Three videos examining the “gift” of ADHD. Enjoy!

Jeff Siegel Providing a Positively Honest View of the Gift of ADHD

WARNING!! The video below is rated PG-13

Dr Russell Barkley – ADHD Is Not A Gift (from a lecture on ADHD at The Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy Canada (CADDAC)

Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., author of “The Gift of ADHD”

You might also want to check out my review of The Gift of ADHD Activity Book.

Book Review: The Gift of ADHD Activity Book

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  • Denim

    Glad your family let you out of the basement, if only for a little while to make the video.
    Kicka** blog. Typing more of my words will not do it justice.
    Although your description of “gift” is what your children want for Christmas, you ARE a gift to me. Please don’t show up on my door step at Christmas time.
    I believe that realism is the balanced world between optimism and pessimism.
    Thank you for creating this blog. Thank you for creating your website.

  • Neil E

    Well put!!! This whole gift thing is a crock of sh*t. I have enough esteem issues without the extra guilt of failing when I’m so gifted. When I’m distracted in a meeting, I’m not expanding on some lame idea about improving data management taking it to new levels of anal retentive craziness. No, in my head I’m Catherine Zeta-Jones love slave who is being ordered to…and I’m gonna stop right there.

    Thanks for writing and filming, Jeff. Keep at it cause we need you.

    • Jeff

      Thank you!! And yes…it *is* a crock. I think Barkley said it best. If it’s a gift, then ADHDers don’t need any special accommodations in school or anything like that. After all…they are gifted kids.

      Re: Catherine – Sorry but I’ve got bad news for you about Catherine Zeta-Jones. I’ve been her love slave long before you came along. ;)

      And you may be interested in these two posts:

    • betsy davenport, phd

      This is what can be different if kids are diagnosed early and if parents know what to do about it. Speaking from experience, my favorite teenager does not have self esteem problems at all and she has severe ADD and a lot of other health problems. She chortles and says, “How could I have done what I have done if I had poor self esteem?” And I completely agree with her.

  • Scott Hutson

    It just takes some of us, including me, a bit longer to accept the reality. I only wanted it (ADHD) to be the reason for ALL the good and bad things I have done in my life. Then the real Scott took a look at the reality, but only saw what he feared the most> It’s up to me to face the truth that I have none, and have never had any “Gifts”. I do sometimes have very (self observed) amazing moments of moderate intellectual superiority. But that is NOT what is used to define a clinical profile of ADHD!

    Impulsivity,vigilance limitations,severe impairment of the abbillty to attend and focus, to name a few, is and never will be a gift! Jeff, I think your video is a very real, and positivily honest view of the facts of life for us ADHD real people who deal with what it is.

    P.S. Give my regards to Cecil B. ;)

    • Jeff

      Hey…I spent time fighting against the ADHD as if it were a disease that I could eradicate so…you ain’t the only one who did not want to accept the reality.

      And Cecil B. sends his regards to you too.

      • Scott Hutson

        And there it is! The reason I get so defensive, or frustrated maybe these days at people who suggest that ADHD is not a disease, and if I just had enough “willpower” and quit worrying about it, then these symptoms that are just a figment of my imagination would go away. Just try harder to pay attention and use my ability to ……..on and on and on. I have such great potential! Where did I hear that before? If I did and do have these “abilities”. Then yes, I am a screw up.

        Well that felt good! lol

        • Denim

          Scott, gently I would like to say that ADHD is disorder, it is not a disease. If Jeff agrees he may be able to describe the difference better than I can right now. To me a disease can be eraticated or put into remission. A disorder can only be managed.

          • Jeff

            Denim, the problem is that the definition of disease can be kind of loose so that a disorder, like ADHD, can be termed a disease. However, I’m in agreement with you that it is best NOT to call it a disease because that implies that there is a germ that causes it…which is not the case. And yes, it implies it can be eradicated…which it cannot.

