Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Everything is a Nail ???

They say that when you are carrying a new hammer everything becomes a potential nail waiting to be pounded … currently, my new hammer is ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) …

After my time at South Down, on the advice of the Doctor who oversaw my assessment there, I purchased a number of books on Adults and ADD. One of them was an affirmation of the many positive things that I have already begun to do in regards to better organizing myself, my time, my schedule and so on.

Others revealed things that have allowed me to look back over my life with reflection and some clarity, and thereby better understand and appreciate the journey have I have been on thus far. Many of the words I’ve read resonated with me and the many struggles I’ve endured over the last few years. One book in particular that I would highly recommend to any one who is themselves struggling with ADD, or have a family member with ADD, is the book Scattered Minds by Gabor Mate M.D. who himself is an adult living with ADD. Gabor’s book was recommended to me by a school teacher friend in BC who has spent many years working with children who were square pegs being forced into round holes.

Mate’s thesis is that ADD is simply a reality of life, and that those of us who may be living with it are not disabled, but simply different. Through his personal and professional reflections on a broad subject matter, Mate manages to present ADD not as an ailment or a disease, but rather as a blessing or a gift that brings with it both positives AND negatives for the person and those around them.

Most telling was a passage where he notes the Oxford Dictionary definition of sensitive, could easily be applied to that of ADD. He notes that in the dictionary sensitive is defined as follows:

1. very open to or acutely affected by external stimuli or mental impressions
2. easily offended, or emotionally hurt
3. responsive to or recording small changes

Mate then goes on to offer a breath-taking statement of one of the challenges that arises from living with ADD. His last sentence speaks volumes of the challenges faced by those living with the sensitivity that comes with ADD. Mate notes that people around those with ADD will have noticed in the ADD person a touchiness, a “thin skin.” People with ADD are forever told that they are “too sensitive” or that they should stop being “so touchy.” One might as well advise a child with hay fever to stop being “so allergic!”

The bottom line for me is this – If I am an adult learning to live with ADD, I will not be defined by a label. The possibility of ADD has allowed me to better understand my journey thus far and it has opened my eyes to ways to avoid some of the challenges that have historically bedeviled me … I may have ADD … but that simply means that I can better understand myself as I move forward … and that is NEVER a bad thing !!

Today I'm proud to KNOW WHY I'm a round peg !!!

1 comment:

Wanderin' Weeta said...

Shawn,

"The possibility of ADD has allowed me to better understand my journey thus far and it has opened my eyes to ways to avoid some of the challenges that have historically bedeviled me ..."

Bravo!

With that attitude, the more you learn about yourself the better!