Skip to main content

ADHD: Whatever it is, that's what it is.  

I've never really cared to debate whether ADHD is really something to be given any legitimacy.  It is what it is.  Whether it actually is a "Disorder," as the letters say, whether it's a result of social changes outpacing neurological changes, or whether it's some environmental issue, I don't really care.  Whatever it is that's what it is, and I fit the profile.  

It is what it is.  Symptoms tell you what it is.  Treatments vary.  I don't have a problem with people using pharmaceuticals to give them a chance at doing something they hardly ever do.

Are We Your Night Watch?

I wake most mornings without prompting at somewhere around 4:25.   I don't want to wake.  I want to sleep.  It's usually within 4 or 5 minutes of that time either way.  

I've had people agree with the following description of the ADHD brain's activity:  

It's like a racquetball court.  As soon as the mind is moving, it starts to ping, ping, ping.  And despite all attempts to stop it, it continues.  
Counting backwards is ineffective.  I just stop counting at the first distraction.  For some reason, I start at 61.  I've never made it to zero, and it rarely works.  

I lay there wondering if other people feel this.  Do other people have to "try" to go to sleep?  I remember all the way back, more than 25 years ago when I wished I could sleep like the other people on the trip.  

One doctor described it to me this way:  It's a function of a brain that is adapted for a different setting and human experience than the one we live in. Radio host Thom Hartmann has suggested that perhaps the ADHD brain is one that is more suited to a sort of "hunter gatherer" existence. In this scenario, an easily distracted mind could potentially be a beneficial adaptation.  We might exhibit  the forward facing eyes which lead to the binocular vision that is a hallmark of the predator, but we can still be prey.  Things still go bump in the night.  (If you speak German, that would be funny to translate.)

 If we take into consideration the fact that evolution by natural selection is something that impacts populations, and not individuals, you can see how it would benefit a population to have some individuals who are easily distracted. They can then raise the awareness of the rest of the population.

What does this have to do with sleep?  

A common complaint among ADHD adults is difficulty in establishing a reasonable pattern of sleep.  I have never, ever, ever in my whole life been able to sleep in.  I've always woken early, even as a teenager.  This does mean that I got to take classes when nobody else wanted when I was in college. There is that.  I guess there ais some benefit.  It's probably easier to get good grades in early classes.  Just a guess.

We are the ones who can't sleep, and who are easily distracted.  That seems like a beneficial adaptation when you consider that the alternative would have been many sound sleepers unable to be distracted by possible threats.

Imagine the benefit of having a percentage of your population which doesn't have the tendency to align its internal sleep clocks with the rest of you.  

The Menace of Hobbies

This morning, I shared my walk with Venus at just above the angle of my normal vision, and Jupiter sitting in the middle of the winter circle like a nipple,  between the celestial "bull's" eyes of Taurus.  I spent ten years teaching these things, but I never would have known them without the requirement to teach them.  

I've always wished that I could have hobbies like other people.  I've always wished that I could be so consumed by the depth of information and experience in one single activity that I could resist the distractions of the outside world.  Alas.

Apparently, the distractions are the hobby.  

Here is the problem.  As someone with ADHD goes through their lives, they start and stop activities.  It's a pattern, and while I realize it's normal that people do this, it happens with such regularity for some folks with ADHD that it almost makes no sense to start a new hobby.  It doesn't even matter how interested you are in the activity, you have learned over the years that you never finish something like that, so it's frequently a wasted effort.  

Couple this with the challenges that someone might face in school, and you have a bad recipe.  

I explained to my wife how much I would love to have hobbies.  It just doesn't work out most of the time.  

Basically, it's a waste of money.  There are numerous start up costs associated with many of the things I'm interested in.  So I think, "What's the point of spending the money, when it will just be another thing I quit as soon as distractions start, or as soon as the interest requires more in depth knowledge and understanding.?

Temporal Dysfunction is a Symptom of ADHD- "It's Either Now, or it's not Now."

"Finally, you get to be student of the week!" That's what it said in my "Student of the Week" book from third grade.  I wasn't willfully disobedient, but I was always at the next thing before the last thing ended. This leads to difficulty in school, which leads to a constant reminder that you are not doing as well as you should, and everyone just assumes it's because of bad behavior.  

It's either now or it's not now.    

