By Valerie Rice | January 2, 2020
I am sure that you have heard people say the line “Back in my day, we didn’t have ADHD, we spanked our kids…” or other such nonsense. Well, this is code for neglecting and abusing children until they behaved. Not so much out of spite or malice, but more out of ignorance and misinformation. These statements often come from the type of people who also believe that acknowledging a person’s emotions is coddling, and other such emotionally abusive practices. They also believe that the diagnosis we take seriously in childhood are all pretend. The result, however, in a generation of adults who have had absolutely no assistance in managing mental health and are desperately trying to function. Enter GenX and Elder Millennials. These kids were basically left to raise themselves and now have a host of behaviors that do not coincide with neurotypical behavior struggling to understand what they are doing wrong while guiding their often neurodivergent children through the maze of life. So what are we looking for here?
Focus: This can be a difficulty maintaining attention or a hyperfocus. The difficulty could look like being easily distracted, skipping details, difficulty maintaining conversation, or rushing through. If you have ever had a conversation with someone who repeatedly, and annoyingly, finishes your sentences in an attempt to move on, you might be talking to someone with ADD. Adults with this disorder have rapid fire minds, and waiting for someone to finish a thought can be agonizing, and they will often prompt them to skip to the end. Hyperfocus looks like the person becoming completely engrossed in the activity they are performing to the total exclusion of life around them.
Forgetfulness: A person with this symptom will often lose track of things,conversations they have had, forget important dates, and it can seem like they don’t care. This is an unfair assessment, however, as an individual with this type of mind has a file management system that is disorganized. Which reminds me…
Disorganization: the personal space of the ADHD adult often looks to the outsider like a chaos bomb has exploded. The same can be said for their schedule and daily life. Barely or uncontrolled chaos reigns in the life of the ADHD individual and it seems like reaching day’s end is equivalent to crossing the finish line mere seconds before total failure crosses first. For more symptoms, click here.
THE BIGGER PICTURE
Now that you have a good idea what it looks like, what does it mean? Well, really, it means that people with ADHD have an executive functioning disorder. This means that your frontal lobe is having a hell of a time managing things. Literally. Time, space, emotions, tasks, and so on overwhelm the part of the brain that deals with control and impulses. Add to that the fact that time is not perceived in a linear fashion for these people. Everything is happening all at once, the whole concept of planning is ridiculous. All that actually exists is NOW. This “disorder” means that functioning in our pedantic, linear, timescape causes a lot of anxiety and depression. As we can see, this type of mind is epic when it comes to solving problems and creating or inventing, but it does not and cannot conform to certain societal desires. Should it? The older generation would have you believe that the answer is a resounding “yes” and floggings shall continue until behavior improves. The current generation is questioning that logic and wondering why we don’t harness that mindset to improve society. For more information on how people wired this way think, click here.
WHAT TO DO, WHAT TO DO
Whether you choose to harness the power of the emerging species (almost a joke) or treat the symptoms, here are a few tips to make life easier. First of all, slow down. Slowing down to take in the world around you will allow your brain to process what the current Earth humans are doing and help you blend in. Second, you can try medication. This is a personal choice, of course, as it will force your brain to slow down and make it easier to function in society. This is not, however, a cure. You can try CBT to improve your executive functioning skills. This will help manage symptoms and ease the stress of life.
Having lived with neurodiverse children I have seen the amazing things that they are capable of. I do not think that ADD, ADHD, or Autism are disorders. I do believe that they are a different way of experiencing and interacting with the world and that forcing our world view on these people is horrible. This has become quite evident at certain times, such as the first time I pulled the ASD child out of public school for unschooling and during this pandemic. Without the social pressures and tortures of “normal” the children have thrived both academically and socially. I believe neurodiversity is just a part of human evolution and we should embrace it and learn to communicate on their level. But what do I know, right? Until next time, be well!