Monday, 15 September 2014

In Desperate Times - Bring on the Ritalin...

Okay, given the number of projects I start on a regular basis and the number of plans I have hidden up my sleeves at any given time, at some level I am sort of wondering if I should have been diagnosed with ADHD as a child. 

I even wonder if other people consider such possibilities...  Undiagnosed adult ADHD sufferers who never just quite knew what the issue was...   
So what I would like to know is whether Ritalin would enable me to continue to focus in a job that does the same thing over and over and over and over again?  Because even the previous four 'overs' are enough to lead me in search of new information, yet alone the daily grind of doing the same thing day in and day out.   

I have also been told by a friend of mine that I don’t ‘stick to things’ (bastard – who are you to judge).  And I have been analysing the situation closely wondering if perhaps there might be some truth to that as I am in search of yet other opportunities in the workplace, yet again.  Yeah, I know;  nobody wants to hear it.   
And as such while there is some evidence that suggests that might be the case; the jury is still outstanding on the verdict although my tendency to go back to school (again) was met with my editor querying whether there are support groups for people like me.  Information addicts are us’ or something.    

So in an effort to collect data on the situation I proceeded to do an online Adult ADHD test.  Now the test itself has a disclaimer that states ‘this is not a diagnostic tool’. 
That said, the test scales states that:

If you scored 34 & up... You may have symptoms of Adult ADHD.
My score: 41.  ( 

 – Yep there it is... as everyone close to me has probably suspected for a very long time.   
Now before I delve into the implications of that diagnostic, I do need to briefly reflect on the positioning and potential bias of some of the questions.  One of which refers to whether one gets irritated while waiting in a queue.  Except that the test is not South African and so it states ‘waiting in line’. 

Unfortunately, in a country that prioritizes customer service, this may be an indication, but nobody who ever goes to a bank on a weekend at month end in South Africa comes out with the same blood pressure they went in with.  You see, here, instead increasing the speed of customer service, we put chairs and television sets to entertain the queue while they wait.  Like watching the third rerun of some dated television show / sports programme is going to disguise the irritation that an hour and a half has pasted while you were waiting in line. 
Thus I have concluded that those departing with ‘no irritation’, probably have ‘no pulse. 

Does that then mean we have a whole country with high levels of ADHD?  I doubt it.  Wide spread lousy customer service - maybe.   
Truth be told, I wonder how many kids diagnosed with ADHD just process information differently. 

From experience, information I receive needs to have a use and a purpose and fit into information already in my brain.  It also gets rewritten in a different format (implications, importance, etc.) before storing, – into what I deem to be, ‘a more useable format J’. Thus, yes, there is a lot of noise and static in my brain.  That said; I struggle to reproduce exactly what someone else has done and said, a characteristic which has shown up in my school marks my entire life – especially in an environment where regurgitation is considered more desirable than critical thinking.  And so I find memorisation to be extremely difficult, but critical thinking and strategy come much easier.      
Thus, I will need to delve into my mind and see how far the jury is in the diagnostic as there appears to be substantial evidence both for and against...        

Upon an analysis of the evidence, I may be inclined to allow myself to be diagnosed as suffering from an information compulsion, disorganised, variety obsessed, and a change addict, etc., but would to prefer to leave my brain free of drugs that will force it to process information like most other people do even if it might improve my memory – and there are days I feel like I need that - like when I am looking for my keys that are in my hand..    
That said, I am somewhat inclined to consider seriously the diagnosis of ‘ADHD’.  I think it’s dangerous to put children into a box that will enable them to reason away internally whatever weaknesses they may have and maybe even force them to change the way their brain processes information.  PS – one of my degrees (yes, complete... why are you asking) is in psychology.

My recommendation with the luxury of hindsight would be to consider making the environment as stable and predictable as possible for these children who have high levels of internal chaos.  And I would urge parents to seriously consider the implication of giving children learning medications.  I am not saying don’t do it, but urge you to look seriously at the matter and take into account possible alternatives.        
I was the kid who would be highly likely to be diagnosed with ADHD in today’s society.  A diagnosis that I was never given over even tested for.  Thankfully I grew up in a relatively structured and predictable environment; enough to give me some balance to my internal chaos.  And so despite of exhibiting many of the ADHD symptoms, I have come to the conclusion that the score of 41 should be ‘shoved’. 

What usage would it serve me aside from giving me a medical reason why ‘I can’t...?     
As a result, I am forced to live with a mind that whose internal jury system is able to hang itself and intent on a continual quest for new information.  A mind I often wish came with an off switch. (Ritalin perhaps?)  Note to self - consider for further exploration. 

I suppose it just might be one of those perils of being a change addict because nothing will change if we all think alike...