ADHD People, We Are Going To Be Just Fine

Picture6It was recently told to me in an anonymous email message, “Tom, you are not ADHD. You would never be able to maintain two websites and respond to so many people if you were, and you damn sure would not have been able to write a book in six days.” The person went on and on about the difficulties he was having believing I was truly ADHD. Being he was anonymous, I could not respond. This man is not alone in this type of thinking. A while back, I was reading a thread in my favorite Facebook group. A man was in there saying to some of our members, “There is no way, anyone with ADHD, could ever graduate from college”. I hope I don’t sound overly decisive, but this line of thinking, is complete and total bullshit.

It is typical for me to be at work, while knowing my room at home is a mess. Every day I will think about, plan on and even get excited about going home and getting my room clean, but when I get home, my excitement is gone. I will just walk into the mess, look around and say aloud, “Piss on this”. Even though I was excited about doing it, the sight of it took my interest and my motivation away, and the loss of interest and motivation, makes things unimportant.

There is a belief by many ADHD People, that there are things they just cannot do and in some cases, they are correct. However, it has nothing to do with being ADHD, at least not directly. What I mean is, sure, I could have physically cleaned my room but I had no interest or motivation to do so. No one does anything without something motivating them. Therefore, my room remained a shit-pit for yet another day. As it happens, I woke up just this morning with a mind to clean it, yet here I am writing this story. This story is more important to me than all the shit on the floor of my room upstairs.

tomchurch

In response to the man, I mentioned earlier who emailed me. Many people who know me, and have known me for years, were shocked at hearing I wrote a book; not the least of which was me. I was on my vacation. I awoke the first morning and began rewriting the first three chapters that I had written weeks prior. I wrote every day for 12 to 18 hours until it was time for bed. I did this for six days, and at the end of day six, it was finished.

valedictorianAlso in response to the man who doubted any college graduate could be ADHD, there are many ADHD People with college degrees. There are even doctors in the field of psychiatry who specialize in ADHD, and yes, believe it or not, they are ADHD themselves. They did not find their degree in the bottom of a cereal box, nor did they have it handed to them as a gift. They went to college for four years and then went to medical school for four years.

How is this possible? How was I able stay on task, for this long period of time? It is for the same reason I was able to play Skyrim every day for twelve to eighteen hours each day on my previous vacation. I do plenty of things every day of my life. I do the things I enjoy doing and the things I want to do. Often this involves playing my Xbox, my guitar or watching TV, but in the case of writing my book, it just happened, I wanted to write my book. I woke up every day excited to begin, and I stayed at it all day until 2:00am, and getting up at 8:00am to start a new day. I was interested in what I was doing. I was enjoying what I was doing, and nobody has a problem doing things they enjoy doing, or the things they want to do. I imagine the motivation to do eight years of college is not much different. Maybe it is just simply wanting to do it and enjoying the experience. ADHD or not people do the things they want to by default. A football fan does not have to be encouraged to turn on the game, nor does an asshole need to be encouraged to pull out in front of me on the road. The short version is People want to do what people want to do.

So how do you the things for which you have no interest or motivation. Uhhhhh, I don’t know. I think this is the wrong question. The right question is who gives a shit about doing things for which you have no interest. I don’t. I accept what I am, and have no ambition or desire to do or be anything other than what I want to be. For me the possibility of a reward must be equal to or greater than the cost.

I hate having to hold a job, but the cost is worth the reward of seeing my family is provided for. This is where my interests and my motivations come. Without them, I know, my life would not be near as enjoyable as it is. This is how I am able to many things for which I hate or don’t wish to do.

At the risk of sounding like motivational, double-talking, twelve stepping asshole speaker, I will end by saying this to you. You are ADHD, and if this is a problem for you, then I am sorry. You have two choices.

One: You can be a slave to it and beat yourself silly worrying about the people you have disappointed, the things you failed to do and the challenges you were not able to meet. You can wonder if and when life will ever be easier.

Or two: Embrace your ADHD. For some of us this is a war. If you want to win this war then you must pick your battles. Now, I am not saying you need to go Ike Turner on it, but just realize there are things for which you will have a tough time with. There are things you will not do with the ease many others do. You have your own strengths. Start there.

One thing is true for almost everyone; if you know your “why”, you will find your “how”.

I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.

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About Tom Nardone

I write about everything that I can find humor in. I don't write about politics because I don't care what group of people are chosen to destroy this country. There are enough people doing that anyway.
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30 Responses to ADHD People, We Are Going To Be Just Fine

  1. Amanda says:

    I have heard comments like this too. So infuriating! Getting a dx of ADHD does not mean ” you will not or can not succeed “. We have to figure out a different way to succeed the way that works for us and it is usually not the same way NTs do it. Thank goodness for hyper-focus 🙂

  2. Kristi says:

    Obviously, both commenters (is that a word?) don’t know much about ADHD. I couldn’t do what you do. But you might not be able to spend hours redesigning the floorplan of your house. Although we definitely agree on Skyrim! But I had a point …Opinionated, ignorant people are bothersome. I’m glad to be living outside the NT box!

