Wouldn’t it be cool if I discovered something cool about my mind, and it turned out to be true for others, and it opened up a whole new discussion about how A.D.D (Attention Deficit Disorder) works, and what people can do to help them with it.

For a long time I have been trying to figure out ways to describe my own Attention Deficit Disorder to others. It occurs to me that it was one of the first mental illnesses to be given a name and disagnosed to millions of people fairly spontaniously in the history of children and education. In my lifetime, I went rom being lazy and unmotivated and a troublesome kid, to an adult with a mental illness.

Almost suddenly, everyone you knew had a mental illness. Everyone was crazy.

Today, we’ve discovered and labled all sorts of mental illness, and we’ve renamed or recatorgarized others. In my lifetime my mother went from being depressed, through being manic/depressive to being bi-polar. When I was a kid, she was just Mom of course. A woman who got mad at me in difereht ways for being an unmotivated lazy kid not living up to my potential.

Now, everyone is talking about mental illness and we’re being made aware that in many cases it is a real disabling condition that gets comparred to physical illness. Society in this century is all about equality and ignoreing the reality that we are not equal, in favour of the commendable idea that we all deserve to be treated equally.

One problem with mental vs physical illness however is that it’s harder to detect, and easier to fake. The moment you start giving disabilities advantages designed to create equality, there will be people who try to cheat the system to get better than equal benefits.

It’s a flawed system only because so many humans are asholes. This is why we can’t have nice things. People will spray paint discks on them and pretend to be crazy, just to get free pudding.

Even if we ignore that portion of the evil cheating population, normal everyday people may never be diagnosed, and many people wil be diagniosed incorectly. A doctor doesn’t have to break his or her own leg, to know why it hurts and how to heal it, but a doctor without A.D.D. can never really know what is going on in the head of one who does.. like me… or like somebodu else. They can only see symptoms, studey them and make conclusions.

The real problem with this concept is that many people with mental issues have more than one, and every one is a little different. At some point, we started naming them based on general similarities. Some smart person noticed a lot of lazy unmotivated kids not living up to their potential were lazy and unmotivated and not living up to their potential the same way… so they named it, wriote a paper, probably made some money and then went on a book tour.

I think TV taught me that’s how it works.

In any case, they define a mental issue, and then they try different medications and see what one stops a person like me from being unmotivated and not living up to my potential. In the early days, that was Ritalin. I didn’t like it much. It allowed me to focus by making everthing equally boring. I think almost every show on television during that time had an episode about A.D.D and Ritalin but Bart Simpson played it best. It made Bart a slightly more motivated less lazy student, that wasn’t Bart Simpson. All the humour of the caharacter was taken away.

So I lived most of my life not knowing that my particular brain type functioned differently than other people’s and the second part of my life being told I had a disorder in my brain that made me this way. I’m not sure which was better. Both scenarious tend to paint the picture of a loser, just one with an excuse.

I used the excuse. My brain now had a note from the doctor that said; Jeff is not lazy and unmotivated. He’s sick. Give him a break.

I can imagine the happiness that alcolholics felt when the doctor told them the same thing. Youre not a drunk. Youre a patient.

My point about mental illness is, the brain is a pretty complex organ we don’t understand much about, and we’re learning about all the time, but it’s one we still have to guess about mostly.

Attention Deficit Disorder was named too fast, and too many kids thrown on medication instead of considering how much cooler it is to have a different brain. It’s not a disability, it’s a different ability. Diferently Abled is the new catch phrase for the people we used to freely without guilt call cripples. It’s a bit wordy and hasn’t fully caught on.

I like to belive I am diferently abled, and in fact, sometimes consider my A.D.D a superpower. However, I also don’t define myself as a guy with A.D.D. and that alone. I certainly don’t think the same way other people with A.D.D. think. I hve a whole different life of experience and other mental “illness” that comes into play within my thoughts and desires.

