Friday, April 29, 2011

The Isle of ADHD

I've been sitting here for the better part of an hour, and I can't think of a single thing to write about.  Well, that's not exactly true, as I've had thousands of thoughts running through my head.  I just haven't been able to grab ahold of any one of them long enough to actually write something about it!  Mmmm....strawberries sound good.

Welcome to the world of ADHD.

If you don't have ADD or ADHD, and if there isn't someone close to you that has it, there's a good chance you have misconceptions of what it is.  The picture most people get when thinking of ADHD is of a little kid running around a classroom instead of sitting quietly in his chair like he's been asked to.  Could be a symptom, true.  Could also be a symptom of too little sleep, poor classroom management, or bad parenting.  I don't have a PhD on ADHD, so I'm not going to T-R-Y to iden-ti-fy (Oh my goodness, I make myself laugh!) the symptoms or treatments associated with it.  I am going to share with you my own elementary explanation of what goes on in my hyperactive brain versus the "normal" brain of someone like...let's sister Wendy.  But first, I need you to take a moment to clear your mind of all preconceived ideas of ADHD and what you think it looks like. 

Ready?  Brain clear?  (If you have ADHD, you won't be able to clear your brain.  You are forgiven.)

The first thing I want you to put in your brain is this: (ADHDers, try to focus.  It's a stick man.  Stick man!)

Next, I want you to imagine a tiny tropical island with a single palm tree (If you have ADHD, you have probably moved on to designing your entire island, but I assure you, it is NOT important, and you will have plenty of time to design it later when you're trying to focus on something else.)

Now, I want you to put your stick man on your island, as pictured.  Oh look, a puppy! imagine that all your thoughts are individually written on really long fortune cookie papers and are swirling in a massive tangled cloud that's hovering over your stick man's head.  I know it's a stretch.  Humor me. (Normal people:  this may not seem very forboding when you have like two thoughts at a time, but for the sake of my example, you should imagine at least twenty-five or thirty fortune cookie papers).

Pretend that your stick man is reaching up, trying to grab ahold of a single one of those pieces of paper so that he can read it.

Now imagine a hurricane. 

Your stick man is frantically jumping, grasping at any thought he can reach.  Every time he grabs hold of one for a second, the hurricane winds tear it violently from his little stick fingers.  Yet he doesn't give up.  He is a valliant stick man, persevering despite being bombarded endlessly by a tropical storm of wayward thoughts.  This is what it's like to live inside my brain.

Poor stick man.  (As a side note: medication, when I'm on it, does NOT change the number of thoughts I have wreaking havoc in my brain.  It only slows down the winds so that I can hold onto one for longer.  It is NOT a cure-all...more like a band-aid.)

Okay, let's take a look at Wendy's stick man (I like to imagine him with glasses).  He has a filing cabinet.  He can choose which alphabetized thought he wants to focus on first, accomplish it, and efficiently move on to the next. 

Stupid organized stick man. 

18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.  1 Corinthians 12:18-20 (emphasis mine)


  1. I had 3 or 4 comments to make, but I forgot what they were.

  2. lisa...i always knew you were a writer, but i guess i never realized what an incredibly talented one you were. please, please, please, keep expressing yourself this way and we will be honored to read and learn from you.

  3. Thanks! This is super.