The article linked above is one that is about sleep patterns, so it will relate to the earlier piece, but the reason I link the article is that it gives probably the best description of the ADHD brain and its difficulty with considering consequence before action.  

Their internal clocks are not "set." Consequently, they experience only two times: "now" and "not now."
For me, this is as true as it can be.  Imagine your life as a timeline.  You put yourself in the "now" part of the timeline.  You might be able to see far down that timeline, but for someone with symptoms of ADHD, they might feel like they exist in a bubble of time that extends no further than a day or two in either direction.  A sort of "fuzzy nowishness" that has some tendrils that move out in either direction along the timeline, but they don't do much.  It's not as if there is no awareness, it's that there is no sense of urgency for the future, no concern, because it's "not now." When those things get closer to "now," I  have learned, that's when it works for me to care about them  

I long ago stopped making any sort of attempt to plan any detailed situation that is further away than a week or so.  I ended up quitting a teaching position, because the principal was going to have me doing the organizing and scheduling for a group of support staff.  Please, I can barely manage my own.  

Goal Setting for someone in this situation is an exercise in disappointment and frustration.  It's really a learned frustration, and it's based on experience.  

This brings me to my final point.  The doctor who I mentioned in the opening told me about some books.  I sat there dutifully listening.  I'm thinking about how I will be able to do more of the things I want to do (which is just about everything), and she's just looking at me and talking, but I know she's thinking that nobody she tells to read those books ever actual reads those books.

Consider that irony.  

"Here is a book about ADHD.  It will help you figure out your problems." The thing is that the book could end with 500 blank pages, and probably 10% of those with ADHD would know about that if they were to get the book.  
EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  A different book she told me about (20+ / 0-)

    The doctor did go on to tell me about an ADHD book (I'm sure I wrote down the name, but ...) that contains all of the most salient information in the first 10 pages.  

    Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

    by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:06:21 AM PDT

  •  You sound fine to me. The first Big Hook into (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, HoundDog

    the cult of scientology is learning to 'complete a cycle'.

    Back in the 50s and 60s no one I ever knew or ever had or heard of the ADHD stuff. Makes me wonder what changed..

    But seems people like being labeled and limited these days by all kinds of doctors.

    You write extremely well.

    "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

    "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

    by roseeriter on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:28:07 AM PDT

    •  It's why I don't argue about it (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blueoasis, sillia, HoundDog, quill, andgarden

      I tend to think that it doesn't matter if it comes from a mismatch between the world and the brain, or between the brain and the person.  

      It is what it is, and it has certain characteristics that are fairly well defined.  

      I see a tendency in parents too frequently to attribute what they see as shortcomings in their children to some sort of "disorder."

      I have come to the conclusion that many of them do this, because to behave otherwise would mean that they, as parents, are responsible.  

      So overdiagnosis is definitely an issue, but it is also an issue when families refuse to recognize that their child could benefit from some recognition of the symptoms, and some way to solve the situation.  

      I don't mean that it's a bad way to be, I just mean that it carries with it certain frustrations that others may not experience int he same way.  

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:39:20 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some Parents expect Perfect Children- as if there (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto, HoundDog

        ever was such a thing. I have heard of some real horror stories about children of mis-guided parents and psych drs.

        I think everyone has some quirky things we do. Why does society these days want us all to look, act and think the same way about anything?

        "Time is for careful people, not passionate ones."

        "Life without emotions is like an engine without fuel."

        by roseeriter on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:49:41 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My nephew has ADHD ... (0+ / 0-)

        and gets "distracted" ... all the time.  But when watched closely, it turned out that he was only "distracted" when what he was working on wasn't easy anymore.  In other words, when things became the least bit difficult and he had to work on it, he used "distraction" to avoid doing what needed being done.  If the task was easy and fun, he never got "distracted" at all.  Needless to say, his parents aren't letting him get away with it anymore.

        "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

        by Neuroptimalian on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 02:41:19 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's totally consistent with the diagnosis (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Neuroptimalian

          Getting upset with him about it is counterproductive. This is exactly the kind of symptom that stimulants are supposed to help with. But sometimes they don't.

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 05:26:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No one gets upset with him, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ladybug53

            but he's not allowed to do things he loves (like playing computer games) until he follows through and meets his obligations.  Anything less would be a disservice to him as an adult as no boss would be tolerant and forgiving for long.  The goal is for him to have as happy an adult life as is possible, and that mandates his understanding how the world will treat him when he gets there.

