Is there really "nothing positive" about ADD?

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Is there really "nothing positive" about ADD? 2011-08-06T16:07:12+00:00

The Forums Forums Ask The Community Is there really "nothing positive" about ADD?

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  • #107033
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    Anonymous
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    pete-puma, I like your list. I would like to be in camp 3. Intellectually, I think I am. If I think about what I would have to give up to be free of ADD…well, I woildn’t want to do that. I like the quickness, the creativity,etc. I do not want to be one of the herd.

    I do want a job that I can keep. I do not want to feel left out. Blah blah blah, etc.,. etc., etc.

    Here’s the thing: call it being differently abled or whatever but it boils down to your experiences. If you get encouragement you probably find it easier to stick to things. If you get criticism you may be apt to keep trying different things…and then scolded for never sticking to anything.

    I used to get scolded all the time for never finishing what I started. Well, I happen to think that children should try lots of things and they will quit most of them because that is how they figure out what they love and what they are good at, etc. But if your parents see you as a problem child, you will be scolded for this.

    I think ADDers need some things explained to them that others do not need to have spelled out. Is this a handicap? Yep. A biggie? Nope. But I have been treated like I was a moron for not being able to make sense of something — usually something in a work or social setting.

    So I believe that ADDers can be wildly successful and do a great job at managing their lives provided that they are not always fighting the same battle day after day. We end up repeating to ourselves what losers we are because it doesn’t take a lot for us to fall down to that level.

    I have often read that ADDers are great entrepreneurs — well, geez, if you can’t hold a job what other choice is there? But to make a success of your business you need at least a few things going for your side — somebody reliable, a smidge of encouragement, good health…

    I think it all boils down to your experiences.

    I am now thinking about a day, a few years ago, when I changed my hairstyle and went to church — I thought I looked sophisticated. My mother – shaking her head – said: I like your hair in a bob. Within seconds a bunch of gals my age (45-60) came up and said how much they loved it. Mom rolled her eyes and walked away. I remember it distinctly because I got such wildly different responses in very short order.

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    #107034
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    Tiddler
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    [If I think about what I would have to give up to be free of ADD…well, I woildn’t want to do that. I like the quickness, the creativity,etc. I do not want to be one of the herd.]

    Are they attributable to ADHD though? Couldn’t they just be gifts/abilities that you have in spite of your ADHD?

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    #107035
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    Wgreen
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    Well, Dr. Russ Barkley says research indicates you’d be creative and quick without your ADD. In fact, he says ALL reputable research points to that conclusion. That issue has been the crux of the discussion on much of this string…

    BTW: Have we set a string-length record yet?

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    #107036
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    Anonymous
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    Gawd Pete-P……….a poll….who woulda thunk.????? Great idea…you kill me….

    Three…….III……3……..tres……..trois…….threeeeeeeeeeee. Yes, I’m a THREE.

    toofat

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    #107037
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    billd
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    I’d say being a 1 or 3 person depends on the lot you drew – the luck you had getting that right job where the ADHD actually worked or was understood.

    I’d submit, however, that that is not the majority. It’s a bit of luck.

    I also agree that perhaps many ADHD people are self-employed as they had little choice – couldn’t get or keep a job, what else is there?

    If you REALLY have ADHD – how do you get things done, on time, and stay motivated? That’s rather counter, isn’t it?

    I’ve owned businesses – doesn’t last long as the fun soon leaves and you get buried.

    Some have owned business and been LUCKY enough to have others manage it (or them) however, after going through 4 managers……… well….

    I’m creative enough, have the energy (usually) and WANT it to happen, just could never get around to making it happen.

    I submit that some who insist still that it’s a gift got lucky in their location, job, or other circumstances, extraordinary.

    I’m still looking for the positive part that can be PROVEN would no longer be there if ADHD suddenly disappeared.

    I might however say – 2 but maybe a bit of 3 from time to time if circumstances allow my ADHD to be used and not judged.

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    #107038
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    Tiddler
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    That’s more or less where I am, billd. I want to see proof that there’s a part of me that benefits from this (whatever it is in my case – as yet undiagnosed.)

