADHD-PI or Amen's second type (with obvious 4th type traits as well) and so I'm not hyperactive, but I daydream constantly. I guess bright kids with ADHD-PI are truly hard to diagnose as my whole family missed it.

I failed high school English 4 times, but I had read most of the books we were supposed to read long before high school and I couldn't stand the pace we were supposed to read at. Both Readin and Listening to someone reading out loud caused me much anxiety as I couldn't think at all while it was going on. I ditched school many times because I knew someone was going to read out loud. By the time I was 16, I considered my English teachers to be irredeemably stupid. The hardest classes I ever took in high school were AP US and AP Euro. I got As on both them and a 4 and 5 respectively on the tests (they are out of 5). The teacher lectured like a college professor, and if I had a different book, but he called on me and I was able to answer he wouldn't bother me. I rarely missed and I never once struggled with concentrating. My Chemistry teacher realized that there was something wrong. He took me to the school psychologist. She asked me if I had trouble concentrating. I told her that I constantly daydream but I read a lot. She said I was lazy. Now I can not read unless my mind hyperfocuses or I'm reading a non-literary novel while doing something else. I have never been able to sit down and read, but my mom was an author and she was constantly handing my great books that either she had read at my age or was reading at the time. So books often captivated me enough to block out the rest of the world. But I loose interest so fast, if I try and read a non literary novel by itself. I loved a Game of Thrones, but if I tried to read it without doing something else as well I wouldn't make it half a page.

The biggest give away was that all of my closest friends except for Kevin (who has autism) were diagnosed ADHD. Until my first girlfriend (who has borderline pretty severely; that was my dad's diagnosis not mine. He said usually teenage girls grow out of it, but that he doubted she was going to). Even to this day all of my closest friends have clear signs and symptoms. I can honestly say I think my dad is the only person I've been really close to who had no signs and it put a strain on our relationship. He constantly used a firm voice telling me to slow down because I spoke to fast. Which is very difficult for me. My sister doesn't have it, and while we are brother and sister we aren't friends like I am with my mother or I was with my father. My mother told me from when I was very young that everyone feels different. I felt so secluded from my peers (despite always having a number of friends) that I became worried I had ASPD as I knew most were high functioning. But I kept telling myself, but you have a lot of empathy, and I would worry that wasn't actually empathy. When I was 19 I read up on Bipolar disorder, and concluded I had that, but even then I knew that wasn't correct. I did get somewhat manic and depressed, but I didn't feel depressed like people describe, just lethargic. I never considered ADD. I thought the primary feature was hyperactivity.

Right after my Dad died (a few months back) I read up on ADHD and as I went through each symptom of ADHD-PI, I had had all of the seriously interfering with education from the time I got to kindergarten till now. I quickly disregarded it. But then I started to pay attention to the symptoms. I asked myself why projects that took me an hour of work would take 10 times that calming myself enough to do it. Or why I couldn't see live music as it was physically depressing even though I love classical music. Or 95% of my best friends over the years did indeed have it diagnosed. But even then I really wasn't convinced. I would never take medication for ADHD. I have for fun (yeah substance abuse go figure) and I can't imagine taking a stimulant daily. They have a very paradoxical reaction to me. I don't get tired, but they make me incredibly calm. My mother and I have always been interested in nootropics. One day we ordered modafinil and it's effect was profound on me. I could concentrate on anything with unbelievable ease. Then I realized that this was signatory of ADHD. Me and a friend had taken Ritalin (one of my best friends again ADHD as well) and we played video games for 12 hours which is not typical for either of us and we were playing on difficulties that he and I sometimes played for laughs they were so hard. After Modafinil I started telling my mom that I thought I had ADHD. She found this hysterical. She never worried about me in school, because even though I failed high school English, she and I would spend hours discussing Emily Dickinson. My Dad taught me most of what he knew about physics when I was fairly young. I honestly remembering making fun of someone in middle school because they didn't know how a nuclear weapon worked or who Fermi, Oppenheimer, Teller and Ulam were. I went on to explain the differences between U-238 and 235 and that using them for energy yields Pu-239. Then I said that Hiroshima and Nagasaki only had 1 stage while most more modern weapons had two or three. I thought everybody knew these things until well into high school. To my Dad they were common knowledge as he was a university professor. It's odd to note though, he had many misconceptions about physics that I found out once I started reading popsci physics books.

I haven't technically been diagnosed in a clinical setting, but I have, obviously, spoken to a number of psychologists about it. My sister, my dad's friends and my sister's friends. And while my sister was very hesitant at first (she had always tried to diagnose me aspergers as that's what her dissertation was on and she always felt something was wrong with her little brother; I told her it was because she had hit me in the head too many times when we were younger), but agrees now. As a shrink's kid, I bet I could convince a doctor I had leukemia. I don't think a diagnosis would mean anything. I actually like ADHD. I hate how it affected my education, but I blame state education and not ADHD. Sure to non ADHD types my mind is chaos, but I don't feel that way. I was described as messy by every teacher until far into High School, but I never knew what they meant. I would try and order it and my teacher would tell me that I was making it worse. To this day my backpack probably looks messy, but at least no one else cares.