            "Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity, and I am not sure about the universe." -- Albert Einstein

            by Neuroptimalian on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:00:40 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  ADHD is just a new term (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      emidesu, otto, blueoasis, HoundDog, quill

      In the 40s, doctors referred to "hyperkinetic children." Later they called it minimal brain dysfunction.

      It was discovered very early on that amphetamines worked remarkably well on the symptoms. But it was recognized only fairly recently that (a) the problems persist into adulthood, and (b) that girls and intelligent people can have it too. Basically, we now recognize that the diagnosis applies to more than just 7-year-old boys who can't stop crawling all over the furniture.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:59:49 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  People are also labeled and limited by (9+ / 0-)

      laypeople. I grew up with parents and teachers saying I was lazy and unmotivated. The concept of a girl, especially a quiet girl, having ADHD was not recognized and I struggled through school. Years later a perceptive doctor picked up it, prescribed medication, and I was able to take med school prerequisites and do well. Now with medication and some techniques I've made it through med school.

      The founding fathers knew of the mutually corrupting influences of Church and state, wisely sending them to opposite corners.

      by emidesu on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:10:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Hook up with someone who likes to finish stuff (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, roseeriter, teknohed, sillia, HoundDog

    and hook up with them. You'll make a good pair.

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:34:16 AM PDT

    •  True (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hannah, HoundDog

      It's definitely one of the coping mechanisms people develop.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:41:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  People who like to finish stuff (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto, HoundDog, watercarrier4diogenes

      often are not the creative ones. They need a spark, an impetus, inspiration. There's nothing wrong with being someone who inspires others and gives them ideas. It doesn't mean you have to also know how to dot all the i's and cross all the t's. There's a duality to creativity.

      I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

      by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:58:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Try getting a job like that (3+ / 0-)

        "Hi, I'm an inspiration to you.  But I will need someone to finish my work."

        I do agree with you about the good with the bad.  

        One of the challenges for ADHD people when it comes to creativity is that often being creative in any given situation requires a skill set, and to develop that skill set, you need to have been able to apply yourself in dedicated study for a good chunk of time.  

        I helped out my kid.  He has similar tendencies.  I have spent years helping him develop a broad set of skills so that he will have those tools available when he wants to be creative.

        Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

        by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:08:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Actually, some skills are just a matter of (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto

          repetition. That's where a "harsh taskmaster" comes in. He forces one to do things over and over again until they become routine.
          Sometimes the things don't get done because the process is not understood.  Some people do not recognize that there's a proper sequence that needs to be followed.  So, they do things out of order and then that causes a mess and frustrates their efforts.
          Some people have to have it explained that the steps in a recipe for a cake have to be followed in order -- that you can't add the eggs after the other ingredients have been baked in the oven.
          Some people can't drive a car with a standard transmission because 'D' and 'R' is as much as they can understand.

          We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

          by hannah on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:20:16 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The range of "normal" is broad (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            watercarrier4diogenes

            I'm not trying to gain special recognition.  I just don't mind using my own experience as a jumping off point to a relevant topic.  

            That's why I said, "Whatever it is, that's what it is." It's clearly something that exists in one way or another. The symptoms can cause problems for people.  It can lead to self medication...  

            So, while "normal" is a big bubble on the matrix, it doesn't mean that we can't describe and discuss the various areas in and around that "normal" bubble, especially when, due to expanding populations, we have to create situations that are often suited to a much more narrowly defined idea of "normal."

            Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

            by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:36:11 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  The taskmaster part (0+ / 0-)

            I know, no matter what, no matter if every one of my parent anxieties comes true about my son, he'll still be able to walk into any place where there is music being played, and he will be able to play it with anyone.  

            It's an interesting learning process, because I think we would discover that people with ADHD are more likely to NOT be able to identify how they learned things.  

            Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

            by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:38:19 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  I have never tried this, (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, HoundDog, watercarrier4diogenes

    but some ADHD patients apparently find that the stimulant meds help them sleep better. To the extent that they help clear away the clutter, that makes some degree of sense.

    Ok, so I read the polls.

    by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:51:04 AM PDT

    •  I can (4+ / 0-)

      If I take some prescribed amphetamines in the middle of the day, I can sleep.  And it's exactly for the reason you describe.  

