A bout mid-December I had the most startling thought. I realized I have run out of ideas for my blog. Though there are fifty or more proto-posts — ideas in draft form that could eventually become a new post — I wondered, “What more could I write?” Since June 2007 I’ve written over 380 posts. While I manage to come up with new ideas and new metaphors for ADHD (it’s a form of madness; there are colors of ADHD; there are integrationists, separatists, and so on), the more I reflected on this problem the more I was haunted by it. What else could I add to the dialogue? How much more can I say about ADHD deniers, ADHD dreamers and ADHD hucksters that I have not already said? The new kids on the block  — such as MungosADHD, 18 Channels, ADHD From A to Zoë — are the new voices of ADHD. They describe their own struggles with the very same issues that I had already struggled with and written about and, in some way, already resolved. After I read their posts I feel like I am watching my children growing, maturing, trying to make sense out of their ADHD life. I listen to their problems, scratch my beard and say, “Yup. Heard that one before. Why, I reckon, way back in 2008…by the way, that’s fourteen internet years…and speaking of internet years…did I ever tell you about the time…oh well…never mind…as I said, I wrote about that same issue. Yup. Yup. Here’s the link to the post that I wrote way back when. Talk to me after you read it. Now you run along and enjoy your ADHD now…ya hear?”

But how is it even possible that I’ve run out of things to say about ADHD? My ADHD is not gone. Yet something fundamental has changed. A new Jeff — version 3.0(?) — has emerged and is the very reason why I have run out of things to say about ADHD.  In version 3.0 of me, I have stopped thinking about ADHD. It is no longer the center of my universe. It is gone, not in the sense that it has been eradicated, but in the sense that it’s a minor annoyance. I feel that a “Jeff” I haven’t seen in decades has come back, the “Jeff” that was always doing something interesting, the “Jeff” of my graduate school days who worked three days a week as a movie projectionist, taught two courses at a local college and was a full-time student in a PhD program. That “Jeff” that did it all, kept all of those plates spinning…and successfully too. That was the Jeff that didn’t know he had ADHD, the Jeff that just went ahead with his life and did whatever he had to do because it was what he had to do. But now that that Jeff has come back there is an important difference. That Jeff the current Jeff  Version 3.0 knows that he has ADHD. He knows he may hit a wall BUT NOW he knows how toget around that wall, how to jump over that wall or, if necessary, how to tunnel right through that wall.

This version of Jeff was always there, waiting to reemerge, but he needed help. He needed, as Dr. Barkley puts it in his Taking Charge of Adult ADHD, a set of “ramps” to overcome his “handicap”: a weekly calendar, daily walks and, finally, a general routine for the day and the evening. [note 1] But most importantly, this Jeff has moved beyond ADHD. It is not a curse and it is not a source of superpowers. This Jeff has stopped focusing on it as the be-all-and-end-all of his life and, instead, he’s placed the other 98% of his life in the middle of it all, focusing on what he needs to accomplish and NOT on what interferes with what he needs to accomplish. If something does interfere, he figures out how to get around it, how to get unstuck.

I cannot emphasize enough how different I feel now that my life does not revolve around the dark star of ADHD. Of course my ADHD is not gone. Far from it. In fact, it can never be gone. But I’ve reached a point where my ADD mind is not dwelling on ADD all day long. This, it seems to me, is the real goal of all of this reading and blogging and psychologizing and coaching and medicating and exercising. To metaphorically CURE ADHD. But as for those others who obsess over ADHD and, through divination, find hidden powers that only the cognoscenti can have access to, they are not dealing with their ADHD. In fact, they are doing the opposite. They are putting ADHD in the center of the universe when they really should be putting it way out there, way past Pluto or, better yet, in another galaxy. [note 2]

Have no fear. I’ll still be writing about ADHD but at times it won’t be obvious that I am doing so. That’s because Jeff’s ADD Mind has become Jeff’s Mind, with a dash of ADD.

  1. Following Sydney Holt’s advice, I try to get to sleep around the same time each night and, following Dr. Parker’s advice, I try to get my seven  or so hours of sleep. Melatonin has definitely helped me with this.
  2. I often wonder why many of the newly diagnosed want to become ADHD coaches. You never hear people say, “Hey…I’ve been diagnosed with prostate cancer. You know what? I think I’ll become an oncologist!”
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  • http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com Gina Pera

    ***** I have have stopped thinking about ADHD. It is no longer the center of my universe. *****


    That is the goal, IMHO, to rediscover the individual who might have been lost beneath the unrecognized ADHD symptoms. To celebrate that individual.

    Yay Jeff!

    • Jeff

      It truly is kinda funny how it happened. It’s like I woke up one day and forgot that I had ADHD. And I also got tired of thinking about it. I realized that by continuing to focus on it I wasn’t getting past it. Kind of like crying over a broken relationship. Only when you stop dwelling on it can you get over it. Psychologically I feel that I am now standing outside of it, observing it from a distance.

      • http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com Gina Pera


        It would also seem that never “dwelling” on it, on a profound level, means never getting past it.

        “That which we resist, persists,” etc.

        • Jeff

          We can call it “dwelling” or “grieving” but…eventually…you have to stop. I’m a firm believer of looking evil in the face…even if the evil comes in the form of “a gift.” ;) But eventually…it comes time to just move on. Continual dwelling/grieving doesn’t accomplish anything anymore. That doesn’t mean forget about it…it just means accepting it’s a part of who you are.