  3. ksbeth says:

    tomnardone, i have to say that i completely agree with this. as a teacher is am constantly trying to explain to parents that just because little bullwinkle can build the eiffel tower out of paper clips, and spend hours on the project, it is possible for him to still be adhd. he is simply working on a project that interests him and he fully enjoys it, simple as that. and i know from personal experience, for i am a bit adhd myself. which is why i can spend hours writing, reading, making art, and watching movies and will wait until the goons are at my door and threatening to break my kneecaps before filling out a piece of paperwork or completing a task i detest.

  4. The NT box is neurotypical. AKA normal boring people without any fun shiny diagnoses…
    And I scrolled all the way down here to comment on something in your article, but was distracted by my need to jump in and answer that questions….
    What was it? Oh yeah, I have my masters degree mostly due to my ability to hyperfocus the night before due dates….

  5. Gina Fenton says:

    The comment droppers in question obviously don’t know much about ADHD or they’re so self absorbed at the way THEIR own ADHD manifests itself they’re unwilling to see the ADHD forrest through the trees of their own back yard. Meaning, ADHD is about a bazillion shades of grey. Not everyone wears it the same or shares the exact same quirks. The variables effecting it are a bottomless pit.

    ADHD is a spectrum disorder. Just because Kid X can take a pill and blend in perfectly with his third grade class does not mean this is true for everyone. A pill does not make a kid non-ADHD. I’ve fought this particular battle of truth continuously over the years with teachers. My son happened to be one of those ADHD kids who couldn’t even dress or brush his teeth before medication. His eyes would dart in every direction while hands grabbed and fidgeted with everything within his reach. Getting dressed for school was like wrestling an octopus and it took forever. The student I dropped at school was a somewhat subdued version of the same curious octopus who in no way blended with the class. Two completely different portraits of the SAME condition.

    People with ADHD also statistically have a higher incidence of comorbidities- other conditions, (OCD, depression, sensory issues… ) further obscuring the ‘typical’ portrait of ADHD. The diverse symptom overlap and degree of intensity validate the presence of at least fifty shades of grey.

    Furthermore, it’s no secret that creative genius runs rampant in the ADHD populous. Historically speaking Mozart, Einstein, Picasso, Galileo and Ernest Hemingway all showed strong signs of ADHD. In fact, it’s very possible that Mozart would have flunked or been kicked out had he been expected to conform to a rigid forum of music instruction in elementary school.

    More recent examples and possibly of greater interest are successful talented celebrities like Robin Williams and Jim Carey. I cannot confirm the two latter have had a definitive diagnosis, but to observe them it would certainly seem so… and THAT my friends is the extra spark that makes them and others with ADHD special in an amazing and AWESOME kind of way.

    • Thank you Gina. I had no idea you were so educated in this area. Thanks for leaving the extended version of your position here on my blog. As always it was a pleasure to hear from you.

  6. zombiebutton says:

    I have received similar comments – how could someone have ADHD and successfully graduate from college with a Mechanical Engineering degree? What others don’t see are the late nights finishing projects that are due the following day (or sometimes that day, or the day before). They don’t witness the frantic digging through piles of paper to find the one sheet that has the piece of hastily scribbled information they need, crushed in the bottom of their backpack because it was never “properly” organized. We achieve our goals, but the path we take to get there is sometimes a bit different.

  7. Jade Reyner says:

    Do I need to comment..??? Nah.. thought not. 😀 You are awesome Tom. You know that x

  8. Cortez says:

    Tom thats exactly why you would be able to write a book in six days! 🙂 We are gifted with hyperfocus that can be so intense! I read a thousand page A+ book in less than a day on top of that i excelled in complex technologies while on the other hand bombed simple Algebra.. Embrace it as I see you have and keep doing a great job the world is ours!

  9. Cortez.I appreciate your kind and supportive words my friend. I cant believe anyone could read a thousand pages in a single day. If you took all the books i have read in my life they might not make the 1000 page mark. I have read six books well seven now my friend just got his book published. I was actually pretty suprised i did this given I had not plan to finish it while i was on vacation only to get a good ways into it. Again thanks for reading me sir.

  10. Mark says:

    I would love some help because what is being described seems nothing short of willful hedonistic arrogant selfishness. ADHD brains are entertaining, vivacious, fascinating, but when is it time to pony up and realize that like a corporation externalizing its costs on society and the environment, a person with ADHD often externalizes the more ‘undesirable’ responsibilities on loved ones who would love to get them done together in half the time. So confused and looking for answers.

