The Alternate Universe Of ADHDers

…Argos and I lived our lives in separate universes; I reflected that our perceptions were identical but that Argos combined them differently than I, constructed from them different objects; I reflect that perhaps for him there were no objects, but rather a constant, dizzying play of swift impressions. – “The Immortal,” from Collected Fictions: Jorge Luis Borges, translated by Andrew Hurley. Penguin Books: 1998.

A ll ADHDers occupy an alternate universe that exists only in their minds. It has no relationship at all with the other universe, the one populated by non-ADHDers. In our universe, we are bright, funny, wealthy, gifted, talented, extraordinarily attractive, lucky and quite athletic. In our universe we have already arrived at the promised land. We are biding our time, waiting for the rest of the world to discover us, to realize our worth. We wait for the phone call from the producers of Oprah, we wait for the letter from the big publishing house, we wait for the creation of a sitcom that is based on our fascinating lives……..and they are fascinating………to us. From the outside we seem to occupy a universe controlled by erratic, often unpredictable and inconsistent laws of physics and time. Of course…we know better. We know that we are really Da Vincis in the rough, creating our Mona Lisa’s and waiting for the world to discover our well-hidden talents. That, of course, is the problem. They are hidden because they exist only in our minds.

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  • Anubis Jr.

    ADHD is either a curse or a superpower. The choice is yours.

    • Jeff

      How, exactly, does one make that choice?

      • Anubis Jr

        With a little meditation and a bit of practice :)

        • Jeff

          Really? It’s that simple? Millions of people suffering from ADHD and you had the answer the whole time? Please go into more detail. Don’t hold back.

          Since you believe that meditation is the key, you may find this post to be of interest:

          • Anubis Jr.

            Hi Jeff,

            Perhaps I misspoke. It works for ME and a few people I know, so I suggest giving it a try. However, its not as simple as I expressed above. Here’s how it went…

            The first thing I found is that fighting ADHD was pretty much impossible, so embracing it was a better answer. The medications made life even worse for me, and I found that some of my abilities – to see and hear things others didn’t notice, or to multitask efficiently – were gone. These things are vital in my work.

            I tried exercise, but going to the gym did not hold my attention, neither did jogging, nor yoga – although yoga helped a bit I had trouble following through with it.

            Finally I stumbled upon a martial arts school near my apartment, and I started taking classes. It helped a little right away, but more importantly, it held my attention and therefore I continued to exercise. Pretty quickly I noticed that my attention and actions started taking a less scattered direction, not much at first but enough. After about three or so years of training and building up, I reached advanced levels and took some additional disciplines, some that included meditation.

            Bingo. This is the point at which things really started coming together. The physical training coupled with Ch’an meditation techniques gave me a more consistent control I had rarely experienced beforehand, and I’m now able to use ADHD instead of fight it. I can have a ‘normal’ conversation that others can follow, I can complete boring but necessary tasks (although juggling two or three is easier), and once again I can read a book. I can multitask in a way that makes me quite valuable at work, and I can enjoy a cup of coffee with little fear of babbling. And i can still hear and see things others miss. There is still the occasional day when things are difficult, especially when I’m low on sleep, but good days are the rule and not the exception.

            So there you have my answer. I meant no offense in my first comment , it was meant in a more positive spirit than it most likely portrayed. I certainly didn’t mean to belittle anyone’s struggle, and I’m still prone to speak or type a bit without thinking it through.


  • Scott Hutson

    Hah, very well said, Jeff. In our minds we are the yet to be discovered greatest thinkers! When will the normal, mentaly healthy, happy people realize they are so un-gifted? They don’t know how luckly we ADDers are to be so forgetful and distracted! I am so smart….to me.

    • Jeff

      We’re legends in our own minds. ;)

      • Scott Hutson

        Great Scott! I know what might work! Change my name to “Clark Kent” , and pretend I am SUPERMAN! Krypton was in another universe. But it exploded… ;(

  • Jeff


    Thanks so much for the full explanation. That’s actually an interesting story. The effect that the drugs had on me was the opposite of yours. The drugs have not hampered my creativity at all. I’ve thought about martial arts but…well…I never took the plunge. Not sure if I’m too old to do it because, where I live. It’s mostly kids involved in it…not adults. I don’t think I want my a** kicked in by a ten year old.

    • Scott Hutson

      Very wise… Grasshopper….very wise. Look up Monastery in the Yellow pages.

    • Anubis Jr.

      Hi Jeff,

      Well its not about the martial arts as much is it is about the exercise. I really can’t force myself to jog or work out at a gym, its just not interesting. Martial arts is fun, and the students at my school vary in age from 15 to 70, and I’m somewhere right in the middle of that age range ;)

      My whole approach to ADHD developed from a passage I read in a yoga book. It described using the body to control the mind. So, exercise helps me feel better overall and gives me some control, allowing meditation. During meditation I’ve discovered the ‘common thread’ of my thoughts, a sort of constant mind behind the scattered mind, and visiting that place two or three times a week has a profoundly stabilizing effect on my life.

      So I guess we’re both lucky in that we found something that works for us. Thanks for letting me take part in your forum, you’re creating a great resource here and I wish you all good fortune.

  • Jkimm7

    Awesome post! You make a very sobering point about potential, hahaha. 
    I want to pose a question to you- let’s call it a philosophical question. When we talk about having ADD, what are we truly talking about??? Put aside the DSM established terms for a hot second.Aren’t we really just talking about…..the creative mind? Creativity of some kind seems to be the common thread that runs through every so-called “ADDers” experience of life. You are a writer, I’m a painter, maybe someone else is a musician.Can’t every single “symptom” of this disorder be explained by our immense sensitivity to those exquisite details that most would call irrelevent? Outsiders call it getting distracted, but is it? Really? I call it engaging myself in a constant love-hate relationship with Chaos herself. And if you’re involved in any kind of creative pursuit, it’s completely essential to do this. If you couldn’t already tell, I have my doubts about the validity of this disorder.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      It can be difficult to conceptually separate ADHD from creativity because ADHD, in the raw, unmedicated state, is that internal Chaos (with a capital “C” as you’ve rightly noted) that propels you forward, that seems to be the source of creativity. There’s nothing terribly creative about not paying your bills on time, having anger management issues, having relationship issues, and so on. Further, a very sizable percentage of people in prison have ADHD so one wonders, where’s *their* creativity?

      I believe that only ADHDers who are *already* creative are the ones who believe that the two – ADHD and creativity – are somehow linked. I will admit, and I haven’t fully teased it all out yet, that there is something going on between ADHD and creativity (I’ve noticed this after taking a break from meds and now, being on Adderall, which is out of my system in a handful of hours) but I would not say that the former is the cause of the latter. However, ADHD “in the raw,” that is, with the executive functioning muted, allows Chaos, that internal churning and internal hyperactivity, to be in control and, for those ADHDers who are *already* creative, ADHD then seems like the force behind their creativity, the hypersensitivity (in some ADHDers), and so on. ADHD “in the raw” turns the world into the Jamesian “blooming, buzzing confusion” and, for those ADHDers who are already creative, this can seem to be a source OF their creativity. Perhaps it might be more accurate to say it can be a source FOR their creativity, feeding an already existing creativity with some additional “ideas” (like turning to “high” the sensitivity of a microphone), some additional input, but it takes those executive functions to do anything with it, to separate the wheat from the chaff, and turn the potential into a reality.

      “Awesome post!” – Thank you!!

      You might want to also check out this post – – since it deals with the issue of “potential.”

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