1. fwc577
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    fwc577 Member

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    Writing and ADD/ADHD

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by fwc577, Aug 22, 2012.

    Anyone out there write and have ADD or ADHD?

    I've never been actually diagnosed but my doctor recently prescribed me an amphetamine for something unrelated (I have sleep apnea and most days I still remain tired throughout the day) and I gotta say it makes a huge difference in me and my work ethic.

    A normal day without the amphetamine I will look at my writing, maybe add some to it, then go surfing the web (I check Facebook, Yahoo, MSNBC, a couple writing forums), then go back to my writing and things just seem to go at a snails pace. I also found with something I was working on this summer I just stopped halfway and went to another project.

    On the amphetamine I feel motivated, awake, focused. As a matter of fact, I visited the site this morning, the amphetamine kicked in, and next thing I know it's 12:30 and I realized I need to make lunch and then decided to pay this site another visit while it's cooking. I went almost a solid 5 hours without being distracted from what I was doing and if it weren't for the rumbling in my stomach I probably would have gone on longer.

    Here is the Wikipedia entry:

    Attention deficit disorder (ADD) is one of the three subtypes of Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The term was formally changed in 1994 in the new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fourth edition (DSM-IV) to "ADHD predominantly inattentive" (ADHD-PI or ADHD-I), though the term attention deficit disorder is still widely used. ADD is similar to the other subtypes of ADHD in that it is characterized primarily by inattention, easy distractibility, disorganization, procrastination, and forgetfulness; where it differs is in lethargy - fatigue, and having fewer or no symptoms of hyperactivity or impulsiveness typical of the other ADHD subtypes.

    When I look at that and see, "Inattention, Easy Distractibility, Disorganization, Procrastination, and Forgetfulness and Lethargy and Fatigue" that seems to fit my description to a T.

    If you have ADD/ADHD and write, do you use anything other than medication to help you focus?
     
  2. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I was diagnosed with AADD (Adult Attention Deficit Disorder) several years ago - which actually explained a lot of my rather odd study habits as a young person. I don't use medication, but I do have a variety of other methods developed over the years to help me focus. With writing, in particular, I have the TV on in the background. Not only does it act as white noise, but I have to make myself focus away from it and on my writing. When I was in school, I used to hand-write copious notes on lectures and from books - never read them afterwards, but I had to write them out to keep my attention on what was being said or what I was reading. But once I get going with something, I'm totally focused on it - I think they call that hyperfocus. That used to drive my folks nuts - they'd have to call me several times before their voices got through. :p
     
  3. Darkkin
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    Darkkin Reflection of a nobody Contributor

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    The DSM-IV deals in black and white, not the multitude of greys that are the actual people behind the statistics. I am just such a statistic, diagnosed and labeled at age 5. Severe ADHD.

    Sorry if I sound a little bitter, but I hated being a statistic because for the longest time that is all anyone saw...that wretched label: ADHD. They didn't see a person, a child, who wondered why she was so very different. A child who wondered what she had done wrong.

    I will refrain from the comments teachers made, but needless to say, I have done all right for myself in spite of their dire predictions. Two college degrees to the contrary.

    They said I would never achieve anything because I couldn't focus and medications made me ill. No one listened when I said I didn't feel right. I was medicated and that was all that mattered. It was all the school cared about. The truth was a bitter pill because I was right. The amphetamines and stimulants exacerbated an already compromised circulatory system. That was the first of three heart attacks, although the next two were relativity minor.

    They took me off the drugs and finally let me have my head. It took time and patience, but I learned how to navigate. It was a path of my own making, but I knew the lay of the land, where the pitfalls and uphill climbs were. I made it despite the odds and the naysayers.

    Now I write because I have to, it is as much a part of my day as breathing. I have no trouble focusing on something I love. Music keeps me grounded, while allowing my mind to wander just enough. My desk chair is a yoga ball, a handy outlet for excess energy. I have learned to cope with my label, working with my weaknesses instead of against them.

    For some the medications work, but for a few they spelled disaster. I was one of the few, but I found my saving grace in music. It sets a tone, rhythm, and pattern for me to focus on. It is a true touchstone for me and my work.

    - Darkkin
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I believe that I probably have ADD. My mental model of my coping mechanisms is that my brain must be "full", or it will seek to find further input to fill itself with, and will drag me away from my primary task while it's doing that.

    When a task is incredibly boring - for example, memorizing something - I have to feed my brain in every way possible in order to stay on task. TV on loud (possibly both TV and stereo at once), pacing around the room, doing something with my hands or tossing something from hand to hand, jittery on some caffeinated beverage, and reciting whatever I'm memorizing out loud. All at once. Studying for tests in college was noisy. :)

    When I'm thinking through fictional scenes, I have to be outside walking; the scene does interest me, but I still seem to need that physical movement and change of scene to feed my brain.