    If there was a pill I could take, fall asleep and wake up ADHD-less, what would be different in my life? I’d be able to read a page of a book once rather than 8 times. I’d be able to finish a conversation. I’d remember people’s names. I’d not have job hopped all my life. I’d maybe have finished school as a teenager rather than having to do it as an adult at night school. Maybe (who knows) I wouldn’t be overweight and maybe I’d be able to sleep at night. Maybe I wouldn’t have spent most of my life being treated for anxiety and depression.

    The one thing I can think of, and I admit, it’s a big one, is that I know what it’s like to struggle. I have a lot of empathy. I’m glad I have that. Maybe I wouldn’t if things had come easy to me. Who knows.

    But, as selfish as this sounds, if I could take a pill to get rid of the rest but the downside was I’d not care so much about other people, or not understand them very well, I’d be sorely tempted to take it anyway…

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    #107039
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    Anonymous
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    Hi! I am NEW! Interesting thoughts on ADD……. blessing or curse??? I don’t see why is must be an “either/or” scenario. ADD harnessed for me is like the fire that may cook your dinner but if you’re not careful burns the house down?

    HOLA!

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    #107040
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    munchkin
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    One, two or three? Depends on the day you ask me… I just started meds 2 weeks ago, and have a terrible case of:”what could my life have been?” right now… 😯

    however…USUALLY I prefer to live life with no regrets and focus on how my trials and tribulations have been a learning experience and given me “soul” and enabled me to be an open minded, empathetic, determined, dogged, down to earth individual. This is why I choose to lean toward “3.” This is a choice of how to focus, not a scientific, objective observation on whether I am special, flawed or downright broken. All humans are unique, and have things going on that severely slant their view of themselves and the world. I know many privileged, educated, healthy people who are absolutely miserable because they are unable to enjoy the gifts they possess. It’s all shades of grey to them because they are living a “gilded cage” sheltered life with very few bumps in the road. These people have a tendency to create bumps (drama?) in order to feel more alive, but this barely works at all, and causes them no end of problems.

    I love the idea that I would be an extremely gifted “huntress” in a different time, but I still might have been banished from the tribe for knocking the totem pole into the campfire by accident… I also love the idea that I was the one who realized that we didn’t need to lay down and die, because certainly there must be rich green fields on the other side of that humongous glacier… I’m going on a wander quest – who’s coming along?! (oops -forgot the food – can you say Donner party?)

    I think ADD can be a sort of gift within a supportive community of people that has little need for one more organized, scheduled, responsible (boring?) individual, and enjoys, and cares for and respects it’s eccentric, creative, disfunctional members. I think a person with ADD, in an environment that primarily values rules and routine and manners and protocol and keeps it’s emotions on the down low, is in a very hard situation.

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    #107041
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    Anonymous
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    Looks like my camp is in good company! S’mores on me!

    @tiddler what you ask is a tough philosophical question: would we have our positive traits we have without it? Maybe that’s where the dividing line is; some people ascribe their strengths to ADD, others ascribe only their weaknesses.

    Acknowledging that there is no scientific research on topic, there are two fallbacks that are precursors to scientific discovery: logic and observation. We can infer things using our reason and intellect, and we can analyze how the world appears using observation.

    I don’t know of any statistics, but I can certainly say that the folks on this site are more and further outside the box than anyone else I know. I recognize a piece of myself in everyone on here. The humor, the determination (at some things) and the passion. Now that could be because we’re (mostly) North Americans, or we’re mostly people who like to be online or we’re mostly people in a certain demographic. But (logically), those answers are far less likely than it’s our ADHD.

    Separately, the “benefits” of ADHD can and should flow logically from the “impairments.” For example, many people say that ADHDers are charismatic. That could be the result of the high energy (combined and hyperactive subtypes); our unique perspective and senses of humor (more on that in a minute), the restlessness that leads to more diverse experiences and the fact that our neurology is driven by the emotional centers of the brain (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8cRrjJCgRcQ (great video, see ~23:00, but watch the whole thing)), not the executive function centers.

    The outside-the-box thinking, unique perspectives and unique sense of humor can derive from our impulsivity and the lack of inhibition that hamstrings us in other places. Studies have shown that ADHD allows people to be better divergent thinkers (Rick Green posted on this a while back). A lot of very funny or useful (and poignant) observations are made by connecting two things that no one ever connected before.

