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Old 07-16-12, 08:08 PM
Sculo21 Sculo21 is offline
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Smile Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

I've recently been doing a bunch of research on ADHD and how to understand it and react to having it. It's a little long (can you tell I took my meds today? haha) but hopefully you can get through it and let me know what you think. Feel free to skip to the bottom, where the bolded paragraph is like a conclusion/sparknotes for what I say in the post.

Please donít bash my ideas though if you read just read the bold though, because I may hit on what you say in the other text. Thanks!

Also, mods: if this is the wrong place please move it to where itíd be better, Thanks


I'm a college student who's only been diagnosed for a year now. When diagnosed, I was told I avoided being diagnosed simply because I have a "gifted" intelligence. It got me to start researching about how ADHD can be different for someone like me who was lucky enough to have had traits that made people label me "gifted", and since then I've been devouring info on how ADHD can be looked at from all sorts of perspectives and how certain things are often mistaken for ADHD.

Through my research I've come to look at ADHD as not a deficit, but simply a label. Dont get me wrong though, it is definitely still a deficit in some areas (me included), but looking at it that way can kill someoneís self-worth (it did with me for a while). I've started to look at it as a label that often is applied to people who have skills or unique traits that can cause issues in our society.

One of these traits is being a creative problem solver.

On this page there is a contrast that is discussed between people who are high achievers, highly intelligent, or highly creative: http://www.bertiekingore.com/high-gt-create.htm
When looking at the highly creative portion I saw many parallels to numerous posts on these forums about how many of us often think differently than the average person.

This related closely to a TED video I saw narrated by Sir Ken Robinson:
He talks about how as children grow older through the US education system they lose something called "divergent thinking" where people are smarter if they are more creative and an example from the video is thinking of uses for a paper clip. In the example the average person could think of 10-15 uses, but a genius would think of 200 or more. When tracking people through the education US education system, they actually got WORSE at divergent thinking as they got older. I don't know about you, but most of my friends and me who have ADHD are WAYYY better at divergent thinking than the rest of our friends.


To hit another vein of ADHD (one I wish was more applicable to me, but alas, not quite) is in cases where the individual doesn't have ADHD, but is simply extremely intelligent. There are many individuals who are extremely smart (IQs>140) who do terribly in school because they get bored with the pace, which is slow for them and get improperly labeled as ADHD due to many similar looking symptoms.

Furthermore, there are many students who will actually have ADHD and have similar intelligence (me for example) to those wrongly diagnosed who suffer similarly. These people often may not have ADHD quite as severely as they think they do (I was one of these for a while after my diagnosis) or their ADHD may go unrecognized for a long time due to their ability to better create coping mechanisms (me pre-diagnosis).

I know for sure Iím in the intelligent and ADHD category because my ADHD testing took into account a number of tests for memory, attention and cognitive functioning among other things (the eval took an entire 9-5 day!) and Iíve also been tested for ďgiftednessĒ (which in my opinion is pretty stupid because it only represents a single type of intelligence).

I also started looking at the other aspects that people consider bad about ADHD as not necessarily bad or at least look at the positives as well.

For example, my impulsiveness: I often say, buy, or do stupid things I regret (and im on this forum, big suprise, haha) and I can easily work myself into a depressed state thinking about all the stupid stuff I do. To avoid that, I also try to think of how fun it can be and how it normally at least gives me an awesome story. I still donít try to be impulsive in my life, but itís something funny that I canít always help doing, and I have tons of times where the results are actually sort of funny or kinda awesome (not enough to make it a positive trait unfortunately haha).

Also, I get crap from my friends sometimes for doing stupid stuff, and I used to sorta be like, ďya, crap, your right,Ē and feel bad, but now I shoot back at them saying Iím having more fun or learning from it or something witty, or I at least think that to myself to help keep me feeling good about myself and to keep me happy. In serious situations though, Iíll obviously still agree with them.

So, after doing all this research I stopped looking at ADHD as a problem because for a while it killed my self-worth and self-confidence. I now look at it as a label of a person who has certain traits, abilities and problems that are not helpful in our society. The important thing I want people to take away or give me feedback on is that we also often have other traits that arenít deficits but talents or gifts and these aren't emphasized enough!

Does this make sense? Do you guys agree? Please let me know and thanks for the read!
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Old 07-16-12, 08:46 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

To be honest, this vid came to mind.



Also, ADD lack of "stick-to-itiveness" would contribute to reducing output (and thus hinder creativity in that way).

As far as creativity and divergent thinking and association stuff goes: Bipolar stuff here, Asperger stuff here.
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Old 07-16-12, 08:53 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

There are no tests that are approved for adhd. Adhd directly correlates to impairments. If there were positives to adhd then it would not be considered to be a disorder.
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Old 07-16-12, 09:00 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

Its a label? does it list the ingredients?
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Old 07-16-12, 09:09 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

congrats... glad you`ve come to terms with your adhd.
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Old 07-16-12, 10:33 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

Sculo,

I think your quite right to try to balance two aspects:

1. the deficits and challenges brought on by ADHD

2. the reality that we are much more than our deficits ...


I am one who does not think of ADHD as a label that diminishes my self worth. But I'm 50, and I've had some accomplishments in the wold, and I've seen first hand how much can be accomplished by people with widely different skillsets.

