“Where the Hunter-Gatherer Theory of ADHD Breaks Down”
“Were the hyperactive wives out hunting for rabbits, raccoons, and muskrats while their inattentive husbands tackled the tedious, repetitive work of skinning animals and tanning hides?”
About the time I was diagnosed with ADHD, I read Thom Hartmann’s book Adult ADHD: How to Succeed as a Hunter in a Farmer’s World, which presents the idea that our ADHD ancestors were hunter-gatherers whose high energy and hyperfocus were necessary for survival.
What about those of us with inattentive ADHD? How do we fit into the hunter-gatherer theory of ADHD?
Then it occurred to me: What if the cavewomen with inattentive ADHD married the cavemen with hyperactive ADHD? Do you think they would fill their days tidying the cave, preparing dinner, and teaching the children how to start a fire? Or do you think their partners would return with their kill to find elaborate cave drawings, creative new contraptions, and unclean but happy kids?
Were the hyperactive wives out hunting for rabbits, raccoons, and muskrats while their inattentive husbands tackled the tedious, repetitive work of skinning animals and tanning hides? Or were those inattentive husbands distracted from their tools by daydreams of a scrumptious dinner made with herbs from the hillside? Did they dream of owning their own businesses selling tanned hides to cave-friends? Did their feelings get hurt when their cave-dwelling relatives called them lazy and unmotivated?
In the Industrial Age, we replaced our caves with over-priced city dwellings and no longer needed to hunt or tan. After all, we could buy meat, tanned goods, and even framed art work at local stores, or more conveniently, online.
The hyperactive and impulsive ones among us have adapted over time from hunters to consumers, and many have learned new behaviors and strategies to fit into a neurotypical world. Meanwhile, us inattentive types are still happily painting our caves; we’re considered an anomaly in the modern world. But we’re also the ones who see solutions where others see only problems, who never give up without a fight, and who bring color to the world we touch. Our ingenuity, creativity and focus have no limits!
ADHD Hunters and Gatherers: Next Steps
- Free Download: Your Free In-Depth Guide to Inattentive ADHD
- Read: Tips for ADHD Couples
- Read: 9 Ways ADHD May Strain Relationships
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