I don't think ADHD is one disorder. I think it's a particular symptom and different coping mechanisms like hyperactivity and hyperfocus. I bet many people have only the positive aspects of it though I can't imagine that. One of the funniest things I've read about the neurology is that there is often alpha and zeta brain wave activity and they are involved in meditation and prayer. I've taken martial arts since I was young and have tried to meditate many times. I listened to people explain the purpose, "to clear your mind" or whatnot, but I have 0 control over that. I can't imagine making my mind clear. That's like saying don't feel cold now. Not ignore the cold which is very possible, but rather just stop feeling that. I hate school as they were always asking me to do impossible things like that, and I did often wonder in Elementary School if they were playing jokes on me. Although horrifying to learn that the differences I had attributed to my own perception and not actual existent really did exist, for example, I've always wondered why people seem to think about one thing at a time, which I thought was just because I was smart, or why if I said all things I was thinking about in succession, people became visually anxious and angry with me. I don't think this is a gift, but I would be pretty outraged if someone came up with a cure. I totally get my sister's side to autism. I don't like using disorder to describe it either as different isn't something wrong.
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  #2  
Old 11-25-12, 05:20 PM
SquarePeg SquarePeg is offline
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Re: Same old story

Hi and welcome. I did read all of your post but canīt concentrate long enough to comment. Me and my two kids have all been diagnosed this year ADHD PI, I am 47 and my kids are 17 and 14. Part of me things that adhd is "natural" but those with adhd are not suited to this modern life, but far more suited to the days when only survival mattered so you woke up, made fire, gathered berries, went hunting, did practical stuff. Loads of dangerous situations to keep the old adrenalin flowing.
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Old 11-25-12, 05:25 PM
Subtract81 Subtract81 is offline
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Re: Same old story

We seem to be extremely similar, except for reading and school experiences, awesome post, now to get through it all...
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Old 11-25-12, 05:40 PM
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Re: Same old story

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Originally Posted by SodaCrates View Post
I actually like ADHD

I love this post! I actually like ADHD too and the thought of going on meds to change any of what I like so much about it scares me.

Thank you for this post, it actually had me teary....
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Old 11-25-12, 05:40 PM
Subtract81 Subtract81 is offline
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Re: Same old story

I totally agree about state education, also the pacing really struck a note with me, something that annoys people i am talking to and i need space to make phone calls, we share a lot of similarities even to the extent with a fascination with physics, i had a fascination with astronomy from a young age, and later physics, formal education settings also sapped all of my enthusiasm, experimentation with certain substances tick, my chemistry teacher didn't even care that i would often just try to sleep through the entire class.

I also would never do the work i was set, i would often cherry pick the most difficult problems do them and hand it in and i would often get away with it, and the obvious doing homework during class or last minute. My grades were not what they should have been but somehow i made it through school and university, pretty much daydreaming the entire time and turning up for the odd exam
Great post and wasn't even too much of a struggle to read!
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Old 11-25-12, 05:47 PM
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Re: Same old story

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Originally Posted by Subtract81 View Post
I totally agree about state education, also the pacing really struck a note with me, something that annoys people i am talking to and i need space to make phone calls, we share a lot of similarities even to the extent with a fascination with physics, i had a fascination with astronomy from a young age, and later physics, but formal education settings eventually sapped all of my enthusiasm.

I also would never do the work i was set, i would often cherry pick the most difficult problems do them and hand it in and i would often get away with it, and the obvious doing homework during class or last minute. My grades were not what they should have been though but somehow i made it through school and university, pretty much daydreaming the entire time and turning up for the odd exam.

Great post and wasn't even too much of a struggle to read!
ditto, ditto and ditto
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Old 11-25-12, 05:53 PM
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Re: Same old story

Welcome to the forums!
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Old 11-25-12, 11:54 PM
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Re: Same old story

I loved your post, and thank you for sharing your story!
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Old 11-28-12, 01:56 PM
SodaCrates SodaCrates is offline
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Re: Same old story

I actually am really glad that I decided to post this. I really have always thought that everyone feels different and they do, and because of this I discounted that I may actually be different. I feel relieved that I'm not crazy and others have gone through the exact same experience.
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Old 11-28-12, 02:07 PM
SodaCrates SodaCrates is offline
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Re: Same old story

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Originally Posted by SquarePeg View Post
Part of me things that adhd is "natural" but those with adhd are not suited to this modern life, but far more suited to the days when only survival mattered so you woke up, made fire, gathered berries, went hunting, did practical stuff.
Well, I know it's natural, but whether it is something wrong or was selected for is not obvious. I can't imagine that it could affect between 3-8% of the population and not have been selected for somehow, but it may be that the negative traits are the result of some misfunction of biology. I would bet however that the negative and positive traits are a result of the same neurobiology and therefore it really was selected for (it's called the Hunter-Farmer hypothesis what you said, and there actually is a lot of evidence for it; the more nomadic a person's heritage the greater the chance of ADHD ranging from almost 0 in non-nomadic tribes to almost 8% depending on how you measure it in people of more nomadic ancestry).
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Old 11-28-12, 05:46 PM
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Re: Same old story

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Well, I know it's natural, but whether it is something wrong or was selected for is not obvious. I can't imagine that it could affect between 3-8% of the population and not have been selected for somehow, but it may be that the negative traits are the result of some misfunction of biology. I would bet however that the negative and positive traits are a result of the same neurobiology and therefore it really was selected for (it's called the Hunter-Farmer hypothesis what you said, and there actually is a lot of evidence for it; the more nomadic a person's heritage the greater the chance of ADHD ranging from almost 0 in non-nomadic tribes to almost 8% depending on how you measure it in people of more nomadic ancestry).
Very interesting, I have never read anything about this, it was just a logical leap I made. anyway my father is originally from Guyana where the first human inhabitants were nomads. thanks for the info.
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Old 11-28-12, 08:09 PM
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Re: Same old story

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I actually am really glad that I decided to post this. I really have always thought that everyone feels different and they do, and because of this I discounted that I may actually be different. I feel relieved that I'm not crazy and others have gone through the exact same experience.

LOL You still might be crazy!
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