          • Scott Hutson

            Denim, thank you for clearing that up for me. I don’t know alot about brain function things. You are right. I think I did hear something about that. It may have said that some diseases can be eradicated, and some diseases can go into remission for some patients. I need to start reading up on these things. Sorry bout that, and I do like the idea of using the word “disorder” to describe things that are messed up in unlucky peoples brains . It’s easier on the ears to hear I reckon. :)

          • Scott Hutson

            This will great news for all those people with brain diseases instead of disorders. A disease CAN be eradticated! If that won’t work then, yippee it will go into remission! Someone needs to tell them to stop worrying and ever feeling bad! They just don’t have enough WILLPOWER to stop taking meds for seizures and walk like normal people! We won’t have to watch those silly MDA things anymore! Throw away all those wheelchairs those M.S. nuts think they need to use, because they can’t be positive about having a disease! They are so lucky to not have a “disorder”…… Hows that? Thanks for being “gentle”. Your not the only one with an incureable whatever you want to call it. Limp a mile in my world.

  • Denim

    Scott, I was flat out wrong to say a disease can be eradicated or put into remission. I apologize.

    • Scott Hutson

      Denim, first of all, I want to apologize to you. I took your comment way out of context for my own selfish gratification. Also I want to apologize to Jeff and All People that come here to JEFFS ADD MIND. This is not the place for me to use my own personal situation, and lash out you Denim, for my own shortcomings.

      I took a real and honest look at myself this morning on my 50 mile drive to one of my customers. I saw a very angry, frustated, immature man that is not what this world needs. I help no one, including myself when I go into these moments of impulsive reactions. We all want to accepted and admired by our peers, and I took a big step backwards instead of foward in my journey to help others last night. I have no excuse, but please beleive me when I say, I am truly sorry.

      • Denim

        Scott, apology accepted. Please let our comments live long on Jeff’s blog for others who come behind us to find and maybe have a learning moment.

        I too get very angry and very frustrated and feel immature. Actually I never feel mature. Because what I have come to define as mature, looks to be without feelings. I have more than enough feelings for that which is alive, that those feelings spill over to inanimate objects. That probably needs an explanation. Rationally, I know a coffee pot does not have feelings. Most days it is just a tool, but some days like today, when I was thinking about replacing it, I wondered how it would feel. It still works but it is slow. I have demineralized it, but it is still slow. It is doing its job, just slow. Just like me.

        Don’t know how to end this so, the end.

        • Scott Hutson

          Demin, Thank You! The coffee pot story is exactly what I needed to read. You explained your way of thinking about things that I can relate to. And even I couldn’t relate to it, it helps me to know you better. And feel accepted, in spite of my shortcomings. :)

          • Denim

            Scott you said “And even I couldn’t relate to it” . LOL, I live with this brain and a lot of the time I make no sense to me either. LOL. But she is what I have.

          • Scott Hutson

            I meant to type “And even IF I couldn’t relate”. I can absoluty relate to feeling spilling over to inanimate objects. Every day as a matter fact. I get angry at my tools and call em nasty names when they hide from me when I need em right that minute. Then I call myself nasty names when I find em right where I thought would be a place I would remember…30 min.’s later. Thats my “gift” of short term memory. ;)

          • Denim

            Scott, people without ADHD often lose their reading glasses on top of their heads and their tools. I think we just do it more often. Please, try to think of those tools as lost instead of hiding. They need you as much as you need them, so you are their hero when you find them. Calling YOURSELF nasty names for looking for the lost tool is counterproductive, when you are actually their hero and as you give them their value.

            Or think of the tools as children, playing a game of hide and seek. They are doing it to lighten up their mood because they are getting bored waiting for their turn to be used. For example I lost my cell phone the other day. I looked every where for it only to find it in its holster on my belt. I felt sorry the part of me that would have in the past screamed how stupid can you get, now I know that part is just a part of the whole of who I am and I try to be nice to it. No, this does not always work for me, especially when I am in THAT mood. But sometimes if I can get myself to laugh at myself and I can change that mood.

            I never understood that short term memory thing, if you can’t remember something short term how does it get to long term memory? Unless it is like short term parking at the airport, which is a totally separate entity from long term parking.

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  • James

    Hey Jeff

    I watched your video last night twice and I have seen Dr Barkley’s video. It is really mind blowing that anyone would consider having this a gift. I am a 42 year old guy with ADHD and every day is a struggle just as you said. Thank you for being so honest. So you aren’t warm and cozey. If people want that they can watch The Secret

    • Jeff

      What’s even more mind blowing is that there are people who think cancer is a gift. (Barbara Ehrenreich wrote about this.)

