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  #1  
Old 08-11-03, 10:56 AM
Jonathan Jonathan is offline
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Jonathan

Hi,

I keep starting this again - I am trying to keep it short and to the point. It's much easier to contribute to a pre-existing thread, but I feel I should get the introduction "over with" first (to save others from having to endure "confessional" or "life-story" commentary from me in threads where it doesn't belong!).

I am 35, married with a 4-year old son and a baby daughter due 6 weeks. I am British, but have been living in Rostock, in Germany on the Baltic sea for the last 4 years. I was adopted as a small baby - my original parents were Canadian (I don't remember them). I lived in Belgium for some years as a child, and in a way feel more "at home" abroad than at home.

I had a reasonable typical (I think) ADD childhood - was hyperactive in my early childhood, less so later on. Always had problems concentrating, though could occasionally focus for hours on end on something which grabbed me - though I could be (in some sense) fascinated by a book, but still unable to read it.

I managed to gain a place to read maths and philosophy at Oxford in spite of the challenges, through an ability to do exams (tests) and biasing my application away from anything that would need or could benefit from preparation. Unfortunately, this was the last time my ability to do exams would get me through; in any case I was losing my ability to focus during exams - adrenaline was no longer enough, or there was no longer enough adrenalin...

Interested though I really was in the material, I could not generate the concentration needed for my studies and dropped out after 4 terms. A year later I went back to get a degree, this time at the University of Hull. I managed to get a degree, but it was a so-called Pass degree without honours as I had not completed three important assignments. When the results came through, months after the deadline for the assignments, I was still kidding myself I could somehow get them done and counted! Throughout school and university, I got the "enormous unrealized potential" comment, so familiar to many ADDers.

After University I drifted through spells of unemployment and doing odd jobs, but mostly working (there is less paperwork involved in manual labour than in signing-on unemployed!). Quite enjoyed some driving jobs. Mundane and badly paid though they are, they have got a lot going for them (once you've enough experience, driving is instinctive, and very calming for a restless personality).

Eventually, after drifting along in "ex-student" mode for maybe 8 years, something clicked and I became a bit tougher. No big change, I just felt that I had a right to go to a job interview and try to persuade them to give me the job. (Previously I had always messed up interviews for slightly better jobs by letting on that the job didn't excite me much - so I could only get the jobs which no-one was excited by!)

Anyway, I have wound up here, in an academic institute in Germany doing the best job I have ever had, but it still is not so wonderful (as something to contemplate for the very long term) and I undermine myself (non-ADD-sympathetic language there) constantly by my inability to concentrate non-spontaneously... Maddeningly, I am given a lot of freedom to do what I want how and when I want, which is great, - but I can't really cope with it. There are spells of high productivity, and the work I do is good and thorough, if/when I finally do it, but I go for long periods being completely stuck. Ironically, I have been so good at giving an account of my activities that my boss is hiring a new programmer soon to help - when I believe this should not really be needed.

I have felt the same sense of elation and revelation that others have reported on this site on "discovering" AD/HD - a description of characteristics and modes of being which just fits so well, along with a self-aware community with which one seems to have so many things in common. After I gave up smoking (for the 100th time in the last few years, but this time more consistently) four months ago, I was struck by the fact that although the withdrawal symptoms have gone, I was still missing something. With a bit of introspection, I realized it was the same edginess I had known as a boy, something which had always been there underneath. I began to think about my caffeine consumption - I think I hoped to be able to blame it for my problems - but as I was beginning to realize this was not the bottom line, I came across discussion about other stimulants, and AD/HD...

I don't know whether I will be able to get an ADD-diagnosis here in Germany - I am not sure how accepted/well-established AD/HD (or ADS, as they call it here) is among the medical profession etc, nor how available (or affordable) medication or other kinds of support are. I would feel some awkwardness about going and "explaining myself" to a stranger anyway - and rather more if I have to attempt to do it in another language. I'll keep you posted.

Sorry, that wasn't very brief. Anyone still there?

Love and peace,

Jonathan.
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Old 08-11-03, 11:19 AM
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Old 08-11-03, 11:23 AM
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Great intro! Like you said: "...sense of elation and revelation that others have...on "discovering" AD/HD..." your bio hits home with me - many simillarities. Since I've been cognizant of ADD, I have seen my entire life in a new light. Not only the past, but the future as well.

BTW re: driving - If you think driving is relaxing - try riding a motorcycle! I have never felt so "optimized" as when riding. I feel that I can see, hear and smell everything - my focus is so razor sharp (it has to be, cause death is always near when you're on a bike)! Surprisingly, the "optimized focus" really feels relaxing, theraputic almost! But it may be just me...
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Old 08-11-03, 03:19 PM
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I suspect that "extreme" activities draw people with AD/HD (ADD, whatnot) because of the "self-medicating" aspect. Think about martial arts (me), rock-climbing (me), skydiving (not me), being a SWAT officer instead of just a police officer (a friend), firefighting (another friend), piloting military aircraft (a canuck acquaintance), you name it....

Anything that pumps up that ol' natural (and totally legal) stimulant adrenalin is balm for the AD/HD soul. I know the "calming effect" personally -- time seems to slow down and everything proceeds serenely and without confusion -- all in a few seconds. I know that is the reason I've used tea and coffee (legal addictive stimulants) since highschool.

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Old 08-11-03, 04:30 PM
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Perhaps the hunter hypothesis is correct - if adrenaline has a "calming" effect on us as opposed to stimulating - perhaps we are bred to be hunters/warriors - killers. It would be advantageous for a carnivore to be relaxed during the hunt. Perhaps we're the carnivores of the human species and the rest are the herbivores, or more correctly: we are a species in transition from carnivore to herbivore and we are the evolutionary stragglers. Kinda shoots all those grandiose notions we may have had about ourselve right out of the water .
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Old 08-11-03, 07:08 PM
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Welcome Johnathan and that was a wonderful post along with the replies that accompanied it

It provoked some deep thought.
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Old 08-12-03, 05:36 AM
Jonathan Jonathan is offline
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Thanks all of you for the very warm welcome. It's great to meet you all. Look forward to continuing the discussions (possibly on a new thread. Pity we can't just meet up for a beer...)

Jonathan.
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Old 08-12-03, 10:41 AM
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Jonathan, welcome to the Forums. I too enjoyed reading your introductions.....I relate to the work thing....high productivity, good work, yet feeling stuck.....Not being able to cope with freedom to use your time as you wish, although it being a great privilege, obviously....

I do hope at some point you will be able to get your diagnosis in Germany....Please keep posting....
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Old 08-12-03, 03:33 PM
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I couldn't read all of it initially, but I promise I will eventually get through it. Welcome to the show!!!

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