On the Road : Hyperactivity Edition

Is there such a thing as mild ADHD?

From what I have seen in the media, t seems like an all or nothing thing. Anything less than the full set of symptoms is something else. And I have never emheard/em of a mild case, or half a case, or whatever.

And I bet the ADHD community wouldn’t consider me one of them. But I have been pondering this subject in relation to myself, and I am starting to wonder if I might be somewhere on the lowest end of that spectrum.

What got me thinking about it is the fact that when I was in school, I always had to participate in class in order to keep my attention on it. Too long without asking or answering a question, and I would tune out.

That need for a higher, more interactive experience in order to maintain focus sounds sort of ADHD to me.

And I figured out a long time ago that I could never do any kind of job like being a security guard where you job is to wait for something to happen. I could never watch security monitors for hours, or repeatedly patrol the same areas over and over again with zero going on. I would totally zone out,nbsp; and then something would happen, and I would get fired.

Again, I need stimulation in order to stay focused.

Another thing that has come to mind lately : I have never actually fallen asleep in class, at least not for more than a couple of seconds, but this is not because I am an especially alert dude. Far from it.

It was because I would focus on the instructor’s voice, and if I heard it cut off, I knew that meant I was falling asleep and I would jerk myself awake with a vengeance. In the process of developing,nbsp; gave me a fear of missing out type reaction when stimulus levels drop too low, causing me to panic.

I am positive that has something to do with my sleep problems.

And speaking of sleep, there is that problem I have going from a stimulating task to actually falling asleep. No matter how gentle the activity, even something as gentle as reading can make me incredibly anxious when I go from it to full stop in order to actually sleep.

So essentially, every time I try to sleep, I have an anxiety attack.nbsp; That is so fucked up. There must be a way to learn to emgently /empower down my brain, so that the energy of my mentally stimulated brain doesn’t turn into anxiety.

I don’t know if all these pieces form a puzzle or not. I might be seeing patterns where there are none. I might be trying to make one model plane from random parts from five different kits.

But combined with the echo stuff from yesterday,nbsp; one thing is clear :

I have a very weird brain.

More on this when I get home.


Another potential hyperactivity clue : my insatiable need for variety in some things, especially music. That might be more of a bandwidth than a throughput issue, but the fact remains that it is not the norm at all. Most people could be happy with maybe 500 songs. Some people could be happy with 5. But I have over 4,000 and that’s still not enough.

Why is that? Why is it that my mind retains the impression of music for so long after listening it that I feel like I “just” heard something when I hear it five days later? What drives this need for variety?

Hell, why do I need so much mental stimulation in the first place? I swear, I was born that way. i was obsessed with books, television, and video games when I wasn’t even in school yet. The need for mental stimulation, and a related need for low physical stimulation, has been with me for as long as I remember.

Why do I need this much stimulation? Why has it always been this way? What is it in me that makes me seek out stimulation of a high enough level to keep my mind engaged while living a life that keeps physical stimulation to an absurd minimum?

Is this just the normal side effects of a high IQ inefficiently used? Do a lot of high IQ people have the same problems as me? Or do I have some fundamental flaw in my brain structures that causes all this madness?

Or is it a body type issue? Maybe what manifests as full on ADHD in small-bodied high metabolic rate types manifests as something totally different in us big bodied slow metabolism types.

It manifests as hyperactivity of the mind. Which is what I have.

Again, maybe I am way off base on this whole thing and this whole thing is nothing but the diseased ravings of a deranged mind.

But I can’t shake the feeling that I am on to something that might yield a lot of fruitful insight if only I could wrap this oversized mind of mine around it.

I suppose it would be nice to find out that there is something physical wrong with my brain. Even if it can’t be fixed, it would, in that perverse way of thinking that depression engenders, make me feel less guilty about being crazy.

See? It’s right here on this MRI. See that blotch there? That’s a very important part of my brain, and it’s broken. Been that way since birth. Nothing I could have done about it.

Even thinking that way suggests I need to get my head examined. And I would love to get a thorough brain MRI to rule out the possibility of brain abnormalities.

Although, full disclosure, I am at least partially motivated in that by being such a huge brain science nerd and really wanting to see a 3D representation of my own brain.

I mean, how meta would that be? I would be looking at the thing that is seeing it!

Well, I guess that’s all I have to say about my weird brain. Tomorrow, I may do a video roundup.

Until then, be well.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

3 thoughts on “On the Road : Hyperactivity Edition

  1. If there is such as a thing as mild ADD, you’re far from the only person who has it. I think we all do, especially in this day and age. Someone like Amos or Ray has a lot more of it. But we all get restless when the stimulation level drops. The difference is whether or not you learned how to deal with it early on.

    My experience was that if I drifted off while my dad was talking to me, he got super mad. Sometimes it wasn’t all my fault; I’d be listening and then he’d say something and I’d still be thinking about that thing while he went onward, and then I’d suddenly realize I’d missed the last few minutes. My choices were to admit it and get in trouble, or fake it and risk getting in trouble if I got caught.

    I also got in trouble in school or at work if my fidgeting became audible. Once in grade ten I was humming the bassline from DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince’s “Parents Just Don’t Understand”—involuntarily. I couldn’t stop. I didn’t even realize when I’d started again. And I got kicked out of class. When I had a job at a phone survey place one summer, I was tapping my pencil on the desk whenever there was a lull in the action, and everyone else in the room asked me to stop.

    My guess is that with your abandonment in childhood you didn’t have formative experiences like that, and that’s why you just accept the fact that sometimes you space out, and why I have to ask you not to click your silverware or stir your ice at dinner, or rub your pants or look at your tablet or count your change when we’re watching a CD. No one cared enough about you to punish you and make you afraid of not paying attention.

    On my end, as someone that doesn’t always receive their fair share of attention, there’s a balance that has to be struck between respecting other people’s legitimate neurological issues and expecting basic respect and common human decency from them. With someone like Ray it’s more obvious that he can’t help it. Once I was out to dinner with him and I was telling him something, and each and every single time he stopped listening and started looking around the room, I’d say “Ray?” and make him look me in the eyes. By the time I got to the end of my story his whole face was jiggling and sweating like he was about to explode, but I got to the end of my story. Then I never did that again.

    With someone like Amos, he does not identify as brain-damaged or autistic, so he has no excuse. Therefore he must be a neurotypical person who is egocentric and thoughtless. He might be trainable, with enough time and effort and risk to the friendship.

    It’d be interesting to see a longevity-type study where we compare the mental health in middle age of older generations that were punished for not paying attention, versus the mental health in middle age (when they get there) of today’s youth who were not punished and so have no attention span. It may turn out that not being reined in as kids is the trade-off for not having depression (or whatever) when they get older.

  2. Hmmm… you theory seems sound. If nobody is paying any attention to you, nobody cares if you’re paying attention, and often I wasn’t. I would retreat into my own little world of my mind until someone said my name… often three or four times… and then I was happy for the attention.

    That could explain a lot about my focus issues. I tuned out what was happening above me a *lot*. I didn’t understand what the older people, my parents and siblings, were talking about most of the time, and it didn’t involve me, so I stopped listening and did my own thing.

    I have a pretty decent attention span. Or at least, I can become engrossed enough to stay fixated on things. I am definitely way more on the deep focus end of the chart, rather than shallow multitasking.

    Thank you for your intriguing and insightful comment!

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