Tag Archives: ADHD

i disagree with this so much

in the a recent new york times article on ADHD, most of which is very good, there is one part that i have real disagreements with.

Other experts, however, say that while such success stories can be inspiring, parents need to know that their children face real risks. Research shows that children with attention deficit have different brain patterns from other children, and that they are more likely to drop out of school, be involved in car accidents and use illicit drugs.

“This reframing A.D.H.D. as a gift, personally I don’t think it’s helpful,” said Natalie Knochenhauer, founder of A.D.H.D. Aware, an advocacy group in Doylestown, Pa. “You can’t have a disability that needs to be accommodated in the classroom, and also have this special gift. There are a lot of people out there — not only do their kids not have gifts, but their kids are really struggling.”

i believe that ms. knochenhauer is missing out on something good by setting up a false dichotomy here.

as i have written on before, i believe that ADHD can be an amazing gift, and the same symptoms that can bring frustration also bring incredible amounts of creativity and edge-thinking.


so about six weeks ago (so early pxt 2008) I started a new ADHD med, after having gone off of sytattera in about April on an experiment in treating my symptoms with diet and exercise.

vyvanse is a stimulant, but has 24 hour coverage (ish) and less pronounced side effects than previous stim-based ADHD meds, in the sleep and appetite loss areas.

it also, I am pleased to report at the six week mark, kicks ass.

I have been more productive in the last six weeks than in my entire life to this point added up and squared.

(note: that was hyperbole)

it has made web development FUN again.

(well, jquery has helps in that regard, too)

Tyler Durden’s 8 Rules of Innovation

“It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Oh, yeah… don’t be afraid to make big mistakes. More importantly, don’t worry about everything going according to plan. In fact, if everything’s going according to plan, there’s a good chance nothing remarkable is getting done.

They say life is what happens while you’re making other plans. Innovation is what happens when you recognize when to change the plan and perhaps the entire game. Maybe your initial plan falls apart, or maybe you simply need to throw the current plan away.

Don’t let the plan restrict the freedom to have a game-changing idea, and act on it, at any time. Losing everything may be the best thing that ever happens to you.

Tyler Durden’s 8 Rules of Innovation | Lateral Action

So I Married an ADDer: Dinner’s ready! Oh wait…

this kind of sentiment is what bugs me most about having ADHD:

But I’ve learned over the years not to get my hopes up for eating at a certain time. Whatever time Jen says dinner is going to be ready, I always tack on an extra hour in my mind.

i hate that people near me have to do these kinds of tricks in order to be able to put up with me.

then again, i think i do MORE tricks for them, just to put up with them, too 😀

So I Married an ADDer: Dinner’s ready! Oh wait…

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Two Kinds of ADD Hyperfocus

Adults with ADD are both blessed and cursed with the ability to hyperfocus.

Hyperfocus is the opposite of boredom. There are times when you just can’t seem to concentrate–hypofocus, and then there are times when it feels impossible to stop focusing–hyperfocus. And that hyperfocus can either be a really good thing, or a really bad thing.

Positive hyperfocus is what I call being in the flow. You enjoy what you’re doing–whether it’s work, problem-solving, or being creative. You are productive and enjoy not only what you’re doing, but also the fact that you’re making progress. Your thoughts and actions are flowing.

Negative hyperfocus is what I call being in the stick. It’s really about an inability to shift focus, and the frustration that results. You want to finish a task or make progress but your frustration in the situation has you feeling unable to move on. You become determined to do what you set out to do at any cost. (Perfectionism often causes negative hyperfocus.) In this state, you often skip meals, forget appointments, lose track of time, and keep telling yourself, “Just two move minutes. I’ve got to get this.” But it’s never just two more minutes. Your thoughts and actions are stuck.

Two Kinds of ADD Hyperfocus


this will hurt you more than it hurts me
but just you sit for it and bleed

i’m sure to cut you: prepare for pain
i’m sure to scar you: you’re to blame

i’m sure to need to poke and prod and slice and burn and scrape
i’m sure to go in deep and drill you: numb and pain and ache

our time together’s for your good, now
don’t you ever doubt its true

i claim to help you by my hurting, gnawing painful screw

subjected now to pain and noise
of instruments of steel and speed

that bore deep into your body’s armor
digging out your flesh and teeth

that mouth you have
is quite diseased
filth had set up home, and wrecked

and i must scold you for the way my precepts you reject

i’ve made plain before you
how you are to change your shameful ways

and yet you have refused my teachings,
pretended truth can change

the consequences of your actions
are the pain you feel

this chair you’re sitting is is yours
you made it, i just heal

having a dragon on a leash

tonight i sent an email where i talked about ADHD as the dragon, and i thought i would share some of my thoughts on that here.

i wasn’t the person who came up with the phrase “magickal dragon on a leash” about ADHD, and for all i know they didn’t either. i will try to track down the article where i read the phrase, but i have adopted the idea, and i think it helps others understand more of what dealing with ADHD is like.

fifty televisions blaring

people don’t grow in to or out of having ADHD. it is something that your body either does or does not do.

how it happens is not perfectly understood yet, but the last few years they have made great advancements in this area, and the new medications that have been developed (strattera, specifically, which i am on) are much better at treating it than the older ones (such as ritalin).

attention deficit disorder is the label for the array of symptoms a person displays when their body doesn’t make enough of this or that hormone, and they simply can not pay attention to what is important. everyone expresses some of these symptoms some of the time, but the difference is longevity of symptoms (life-long for the ADDer) and amount of life disruption.

actually — and more accurately, as far as i understand it — the body may well make enough of the hormone, but not enough of this it ends up in the proper receptors, because it is absorbed into the bloodstream before it has a chance to land in the proper areas in the brain and do what it is supposed to do, which is allow the brain to filter out needless information and focus on what is important.

people who have ADHD have (to varying degrees) no such filtering ability.

everything in the environment demands our full attention, 100% of the time. ritalin, and the other stimulant meds force the brain into working harder than it ought to have to in order to make up for the lack of hormone that would allow it to focus.

