Thursday, September 3, 2009

"But You're So Smart, Why Can't You Focus?"

I want to thank Jeff of "Jeff's A.D.D. Mind" for bringing up this issue, first of all because it's fascinating, and second because I think it's part of why I was not diagnosed with ADHD until adulthood. (See JEFF'S POST)

Sometimes really gifted students just seem ADHD. Read the info that Jeff posted and you'll see why. Sometimes gifted students actually also have ADHD. I was identified early on as a gifted student...a label of ADHD never came into the picture until, well, just this year, although it was a possibility I'd tossed around for many years.

For me, what it comes down to is these things that could be giftedness or ADHD cause me impairment? Yes, absolutely, and that's why I sought treatment. But I didn't seek treatment because my smartness was just killin' me, I sought treatment because impulsiveness, stimulation-seeking, a cluttered mind, and inability to land my thoughts was driving me nuts and creating obstacles for me. I was unable to really grow and nurture my ideas, because the ADHD was getting in the way, at least that's the way I see it. Trying ADHD meds, even at this early stage of experimentation, has only convinced me of general, the medications do not obscure my personality, in fact, I feel that they help me see the line more clearly between my native thoughts, and ADHD symptoms. With medication I have all the same thoughts and feelings, they just don't hit me like a hailstorm...I can examine them and sort through them and enjoy them more. And after 33 years of being me I have a pretty good idea of what I am capable of and what I have to "cope" my way around like mad...I'd finally had it with shooting myself in the ass, and with my inability to live my life in any real depth.

Whether or not I end up continuing with medication in the long, or even the short term, I am still grateful for this experience, of being able to see that line for the first's given me greater, deeper insight into myself, important information that will make it easier for me to make different kinds of choices from the ones that were impairing me.


  1. I didn't get diagnosed until I was an adult and pretty much immediately went on the meds. My experience is that I still have pinball thoughts but I am able to focus better. It's not perfect but I have been more productive. I still have numerous new ideas spinning in each day that will just be added to my list that is the size of Jesus,(See, already using it)but I somehow feel more in control. I am probably not really in control, which gives me anxiety, but that is what the Ativan all about.

  2. I can relate to your experience for sure...medication does not make us "perfect" but it sure can take the edge off, slow things down a little...and for me just that makes it easier to be more contemplative about how I live my life :)

    I noticed that in addition to my natural anxiety a lot of anxiety actually hit me after I started treatment (and not from the meds) was because of the realization of how out of control life really was once I was able to see it in slow-mo...just something else I'll continue to work through!

    Good luck to you as well and thx for adding your experience...

  3. "sought treatment because impulsiveness, stimulation-seeking, a cluttered mind, and inability to land my thoughts was driving me nuts and creating obstacles for me."

    Man, I'm always amazed reading your blog how often I can substitute the term "alcoholism" for "ADHD" and suddenly - poof! - it's my story. Of course in my case "meds" = "program", but wevs. It's all about identifying.

    Another great post as usual. Have a great long weekend. :)

  4. It is no coincidence that many ADHDers reach out to alcohol and drugs before seeking treatment. (Or substitute them for ever getting treatment.) I always joke with my therapist that we're all lucky I didn't get into drugs-I'm already a handful as is, lol. I DID have a problem relationship with alcohol when I was younger, though I was able to self-correct when I realized that I was self-medicating for anxiety. It wasn't too hard to stop once I knew why I was doing it...but that's what worked for me. Sometimes a helping hand is the way to go!

    That's not to say that everyone who drinks or does drugs has ADHD though, because that's certainly not the's just one of the avenues that the ADHD brain sometimes takes in its quest to feel "right".

    Anyway, thanks Beantown Girl, I'll check in on your latest adventure ;) Always good to know that something I have written has resonated with someone in a helpful way.