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Category Archives: ADHD and ability

‘Normal’ seems pretty overrated!

My two cents on the issue from this NYT article… The one promising a natural fix for ADHD.

Without trying to dismiss the burden of having ADHD: I think they have a partial point. Speaking for myself: 90% of my problems related to ADHD has everything to do with ‘normal’ people.

ADHD is not a ‘psychiatric illness’ that needs ‘fixing’.

I see ADHD as a neurobiological variety which needs special attention (pun intended) in today’s society. The problem with it is real, the burden is real.

ADHD is formulated as a disorder by normal people. The DSM was not written by ADHD individuals.

Saying ADHD is a disease or an illness is the same as saying I am a disease or illness. ADHD is how I am. Not to say I am a bunch of symptoms, but I have ADHD in the same way as I have dark blue green eyes and a skin type 3 according to skin cancer risk charts.

A fair skinned person needs sunscreen else they burn in the normal sun. I need concerta, else I burn in daily life. Knowing I have ADHD helped me look at myself and the troubles in a different way, so I can find a better way to deal with life in the West in the 2010’s. ADHD individuals are a minority, you know.

But I don’t think the world could do without us.

I’ve been through a lot lately, and thanks to my ADHD I’ve been riding the buzz, and actually: I am ok. (Apart from some non ADHD issues). In part, I suppose, I am also OK because I’ve learned from prior experience.

I hate how ‘normal’ is seen as something desirable. I’m grateful that I am not ‘normal’.

It seems extremely dull, to be honest.

I’m just me, and can’t speak for everyone that has anything to do with ADHD…

A few random points:
– No, I am mostly incapable of sitting still for as long as most non ADHD individuals. Guess what? Normal people usually need more exercise than they’re getting. Sitting still is overrated: the only times I actually need to sit still are times in which it bothers others if I don’t. I’m not bothered by my tapping foot!

– I lack the ability to think in ‘boxes’. It is a gift, really.

-actually: understimulation stress is a real problem for me. Boredom can cause me physical pain. The flip side? When stimulated I can do twice as much. ‘Normal’ people can’t always handle the amount of stimulation I need. Why is that a problem? I can’t focus in a white room, they can’t focus in my living room. Why exactly is my white room problem any worse than their living room problem? Because I am part of the 3-5%?? I am also probably part of the 3-5% when it comes to IQ, and that’s not a problem, is it?

– I don’t fully understand why schools and uni’s work like they do. My observation is that most normal students would do better with the study adjustments I’d need too.

– Normal people usually don’t have the amazing high-energy creativity ADHD individuals often have.

– Just imagine: having a quiet mind most of the time, not being able to do multiple things at once, sitting on your bum all day, only thinking of one thing at the same time, not being able to think clearly during high adrenaline moments… (Tip: choose an ED doc with ADHD!!)… Imagine having so much trouble thinking out of the box! I mean, normal would be handy sometimes, but it seems awful to be normal all the time. It seems horribly boring. I’d miss my fantasy, I’d miss my random brilliant ideas… (Have I told you about the chai hot chocolate I invented the other night because I was curious how that would work out?) I’d miss the intense joy I can experience. I’d miss the ability to think the way I do, I’d miss …
Me.

Yes, ADHD has it’s problems.

Being normal has its problems too, actually.

We are all people.

And I believe my God isn’t going to ‘fix’ my ADHD because He made me like that.

Saying that my ADHD is an illness is devaluating.

I am not broken in that sense, I do not need a natural or unnatural fix. I just got a more challenging set of cards to play in a world that is -quite frankly- rather control freakish and boring. Good thing I like a challenge!

I am Busy Darling. Never a dull moment.

 
 

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Busy Darling… Undrugged

I have a confession to make. Lately I’ve been less than compliant with my meds. It has everything to do with being very angry about the course at the uni…. I’m facing the first evaluation this Tuesday…. and as a result being fed up with ‘normal people’.

I am off my Concerta at the moment.

I am posting this.
Listening to music.
Working on my report.
Painting my nails this colour:

Trying out a new rose tea.
Looking at city trips to rome.

At the same time.

 

And that is OK. For now.

 

You know what?

I don’t always WANT to be ‘normal’. I am grateful that my meds are available to me, but I am equally grateful for just being me. Doing 7 things at the same time, thinking about 20 more. Unable to stand still, having energy. Energy. Wow. Concerta is such an energy zapper. I dream of a world in which I don’t have to drug myself in order to get anywhere in it.

Rose tea is… rosy. And weird.

Music sounds so much better without Concerta. That’s one of my favourite things of having… nay.. being ADHD. Being able to experience music in my entire body. Being wrapped in it. Hearing all the different layers at once.

ADHD is how I am. I wish there were more like us. Really. It’s only a disorder because of the world we live in. Of course, I’m not a list of symptoms, but the way I am wired is just… the way I am wired. I suffered from depression, I had anorexia. But I was born with ADHD and will die with it. And that’s OK, God loves ADHDers.

