The ADHDs, the bi-polars, the Aspergers, and the OCDs all lay claim to a cadre of famous folk.
by Bill Mehlman
If you're reading this, you probably have a pretty good idea of the burdens ADHD piles on your shoulders, which already bear the weight that is our birthright as humans. I don't think it's the worst possible handicap (and if you do, ask Steven Hawking) but at the very least it's a pain in the butt. So how hard would it be if you had two or three additional syndromes rerouting your synaptic atlas every day?
We all share, if only to a miniscule degree, all of the possible mental and emotional and intellectual conditions that any of us has. In other words, I'm guessing that if examined through the right microscopic lens, each of us carries traces of every form of human behavioral or perceptual modes that has been cataloged.
Those of us who view ourselves, and are viewed by those who know us, as "normal" might still have minute traces of any number of psychological quirks which if present in a larger proportion, might produce personalities that are problematic. Admittedly, this is a highly subjective, totally intuitive and completely unscientific presentation on my part, but if you'll accept that stipulation we can move along.
Here's what I, as a layman, find puzzling: Google "ADHD famous people." Hit some of the sites and look over the list. Then try it with "bi-polar famous people." And then with "Asperger's syndrome famous people." And then with "OCD famous people."
When you were a kid, choosing up sides for stickball, everybody wanted the same people on their teams. Same thing here. The ADHDs, the bi-polars, the Aspergers and the OCDs all lay claim to a cadre of famous folk.
This core comprises, inter alia, Newton, Michelangelo, Churchill, Hemingway, Einstein, Axl Rose, Beethoven, Leonardo, Henry Ford, Mozart, Michael Jordan, Edison, Michael Jackson and Yeats. (Why aren't there any women listed? Don't ask me. Please. I don't know, and no force on Earth will get me to speculate. I may be scatterbrained, but I'm not stupid.)
This is an all-time, all-star team of human achievement, a wide spectrum of personalities, some of the most creative, intellectually daring, driven men in history. I'd be surprised to find that a group of men who were so far above the norm in accomplishment didn't deviate from "normal" psychological profiles in some respect. But I can't imagine Churchill, however open he was about his battles with the "Black Dog" of depression, becoming a famous correspondent, a pillar of the British government for almost 40 years, a POW, a talented painter, a legendary drinker and a brilliant, prolific writer, simultaneously coping with Asperger's, OCD and ADHD.
Furthermore, some of these afflictions seem — SEEM: this is just my subjective observation, remember — to be mutually exclusive. I'm disorganized, forgetful, and perhaps even a little devil-may-care in my approach to life. Given this, could I also walk around like Monk, spending hours folding and re-folding my boxers? What am I missing here?
Maybe advocates for the sufferers of these varied syndromes could get together and have a draft, try to figure out who really had what and clear the air.
"And with the second pick of the first round, the Bi-Polars pick . . . Terrible Ted Turner!"
Just an idea.