I love it when things connect. Recently, a couple of connections materialized from a couple of good friends.
First: Ariane Benefit sent me an inspiring post on how she overcame the challenges of Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and learned to thrive.
Second: My office-mate Gene shared a book review at Joyful Jubilant Learning (the book was The Head Trip) and began talking about how he was going to delve into neurofeedback as a way to become more focused and productive, and compensate for ADD-like tendencies.
Maybe the first step is to wonder whether you have a problem?
As someone who is peternaturally curious, I've often wondered if my tendency to flit from one interesting topic or another was normal or not. I still have a tough time drawing the line between "classic ADD" and "easily bored."
Ariane's story is very interesting. She shared her thoughts and doubts prior to being diagnosed with ADD in a very coherent, rational way - and I think her philosophy applies to just about anyone struggling to overcome a personal challenge.
So, what does ADD look like? General characteristics1 include: (a) difficulty staying focused, easily distracted, not completing tasks (except in some cases "hyperfocusing" on something like a project due tomorrow or fast-moving video game); (b) restlessness/impulsivity/impatience, e.g., can't sit still, blurting/interrupting; (c) problems organizing, planning, prioritizing (often late and hurried); (d) starting projects and not finishing them.
These traits can impact your relationships, self-esteem, and career -- but they are not insurmountable.
Taking responsibility for your own well being
Ariane has taken the bull by the horns and is actively capitalizing on her strengths, rather than falling into the "glass half empty" trap and limiting her aspirations. She shares a bunch of cool stories that provide a glimpse into how she's playing to her strengths.
Gene identified with some of the symptoms he read about in The Head Trip and is exploring neurofeedback, one of the techniques described in the book, to maximize his focus and overcome distractions.
The cool thing I learned from Arian and Gene is that they both used their natural intellectual curiosity to fuel their actions, and weren't satisfied with the status quo. I also learned a lot about ADD, how chronic disorganization may be an indicator of ADD, and how you can cope (and thrive) with ADD.
Not sure if you have ADD or not? Check out this great article shared by Ariane, "What's it like to have ADD?" to find out more.
Got ADD? Don't worry - you're not alone. Fantastic people like Ariane and Gene have helped me understand some of the differences in how people with ADD engage with the world, and have pointed me to resources to help people with ADD capitalize on their gifts.
- Series of awesome posts on dealing with ADD
1 "How Do I Know if I Have ADD? Is There a Self-Test?"