I have esteem issues caused partially by my parents calling me a lazy underachiever not living up to my potential. I have anger issues caused partially by my spontaniously explosive father who may or may not hve been an alcoholic I didn’t know about.

As I write more and more about my brain, and the way I think, I dioscover more traits that don’t gel perfectly with the super wide spectrum of what a doctor might diagnose as A.D.D.

In some writings, I called it focus deficit because I felt I had no problem with a defifite of attention, and in fact often feel the problem is I’m paying too much attention to things. I started to try to figure out how my attention was different than theirs.

Of course, I tell you that you would never be able to guess what I’m obcessing about at any given moment, or better worded, what two to five things I’m flipping between at any given moment. In the same way, I understand I can not know what is going on in your head… or anyone’s head.

I just know you can sit at a desk and work for more than 3 hours, or sit in a park under a tree or at the beach for more than 7 minutes. You may be able to listen to a lecture with one continuous voice and actually learn things while I listen for a few minutes and then start noticing the way the speaker pronounces his or her R’s or the way their mouth curls when they say Masepania.

In previous recent writings, I have been proud of my newest theiory, which was the two thoughst theory. In fact, it is a “trick” that I have passed on not only to others with A.D.D but also to friends and workers who want to deal with me.

Understand that my brain is happier with a mimimum of two simulatnious though processes. Both must be reasonably interesting to sustain focus, and my brain works out the switching.

From a computer’s point of view, we refer to mutitalking as doing more than one thing at a time, but logic and science teach us it’s all really just fast flipping.

My brain flips between two thoughts and it is happy. If one thought process ends, or suddenly becomes less interesting, my brain switches to the other process and doesn’t return. The other side then goes seeking a new though process on it’s own. It either looks around the room for content, or it reverts to memories for something to think about.

I’ve been pretty happy with that description, and had reasonable success describing it to anyone who cared to listen. I’ve described it mostly simply by saying I prefer to work with the radio on or a TV show on, but only if it’s something I don’t care a lot about and don’t have to give full attention to. A Talk radio moring show is great, because it has somngs and commercials and even the talk is usually just intersting in biyts, so my mind can spend most of it’s power on the work process. I can flip between the two with good success.

If the music or programming stops, I have to stop. I need to refocus on two thought processes quickly or I become less productive again.

I am reminded of a story a business aquantence one told me, of his child’s private school designed for non medicated A.D.D students. He told me the classes were designed to hve multiple things going on, and that students were walking around all the time. Their pens would be at the other side of the room, and they had to constantlky do activities unrelated to their studies. The idea fascinated me. Essentially, I thought, that was what I was doing in school and being punished. I was creating the story for my second brain half to be amused. When they stopped me, neither side of my brain was happy.

This month, as my entire life has two side to my story, and I’ve been requested to talk about myself more than ever, I’ve been tweaking the story a bit. I’ve decide the two sides of my brain, or my two brains or whatever I;’ve called it in writings is confusing. People don’t get the two brain thing.

Something fascinating happened. I found a symptom that actually makes more sense than almost all of it. It’s still a new idea but it seems possible that A.D.D has almost nothing to do with attention, but moe to do with memory.

Whenever a person with A.D.D starts talking about it, we are almost instantly interupted by somebody saying; Oh yeah. I hve that. It’s a mental illness everyone thinks they have a little of, because everyone has walked into a room and forgotten why, or been distracted. Since the mental illness was created to lable mischivous children initially, a great many people believe it to be somewhat bogus, like calling a hiccup an illness.

Zeppelin: I did happen to invent the worlds greatest hiccup cure.

An older description I used to use for my A.D.D, but abandonned may have a better potential as the example in my new theory. Memory Recall Discorder.

Again, I am not able to compare my symptoms to yours, but it is clear to me that my memory works diferently than yours… and by yours I mean the average reader, whom I am assuming stricly based on numbers, is not exactly like me.

As long as I can remember, I have been unable to remember.

Explained using more words, I have a great deal of difficulty bringing up my own memories of anything, and in most cases, I need an external trigger either verbal, visual or some other form. I can’t retrieve memories on my own on demand or request.

