Attention Deficit Diso… Hey! Simpsons is on!

I think I have ADD.

In fact, I think I’ve had it all along. For those of you who know me, just stop and think about it for a second. Forget all the political issues surrounding the disorder and just think about what you know about me. And think about what you know of ADD. Now put the two together. Yeah.

I seriously can’t pay attention to anything I do. Every once in awhile I’ll have some kind of break-through for an hour or so when I’m doing something amazingly interesting to me, but for the most part my brain is constantly distracting me, saying things like, “Hey, don’t forget about…” and, “Go check out that website so-and-so told you about,” and, “Did you respond to that email?” and a whole bunch of other things. Simultaneously. Without ceasing.

I’m not saying this in an “Oh, please pity me!” sort of way. I think if I do actually have ADD I’ve gotten along without any kind of medication pretty well, and become a productive member of society, etc. But honestly, do you know anyone who is more constantly distracted than I am? If you do, they probably have ADD. 🙂

You might ask me, “Josh, what’s the point? You’ve grown up with it (or without it if you don’t actually have it) and now you’re a productive member of society, so who cares?” I can only respond by saying, “That’s a good point, but we have to keep in mind that in order to… Hmmm… I’m hungry.”

13 Comments

  1. Eddie
    Posted August 20, 2003 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    I think you, Steph, and I are all in the same boat, BUT two things: I don’t think they are serious cases of it, and we have learned to use it as an advantage. I’d say each of us are pretty creative people and I think our imaginations are enhanced by the energy of our disorder. We’ve learned to discipline it and use it in our dominant respective interests (i.e. computers/music, visual art/teaching/dog training, dance/ hopefully teaching). After seeing those videos of you as a kid dancing in front of the camera to the music of a Nintendo game, I think, for your case, I can justify adding the “H” between the pair of “D”s.

  2. Posted August 20, 2003 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Dude, I totally forgot about that video. That was hilarious.

  3. POP
    Posted August 20, 2003 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

    I think some people have ADD and some have ADHD. Remember I’ve admitted that.

    I do think, however, that much ADD and ADHD is a convenient label people have invented to cover a lot of normal creative capacities (boys AND girls) and in some cases male behavior. Josh, if you had ADD you wouldn’t have been able to get a virtual PhD in Intellivision, Commodore-64, Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and now whatever you happen to be playing. You’d have played them for 3 minutes and then banging your head against the wall for 10. You wouldn’t have been able to focus enough to learn all the lines and lyrics you committed to memory and then performed WITHOUT A FLAW as you did from the time you were in grade 3 through whenever.

    You’re just easily bored and have many, many interests and now responsibilities.

    I’m not buying it.

    POP

  4. Posted August 20, 2003 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

    Whatever it is called tally up another because I have it too. Seriously, I get bored so easily. I was bored in the middle of writing my blog so I came to read/comment in yours.

  5. eddie
    Posted August 21, 2003 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Your dad has a point.

  6. Posted August 21, 2003 at 10:32 am | Permalink

    He does, yes. I admit it’s all too easy to blame our lack of discipline on a medical condition, because it lets us off the hook.

    At the same time, though, the examples he gave were interesting choices. Some people blame video games as a source of ADD and ADHD, saying that they train kids to have short attention spans. Video games don’t require a lot of attention because everything on screen is changing constantly.

    As far as memorizing lines for plays and musicals, the odd thing in that case is that I’ve never had to concentrate to memorize lines. I can usually hear something once or twice, and repeat it back to you without a flaw. The practices for the plays and musicals were always 99% of what I needed to get my memorization done, and I had to apply very little effort outside that to get it right. I think I actually worked independently on my lines in Music Man once. Just once.

    Of course, that doesn’t mean I actually have ADD, either. But I think that even if I do have a very slight case of it (Is it possible to have a little ADD? I’m not sure.) I’ve learned to concentrate enough that I can get by and perform reasonably well at most things. So maybe it’s not real, and maybe it is.

    One thing I still wonder about is the time with Mrs. Hillborn in 3rd grade. I can’t actually remember much of my life before 3rd grade, when I was 9 years old. That was true even when I was a teenager. I think my brain was just so unbridled and undisciplined that it simply neglected to record what was going on for later reference.

    So when Mrs. Hillborn, my 3rd grade teacher, would assign homework, I would simply forget about it and not do it, and I was getting horrible grades. But she saw potential, so she started a program with my parents wherein I would have to get a signature on a piece of paper that showed what my homework was, knowing full well that once my parents saw my homework list, they would force me to do it. And it worked. My grades shot up and never came back down. And from 3rd grade on, I have a fairly clear memory of what my life was like. Personally, I think the two events are related somehow, but I can’t prove it.

