The Story We Tell Ourselves

…we can be blind to the obvious, and we are also blind to our blindness. – Daniel Kahneman, Thinking, Fast and Slow

Everyone has a story to help them understand themselves and their relationship to the world. It is their personal explanation of who they are and why they do the things they do. It is their mental comfort food. They repeat the story to themselves when they are confronted with something unknown or with a story that conflicts with theirs. The Late Diagnosed ADHDer (Ltd-ADHD) — an ADHDer who was not diagnosed for twenty or more years — may create a story that contains extraordinary leaps of logic in order to explain, in a logical manner (or at least in a consistent manner) why they stand outside of the “accepted” norm. Most of the disagreements I’ve had with other ADHDers has been over the nature of our stories. Some ADHDers have developed the story of ADHD-as-a-Gift while others have invented new personality types: ADHD that is not ADHD.

My story can be summarized in two words: Yes…But. I may agree with you about some things, however there’s always that “But,” always the reminder that life is both bitter and sweet and never experienced in a pure state. We may fool ourselves, for the moment, into thinking that ADHD is a gift in much the same way that we fool ourselves into believing that the world is flat when we need to drive from one place to another. But we’re adults. We know better. The world is not flat (physically, that is). There are no fairy godmothers and, yes, Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. So while there is great benefit to be derived from intentional blindness, from focusing on the sweet and pleasurable — the taste of your lover’s sweat; completion of a large, complex project; the summer sun warming your bones — I always worry that we’ll forget about the drudgery, the struggles, the monotony of much of life. So my response to many things is, Yes…but.

But let’s be honest.

Who wants to be reminded of the bitter when the sweet has such a wonderful taste?

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  • Katy R.

    I am happy to let others come up with whatever tale works best for them. However…I do find it interesting when people need to embellish reality to feel better. I have no short term memory. I’m mentally hyperactive and physically fidgety. I definitely have whatever this thing is called “ADHD”. But…I’m okay with that. It’s just the way I am. I don’t gloss over it. What’s so wrong with the reality if it’s…simply reality. Why do we expect reality to be perfect? With diagnosis, for me, came relief with the application of a label.

    Perhaps others have had experiences more painful than mine, ones which compel them to embellish the truth a little…maybe they need the sunshine more and maybe my perspective is just limited…but I don’t see what’s so wrong with having ADHD, not because it’s a gift…but because it’s reality. And I’m okay with reality, even if I annoy myself (and other people) sometimes, lol.

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      “I am happy to let others come up with whatever tale works best for them.” – This becomes a problem when they want to impose that tale on others, waving it around as if it were the truth. (What is “the truth”? That’s another discussion.) The point is that all of us, ADHD or not, have a story to tell ourselves, our personal bedtime fairy tale that lulls us to sleep. I’ve reached a point where a part of me doesn’t want to argue anymore about whose fairy tale is “true.”

      You should read this post from my other blog: Both posts (this one and the one on my other blog) were part of a single, larger story. I decided to break it into two pieces. The theme, though, is the same. There are things we just need to tell ourselves.

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