Putting the “Awesome” in ADHD

Originally published in The Platte County Landmark on 9/20/2013:

As I write this, I have the Chiefs game on the television. I also have two monitors on my computer and in one window, I have an episode of Breaking Bad since I’m trying to get caught up before the finale.  I’ve also got a window showing me the current weather radar and this Google Docs window open.  Additionally, my phone is blinking, which means I’ve got a work e-mail on my phone I need to check up on.  I’ve also got a pop-up that alerts me whenever someone has replied to me on Twitter.

squirrel-2[1] My wife simply doesn’t understand how I get anything done. I tell her that it’s easier for me to work when I’m immersed in items for my senses.  I know exactly what the down and distance is in the game. I know exactly what Walt is up to on my TV show and I am clever as ever on Twitter. Even this article I’m writing is pretty great too, in my humble opinion.

I love working like this. For as long as I can remember, I’ve worked this way.  I had the radio on while I worked on homework when I was a kid. I even listen to the radio when I’m mowing the lawn. I just need noise. My brother is the complete opposite. He’s what you’d call (and he’d call himself) a true redneck. He lives off of Platte Purchase and spends time on his porch watching the sunset, sipping a beer.  He could go hours without any interaction with anything. No cell phone. No internet. No television. No radio. Nothing.  And he loves it. Wouldn’t have it any other way.

Recently, I’ve been told that bombarding your mind with sensory overload is a negative. It could lead to or be caused by something called “attention deficit disorder.” My mother was recently diagnosed with “Adult attention deficit disorder” when for years we thought she was just “scattered” or “busy.”  She’s treating it as a negative, but we’ve always appreciated her ability to be able to make cupcakes while sewing up a torn shirt while cleaning the bathroom.  Seemed fairly productive to me.

For me, maybe I’m ADHD. Maybe I’m scattered. Maybe I can’t carry on a conversation without checking my phone. But what if that message on your phone was important? What if there was a score in the football game over your shoulder? Wouldn’t you want to know about that?

I’m not alone. People are even starting to book “off the grid” vacations designed to unplug their scattered lifestyles for a week or two. This would terrify me. How on earth would you find out what the score to the Royals game is. Or if there was a major news event. Or of somebody said a funny joke on Twitter.

Screw all that. I’m embracing who I am and what I can get accomplished when I have all my stuff going.  In fact, in addition to the Chiefs game, Twitter, Breaking Bad and this article, I’m going to pull up the radio call of the Royals game and fire up… oh look the Chiefs just scored.

Ha ha. That was pretty funny, @awsumninja82.  Aw man, I can’t believe Ned Yost left Guthrie in like that. Holy crap. I can’t believe Jesse did that to Walt! Oh boy, it’s going to rain.

What were we talking about?  Oh yeah. This article is pretty great.

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