As long as I can remember, I’ve been a thoughtful guy. So thoughtful that my dad once yelled at me in frustration for being in my head.
He had no idea what was going on up there, and couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t be more outward and expressive. I shrugged and carried on with my thoughts – which was easy to do, as I was up on the roof, painting the eaves trough at the time, and he, at 350 pounds, was just too big and wobbly to climb up the ladder after me.
Sometimes you can go your whole life being a certain way, and not truly understand that you’re different from a lot of other people. The way your mind works feels normal to you, so why would you question it? And then when life turns a corner on you and you fail at something, well you go along with whatever society tells you is your problem. Your “issue”.
Failing badly at history in Grade 13? History? HISTORY? Your favourite subject? Well the answer is obvious isn’t it? It had to be a matter of being stupid.
What about the time your best friend sat there silently in the grass with you in his backyard when you were thirteen? So silent that you began asking him what was wrong. And when you finally guessed it, that he felt you spoke too much, he finally grunted “yeah”? Well, obviously you’re just too flighty or something.
So you learned to keep your thoughts to yourself. Instead of blurting them out all over the place, your thoughts flew around in your head, the rabid seagulls of your brain, banging up against each other incessantly. This is how you learned to cope.
Or in later years, when your workplace decided to send you on a few technical courses to better enable you to be a better Information Technology guy, you found you couldn’t absorb half of the stuff they tried to teach you. At the time you weren’t that self-aware (unlike now), and you didn’t realize that your mind actually found more interesting things to think about and consider. No, you only knew you weren’t doing well at the course – and thank GOD they didn’t require an exam at the end – and you chalked it up to stupidity. Even though you knew somewhere deep inside that you were as intelligent as the next guy.
You found yourself attracted to fast-moving stories. Stuff where there is something happening all the time. Video games where there’s lots of action. Action-packed thriller detective and espionage and fantasy novels.
Without even meaning to, you found yourself shaping your writing to accommodate the easily distracted (like yourself). That is, short paragraphs and lots of dialogue. You were pretty sure that style made your writing more interesting. (And you still think you’re right).
You gravitated to others who saw life the same way. People who could follow and enjoy the flights of your thoughts as you both glided from topic to topic to topic, hitting all up and downdrafts of thought, all within the span of thirty seconds. You didn’t worry about those who were thoroughly disgusted and annoyed by your conversational style. You found their reactions amusing.
While you found things that annoyed you too – without ever stopping to consider why. Like people – friends, loved ones – who phoned you up on the phone. You thought you hated phones. You didn’t. You just couldn’t stand the slow-moving pace of polite conversation. Not over the phone. In person, such conversations were more tolerable because you knew you could read body language *really* well. It was almost a subconscious process for you: you could read people so well you often knew as much about them from what they didn’t say as from what they said.
You amazed people. Like the girl you were with one day when you both visited a photography store, and she met a fellow classmate there. Unthinking, you watched her friend’s reaction, and you later told the girl “she doesn’t like you. At all.” You smile as you remembered the girl looking at you in disbelief.
“How do you know?”
“I watched her when you first said hello. She looked you up and down and there was a look of scorn in her face. Right before she smiled and hugged you.”
“What? I didn’t see that!”
“No, it happened very fast.”
You thought afterward how quickly that had taken place. Then you realized it happened in a fraction of a second. Interesting.
Somewhere along the line you realize you truly aren’t stupid. Just different. Your quickness of mind shows itself in different, more interesting ways. (Well, interesting to you anyway. Annoying to others, obviously).
There’s a downside though. You feel like you’re barely pulling your weight at work. Big projects which demand lots of thought, planning and time are just beyond you. You can’t sit at the computer for more than two minutes without moving through five or more different activities. If you’re unlucky enough to find that one of those activities include getting on the web, then you’ll eat up two hours before you realize you haven’t made a start on the stuff you’re supposed to do. Oh, and those five or more different activities? Yeah – you don’t actually complete them. So you find a way to make note of them so that you can give it another go the next day.
Weeks go by before you actually get around to completing one or more of them.
You put your earphones on and listen to music and you find that part of your mind can process the truly great music while the rest of your mind allows you to work away at those projects that are urgently waving their white-gloved hands at you in nauseous anxiety. You’ve found a coping mechanism. Music is your bitch.
And it’s only when you come to the end of a blog that you realized you’ve written about this before. And you swear to yourself (damn it!).
That’s when you decide to make an appointment. To get assessed for ADD/ADHD.
Have to admit though: my life is *fun*.