Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is not a joke and I do not say that I am ADHD lightly. Please note, that I say I am ADHD as opposed to I have ADHD (it is a huge difference for me). ADHD is a serious part of my life. It affects how I view the world, how I interact with it, and how I respond to it. First let me dispel the myth, ADHD does not mean I was just a hyper kid, or that I have trouble focusing and therefore learning. It is more than that. In fact I am great at learning, in small doses. ADHD does a few things to me physically, first I cannot help but feel the need to fidget, move, talk, or in my case write. I am sensitive to sounds, not really so much that I am irritated, but rather that I irritate others with my constant tapping or pen clicking. I love the sound of the keys on the keyboard or a typewriter. However, if I get overwhelmed and there is too much sound, it breaks me. By ‘breaks me’ I mean that I get angry, agitated, and I want to hit a punching bag. WebMD has an informative article on the 10 Adult ADHD Symptoms (Adult ADHD is what I have now that I am an adult, although I still qualify it as simply ADHD, it is really the same thing) and they have this to say about anger:
No. 9: Angry Outbursts
ADHD often leads to problems with controlling emotions. Many people with adult ADHD are quick to explode over minor problems. Often, they feel as if they have no control over their emotions. Many times, their anger fades as quickly as it flared, long before the people who dealt with the outburst have gotten over the incident.
Emotions are my bane, I have been known to have huge tantrums (yes even as an adult, although I have a wonderful support system), I just don’t get emotions, sometimes they rage and broil in my mind and other times they are as calm as still water. I am lucky in that I had excellent parents. Both my mother and father gave me a love of reading (probably helped them too cause it was the only time I was calm), it was this love that really allowed me to expunge my confounding feelings and share them with a character. My mother is the very soul of patience, I can still remember laying on the kitchen floor and spinning in circles while she cooked and quizzed me on my spelling words (I am not so sure I would be as gracious). Now, when I think, I tend to spin a pen between my fingers or picture my mind with the Google Chrome loading icon. Now that I’ve discussed what it means for me, how did I manage it myself growing up?
I struggled through childhood to remain focused, this doesn’t mean I was poor in school, on the contrary, I excelled. Eventually, I grew bored with the lack of new. I begin to see a pattern in my behavior, if I did not have a clear and understandable use for what was being taught, I figured I did not need it. My mind always had other things to explore. I discovered writing as a means to this exploration, and guess what happened then? I learned to love learning, above anything and everything. At some point, a character was going to need to understand physics, or I would need someone who had more than an understanding of Algebra I. I found that my inner mind had provided me a means to gather and use information that seemed otherwise useless.
As a writer, coping with ADHD can be an extremely difficult, but exceptionally rewarding, experience. Wow, that was a lot of ‘E’ words. I like to imagine my mind like a giant atlas, or a massive library, where there are numerous locations, topics, and interests; all of which I am trying to experience all at once. This can create for some rather spectacular writing, but also some pretty terrible writing. When one leaps from one subject to another the reader often finds themselves confused. So, how do I cope? It is a daily thing really. I tell myself I am going to write, I am going to write well, and I am going to focus. When researching I tell myself I am learning, with a purpose. I am garnering the knowledge I need to write effectively in a universe where everyone is left-handed and has no nose. Someone is going to need to know what that is like, so I research. I learn about left-handedness and find that most lefties are wired different mentally and have a greater chance of psychosis. ‘Madness and Great Intelligence’ are often referred to the two sides of the same coin. Another trait of left-handed folks is a tendency towards ADHD, I’m not left handed, but I am not right handed either, I am ambidextrous which leads down whole other digression.
So, what I am saying is that, Writing, for me, has been an escape. The constant reality of my mind moving too fast to stop and focus on anything, including dedicated research, is silenced when I’m writing. The world is full of experiences and I want to experience as much as I can possibly handle. Writing allows me to experience different realities, different worlds, and allows my mind to wander into the deepest recesses of a character’s history. I can revel in the horror of ghastly beings, or dive into a outer space swimming pool with all my lefty alien friends, who cannot smell. Writing is not just sharing my stories, but it is a means of living them. I’m off to prepare for a month of world-building, so until next time.
Your friendly neighborhood author,