      My wife took one 5mg capsule one time.  (I'm prescribed 30mg a day).  She was off the walls for hours.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 07:57:13 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dosing, what a nightmare . . . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto, HoundDog, watercarrier4diogenes

        It seems rare that anyone can get by on one morning dose. Part of the problem is that most of the studies were done on children, and first grade teachers might not notice what happens after 3PM.

        I seem to be a fast metabolizer, which is a bit of a problem.

        Ok, so I read the polls.

        by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:04:33 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The difficulty for kids (0+ / 0-)

          There is definitely an over reliance on pharmaceuticals for kids.  

          The problem I have is when families will muck with their kids' meds over and over, until it really becomes an issue where the medication is more impactful than any negative consequences of ADHD.  

          Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

          by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:38:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Nothing has been proven to work as well (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            as pharmaceuticals. And I think that's going to remain true at least as long as people with ADHD have to exist in a world designed for everyone else!

            Ok, so I read the polls.

            by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:46:42 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I see it like this (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              andgarden

              My mother took a lot of speed.  My Father took a lot of speed.  He has told me about 2 days of building match stick boats, straight.  

              Everyone in my family has pretty much fallen victim to self medication.  I mean, everyone.  

              Cousins?  Check. All of em? Almost.
              parents?  check.  You bet.
              Uncles, Aunts?  With 2 exceptions, check.
              And on.  

              So when I see that so much of my family spent part of their lives using drugs, quite possibly in a way that was really a form of self medication, well... I can't help but think it's better to use them in a way that is reliable and effective and won't kill me.

              Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

              by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:58:42 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Most doctors don't even realize (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                otto

                that methamphetamine is manufactured legitimately as a pharmaceutical, let alone that it's approved for the treatment of ADHD (in children, just like Ritalin).

                That said, it's quite rarely used, and the dose is far lower than what I gather is taken recreationally.

                I wouldn't want to try finding it at a pharmacy, though.

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:03:45 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  Dosage. Now THERE is an issue worth the time!! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          andgarden, otto, HoundDog

          Before I was diagnosed, in my mid-40s, I had managed to stumble on amphetamine and what it did for me. Not in a positive way, but I knew something with no idea why it mattered. And I sort of figured out how much and when, so long as it was available, and at least for a time was more functional and less fractured. It didn't last -- I thought of it as recreational, if anything. And, naturally, I moved and lost my hookup.

          I owe my life to the interviewer at the UCLA psych clinic that paid attention to my crisis, and to the magnificent Doctor who paid attention and did not stop at "depression, here's your tri-cyclics".

          And I learned, over time and other doctors, that "time-release" meant accumulating a too-high blood serum level, and that meant sleep patterns went to hell, and to insist on the "raw" version that would not persist. And to change doctors, with the whole problem of training a new one, when "medical wisdom" (it's a kid's problem, you outgrow it, 'dangerous' meds can't be forever, you fit my plan or else) showed up.

          It may be more difficult, for both the doctor and the person, to deal with more than one pill a day, or to be concerned with the timing of the dosage. The payoff can be enormous. It's a tragedy that children are condemned to poor outcomes by saying it's too hard to do it right. Hell, it's a tragedy that they still come out of med school with a whole dose of stupid and people still can't easily get a proper diagnosis.

          We really need to do better.

          The furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. John Adams, 1776.

          by semiAdult on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:54:13 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Good story, but you just described (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto, HoundDog

            a bit part of every patient's nightmare:

            And to change doctors, with the whole problem of training a new one, when "medical wisdom" (it's a kid's problem, you outgrow it, 'dangerous' meds can't be forever, you fit my plan or else) showed up.
            Yes, sometimes you do have to train the doctor. I've heard this from cancer patients as well.

            And god forbid your established dose stop working . . . .

            Ok, so I read the polls.

            by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:57:52 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'm epileptic (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              andgarden, HoundDog

              I wonder if any other doctors would be willing to prescribe these.

              I actually wonder something about epilepsy and amphetamines.  

              A seizure occurs when you get misfiring neurons, and there is no inhibition mechanism to stop them, and they go out of control.  

              So I was wondering if the persistent, long lasting effects of amphetamines wouldn't create a condition where those misfires are less likely, because the activity is regulated..

              Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

              by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:03:49 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Once upon a time, SK&F sold a drug (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                otto, HoundDog

                called Dexamyl. It was a combination of Dexedrine and amobarbital.

                This is way beyond my competence, but it's interesting that the combination of barbiturates and amphetamines is not unheard of.

                Ok, so I read the polls.

                by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:08:44 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  You make a good case (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chmood

            The caution with children is necessary.  I just get really freaked out when I see someone who appears to have their own idea of how their kid should act, and they use multiple medications to achieve that.  

            The main problem for kids is that they typically can't self report the impacts of neurological medication.  

            They just aren't able to verbalize how it makes them feel, possibly because they don't have any idea what "normal" is.

            Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

            by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:01:16 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Learning about how the brain works (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, blueoasis

    Doctors and scientists are learning more about how the brain works.  But obviously, there is a great deal about how the brain works that remains a mystery.

    That is why we now recognize a thing called ADHD (a disorder or disease if you like) where previously no such thing existed, but no one can tell you exactly what it is (to say nothing of what you might do to get better or have fewer problems).  There was a time when things like PTSD were not recognized but people still suffered from them.

    Disorder of the ability to pay attention and resist distractions really do exist, and really do cause problems in school and on the job (tasks that require one to do boring repitious activities for long periods of time) for those with the condition.

    Interestingly, empiric testing of the ability to pay attention and resist distractions have existed for some time now.  Yet the diagnosis of ADHD does not utilize this sort of testing, but relies instead on the doctor's judgement based on patient responses to questions, the doctor's observation of the patient, and the doctor's experience.  In order to use the tests, doctors would have to first apply the testing to thousands to identify a "normal" level of attention, a requisite step before you can say someone has "abnormal" attention.  I do not know of any such work being done at this time.

    The pharma industry makes a good deal of money from medications given to ADHD sufferers.  These medications do not correct the problem, but instead treat the symptoms.  So the pharma industry makes greater profits when more people take the meds.   This is another reason for the increases in diagnosis of ADHD.

    Your writing is very good, Otto, and you completed the writing and publishing of this diary.  Don't sell yourself short.  

    "The fool doth think he is wise: the wise man knows himself to be a fool" - W. Shakespeare

    by Hugh Jim Bissell on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:17:52 AM PDT

    •  My doctor diagnosed me (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto

      based on 30 years of clinical experience. It was not something I ever expected. But he didn't even consider writing a prescription until I had fairly extensive psychological testing. I don't hold that against him: you can't just hand out Schedule II drugs like candy.

      But there was a gap of several months between his (correct) diagnosis and when I was able to start treatment.

      Oh, and please don't fall into the trap of thinking that just because a person can focus on one thing he is interested in, he does not have ADHD. That is false. In many ways, ADHD is about not being able to follow through on things you are neutral about (or worse).

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:26:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Being able to 'focus' . . . (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        andgarden, otto, sillia

        . . . is, for many of us, purely a function of the object and the way it interests us. And the nature of the beast is that we tend to seek out new objects simply because they are new, and they interest us, and that interest is itself a drug!

        We constantly find new toys, new topics, new directions, because only in the rush of the "new" do we overcome the noise and irritation of everything else bothering us. The result is an incredible accumulation of stuff, and little ability to organize or profit from it. It's virtually impossible to stick with the "not new", when the "new" is so seductive.

        It's truly paradoxical.

        The furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. John Adams, 1776.

        by semiAdult on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:05:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  There are a variety of coping mechanisms (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          otto

          I wasn't diagnosed until I had started law school. Per my doctor (and this makes sense), the smarter you are, the longer it takes you to hit a brick wall. Also, if you're not hyperactive, you're liable to being called lazy--or thinking of yourself in that way.

          Even after the diagnosis, self-esteem can be a problem ("I'll never be able to get through this!")

          Ok, so I read the polls.

          by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:15:08 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            andgarden

            There were some comments in the thread earlier that really demonstrate the  lack of understanding.  

            It is those people who have some sort of "intelligence" that don't get diagnosed, because they don't suffer the impact in school, academically,  to the same extent.

            Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

            by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:19:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  It's not the same, but there is an impact (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              otto

              There are repercussions for not being able to turn in your homework on a regular basis. You might get a B- when you really understood (or could have understood) the material well enough to get an A. And that just cascades down the line to the extent that you learn to stop asking "what if I had been diagnosed sooner?"