          • http://www.ADHDRollerCoaster.com Gina Pera

            Yes, that’s what I mean. You can only go past some things by going into the heart of them, it seems.

            • Jeff

              Agreed! You can’t solve a problem unless you know what the problem really is and you definitely won’t solve it if you keep wrapping it up in a superman cape. ;)

  • Dr Ben

    This is Good. Be Prepared like the Coast Guard Motto: “Semper Paratus”. Focus on your goals & enjoy….Do the Happy Dance.

    • Jeff

      There’s a lot of happy dancing going on today. Just one question. Is it okay for me to use a Coast Guard motto even if I can’t swim? ;)

      • Dr Ben

        WHAT? You can’t “Part the Waters” like Moses? I can “Walk on Water” when the pond is frozen. You can too.

  • J

    Ok. I have a question. If you take meds, what do you do when they wear off? Because for me, it’s like an on/off switch and not a good thing. I’m still compulsive and a bit anxious and sometimes sad on the stimulant, but w/o it – I’m way worse with that plus all the other things….frustration, anger, discouragement etc from not doing what I need to do, losing things, — whatever, you name it, I do it.
    I’ve learned a lot from counseling and got a lot better, but it was still really hard. Now it’s easier, but when the off comes, it’s off. I feel like I should be able to conquer and overcome those difficulties for the other 5-6 hours of the day with the skills that I have gained, but I haven’t done it yet.
    I hate that I have these struggles.

    • Jeff

      J, let me first say that I have no expertise in medications so I’m speaking solely from my experience. Further, I’m also on medication – Wellbutrin for six years; Vyvanse about 1 1/2 years – and I’ve been in therapy for most of that time. Keeping that in mind…here are my experiences and thoughts.

      I don’t have much of a crash when the medication goes off. The medication is good for at least 12 hours. While I do have some of those manic-productive days when I’m at the computer for 16 hours or so (I’m a web developer), for the most part…when 5:00pm arrives…I turn to non-work activities. Since I work out of my home…that’s the time when I start to prepare for dinner. After a few hours (cooking/eating/watching a movie) I can sometimes go back to doing my work.

      There are some things you might want to consider. First, make sure you are using the right medication. You may want to find out if there is something that lasts longer especially if a significant chunk of the day you are “off.” Second, you should incorporate some physical activity into your routine (if you don’t already). When you are “off” that might be a good time to take an iPod, listen to some good music and go outside for a brisk walk. That can go a long way in clearing out the mental cobwebs. Third, make sure you are getting enough sleep. If you don’t sleep well then your ADHD symptoms can be exacerbated. Fourth, you need to put in place those things that will help with forgetting things, losing things, etc. When the medication wears off, you might want to get that iPod (music works wonders for me) and engage in some physical activity that also helps you with these issues…such as straightening up your desk (or whatever is relevant), doing a “brain dump” of the things you need to remember and putting it in a calendar, etc. This is a good activity to do with a digital kitchen timer. Set it for 20 or 30 minutes and make it a contest…see how much can you do in that short period of time. That will help focus you on something that also has the benefit of reducing some of the anxiety from misplacing things, etc.

      Bottom line: there is no magic bullet here. There is a certain level of experimentation till you find what works for you. I’ve also found that you need to build up a track record for yourself that can help inspire you….even for the little things. Prior to diagnosis we all have a dismal track record of forgetting and losing things, etc. That’s the “track record” we see and which contributes to our general malaise. So…work for some little triumphs in life…see what works…keep a little notebook of your accomplishments (I stuck with my calendar…I didn’t miss any appointments this week…etc.). You’ll see improvement over time which will make future improvement that much easier. Of course, don’t forget that “…for an ADHDer (and this can apply to non-ADHDers too) personal growth and change can be one step forward, three steps back, one more step forward, tripping over your shoelaces and falling onto your knees, waiting for your scraped knees to heal, then trying again…ad infinitum.” (See: http://bit.ly/eXLJFN ). The key is to keep moving forward…create those little triumphs which help to improve your feelings about yourself. Don’t forget, if you stumble, that’s just part of the process. ADHDers kind of meander towards their goals…but we can reach those goals. We just need a bit more help than others to get there.

  • http://help4you-adhd.com/ ADHD Children

    My son has ADHD and I know how frustrating it can be to get
    help and support.Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is becoming one of
    the most diagnosed disorders among children and even adults these days. 

  • Librarianman50

    Jeff, Particularly like your last remark about prostate cancer. I have it, and certainly would not want to do some of the things oncologists have to do all day!

    • http://jeffsaddmind.com Jeffs ADD Mind

      Same here. Oncology does not fascinate me in the least.

      And I hope things are going well for you.

  • Pingback: The Redesign of Jeff’s ADD Mind | Jeff's ADD Mind

  • http://www.chadd.net/810 Roberta

    Read David Flinks new book, Thinking Differently!!!

    • http://jeffsaddmind.com Jeffs ADD Mind

      Looks interesting, but the problem I have with books like this (and, admittedly, I’ve only read the blurb so correct me if I’m wrong) is that the emphasis is on the person with the disability and those who interact with that person. The real change that’s needed is at the societal level. You can think differently about yourself all you want, but until the rest of the world has caught up with you, until the rest of the world truly values your different way of thinking, you’re not accomplishing anything of real permanence.

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