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.
- 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.↩
- 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!”↩