Yeah, you know me!

Hi, I’m Dave, and I believe I am an adult living with ADD. (Attention Deficit Disorder for those of you who haven’t heard the buzzzz of this word) I’m fairly certain, though not doctor diagnosed, that I’ve been living with ADD since I was just sparkle in my dad’s eye. Now, this isn’t the kind of ADD you might hear one friend joke to the other about, it isn’t just a difficulty paying attention. Largely, ADD has the potential to significantly affect each and every aspect of your daily life, rather than one particular afternoon that you are a little bored at work.

Interestingly, when I was a kid, they had yet to put a name to a face, so ADD, which is normally characterized by an inability to pay attention, difficulty learning in the (traditional) classroom, and perhaps emotional outbursts (which may have been a result of never feeling like you could do what adults asked of you) was called just that: an inability to pay attention, difficulty learning in the classroom (they didn’t have many non-traditional classrooms then), and perhaps emotional outbursts . I think I had all of those, but as I’m told, I also waxed enough charm that most teachers were tolerant if not ignorant of my other “shortcomings”. If you could call them that.

An interesting thing happened though, as I grew into adulthood, without the aid of therapist, psychologist, social worker, or small brigade of very funny clowns, I started to figure out how to cope. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot of techniques that help me resemble, if only slightly, all the other kids in the class and work/learn at a normal level, if not  an exceptional one. The mental and physical exercise I do regularly, to stay present and attentive in the moment, are another conversation, for another day.

Now, what does that have to do with simple living you might ask? When the doctors are whipping out their prescription pads at an inkling of indication of ADD, they don’t seem to mention what could be construed as a benefit. While, yes, distractability is one concern of the disorder, the other side of the coin is the ability to focus, with laser like acuity, on the right task for intense periods of time. This, I believe, has given me the focus to master chess, computers (and their software), bicycles and their repair, home projects, and any other thing that I can trick my mind into believing is the “right” task. This same “disorder” has been the inception for creative genius in those it inhabits around the globe.

The only problem, as I see it, is that  it is easy to lose control of the spigot. What was once a moderate flow of “fill in the blank” has turned into an obsessive, ravenous, thirst for “fill in the blank”. This has also been described as an addictive personality, which has led to both winning an Iron Man, smoking a crack pipe or perhaps living simply.

Since I began writing this blog, a lot of people have asked me about balance. Do you have to cancel cable? Why not just not watch it? Why so extreme? Sure, balance works for some people, and I commend them for that. But I’ve got a broken spigot, and sometimes lose control of my laser (to mix my metaphors), so it is crucial that I keep all of the unhealthy, undesired activities out of arm’s reach so that I don’t accidentally focus on the wrong thing and find myself trembling with desire for my next fix in the dark room of an abandoned crack house.

I’ve been given a gift, like a puppy for Christmas. It just needs constant attention to fulfill its potential.