    • Mark thanks for the question. Lots of people have ADHD. but they are not all the same. There are those who wont do anything sure. If my wife asks me to help her i will of course not sit there on my ass and watch her clean my mess. This makes me an asshole, ADHD or not. I think in the ADHD community there is a lack of motivation to do things for which they have no interest, and yes it can come across this way when we let things go but I don’t believe in most cases there is an expectation by people with ADHD to ave others to carry the load. at least i dont. If i dont do something it is because i dont give a shit about it. I dont expect anyone else to give a shit about it either. Thanks for the comment

  11. Margie says:

    I’m sharing this one. I’ve become decidedly more selfish in later years, trying to deal with my ADD while. Together, my son and I are a mess, but we are an awesome mess and forget everyone else who thinks otherwise. Fortunately, I married someone who knows where my car keys, shoes, purse, bank card (which is never in my purse), and coffee cup are before I walk out of the door in the morning. Now I can focus more time helping my son to cope, it seems overwhelming to be dealt a double dose of ADHD and it’s like fighting the battle all over again. I think anxiety is the worst part for both of us, so we’ve adopted the motto “Shit Happens.” Yes, I think it’s fine if an 8 year old says “shit happens” if it saves a whole nervous breakdown over a missing homework assignment or a lost lunchbox. So far it’s working.

    • Haha. I am sure many would disagree with you about an eight year old saying shit happens. Hahaha. Thanks for sharing my story Margie. I am so glad you liked it.

      • Margie says:

        Well, technically, he can only say it at home– but it immediately calms him down, he’s focused more on the word. It works and he’s a good kid. Everyone loves him, he’s not a foul mouthed little brat.

  12. Jennifer says:

    So on the mark. I hate hearing from people that because my son can sit for hours playing Xbox that he can’t be ADHD. I also get the dreaded ‘Oh he’s just a boy’. Well riddle me this batman..why wasn’t his older brother the same way?

  13. Ugh. So frustrating. I recently heard a comment from a PSYCHIATRIST (in reference to books to suggest to ADDers) … “they don’t read”. Really? I’m on my 5th book of 2014. I know an ADDer who often reads a 500+ page book in less than two days. Perhaps he meant “they” don’t read instructions, sign posts, or… minds? Thanks for a totally relate-able post Tom!

  14. Andrea first off thanks so much for reading me and I callus not be happier to have read you comment. Having said this I had to laugh. I would not myself generalize and say ADHD people don’t read. You and I as writers no otherwise.

    I would say many of the ADHD people I know do not. So do many if the non ADHD people. The reason I laugh and I don’t know if I had mentioned this in the story you read is that I don’t read. I have in my life read a grand total of 6 books. 4 of which were written by members if Motley Crüe. I tried recently to read a friends novel but I could not. I can and do read but generally not books. I will however give your site a look later today. I realize how silly it sounds for a writer to not read but hey. I am Tom Nardone

  15. Danielle says:

    Uhhh yeah, hyperfocus. It’s the shit. I love it. The redeeming quality that allows our inner genius to come out. I will never forget the time it got me in trouble. Hell it’s getting me in trouble now I should be sleeping and haven’t done something I really need to do before um fuck I have 2 hours because I was reading someone’s blog half the night. Anyway I was a senior in high school and I have asthma. My parents had a house with a very open floor plan and I’m weird and like math and skipped a grade in math and took college calculus in high school. So I’m sitting at the kitchen table doing my calculus homework, completely oblivious to my surroundings when the smoke alarm upstairs goes off. I look up and suddenly realize I haven’t been able to breathe and start coughing, being snapped out of my trance. My dad had lit a fire in the fireplace and the rest of the family went upstairs. He forgot to open the flu and could not understand how I didn’t notice the whole house had filled up with smoke and I have no idea what he was on about because I then became hyperfocused on finding my misplaced inhaler… I have no idea how many months I was grounded for.

    Honestly I wish I would get hyperfocused on productive stuff more often to the point where I actually finish something. I’m battling a lot of things but ADHD isn’t something I’m exactly battling. The expectations of others, maybe but the non-ADHD things I am battling have sufficiently lowered them and that has made me happy (the lowering of expectations). Today I got annoyed at having all my stuff packed up in plastic bins and not really even knowing what I have in the new closet I’ll be living in for a year or maybe more, with a brand new closet-sized dresser behind me as I was knocking stuff over trying to find the right one with pants in it and I was so annoyed I actually got all my clothes in that dresser. I was planning on doing something with the other room too but I didn’t get to that… And forgot that there’s something I want to do tomorrow and have to get up like in the morning. Oops. But I finished putting my clothes in the dresser!

    I sound like I’m 15! Hah. And btw I finished college early with a 3.9 GPA and went into engineering for a while because I had awesome professors and advisors at college and an awesome department head who let me substitute a ton of classes and my advisors kept saying “you’re too smart for this class I want you to do that instead” meaning “you’ll be bored out of your mind do this interesting thing instead and it’s harder so it will be approved but you’ll do fine because you’ll like it” and that’s just because they knew me I didn’t even know I had ADHD back then but I can see it now that I know.

    Well, if I don’t do that other thing it could result in someone else making a mistake that could cost me my life and I literally can’t put it off any longer if I’m going to wake up for that fun thing tomorrow so I guess this is the last minute and that’s kind of what some of us need…. the last minute. At least I got my clothes put away. It only took like 2 weeks. I had to become sufficiently annoyed first. Don’t get me wrong, there will still be a pile of “not clean but I probably want to wear it again before laundry gets done and it’s not too dirty to wear again” stuff on the floor, but the clean clothes are in a place I can get to them without hurting myself. Finally.

    Idiot. You are Tom Nardone and you are CLEARLY ADHD. And awesome.

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