  7. Neal
    Posted August 21, 2003 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    I’m with your Dad. I think I’d agree that some people like my younger brother may have it, but all too often, it’s like The South Park episode- it’s diagnosed for no good reason.

    I often have the same problems, but it’s the same for everyone. There are people who can focus very well, others who are average, and others who are bad at it, without having ADD. Worrying and thinking about LOT’S of stuff is addressed in the Bible, so I hardly think this is unique to any of us.

    Add in the fact that most of us have a creative temperament, and there you go.

    If you’ve ever seen someone who really has ADD, you’ll know. ANYTHING at all will distract them, and I mean anything. A breeze, a person’s white socks, etc. I’ve taught these people (helped one to study by removing him from his table and getting him to a table at the front of the classroom- he could suddenly concentrate because there were no distractions).

    I’ve known you for a while Josh, and you’re none of the above- you’re interested in stuff, and you’ll find weird times to focus on things, but you don’t have ADD. You’re ability to focus on things on your computer is amazing- remember how Andy had to get your attention as a roomate?

  8. Posted August 25, 2003 at 7:27 pm | Permalink

    I have a friend who was diagnosed with the non-hyperactive form of ADD as an adult. She had a lot of trouble concentrating and generally organizing her life which she couldn’t understand because it seemed so much easier for everyone else. The situation let to mild depression and an over developed inferiority complex. Her solutions was more psychological than anything–taking into account how she processes information and organizes her life, etc. I think the general label ADD/ADHD as a justification for mass prescriptions is flawed, but as a way of acknowledging that people process information in radically different ways and learning how to make the most effective use of one’s own strengths it’s a different story. Besides, ADD-type tendencies are heavily associated with artistic/creative types–a little synaethesia helps to. I could run off into an under-informed rant about learning styles, multiple intelligences, etc. etc. but let’s leave it at this.

  9. Posted August 26, 2003 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Interesting discussion. Josh – I think you have all the classic symptoms. That doesn’t automatically mean that you have ADD or ADHD. Lots of times “smart kids” or kids who have the ability to concentrate on something are overlooked because anyone with ADD or ADHD can’t concentrate and does poorly in school. However, they’ve also found the opposite is true. Some people tend to over-concentrate, to the point that you often can’t get their attention (remember andy shaking your loft to get your attention, and you responding 5 minutes later?)

    It would be interesting to see what a professional says about you…….

  10. Posted August 26, 2003 at 4:34 pm | Permalink

    > It would be interesting to see what a professional says about you……

    That’s interesting. All my friends have said that for years. (Ba dum ching!)

  11. stranger
    Posted October 2, 2003 at 11:13 pm | Permalink

    I have ADD and my boyfriend has ADHD. The symptoms have been prominent throughout both of our lives, although my parents didn’t recognize mine. Without the “H” and in girls, it’s harder to see.

    My boyfriend can watch a movie/show once and “get” it, as well as remember/quote it afterward. He can quote shows I didn’t even think he liked when we watched them. He picks up on new music lyrics quickly.

    He proves POP’s argument (earlier) wrong. Video games keep my boyfriend sane. He can play them for hours, plays everyday, regularly stays up all night playing, etc. His old high school buddies still all play, and he’s the best of them, except for a loser guy that plays every minute he isn’t sleeping. Thank goodness, because my boyfriend bores easily, and when he gets bored, he gets very moody and hard to be around.

    Otherwise, he’s a “normal” bumbling ADD guy. Sometimes I have to get his attention two or three times to get him to digest something I’m telling him.

    Or it could just be that I’m longwinded.

    stranger

  12. tom
    Posted March 14, 2004 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

    my thoughts are foggy…

  13. Posted March 21, 2004 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

    ADD/ADHD are very misunderstood, many people are way f****d up due to it (check out some of the ADD bulletin boards to see the sad stories) & others like me or you are able to function relatively well in society. Often ADD/HD people also have co-morbid conditions eg. bipolar & clinical depression – which accounts for some of the truly messed up. One thing I argue is that mild suffers of the condition are actually ideally suited to a post modern online world where multi tasking is essential & long attention span is fatal. Also ADD’ers can also hyperfocus on things for hours/days/weeks, so the condition can be a combination of no focus at all for some things, followed by hyperfocus (often on so-called ‘inappropriate’ things eg. games, TV, etc.)
    I must confess I did not believe in it until I was tested – first without medication & then with. I am in the lowest levels for attention, & highest for distractibility + hperactivity in my age group. With meds I am in the normal range, but I only take them when I need to concentrate (eg. math classes at university). But my job calls for frenetic activity & instant decision making so ADHD is a benefit! I still argue that many of the creative people in the world suffer from a mild version of the disorder & that in their case it is not really a disorder at all!