Guest Blogs

“Learning Boundaries”

Stories of lost jobs, botched opportunities, misunderstandings, and fears are a reflection of me, an adult with attention deficit disorder (ADHD).

It’s the late night ADHD group powwow, courtesy of the social networking scene, and once again, I am amused by the characters that have developed within the group. I like to kid myself and call them characters, when, in fact, they are no different than me, an adult with attention deficit disorder.

Their stories of lost jobs, botched opportunities, misunderstandings, and fears are a reflection of me. This is a gathering about me. The group’s top dog (the leader of the pack) is actually pretty funny. He’s totally clinical and goes into steady medical speak, and then he’ll say something offbeat and amusing, and we’ll all collapse into laughter.

The conclusion, or perhaps the most interesting question posed, was from a woman who asked, in all seriousness, “What does it mean to be a normal person?”

It’s really a fascinating question when I think about it. What does it mean to be a normal person? Normalcy is created from society, from rules and boundaries that society sets. Normalcy is normal to the extent that it doesn’t create hardships for the person. I thought to myself, everyone has their hang-ups and quirks; no one comes without a history, without baggage – so why is ADHD called a disorder? Why is it considered a mark of shame or the butt of jokes, an excuse disguised as a medical condition?

Why am I trying so hard to program myself to become someone who I am clearly not? I thought of the questions that the Buddha man posed. If I know that I am not going to execute something, why even start it. Why not just put it down on paper, enjoy it and be OK with it, be OK that this is me. Hey, there are plenty of famous people with ADHD, like Richard Branson, the JetBlue CEO and Kurt Cobain. The theme so far: airline executives and suicidal rock stars.

Then, secondly, why can’t I say no to people? Is it my hunger to be loved and accepted, the fear of losing someone as a lover, as a friend? In defense, why can’t overweight people stop going to the vending machine? Isn’t it obvious that another package of Hostess cupcakes is a bad idea?

For example, I would say no to a wire service, say to a job related to numbers crunching, but at 26 I would have said yes because I hadn’t been burned before, because I was convinced that I could do anything. But then you learn about boundaries.

My logical self knows that change is a lifelong process. In order to just say no it takes someone to truly know themselves, and be confident in their skin. Right now my skin feels like a straightjacket, or a pair of shoes that I’d rather not be seen in.