Contrary to what many of us with the condition might like to think, plenty of people with adult ADD/ADHD are also lazy and stupid. But we should rejoice at this because it means that we’re just like everyone else.
by Michael Laskoff
The reality is that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) is part of the normal continuum of the human experience. We're something like five percent of the adult U.S. population -- more than 15 million people. Political correctness aside, Uncle Darwin tells us that our kind would not have survived so long without a damned good reason, even if we don’t know what it is. So, relax. In a very real sense, we’re perfectly normal.
On the other hand, we are also maladapted for times that favor repetition and focus. And maladapted is awfully close to disadvantaged, which is strikingly similar to disabled. And since we're not talking about something physical, then we must be talking about something in the realm of the mental. Put two and two together and it would really seem that those of who live with ADD/ADHD are indeed mentally disabled. (It must be true: it says so in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV (DSM-IV).)
Well, that sucks! If I had my choice, I would prefer not to be mentally disabled; I could also do without my baldness. But, no matter how much I might like Santa to bring me active hair follicles for my scalp, it's simply not going to happen. My ADD/ADHD is no different. The fact that I don't want it is has no bearing on the matter.
Truth be told, I’m actually okay with my mentally disabling ADD/ADHD. And that's because I went nearly four decades without knowing about or treating the problem. So, until recently, I was genuinely worried that I was one of those normal people who also happen to be lazy and stupid. But, just before my 40th birthday, I was diagnosed and able to start treating my condition. Let there be no doubt: Life has gotten far better since then.
So, good morning, Sunshine! You’ve got ADD/ADHD, and so do I.
My name is Michael Laskoff. I'm 42 years old. I have benefited from education, behavioral therapy, and the miraculous amphetamines that I take daily. Mostly, I control my ADD/ADHD, but some days the symptoms get the better of me. (Suffice it to say that impulse control is not my strength.)
Nevertheless, I have managed to sustain a 25-year-long relationship -- with the same woman, write a book, and launch two businesses. All in all, things aren’t too bad at the moment.Life could certainly be easier, but these are the cards I was dealt. Bad or not, I’m playing them to win. Sunshine, I hope you’re doing the same.