In some cases, but not all, I am able to remmber things described to me. In some cases I remember the stories of events as told more recently, but not the actual happenings (that’s a whole other esay).

For the most part, I’ve lived with this condition much like I lived with A.D.D as a young Jeff. Nobody has ever diagnosed or named it. I just learned to live within the boundaries of the disability and live my life as best I can.

It’s only recently that I connected that the sme issue is responablle for my memories short term as well as long term. I have no memories of my childhood to recall, but I also have very litle memory of the previous moment, if something better distracted me.

The story I was hinting at earlier: Imagine you are walking through a foret that does not have a path. In any direction you look there are trees, but there is plenty of free space, so you walk and talk.

Every now and then, you stop and talk about something else for a change. I do it all the time. I change topic, sometimes mid sentence if the new thought excites me enough.

Friends even call me out as irritating because I will stop them mid sentence to change the topuc as well.

I always thought that’s how conversation flows, but apperntly its mostly just conversations with me. The moment one becomes less than entertaining, I move on.

In the forest, that means I turn and change direction. For somebody that isn’t me, they may stop and talk about that side thought for a moment, but when done, they still know which way they were walking.

In my brain, once I’ve switched off a topic, it’s gone. I can’t return to it. I am standing in a forest with not a cklue as to what we may have been talking about. If you reference it, I can recall and continue, but if you don’t, I’ll likley change the topic to the fiorest itself and move on like nothing happened.

In real life, this means forgotten things stay forgotten possibly forever, or at least until some external force reminds me. We can both open the frideg and forget what we went there for, but I’ll return to the TV and watch the rest of my show, but you’ll return to the stove where your dinner was cooking.

My house will burn down.

As soon as I realized I am actually 100% forgetting things with A.D.D. and not just being distracted, my whole perspective changed.

THis also helps explain why it doesn’t seem so bad to others, because I may seem a bit distracted, but as soon as I’m reminded, I snap back and continue. I just can’t remind myself, so when living alone, things don;t gegt done.

At all.

Sometimes ever, but at least until something triggers my memory.

People with my type of attention deficit disorder should not live alone. We are dependant on other people to remind of of the things we forget when our brains flip between thoiughts. Anything that isn’t interesting enough to stay in memory, could be lost.

Imagine a scenario where you ask me to take out the garbage. I say Yes, and stand up in a motion to do so with full happy intent. On the way, the phone rings and I speak with my sister. When the call ends, I return to my start position and move on. I may never think of the garbage again. I may walk by it fior days.

If I am asked to do it again, I will… as long as nothing more interesting disttacts me before the task is done.

Extrapulate that scenario to every single task I have ever been asked to do in my life.

I hvew been fired from almost every job I’ve ever held, with the excption of retail sales assistant manager where I lived my entire 15 year career in the NOW. I never completed tasks that took longer than I could do the moment I was asked. If I can do it NOW, it’ll get done. If a customer came in, the task would fall away until I was asked again.

Dream job for A.D.D.

NOW jobs. Not plan ahead jobs. Not list of task jobs.

My A.D.D might just be my inability to remember the things I have switched off for other thoughts.

I love the quote; I have a great memory, it’s just the filing system that sucks.

(It’s mine)

I remember everythig, except how to remember anything. I can’t retrieve my own memories without a trigger.

What if everybody with A.,D.D is like that and Ritalin worked by fluke. IF you don’t brain-task-switch, then you don’t forget the sme way… but it’s not the right reason, it’s just a doctors experiment that happened to work.

If you drink a glass of water from the other side of the glass, some might tell you it cures your hiccups.

Believe it or not, every single hiccup cure is the same hiccup cure, and all of them are fake. Every one. Hiccup cures are 100% placebo, and when you learn that, you can sure them in an instant, every time.

Maybe fixing my memory would solve my so-called A.D.D problem.


I ponder. I hope I remember this tomorrow.

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