I also may or may not have quit taking birth control pills in favour of a more natural thing. I may or may not be extremely happy about this decision, having enjoyed oestrogen power…. and this may or may not have brought us closer. Seriously. I am woman, hear me roar.

By the way. Undrugged I can clean my house in under an hour. Hah.

 
 

Studying.

 

All WOW moments under pressure set aside – that’s not a viable long-term solution- I still feel like I have no idea how to do this.

I have absolutely no idea why most higher education is set up like this:
Lots of theory, based on what someone else thinks is interesting.
Everything has to be done in a certain -not really efficient and rather unpractical- way. Maybe that’s because many intelligent people seem to live in their cognition.
Translating theory to practice is very very complicated for most.
Bonus points for pointlessly using big words.
Pictures and graphs are for babies.

I really really don’t know.

And I really don’t understand how these people LEARN much. Some do, and are very snooty about it. Good for you, now what else do you have to offer?

 

Give me access to clinical practice and a library with PubMed access, give me some rough guidelines and maybe some coaching and I’ll rock your socks off.

Force me to march to the beat of someone else’s drum, force me to read a bunch of texts, to do assignments of which I see no point.. and I get stuck. It becomes torture.

I’ve tried my best to read the mandatory prep reading. I’ve spent hours trying different ways. I haven’t learned much from it.

I was so excited to be let into this programme, I almost -or no I actually did- hit my head against a lamp when jumping up and down out of sheer joy when they let me in. I really love the work bit, I love primary care.

Two months and a bit into the programme I am completely disappointed. I find my mood taking a drastic plunge on Thursday evening because free time means study time (and chores time). I hate both so much I don’t know if yelling or crying is the best response. Studying is torture. I spend all weekend trying to get myself to do something extremely boring and looking forward to Tuesday evening, when class day is over. The others enjoy the break from the practice, I dread Tuesdays because it means going to class, (sitting still, listening, more boring info). I haven’t learned much outside of simply working. I find myself not giving a fuck about most of the assignments. These people have a way of ruining anything that could be interesting. (I thought it would be interesting to sort out and present stuff about knee examination, nice and practical. I also figured we’d all get to do that, so why not do something I find interesting. So I agreed to do it. And then discovered the question was ‘what is the scientific background of the examination of the knee. Snore. Why would I WANT to present that???? ).

I have no idea what to do.

I tried looking up study tips for ADHD, none of them really solves the problem: only snore-minded people can follow this course.

It’s not worth my sanity.

I have no idea where this is going to end. I know this: I am planning to do the bare minimum and not read the prep. I don’t care. I’m wasting my time trying to do it their way, they won’t let me do it my way. I’ll see where it ends. The only really shitty bit is that I have a half-finished degree; just finishing med school and nothing else doesn’t really get you anywhere. I mean, I can work as a doctor, but I always need a supervisor. And that’s going to be less fun when I’m 40.

It’s not worth my sanity, it’s not worth my relationship.

I should never have gone to med school. I should have done some form of uni of applied sciences, finish at 22 and just get on with doing what I do best: the actual thing. It doesn’t matter that I may have a lot to offer, it doesn’t matter that IQ-wise I may (or may not) qualify for Mensa. It doesn’t matter that I can be a very good doctor, ADHD or no ADHD.

The way to get there is not for people like me, it’s for more of the same sort of people. I hate society.

And I need more time to ‘play’ in order to keep on functioning.

 

ADHD disability? Super power you mean?

So remember how I absolutely do not function as a student under normal circumstances?

Here’s how I function under extraordinary circumstances (and why I want to be treated by an ADHD ER doc. I think the H bit is vital here…)

We’re doing a mandatory emergency medicine course this week. I am technically the holder of a valid ALS and some other diplomas, did those courses 3 years ago but they’re pretty useless outside of the ED. Plus, three years ago…. I am not one of the most experienced acute care people here.

Prep was a 217 page reader, an e-learning and a ‘serious game’.

Estimated reading time for the reader was 440 minutes. That’s 7h20mins, an impossible task for me. Under normal circumstances.

The game was a failure, I just clicked through.

Most came prepared, I did not.

I chose to get max out of active learning, and by day 2 I started clicking.

See, I normally think of 3653 things at once, emergencies allow me that calming rush of adrenaline, and suddenly that Ferrari engine gets to do it’s thing: go fast.

Practice scenario 1 didn’t go well, too fake actually. And on day 1. Scenario 2 went well, apart from forgetting the f’ing glucose.
In real life it would have made no difference, I’d have checked it a few minutes later.

Tomorrow is test day. As a way to revise (which is why it doesn’t work the other way round!) I just used my Ferrari mind to read the 217 page reader in…. Under 2,5 h. I skipped a few pages that were definitely not relevant for primary care (I have no CT scan, for example). Concerta helped me stay awake I think.
And I did this in the hotel foyer/lounge area/bar, because that helped me focus. (Well, apart from the bit where one of the instructors asked me if I thought this was helping…)

And now for sleep, to help those brain links grow stronger.

 

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