photo courtesy of Psychiatry Advisor
ADHD, ADD, or Hyper Kinetic Disorder are all almost the same. They all have the same symptoms except for Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder, a more severe form of ADHD/ADD.
I was diagnosed at the age of six, and that's what ADHD/ADD was called back then. One term for all individuals, no matter the severity.
There was more research over the years, and by the 1960s, the term ADHD/ADD came about, but there were still some kids from my era diagnosed with Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder.
I've lived with this gift or force, as I like to call it, for 60 years as of this past June, and I regret some days more than most. I'll explain.
I lived the days of being thought of as a mentally challenged kid, always being placed in a "special" class. It wasn't easy either since I was an embassy brat and went to school within the embassy grounds/building. I wasn't allowed to go to the American School in the country we were living in like military staff kids.
Due to my Dad's job, which I learned later in life was a non-official capacity, we were a family at risk, so we were given the embassy's shelter.
Classrooms were made up of one to three or four kids: myself and the ambassador's children. So you can see special attention was always made for each child, and I was no exception.
I challenged the teachers continuously. They knew of my diagnosis but didn't understand what it meant. They just figured I was mentally challenged due to me performing poorly in subjects. What they didn't know is I was bored—bored with the subject matter and them.
I Wasn't Different
Over time my Mom and Dad, whenever he was around, took it into their own hands to school myself and the teachers. That was the beginning of homeschooling for me.
What I learned from y parents and the numerous shrinks, therapists, and counselors I respected was that I had a gift. A gift I should embrace and learn to use to the best of my ability.
I was advised numerous times that I was creative. In some cases, more creative than other students and some teachers. That did great for my ego!
The one thing my Mom and Dad instilled in me at this point was not to get cocky about my ability to be creative or think I was better. I wasn't.
I was still the same old Mark, but with a gift to think faster. To juggle more than one thought at any given time and resolve them all.
Then again, I was taught not to be depressed when I couldn't finish everything I was thinking about, which happened often.
ADHD/ADD and Hyperkinetic Impulse Disorder is a strange bedfellow. As good as it feels to be creative, it can sometime be daunting to know you may not finish what you started because of another thought entering your head.
That's the thing about these issues. You have one thought right now that you're working on or writing about, and then poof, a rabbit runs by the window, and you can't remember where you were.
For example, just a few minutes ago, as I was writing this, I stopped while listening to the dog barking, which took my mind off this article, and I was lost. It happens, and it happens often.
There's usually a positive side to interrupted thoughts, though. I get more creative ideas, if that's possible?
A Star Wars Moment
Over the years, I've come to call my creative side the force within. It's a git, to be sure, but more me, it's the force within. The force I've been looking for.
At 66, it's a joy to talk to newly diagnosed kids, young adults, or adults. I find it strange that more and more adults are getting diagnosed with ADHD/ADD, but they probably had it as a kid, but they weren't diagnosed till now.
Imagine living all of those years wondering if something is wrong with you only to find out you think faster than most and are incredibly creative. Able to juggle more ideas than a single mind and faster than the average brain.
Superperson, you are and always will be.
May the force reside in you forever!
P.S. We'll talk how I learned to live with ADHD without meds next post.