For me the diagnosis has just plain mind-blowing. The diagnosis has helped me understand my brain and my life better than any single idea I've ever encountered before. The diagnosis brought deep deep relief and sadness of course for all the pain I endured unwittingly along the way. The label/diagnosis allows me to forgive myself for all the struggles I've had with getting organized, meeting deadlines, starting projects on time, finishing them on time, the ongoing chatter in my mind, etc. The diagnosis
opened the door to healing a lot of pain and sense of failure.

I have been helped enormously by some great luck I've had in working with some amazing therapists in the past few years. I think straight-up regular therapy and therapy focused on ADHD stuff is sorely underappreciated on this board. The work I've done with my therapists has allowed me to build a platform of confidence. I hired an ADHD coach one summer, and she was amazingly clear that I had to identify and develop and leverage my strengths, leverage them to the hilt. This one piece of advice has utterly turned my life around in many ways.

Just remember: there are CEO's and billionaires out there with ADHD. What's their treatment? One, a focus on their strengths. Two: aides and secretaries who do all their paperwork, keep them on schedule, and who create breaks in their schedule when they know the boss isn't going to be able to concentrate, etc. The aides free them up to use all their energy, charisma, big ideas. But they absolutely need those aides!

The diagnosis of ADHD for me is just a big sign on the wall of my life reminding me to stay away from certain jobs and certain tasks that my brain isn't good at. And now I do so with no guilt (or decreasing guilt), and I look for ways I contribute that draw on my strengths.

The world needs creative people, people who improvise, who live in the moment, who can react on the spot. I'd definitely be a great E.R. doc if I had gone the medical route. But I can't imagine that I could be a radiologist sitting for hours at a time reviewing mammograms on a screen. (A close friend of mine had breast cancer.) But that's a fair tradeoff for me.

Good luck

Tone
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Old 07-16-12, 11:01 PM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

I'm glad your coming to terms with your adhd and whichever coping mechanism you've found works best is good that you have. I struggle with this 'label' stuff however, adhd is a disorder affecting not only academia but every facet of an individuals life in some of its extremes people are imprisoned, die early and are living truly horrendous lives, I'm not here to rain on your parade but I feel slightly less inspired by the 'its only a label' pool of thought because you could say that of cancer, diabetes etc etc...its a term used to describe a collection or pattern of disabling and negative symptoms the whole process of diagnosing/naming a problem serves a purpose for self awareness and treatment/management, whilst I dont believe in using a label to excuse myself etc etc. The pattern of behavioural problems, and many of the other things that make me different to a neurotypical as a result of my adhd are so heavily engrained in to me that to seperate myself from my disorder would be virtually impossible, sometimes being able to coin it and say its as a result of adhd is just much simpler.....sorry to be so negative I guess its just my own opinion and I'm feeling incredibly ambivolent about 'coping and overcoming' a condition that has thoroughly f***ed my life time and time again
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Old 07-17-12, 01:38 AM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

I'm glad you are dealing so well with it and it's nice to read an optimistic view for a change. I think there can be many factors that can compensate to an extent for having adhd and adhd occurs on a spectrum. Some people are more disableld than others. I don't even know yet if I've got adhd but the adhd like symptoms that have been plaguing me are not fun to live with even though i seem to be one of the high functioning adhders. For me there is nothing positive that adhd contributes to my life. On the contrary. Anything positive is in spite of adhd not because of it. I'd happily exchange my adhd traits for nt ones though like Florence said it's difficult to separate your personality from the disorder. Throw in a few co morbids and you've got a recipe for a pretty miserable frustrating life. Sorry to be so negative. I wish i could be more accepting or more optimistic but right now my brain is just driving me crazy. I can't see the light at the end of the tunnel.
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Old 07-17-12, 01:57 AM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

Well, I'm not gifted so I often fail to see the positive parts of this disorder. For me ADHD held me back in learning, people didn't think I was very smart and weren't afraid to say it and I never thought I was as smart as people too.

ADHD doesn't affect intelligence though, just the ability to learn and perform tasks. Also I may have a processing disorder, also I'm autistic.

The diagnosis of both autism and ADHD made me think that being surrounded by these smart people with the same diagnosis that maybe I could be smart too. I finally started to see it when I was medicated.

Knowing that I do have a disorder actually helps me more than seeing myself as gifted, or this label applied to certain people. There are some things I like about ADHD like coming up with some weird ideas, entertaining people with my random sense of humour. By random I mean I take two completely unrelated things and make a joke about them.

Knowing I have ADHD keeps me aware about my symptoms. I have to make sure I stay organised or I end up on youtube.com looking up videos of David Tennant singing instead of doing my work. That actually happened today.

Sometimes though I just let ADHD be, when I don't need to focus, watch my words, not wonder how far down the ground is by climbing over the railing - my impulsive behaviour can be fatal - what else? Oh yes, remember to make myself a meal so I don't have a hypoglycaemic reaction. This list goes on.

Now I need someone to whip me so I get back to my work. Actually, meds wore off. Never mind. A half hour break turned into a 3 hour break! I'll do better tomorrow.
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Old 07-17-12, 02:02 AM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

Gaining self-worth and self-confidence are priceless, indeed. Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and story with us.
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Old 07-17-12, 02:23 AM
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Re: Remembering that ADHD is only a Label

Quote:
Originally Posted by PookDo View Post
Its a label? does it list the ingredients?
How about an expiration date?
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