I think I might have ADD, but I’m not sure. There’s a test, but I haven’t been able to sit still long enough to take it.

But seriously folks, I have often wondered if I have ADD. I have done a few online tests and they point in that direction. I have a hard time taking in new information and organizing it. I have always struggled academically. I have to use a variety of organizing tricks to keep my work from overwhelming me.

I have never attempted to get a formal diagnosis though, and there is a reason: I don’t think a diagnosis would prompt me to do anything differently.

Several years ago Joshua Wolf Shenk wrote Lincoln’s Melancholy about Abraham Lincoln’s mental health. The author theorized that Lincoln’s lifelong struggle with clinical depression actually made him a better thinker and a better president. That resonated with me because I have often thought the same thing about my attention problems (not that I’m comparing myself to Lincoln).

It can be frustrating to have to work so hard to focus, but my lack of focus, and my tendency to start a million things at once and then suddenly get bored with them all, also all at once, and my almost pathological fear of clutter and visual chaos … these factors all combine into a very interesting puzzle that I need to solve daily. Solving the puzzle is a creative process that fuels further creativity and resourcefulness.

I wonder about medication sometimes because I wonder what it would be like to be able to just focus, instead of having to solve a puzzle in order to accomplish anything. But then I wonder what that focus would look like. Would I have the same ideas? Would I still be creative? What if I lost the creative drive that my distractibility forces?

There is an emerging theory that the ADD mind is a hunter mind; that the ability to observe many things at once and to zero in obsessively on imminent threats has great survival value for a hunter. The science is still hazy on this but it’s an interesting idea. For myself I can say that my brain works in such a way that I notice and remember a lot of detail, and this attention to and interest in detail has made me very good at certain types of work and has also been very useful in my writing.

So, even if I do ever muster up the focus to sit through a diagnostic test, and the results indicated ADD, I don’t think I would go for treatment. I like my distractible brain and I’m going to keep it.

Posted by lesherjennifer


  1. Positive Characteristics of People with Attention Deficit Disorder.

    151 Positives.

    Ability to find alternate paths to overcome obstacles
    Able to take on large situations
    Adventurous, courageous, lives outside of boundaries
    Always finding alternate routes to any given location.
    Always willing to help others
    Ambitious – you want to be everything when “you grow up”
    Attractive personality – magnetic due to high energy
    Being able to see the big picture
    Being able to see the patterns in the chaos.
    Being intuitive towards others’ difficulties
    Broad focus – can see more, notice things more
    Can create order from chaos
    Can do many projects at once
    Can make people feel they are heard
    Can see the big picture
    Can talk about several things at one time
    Can think on my feet
    Career variety
    Centre of attention
    Comfortable talking in front of groups
    Comfortable with change and chaos
    Compassion for others and for themselves
    Conceptualizes well
    Constantly evolving
    Creates connections easily
    Creative writing
    Creative – musical, artistic, “dramatic”
    Good in a crisis
    Good at customer relations
    Determined to gain more control
    Eager to make friends
    Eager to try new things
    Empathetic, sensitive
    Excellent organizers using journals and reminders (notes etc.)
    Flexible – changes as the situation requires
    Fun guy to be around
    Good at conceptualizing
    Good at motivating self and others
    Good at multitasking
    Good at problem solving
    Good at public speaking
    Good at understanding others/mind reading – empathetic
    Good conversationalist
    Good delegator and good at organizing others
    Good in emergency situations
    Good listener
    Good looking and aware of it
    Good people skills
    Good self esteem, energetic
    Great brain-stormer
    Great multitasker
    Great self-company
    Great sense of humour
    Great storyteller
    Great with kids (central figure around kids)
    Hands-on workers
    Hard worker
    Has friendly relations with their family
    Has the gift of gab
    Helps others who are also in trouble
    High energy – go, go, go
    Humour, very healthy, quick picking up ideas
    Hyper focus !!
    Hypersensitive – very empathetic and good at non-verbal communications
    Idea generator
    Impulsive (in a good way) not afraid to act
    It’s ok to not finish everything
    Learning as much as I can to help children and others with adhd
    Less sleep is good (midnight to 6 am)
    Like to talk a lot
    Likes learning new things
    Look at multidimensional sides to a situation
    Lots of interests
    Loves to cook and be creative
    Master idea generator
    Mentoring others/helpful
    Mentoring people with low self esteem
    Move on fast – never hold a grudge
    Multitasks well
    Never bored and rarely boring
    Never intimidated to try new things
    Non-linear, multi-dimensional/edge of chaos
    Not afraid to speak mind
    Not contained by boundaries.
    On stage and ready
    Holistic thinking
    Problem solver
    Quick thinking
    Quick witted
    Relates to people easily
    Saves money in the short term by forgetting to file tax returns
    See and remember details – recount them later
    Sees the big picture
    Socially adaptive and flexible.
    Stabilizer during difficult situations
    Takes initiative
    Think outside the box
    Thinks 2 meters ahead of the world
    Thinks big, dreams big
    Unlimited energy
    Very creative, able to generate a lot of ideas
    Very hard working to compensate – workaholic
    Very intuitive
    Very resourceful
    Very successful
    Visual learner
    Willing to explore
    Willing to take risks
    Willingness to help others
    Won’t tolerate boredom
    Works well under pressure



  2. Wow! Who wouldn’t want to be ADD?



    1. Exactly!



  3. […] working within boundaries can force creativity in order to fashion solutions. A while ago I wrote about my likely ADD and how I have found creative ways to work around it. In a similar way, I think […]



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