    It is entirely possible that those of us who have these traits would all think outside the box, be funny, charismatic, etc. without ADHD. But it’s far more likely that these things are a part of ADHD.

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    #107042
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    munchkin
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    By the way, I totally get why the Russell Barkley’s of the world want to wave the “grave disadvantage” flag. I think it’s absolutely a good thing to wake families and individuals up to the fact that there is effective treatment for the parts of ADD/ADHD that are holding us back. My mother was a 70’s era psychologist who was vehemently against “labeling” people, and stood in the way of my brother and I getting real help for our problems. We have both struggled so hard, and been repeatedly cut off from family support for our transgressions. She stubbornly insisted that behavior modification techniques such as “tough love” and “natural consequences” were the answer, and that there was no “easy” way out, or “magic pill.” Also, in our entire family, the whole creative, artsy, weird and loving it mentality was like a religion, and wanting to be “normal” was like blasphemy to these people. There are people out there who, in my opinion, need to hear the message that ADD/ADHD is not something everyone would choose, and the inability to get things done and regulate emotions is not a lack of moral values, it’s biologically based. On the other hand, once you realize what ADD is and what you can do about it, the choice is up to you to get angry, grieve for the bad stuff you’ve been through, and hopefully see the positive in yourself when it’s all said and done. If that means seeing ADD as the gift or catalyst that made you who you are and challenged you and forged you into the diamond you are, then cool! But don’t deprive your kid (or yourself) of treatment if you know they are going through hell, just because you don’t want to spoil their “gift.” (My opinion)

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    #107043
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    memzak
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    Hey everyone! My daughter has come up with an advantage! We ADDers are more interesting and entertaining than regular boring people. OH, A SQUIRREL! (I actually said that this afternoon and my daughter is NEVER gonna let me forget it).

    Bobbie40N – I also had the disadvantage of a family that never took the time to explain things to me that my other brothers and sisters were able to figure out on their own. This is a problem of undiagnosed ADD.

    Poisuneyevee – welcome to the site. You may be hitting on something there. Actually it kind of fits with #3 in the poll, good and bad but an excellent metaphor. I am definitely a #3. OOO SHINEY! If you are looking for more information, spend some time watching the videos on the CADDAC.CA website under teens and adults. Dr. Barkley and Dr. Brown are both lecturers on that site. Snippits can be found on youtube.com.

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    #107044
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    Wgreen
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    @Pete, Too Fat, et al.—Digging around on the add.org site, I found piece by none other than… Rick Green, one of the founders of this site, that points to some research done by some people at the Universites of Memphis and Michigan. According to Rick (I haven’t read the actual paper), their research suggests that people with ADD/ADHD are, in fact, more “creative” (there is, however, some dispute over what “creative” really means) than the average guy on the street. SO—here we have something interesting that might refute the Barkley assertion that ADHD has NO upside whatsoever.

    My question is, why doesn’t Rick weigh in on these things while the debate is raging on his own site? Rick? You on vacation/holiday?

    I suspect everybody’s tired of the discussion at this point, but maybe in a month or two, when everybody’s brains are rested, we can revisit it.

    Over and out.

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    #107045
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    Anonymous
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    @wgreen, yes, I remember that article as well. If it’s the one I’m thinking about, it talks about divergent vs. convergent thinking. In my mind, it’s one of the biggest assets of ADHD: the ability to think outside the box. I also call it the blue bunny syndrome. When I was little and we would look at clouds and see shapes, I would look at the blue bits between the clouds and see shapes. Weirded people out to no end.

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    #107046
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    caper
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    #107047
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    Anonymous
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    If you look at all the symptoms off adhd, it looks bleak. BUT It sure is alot more fun in my head than most people I know! Also, I think we have a deeper understanding of many things, probably because we are constantly finding ways to cope with the disorder… I feel i have more insight and ideas than most people, even very smart people, probably because most people don’t need to think as hard.

    I guess it’s that out of the box thing…

    But back to fun: honesty I can spend 3 days alone and have a blast. (not on drus or anyting). I find humour in just about everything…. with the right imaginary back story anything can be entertaining.

    For example: my avatar isnt even my dog. (this makes me laugh)

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