              Ok, so I read the polls.

              by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:28:30 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  My kid (0+ / 0-)

                I didn't mention my kid too much, but the entire reason I even considered an actual diagnosis was my kid.  

                Whatever it is, he clearly demonstrates the tendencies.  And I was mostly scoring higher than him on the questions.  

                There is nothing about school that has ever been challenging in an academic sense, and that's being in a program that works 2 grades ahead.  (Sheesh, he's already got a bunch of HS credits and he just started HS)  

                So nothing was hard for him, but he still managed a B-average.  It was all because he didn't turn in assignments on time, or he didn't have a pencil for pencil check in band, or he didn't turn in a practice sheet...

                3 years of empty planning books.

                Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

                by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:47:35 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  5 minute increments (0+ / 0-)

      I am not really asking for anyone to feel sorry for me.  I genuinely am interested in what it means to have "normal" brain functions.

      And, yes, we don't know what the right amount of focus is, but as you say, it exists.  

      That's why I say, it is what it is.  I don't care if it's conflict between modern society and brains that didn't catch up, or if it's a chemical that can be solved.  

      I will take issue about a few things- teachers and other school professionals who are not qualified should never suggest a diagnosis.

      Creating a medication problem when the brain problem would be lesser is wrong.  

      We must exercise caution when we deal with this issue as it relates to children.   Children are works in progress, and to the extent that it's true to say, "Show me the child, I'll show you the man," it's also true that rapid neurological development in kids cansolve their problems.  

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:45:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Testing does exist. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      otto

      My diagnosis, 25 years ago, at UCLA was done in exactly the manner you suggest. I was completely accidentally fortunate to show up just as they were beginning to understand the ADD issue (we didn't get the H at the time). It can be done. It isn't simple, and it only happened after my doctor recognized the need. It's probably wishful thinking to see my luck as "normal", even today.

      The furnace of Affliction produces Refinement, in States as well as Individuals. John Adams, 1776.

      by semiAdult on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:15:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think I have ADD. So some the things you (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, blueoasis, sillia

    describe sound familiar. Others, not so much.

    Hobbies? Other than computers? Can't stick with them.

    School? Lots of problems as an child, less so as an adult, but still have problems.

    Reading was always something that, if I was interested in what I was reading, I tend to "Hyperfocus". My wife thinks I'm ignoring her.

    I tend to interupt people unless I think twice, because my mind is jumping from one thing to another, and by the time they finish what they are saying, I've thought of 20 other things that might not be related.

    I've thought of seeking out treatment, but haven't as yet.

    Not so much with the Hyperactivity, however...

    You can't take the sky from me!

    by wrights on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:21:15 AM PDT

    •  ADD (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of the evaluation will be based on your responses to a question sheet.  That might seem like a weird way to do it, but the responsibility for determining whether or not it is working is on you.  

      There are many different illnesses that don't require a doctor to perform a test or exam to see if you have it, or if  you are improving.  Typically, these things require the patient to track their own health and report their condition to their doctor.  

      When the Dr. asks you how you feel if you have a bad back, it's often up to the patient to report the level of pain or healing.

      It's really about whether or not something like medication works for you.  And the patient is really the one to determine that.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 08:55:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm with you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto

    I go to bed late wake at 5.

    I don't play video games, as I just don't have the attention span. I have multiple tabs open on this browser.

    Memorizing a monologue or a script I have now discovered has more to do with an inability to focus, rather than tbi induced memory issues.

    my mind is either a blank or has too many streams flowing concurrently, and they are all white water rapids.

    "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

    by theRoaringGirl on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:13:12 AM PDT

    •  Scripts! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia

      Let me tell you about scripts!  

      Shite.  

      I spent ten years doing science shows and planetarium shows in front of audiences.

      As a result, I would need to learn new scripts.  Sometimes they were old scripts that were well tested, other times they were brand new.

      It is really, really hard to do script work.  

      A. It's difficult to practice in the "not now."
      B.  It's difficult to focus long enough to get past the first page.  I had to do scripts that were 8-10 pages long, but written in a conversational format.  

      I discovered that one of the helpful coping mechanisms is to learn the information, consider all of the possible questions that might arise, and then essentially recreate the entire show from my own experience.

