Saturday, March 19, 2016

ADHD and Randomness in my Brain

I don't remember where or when it was that I read a blog post by someone who coined the phrase "Too Many Interests Syndrome." All I remember is that I read those words and immediately related to them.

Seems like I have always had "too many interests," but none (or very, very few) of those interests have actually been interesting enough to hold my attention for any period of time. As such, I have struggled immensely to develop any level of "expertise" at anything.

This morning I was-- as I often am-- thinking about "things to write about" while I was cooking breakfast. It's that thing I have mentioned before, that I call "Bacon Creativity."

Anyway, as I was jotting down several quite interesting and insightful ideas for articles, I got to thinking about the small ocean of loose scraps of paper floating around on my desk... all of them with various "ideas for articles" and "ideas for blog posts" and even "ideas for web sites." Most of the time, they just "sit there," and never get developed into anything.

On one hand, it makes me feel a little bit sad because there actually some very worthy ideas there. On the other hand, I feel a certain sense of peace at knowing that I did take the time to develop these ideas far enough to put them on scraps of paper... and by the mere fact that they have been written down, I gain the "therapeutic benefit" of no longer needing to store them inside my head. Because that's what happens to me, with ideas: If I don't take some kind of "action" on them, they stay inside my head, dancing around and taking up valuable space in parts of my brain I really need to use to deal with the daily business of Earning A Living™.

Somewhere in the middle of my flurry of committing ideas to scraps of paper-- while simultaneously making sure that the bacon didn't burn-- I got to think about my college daze.

In a sense, college was no different from my life now.

My ADHD was just as evident back then (early 1980s), even though I had no idea what "ADHD" was. nor that I was having any kind of "problem."

I mean, after all, I got a degree, right? And I even graduated with a 3.8 GPA. You can't "do that," if your brain is malfunctioning, right? Right?

Of course, the "dirty little secret" underlying that very fine college degree from a major university is that (a) it took me five years to graduate and I had 180+ credit hours at a school where most undergraduate degrees required 120-128 credit hours... and (b) I didn't actually decide on a final major until the beginning of the semester in which I graduated.

Yes, I just said that...

After 4 1/2 years of taking an assortment of classes that (mostly) seemed "interesting" I went to see a Degree Advisor and we plugged my completed courses into probably 50 different degree programs to eventually determine that I was closest to a degree in Finance with a minor in English... and if I took three more course, I could graduate.

So I did.

Maybe more people go through college that way than I give them credit for... but it always feel like the Degree Advisor regarded me with a mixture of amusement and the sort of fear/disdain typically reserved for lepers.

Looking back a bit further... when I was a kid, I was no good at the whole "What do you want to do when you grow up?" game. I had no idea-- there were so MANY things. 18 years later-- armed with my freshly baked college degree-- I had no more idea of "what I wanted to do when I grow up" than when I was seven.

The only things I could come up with was "something enjoyable and meaningful."

Which is about as specific as saying someone is "nice" and that you like to "have fun" in your spare time.

Now-- at 55-- I am not really any closer to having become "specific." Most of my life has actually been very UN-specific.

What I have learned in the course of those years is the the more I have placed myself in positions of "doing what society thinks people should do" the more UN-happy I have been, and the more I have "walked my own very random path" the happier I have been.

But unfortunately, there has been a rub; a conundrum: The more I have followed my own path, the poorer I have been; the more I have followed society's path, the wealthier I have been.

Which suggests to me that there must be something terribly wrong with the way we "measure people" and their successes and accomplishments... what does it truly say about our world if "doing what you love" means you get to live on food stamps and doing something you don't like earns you a McMansion and a new Mercedes? Don't we have it completely backwards?

I realize that the whole "Capitalism vs. Contentment" discussion is far beyond the scope of this article... I am mostly interested in exploring the role ADHD has played (if any?) in my pursuit of a "random" life... and the potential "price tag" associated therewith. Is ADHD even "a thing?" I am also exploring the interconnectedness of being an HSP (Highly Sensitive Person) with ADHD... how the HSPs tendency to process and experience deeply may be part of what leads me to eternally study and analyze myself and how I operate in the world.

What do YOU think? Leave me a comment!


  1. I think you've got the start of a book about being successful a best way and loving it! Passion

  2. I am loving you! I relate to absolutely everything I'm reading from you. I have always had this "too many interests syndrome" Some see it as a flaw. I can't commit. But how can I when there are so many interests and curiosities on how to live and love my life scattered through my brain. Constantly changing and adding to lists upon lists. Oh I love to write lists too. That is a flaw to some as well because I don't always finish my lists. But people don't understand that it helps me to at least get some things done or even none of them. It gets it out of my head when I write it down. I feel less overwhelmed. Just want to say thanks, I find so much comfort relating to someone!