(people often comment that it makes no sense to treat “hyperactivity” with a stimulant, and at first blush it does seem counter-intuitive, but everyone is very familiar with the principle at work: this is why americans are so addictive to caffeine. it makes our brains work harder and faster, and we can focus better. )

like caffeine, the older ADHD meds are just stimulants: they cause the brain to work in such a way that needed filtering can happen, and we can get more done, more efficiently.

i remember when i first started taking ritalin, in my early twenties at just being amazed at it. it was like a miracle drug for me, and i described the effect this way: imagine you walk into an electronics store, such as best buy, and every TV they have for sale is on, at full volume, but they are all tuned to different channels. fifty televisions playing different things all the time. the very first time i took ritalin, it was as if someone had switched 49 of the TVs off.


suddenly, out of nowhere, i could focus on one thing at a time.

suddenly, i was able to get stuff done in a way i never could before.

i was pissed that i had missed out on twenty-some years of this, and jealous of “normal” people who don’t need meds to have this in their life: they can turn off the other televisions on their own.

but ritalin worked for me, and i was grateful for it, and my quality of life went up immensely, overnight.

the newer, non-stimulant drugs, like strattera, the one i’m now now (actually, as of october 2008, i am taking vyvanse), do not work the same way.

rather than cause the brain to work harder, producing more of the magick hormone, strattera prevents the body from re-absorbing it before it can land in the proper receptors. so the body works much more like a non-ADDer.

it also has 24 hour control, which is key for me. ritalin works four hours at a time, and, being a stimulant, has all the side-effects that coffee does: not being able to sleep, appetite suppressant, anxiety, sped up heart-rate.it’s effect is immediate, it kicks in within five minutes of taking it, and when it wears off, there is a noticeable difference in my behavior. so it was kind of like a four-hour lightswitch. take the pill, and be able to focus for four hours, then poof it was done.

i would generally take two ritalin pills a day, and during work hours, of course. this means that the rest of my life was basically getting ADHD-chris only. bills, marriage, housework, family time, overtime — anything that wasn’t between 9am and 5pm would not get the “best” of me.

this was very frustrating, but if i took ritalin too late, i couldn’t sleep at all, so we dealt with it. so strattera’s twenty-four hour coverage is a real life-saver.

it has it’s own set of side-effects, some of them were very pronounced at first but wore as i had been on it a few months. but it’s worth it — i am much more able to get things done and behave in “proper” ways than before.

a dragon on a leash

so, about the dragon.

even with meds to treat it, ADHD is still a huge part of who i am. it effects everything do, everything i touch.

and having ADHD is like having a magickal fire-breathing dragon on a leash.

this beast dragged me around for years, burning everything and everyone i got near. everything i touched had such magick potential, but ended up going up in flames in the end. i was a powerful wizard of creativity who could not control the thing that gave me my powers.

fun to be with, but ultimately frustrating, because nothing i would do would ever reach the potential it should have.

the dragon would burn it down before it could be beautiful.

but what if you can tame the dragon?

once you have tamed this beast, once you have mastered the powers, you are then super-human in a way: you have a magickal dragon on a leash!

ADHD brings some very precious gifts to my life.

i see the world in ways that confound most people.

i have ideas that are so out of left field that they can’t begin to comprehend them. i am ridiculously creative, and the leaps in logic my brain can make are a powerful tool in my arsenal of “getting life done”.

i can’t say i have fully tamed this beast — shiva knows i have not!

but through meds, and counseling, and developing tricks and systems i am getting closer.

some of the time i get very pissed at the universe for making me this way, and have begged and begged for god to take it away from me. (much like paul’s thorn in his side) but i am, more and more, able to see that i have been given a precious gift, and that if i can learn to control this dragon, i will be able to use it to fly to magickal places.

it is non-ADDers who are really missing out when it comes right down to it.

Listening to: Black Hole Sun from the album “The Moog Cookbook” by The Moog Cookbook

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i get the point already

you needn’t rub it in again
you needn’t make a show

i get it

i understand
i comprehend it

i didn’t till just now
but now
i know just what is wrong

i know
i know
i know
i broke it

i know more empty words don’t help it
and speaking’s only likely to exacerbate the mess

but if it helps
or if it may
or if i can
i’d like to say
you must know and please
do believe me
when i say i try

its like my brain conspires against me
hates me
tricks me
never lets me

just do what i need to do
or tells me what that is

and so
and so
and so
and so

and on
and on
and on

i go

and steadily i dig the hole

that drives you from my side