      When I created it from my own experience, it had more value and meaning.  I think the real benefit of this is different.  It seems reasonable to suggest that a good way of teaching an ADHD individual, or a good way for someone with ADHD to learn is to be armed with individual skills, and then to apply the individual skills in an adaptive way that is suited to the person.

      An example would be chess. My kid is a pretty awesome chess player.  He's a Frosh and is the 2 board on a team that competes for the state title.  

      He doesn't memorize games or openings or those things.  He gets himself into precarious situations and uses the variety of tactics to adapt the situation to, as one of his opponent's coaches phrased it, "swindle" his opponent out of the game.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:28:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Problem-solving is a more useful skill (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto

        than organizing, or memorizing, in general.

        There's a history card game I love to play called "Chronology" where you draw a fact card and have to place it in time between the cards already on the table. For example, if I draw the Gutenberg Bible card it's pretty easy to place it between the Egyptian pyramids and the Moon landing. However, the game gets more difficult the more cards are laid out. It's a little harder to decide if penicillin was discovered before or after the Wright brother's first flight, and it gets progressively more difficult.

        I was astonished when I played this game with my Dad, a history buff, who would get totally blocked because he couldn't 'remember' the date of the D-Day invasion or something. I kept trying to show him, Dad, you don't have to know that! Just decide where it falls in the continuum! It was before Elvis, right?? He literally could not let go of the idea that he had to "know" each fact before he could start solving the problem.

        There are different ways to figure things out! This seems obvious but most people don't see it.

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:44:02 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I have a performance slam (0+ / 0-)

        coming up Thursday, and getting the words into my head is a bitch, and it's a two-minute piece. I've recorded it in a whisper, and looped it, set to a high bpm beat and play it. it helps

        "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

        by theRoaringGirl on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 12:39:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  It's funny about video games (0+ / 0-)

      We used to talk about video games like they were lowering our ability to focus, but now a video game requires hours and hours and hours of dedicated time and focus.  

      I also don't play video games, other than the ones that are play it all at one short burst, and then start another one later.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:30:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have experienced something like this (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    andgarden, otto

    since my illness with Lyme disease. I guess it makes sense, it's a bacterial infection that gets in your brain/neurological system.

    So I recognize a lot of this from the point of view of somebody who used to function differently, now has a lot of these tendencies. Hard to focus on anything WELL, problems with follow-through not due to intentions, nowishness, planning is almost impossible. I used to be a great organizer, goal-oriented, etc. Now I literally cannot write a grocery list, it overwhelms me. Instead, I just go with flow, walk through the store and pick things that look useful.

    I don't see this as all bad. Of course, I need my brain back so I can function better. But maybe previously I was too much focused on looking ahead and not enough in the now. So maybe I'm learning something.

    About the sleep: for a couple of years at least I was getting four hours or less a night. I would try to nap during the day but this made me panicky, feeling like I was being sucked into a black hole. I think this lack of sleep really wrecked me. My lyme treatment has gradually reduced my symptoms so that I started sleeping somewhat better.

    One thing I discovered (via a Kossack) is the supplement "inositol" which is related to B vitamins I think, or maybe it's a B precursor (?), and made from rice bran. Medical research has shown excellent results with high doses of inositol for OCD, panic attacks, and depression (you can find some of this on PubMed).

    So I tried this, gradually increasing my dosage. The effect on my anxiety level was miraculous, it was like turning down a volume knob. The jittery feeling I had constantly, running through my body faded right away. My sleep became deeper and more restful. I have much more energy as a result. I continue to take this, along with all of my other treatment protocol of course. I think it's maybe the 2nd or 3rd most important thing I take. Don't ask out of how many, you don't want to know, LOL.

    Thanks for the interesting diary. You are a great writer!

    I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

    by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:23:06 AM PDT

    •  Sounds like a description of "chemo brain," (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia, otto

      which, incidentally, is often treated with Ritalin.

      Ok, so I read the polls.

      by andgarden on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:25:57 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The inositol is said to repair (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        otto

        the nerve sheaths, or myelin, over time. The myelin damage is associated with MS (I forgot to say inositol is used with MS patients also), but demyelization apparently happens with other diseases/conditions also.

        Inositol also does something with your seratonin balance. I wish I understood it better, it's fascinating. In my next lifetime I will be sure to take at least a couple semesters of biochemistry!

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:32:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  That is a very interesting experience (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sillia

      I suppose that Andgarden would agree with me on this, I don't know.  