      And thanks for letting me know you liked the video. Us blog authors need a little positive reinforcement every now and then…since we delude ourselves into thinking we have some sort of gift. ;)

  • Scott Hutson

    Dr.Barkley is saying what I eventually realized myself. ADHD didn’t give me the ability to learn quicker than other students in grade school. I just was lucky to have a grandmother that knew how to make learning fun when I was a young boy. I already knew basic math, spelling, capitals of most states,etc…before I started elementary school. So I just appeared to be child that had special abilities to my teachers.

    When the truth was my grandmother would play games with me(scrabble,yahtzee,dominoes,…..etc) and show me how to keep score and so on. She had been a school teacher and already retired years before I was even born. Also her oldest daughter of seven children was a teacher that taught gifted children at a school in California, and would send her the games that those children would play in her class.

    It wasn’t ADHD that made me seem smarter. It was a child with ADHD(me) with an average I.Q. who had a good teacher.

    • Jeff

      Scott, this is a great little story. Thanks for sharing it. You were, indeed, quite lucky to have a grandmother who could teach you.

      • Scott Hutson

        Thanks Jeff. That was just an example of so many stories I have read, and even I have written about myself. The only difference is that when I was diagnosed ADHD late in life, and started looking back at my childhood, I wanted to believe I was gifted in some way. I would only look and tell my story of being noticed by my school teachers. That wasn’t the whole story though.

        Dr.Barkley’s example’s of famous ADHD people being used by “gift” advocates to show they’re so called “proof” of it. As if to say Mike Phelps didn’t go through rigorous training to be such a great swimmer. He just has ADHD and it makes him swim fast. LOL…..

        I know it makes us feel good sometimes to think we are endowed with something great that ordinary people don’t have. But ordinary people don’t have to struggle every freakin day with the REAL symptoms of ADHD, and all the other mental disorder’s that come with it.

  • James

    For a long time I fell into the trap of thinking a self help program would fix me and make me normal. Whatever that is. It wasn’t until my wife read and then made me read Bright Sided that I realized what a joke all self help is. I at 42 still have yet to accept the fact that I will always be this way.That I have to work two or more times as hard as say an average person just to accomplish anything.

  • betsy davenport, phd

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: it is not a gift if you don’t want it.

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  • Jessica

    “It is not fucking sunshine, it is not fairy dust”

    Aw man you mean there’s no ADHD Fairy?! Damn, guess I’ll stop leaving those lame “creative” ideas under my pillow in the hopes of a shiny quarter. Lol….good video. I like your angry energy.

    • Jeff

      “angry energy” – I’ve already been in touch with the U.S. Dept. of Energy to discuss this alternate source of energy. We’re still working out the details as to how to convert this to electricity. Since I spent one and a half hours on the phone this morning yelling at Verizon, the thought is that if we can harness the explosion of hot air emanating from my mouth…we may be able to hook it up to a small wind turbine that would be attached to a generator that would create electricity that would be stored in specially built capacitors that would hold the charge until the peak electric usage hours at which point I would disconnect my home from the grid and run off of the capacitors.

      P.S. Who says that ADHDers are not creative? ;)

      • Anonymous (aka, “Denim”)

        I would be happy with a way to convert my anger, known to me as frustration fueled anger, back in to “a positive mood” I would be satisfied. I would avoid LESS confrontation AND feel better. When you have to measure the pros and cons of calling a “service company” over losing your tolerable mood…there has got to be a way of channeling that energy. Jump on that Jeff. Blow your temper feel better device will be called Blyotefebede.

        Seriously, I am glad to know there is another human being that “gets this”.

        • Jeff

          There are actually a lot of people that “get it.” It will be interesting to see how many are really willing to admit it. We’re so obsessed with happy talk and “don’t worry be happy” baloney that, well, sometimes a bit of anger is a good thing. But I think that, collectively, we are seeing some anger released in a positive way in Wisconsin… as we saw in Egypt too.

          • Denim

            Hey…that “Anonymous” is me, Denim. Wonder what happened to my pseudonym? I have been having to re-enter it in multiple locations, so I know that it is not just your system.
            Sorry, I must not have double check before pressing submit. Probably does not change your reply, but just wanted you to know.

            • Jeff

              Kind of wondering about that “anonymous” comment. Your browser isn’t saving stuff. Perhaps you have it set to clean out cache/settings on each restart?