    When I'm doing a boring kitchen task, I have to have the TV on and a book propped in front of me. When I'm programming, the complexity of the task does a good job of filling my brain, but I must have music on, and I think that the physical act of typing and using the mouse is also a necessary brain-filler; I can do computer tasks with fewer outside distractions than I need for paper-based tasks.

    Only when a task consumes every last bit of my brain power, and is either very interesting or very urgent, do I actually act like normal people and turn off the music, shut the door, block out distractions. For every other task, I must have distractions, the only question is what kind and how many.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    No, but having a little respect for the experience of others would be nice. Would you also tell a diabetic or someone else with an imbalance that their problem was just that they were "lazy" and that they should stop taking their medicine? I'm not going to tell you that it's not true that ADD medications didn't help you; you know your own experience better than I do. But you could assume that others, similarly, know their own experience better than you do.
     
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  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    There were quite a few offensive posts on this thread. They, and the replies to them, have been removed. I expect the discussion to be considerably more respectful from here on out.
     
  7. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    Sorry :(
     
  8. Pheonix
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    Pheonix A Singer of Space Operas and The Fourth Mod of RP Staff Contributor

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    I have a friend who has ADHD, but oddly enough, writing has actually helped him to be more focused. When he really gets into writing a story, he'll sit down and do it. I think that he's so passionate about what he's trying to accomplish that the story itself focuses him.

    I personally don't have ADD/ADHD, but I know I that sometimes I get easily distracted. The internet has destroyed my attention span :/ It helps me to really go over the story and what I want to get done with it before I start writing. Set goals, like, "I want to write a page in my word processor today," or "I want to advance my story to a certain point." That's what's helped me, and I believe my friend who actually does have ADHD.
     
  9. Stupid-Face
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    Stupid-Face Member

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    I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was around 11 years old, I'm 18 now. I don't take any medication because whenever I did have it, it would make me depressed and made my problems worse. It has affected me in school and work but when it comes to creativity such as writing, I can focus on my stories for months on end and never get bored or distracted. So I'm kind of glad I can focus on one thing like writing. :)
     
  10. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    IN my case, lifestyle change helped erase the attention problem. I found people who literally paid me ATTENTION. I felt less invisible and I focused much better. NO more zonking and pretending; Adult ADHD gone.
     
  11. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    I never felt invisible; in fact, I was quite active and visible in school and in my adult life. But the ADD didn't magically disappear...
     
  12. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    My case. Not magic. I was unclear by phrasing "gone". It gradually left. Not Poof. I had other issues that I resolved too. I think ill stop posting on this thread. It didn't go pooof. I just chose to stop spacing and start living less passively.
     
  13. shadowwalker
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    shadowwalker Contributing Member Contributor

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    Unfortunately, the rest of us don't really have a choice.
     
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  14. maidahl
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    maidahl Banned

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    I'm sad about that. Im not being clear.
     
  15. Stupid-Face
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    Stupid-Face Member

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    I wish that happened to me, hah! I not visible to many things I try and take part in even now.
     
  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say that people with ADD/ADHD definitely don't live passively. They tend to have a lot of enthusiastic interests, but it's a battle to narrow down to one project in one interest and maintain one's focus on that - the focus turns to anything and everything. That's what the "attention deficit" is about - one of your earlier posts implied that it was about attention from _others_, but, no, it's about the ADHD person's ability to control what they're paying attention to at any given time.

    Imagine that you're trying to get something done, something that requires a lot of focused attention - maybe sorting a bunch of papers into fifteen different stacks. And you're trying to do it while a dog is gnawing at your ankle and people are walking through and bumping into you and a hornet is flitting threateningly around your head and a small child is occasionally spraying you with a water pistol and the papers are changing color and shape. Would the solution to that problem be to "stop being passive"? You're not being passive in that situation; you're trying as actively as you possibly can to pay attention to the task, but every moment, every second, multiple things are trying their best to drag your attention away.

    With ADHD, all of those distractions are inside your head, rather than in the outside world. But if you imagine the real-world analogy, I think that you could agree that there's a level at which all the motivation and dedication and hard struggle in the world is _not_ going to let you complete that task. It no doubt requires a suspension of disbelief to believe that a person's brain can be as distracting as the outside world, and that that distraction is out of that person's voluntary control. But it's true.

    And if that person can take a pill that makes the band and the dog and the hornet and the kid with the water pistol just _go away_, without causing a lot of new bad things to happen, why on earth wouldn't they? Why spend your life learning to ignore being shot in the face with a water pistol, when you can spend that mental energy on something else? If the pill causes problems that are bigger than the ones that it cures, sure, OK, you may have no choice but to learn to deal with the water pistol, but if it doesn't?

    I'm back! Another way of explaining it: Even if you're not ADHD, have you ever been either so worried or so excited about something that you just couldn't focus? Let's say that you're in a storm cellar and a tornado is raging above you. In that situation would you be able to complete complicated tax forms, with multiple deductions and dozens of questions about how to handle those deductions, and no calculator? Would a failure to complete those forms demonstrate a lack of will power and character?
     

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