      I would guess that a lot of things are much better for someone with ADHD. It's just that they aren't necessarily things that are super beneficial in today's world.  

      When I was teaching science to hundreds of people at a time, I was able to be distracted by audience members who may not have been getting it, or kids who might need a moment of further information...  

      So in that sense, being distracted in a large group is useful.  

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:43:37 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Multiple streams (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        nuclear winter solstice

        I used to teach and do teacher training as well. I think you are describing good teaching. A good teacher has to have multiple streams of things going on at the same time, and as you say, be able to leap their attention from one thing to another quickly, or simultaneously.

        I used to use self-reflection in teacher training--I think the nifty term for this is 'recursive' thinking. Or you could think of it as 'meta' I suppose. So, I'd present something, blah blah blah, then pause and point out HOW I'd just presented that, reflect and analyze a bit, and make observations about the audience's reaction, or ask them what they thought, then point out to them how this might apply in their own teaching, how their own students might respond, bringing us back to the material again. It was fascinating--fun for me because I was picking out things as we went along, and interesting for them because they didn't know what I was going to say next.

        Try putting THAT on a PowerPoint, LOL, LOL.

        I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

        by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 09:58:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Coincidence? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sillia

          Many people will tell you that teaching is a good job for folks with ADHD, because it offers a defined schedule, and because of the ability to manage multiple distractions.

          Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

          by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:24:00 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  So I'm starting to think (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            otto

            that SOME of these aspects predate my Lyme disease...or, perhaps the Lyme was doing its thing starting much longer ago than I thought. Either way, I think that I do fall somewhere on this spectrum that you and other commenters are describing.

            I love it that Obama's channeling Harry Truman: "I don't give 'em hell; I just tell the truth and they think it's hell!"

            by sillia on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:31:17 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  What works for me with my ADHD (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto

    It's a combination of exercise, meditation, and a variety of supplements.

    Oh, and I take Adderall sparingly, but at most every other day (10mg).  For some reason, it works better on every  other day dosing than every day.

    I have the inattentive kind.

    It runs in my family.

    In terms of exercise, all exercise is better than none, but the best is interval training.  And if I can fit it in: bikram yoga can put me in a very good place.

    The problem with all the above, of course, is that I don't have the time for it all.  So Adderall becomes my fallback.

    •  IMO, it's good to avoid rigidity in the approach (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Goingallout

      Some people start off with this approach: "I refuse to medicate this particular issue, and I'm making my decision on a moral basis."

      I guess I can't quite get the reasoning.  It seems like  it's true that it would be beneficial, provide no immediate threat, and provide no long term health threat.  It seems strange to put one's foot down on this particular issue if the above are true.

      Incarceration Nation has a Jail Jones to feed its Imprisonment Addiction

      by otto on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:29:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  as far as books: Driven to Distraction really (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto, chriscol

    "Had we gone the invasion route, the US could conceivably still be an occupying power in a bitterly hostile land." -- George H. W. Bush, "A World Transformed," 1998 memoir (explaining why the US did not occupy Iraq in the 1991 "Desert Storm" war)

    by nuclear winter solstice on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:17:20 AM PDT

  •  I've added the tag 'ADD' to your tags list (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    otto

    as the hyperactivity component isn't present in childhood most girls (my daughters and myself) like it is in boys (my son).  None of us are hyperactive as adults, but we've all been evaluated as ADD, though none of us takes any meds to deal with it.

    For a long time, ADD in adults was unrecognized because of that missing component.  See Driven To Distraction : Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood by Edward M. Hallowell, MD, and John J. Ratey, M.D.  Both men were professors at Harvard Medical School when they co-wrote the book.  Both have ADD and 'coached' each other through the writing and editing process.  (see comment by Sillia above).  I know one person who became a highly thought-of IBM exec who credits much of his rise to very organized administrative assistants.  He was brilliant at 'doing', not so much at 'what should I do next?'.

    Fascinating book, though somewhat dated now.  Oregon MENSA even had Dr. Hallowell as a guest speaker at its annual gathering back in the mid '90s (believe me, most MENSA members know all about ADD).

    Conservatism is a function of age - Rousseau
    I've been 19 longer'n you've been alive - me

    by watercarrier4diogenes on Sun Sep 30, 2012 at 11:50:18 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site