          • Denim

            I delete my browser history before I run my anti-virus which is once a day. In the past it has not been a problem. Yesterday’s “delete” did not clear it for today’s post. My best guess is that it has a built in switch that kills the login info if I have not used it in XX days. I know longer dwell on the why of a computer something happening. If I can’t work around it, I ask for help. Finding help is another issue. If you ever get BORED you could start a Q & A to help your followers by sharing your depth of computer knowledge. Until then, I will work around. *laughter*

            • Jeff

              Unless you are trying to hide your tracks, there is no need to delete your browsing history. A big reason not to is in the case when you want to find something you stumbled across last week and you can’t find it. But you could if it was in your browser history.

              As for Q&A, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve done so much tech support that I don’t have the patience I once had. I’ve used it all up. ;)

          • Denim

            Not trying to hide my tracks.
            I have not had the stumble and can’t find very often.
            I am just following some other computer person’s suggestion as a way to get rid of temporary files that may have virus, spyware or malware in them. The history is a side effect.

            I used up all my computer patience in 2004, except for what I need to run my home system. Twenty plus years in lone wolf computer departments with zero continuing education burned my circuits to smithereens. *laughter*

            • Jeff

              If it’s in your temp files/directory…then you’ve already been infected. Cleaning out the files won’t undo the damage. Your anti-virus program should be picking up the dangers right before any harm is done to your computer…so there’s no need to clean out the temp files. Same basically applies to spyware and malware. If it’s been sitting in your temp directory…then it’s already infiltrated your system. You can also run Spybot Search & Destroy on a periodic basis to check for spyware.

          • Denim

            Information has been received, is appreciated and will be used. Thank you Jeff.

  • Jessica

    Haha…Anger can be fuel for your passions, (and Jeff’s capacitors apparently) :)

  • Cindy

    There is something called anger dysphoric disorder or something like that. It’s an offshoot of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. My husband accused me of having that when I daydreamed for months about ways my x-boss could contract a slow horrible debilitating illness & suffer a long drawn out demise. I wonder if ADHD & stress disorders have something in common physiologically in the brain structure or chemical makeup. Obsessiveness is the result of the impulse control, and stress disorders have this symptom too. food for thought. oh, I finally got over the anger but it took a while & my x boss is still the happy, healthy, sociopathic jack ass that he always was.

    Anyway, we are all responsible for our actions. We can control our thoughts too. It all just takes practice. What is that saying?…. be careful what you think because this becomes your words. be careful what you say because this becomes your actions. be careful what you do because this becomes your habits. be careful of your habits because this becomes your character.

    In essence, what we allow ourselves to think and obsess on – if we’re not careful – become our actions and character. This is the self destructive part of ADHD. This is what gets us fired from work, shunned by neighbors, looked at like a freak by strangers, divorced & abandoned by the people we love(d).

    Blaming it away or explaining it away is just a method to prevent taking ownership and culpability. Yes, it sucks and makes things harder… but everyone has something in their life that sucks. Adversity just makes you stronger or kills you. Choose one – but don’t run around crying like a little baby over it. Here in the US, everyone is very self absorbed with their own problems and everyone expects everyone else to deal with their own crap & get over it. It’s a harsh reality, but that’s the reality. No sympathy – sympathy would be Socialist.

    The hurdle late awareness brings is lack of practice. Lack of practicing in how to control knee jerk reactions. Lack of practice in controlling diarrhea of the mouth & becoming uncontrollably irate to someone verbally. Lack of practice in controlling the overwhelming emotional outbursts. Lack of practice in focusing & learning how to identify distracted behavior when it happens.

    By practicing something over and over, it becomes muscle memory. It becomes subconscious & automatic. The bad behaviors we currently have are immediate and automatic because that’s all we’ve practiced. Practicing new measured & decisive behavior is required to undo this damage & replace it with appropriate behavior, reactions & thoughts. Eventually, this becomes the new us and things slowly improve.

    Well, that’s my theory anyway. I’m responsible for my actions & It’s my responsibility to learn from them to improve. If I don’t, then that’s my own fault.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I may disagree with some of the details, here, but, for the most part, I agree with what you’ve said. Practicing something — converting things into habit — makes it easier to deal with.

      I do, though, want to address this.
      “Blaming it away or explaining it away is just a method to prevent taking ownership and culpability.” – Blaming is one thing. Explaining is something else. Blaming is, indeed, running away from ownership and responsibility. “Explaining” is NOT running away. It’s simply a description of the underlying mechanism (physiological; psychological). Without an explanation you won’t know what needs to be fixed.

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