Who Says One Kind of Thinking Is Better Than Another?
With ADHD come spontaneity, creativity, and a love of new experiences. If we were naturally judgmental types — which we are not — we could just as easily suggest that people who get anxious at the thought of changing plans suffer from SDD. You know, Spontaneity Deficit Disorder. Acting on impulse sometimes results in wonderful things. A […]
With ADHD come spontaneity, creativity, and a love of new experiences. If we were naturally judgmental types — which we are not — we could just as easily suggest that people who get anxious at the thought of changing plans suffer from SDD. You know, Spontaneity Deficit Disorder.
Acting on impulse sometimes results in wonderful things. A few years ago, I was waiting to find out whether or not the untitled Alison Larkin sit-com was going to be made into a pilot by CBS. Instead of going out to a movie with my achingly dull boyfriend, I found myself renting a car and, with no destination in mind, started driving.
Two hours later I rolled into New Paltz, New York, at the bottom of a long drive that leads up to the Mohonk Mountain House, a truly magical place. I ended up retreating there alone for three blissful days before returning to what was, at that time, a busy life as a single stand-up comic living in New York City.
Changing plans at the last minute and following an impulse almost always enriches my life and, sometimes, the lives of those around me.
If I’d spent the day cleaning my house in New Jersey rather than following a whim to drive solo to New England during a snowstorm in February, I’d never have found the small town in the Berkshires where I’ve been living with my two happy, engaged kids for the past four years.
Tidy people tend to stick to schedules and consider those of us who lose things, drive a messy car, and change our plans from time to time as “less than.” We let them do it. We give them the moral high ground without question. Why?
We may not be able to find our pen, keys, or iPhone right away, but I bet that whatever is going on in our heads is a lot more interesting than making sure the pen is back in the pen holder, the keys are on the hook, and the smartphone is in its case in our pocketbook.
Strangers have approached me in the supermarket, point out that I’ve got a tiny piece of cornflake on my clothing, and, with the best of intentions, jab at it like a woodpecker. While I think that it’s absurd that anyone thinks food stains matter, I hate to hurt people’s feelings, so I act surprised that the stain is there and thank them.
The world is full of many different kinds of people with many different kinds of brains — and it helps to try to understand how other people tick.
The people who put deficit and disorder into ADHD clearly think that labeling people by their weaknesses rather than their strengths is helpful.
It’s worth a try.
So this week, when a tidy, organized person becomes anxious at the suggestion that we change plans and go lake swimming, because it’s a beautiful, sunny day, instead of shopping at Staples, I shall try to have compassion. I’ll remind myself that their lack of flexibility isn’t their fault. It’s how their brains were made. They can’t help it. They have Spontaneity Deficit Disorder.
Maybe, with coaching, patience, understanding and time…
Updated on April 27, 2020