I wanted to first of all remind you (and myself) that there are two events coming up this weekend. The first is Samadhi's Live Kirtan Recording at the Oasis Cafe in Carr Mill Mall. The kirtan will begin at 7pm on Saturday, the 22nd. I do recommend coming early, especially if you want something to eat or drink (or a chair to sit in). The next day, Sunday, the 23rd, from 9am to noon, will be the next Triangle VegFest Market on the lawn at Southern Village. While looking for a link over at the Triangle VegFest Facebook page, I noticed that there will be a Vegan Ice Cream Hangout in Brier Creek Park from 3:30-7:30 pm the same day. I will not be there because I will have had the craziest weekend ever (until the next craziest, over-booked weekend). Yet, I wanted to make sure and pass on the info, in case any of you are looking for a fun way to spend your Sunday evening.
Now that the reminders are done, I wanted to tell you all a little story. Two weeks ago I went to the Orange County Library to make a delivery to a customer, who happens to work at the upstairs help desk. When I got to the desk, I noticed a cart of books waiting to be reshelved. My eyes lit on one in particular and neon signs started flashing and bells started ringing inside my brain, and I knew that I. Had. To. Have. That. Book.
I am not sure what I thought I would find inside this book. It really didn't even register in my left brain in that way; it was a purely right-brained intuition that I should not pass Go, should not hesitate, but must immediately check out this book. Those of you who have been with me for a while may remember that last fall in my neuroscience reading, I had come across the work of Dr. Daniel Amen, author of Change Your Brain, Change Your Life. This book had a profound effect on my perspective of the world. In it Dr. Amen explores the five main areas of the brain and what happens with any of those areas under or over-functions.
I came away with two particularly life-changing realizations from reading that book. The first was that so many conditions that we may judge and label others for, ie. bad-tempered, inattentive, paranoid, lazy, stupid, or even downright cruel, could very well be medical deficiencies of the brain rather than character deficiencies of the person. The second was that I have ADD. I wrote that last sentence without italics, bolding, and exclamation marks because I just used a bunch of those and also because I am too tired to try to convey the absolute lightning-strike nature of that realization. Oh yeah, and also because I feel the need to save the literary expressions of emphasis for this next thought. When I began reading Is it You, Me, or Adult A.D.D, I couldn't put it down. It was as riveting as cannons going off in a hundred directions or a full-moon being swept away from behind a cloud bank, illuminating the once-dark field beneath it.
Nearly a year ago I came to understand that I (and several others in my world) have ADD. When I started reading this book, which is so thorough in its analysis and explanation of the every-day manifestations of ADHD, I was struck by the magnitude of adult ADHD and the effect it has on my life and of those around me. The symptoms of ADHD intensify when someone is under pressure and has increased responsibility. This explains why ADHD becomes exacerbated in intimate family relationships where there are spouses, children, schedules, work, and finances to manage. It also explains why, as my son gets older, my business grows in size and complexity, and I enter the second year of a relationship, I spend upwards of 70% of my time feeling like an incompetent idiot.
No wonder I feel that way! This is the checklist for making an initial psychiatric evaluation for ADHD:
I had to honestly answer "often" or "very often" to every single question. I say that not to elicit incredulity or sympathy from anyone. I share my self-discovery in order to raise awareness of one of the most common, yet under-diagnosed and under-treated mental disorders in the world. Somewhere between 4% - 16% of the American adult population, alone, struggles with ADHD. Only a small fraction of those people actually receive treatment. ADHD is largely genetic, so you can imagine the fallout of thousands of people like me, unaware of their medical condition, becoming attracted to people who are mirrors of themselves (ie. also living with a form of ADHD), and breeding generations of children with this highly disruptive disorder. (Yep, you may want to rethink getting your degree in elementary education right about now...)
The good news is that ADHD is as treatable as it is prevalent. There is medication. There is support. There are solutions. Most importantly, there is hope. If you suspect that someone you love (or are trying really hard to love, including yourself) has ADHD, run, don't walk to the nearest book-acquiring place and Get. This. Book. You just might change your life.