Sunday, March 30, 2008

explaining ADD to E; a few extra dimensions

I have been trying to explain ADD/ADHD a bit to E lately.  Alphabet soup here ha.  he teaches me as well, really.

Anyway, one thing I've done is to send E an only slightly edited version of my entry some time back, which I called orange swirl.  I'm not feeling the drowning/swirling ways so much lately.  It still seemed an apt point to start our discussion from.   orange swirl 

(Yes, E knows I have a journal.  He knows it's typed.  He doesn't know that it's online and public.  He seemed fascinated by a much-more edited entry I sent him, from last March when he'd given me dating advice.  Ha.   so, that's where they're hiding  He says he was intrigued by this "orange swirl" one and he'll re-read it more later.  I appreciate him trying to absorb these things.  But, no, he doesn't need to know it's an online PUBLIC journal.)

E wrote:
Again, I must reread your note a few times to make sure I understand.  Jurassic Park!  I don't quite see how that fits in yet. 
Thankyou, very insightful, E[name]
E actually wrote most of a page letter in response.  I find I need to break letters down into their subject areas, and respond individually per subject area.  FYI that his longer response included: 
I read a book a couple of years ago.  I think it was entitled something like, "The dog that died during the night."  I forget the name of the author.  The story was told in teh first person by a high functioning autistic boy.  An unforgetable moment in the story is when he is running away from home and enters a train station.  The train station is full of signs, the vast majority of which are totally irrelevant to telling him where he has to go to catch his train.  But his mind gives all signs equal weight.  He is totally unable to discriminate among the signs to those few that are relevant.  Not that this is you, just that minds work in wonderously different ways. 
He later did a search:"The book was, "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night," by Mark Haddon.  It was published in the last few years.  E[name] highly recommends this read.  Very touching."  I found a review here:  Mark Haddon : The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time : Book Review  Maybe E's right; this is not how my mind works, not fully completely.  I think I'd like this book.
So I responded: 
I wrote this over a year ago.  I think I may have been referring to photos or graphic images of the chaos theory???  Are there some swirls?  The movie was less "geeky," and didn't really go into the whole chaos theory hardly, but the book had.  I preferred the geeky, and my physicist friends showed me some of their books. 
And then the idea that there is beauty in chaos, and actually some sense of order.
The name "chaos" implies, well chaos.  Some brains with ADD/ADHD appear as if they'd be chaotic.  I was speculating the possibility that it's not all as random as it may appear to be.
I think.  :)
Actually, if I were to enter a train station full of signs, and I was unfamiliar with that system and culture, say, a subway station in Spain, I'd be overwhelmed.  I would have to decipher what each sign was saying and not necessarily be able to assign priorities, unless they were indicated by size, color, or location.  They likely WOULD be differentiated, and I DO have a clue about signs in subway stations.  I'm very visually-oriented, also.  But, the most basic aspects of this description, is apt.  It is an extreme example, but it's apt.  If all signs were a similar height, size, and color, hey, they'd all appear of equal importance to ME.
I will look for that book. 
A telephone ringing at another desk has as much attention, instinctively, in my brain as a person holding a conversation in another office, which then becomes distractingto me if I need to answer the phone as well (with any effectiveness). 
E's last note to me tonight:  Robin, you are not chaotic to me.  Just a woman with a few extra dimensions than first meets the eye.  Sleep you very well.  E[name]
Sigh.  Is there any reason here why I wouldn't just really like him?  :)
E wrote, in his one reply that was longer:  I have noticed sometimes that I have trouble keeping up with you.  So I ask you to repeat something, thinking you're going to think I'm deaf.  (I have really good hearing.)  I'm still going a to b in my head as I'm listening, and perhaps you've gone to c.  Is this correct?  I do tend to be very linear. 
To that part, I responded:
I apologize, E[name], for *I* know I have this, and *I* know that you do not.  You may not have gotten around to setting up your DVD player and finishing the cabinets, but I have figured out some time past, that you don't struggle with ADD/ADHD.   (I also know that you have no real reason or desire to get around to that DVD player.)  I have about half a trilliion projects going on at any one time.  If I'm tired, or excited, I am even more likely to jump about on tangents and not verbalize the connection.  I sometimes really like the idea of being linear, I may even need it sometimes; it's just not always happening inside my head.  I know you're smart, and I haven't noticed any hearing difficulties.  I've noticed myself rushing information and that I need to work better at this with you.  I think I've just gotten excited sometimes in talking with you. 
Actually, and this may sound bizarre, but having a distraction on in the background that's not overpowering, can be calming.  It lets my brain bounce about, while having more focus on the one item.  For example, if doing homework, or holding a conversation.  If in the background is some light music, or I'm washing dishes, I can actually focus BETTER on the homework or conversation.  Really.  And I'm not sure that that even makes any sense.  I know it is helpful.
If I could differentiate this paragraph here!:
I haven't yet gotten up the gumption to send him (an edited?) version of THIS entry of mine, romance and ADD/ADHD, even while my paragraph abovetries to hint that just maybe a bit of music in the background might further enhance the ambiance of the moment at times......  :)  Romance and ADD / ADHD
Note that E, the eldest of six, has a younger brother with different-abilities, including but definitely not limited to being highly autistic.  I never knew that until this year, and I stay learning more about his whole family.  It helped me understand E's patient dealings with the two people in our main dance group that have "differences."  I had taken note of it, and appreciate his respect forall people, just now after 6 years, I understand more E's "why." 

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  1. I read Orange Swirl, so fascinating to me how you describe this.  It surely sounds like E is trying to understand fully and his wonderfully sweet and encouraging comments to you are awesome.  He sounds like a good man.  I did have to laugh at alphabet soup!  You know, from reading you I would not think you were chaotic at all.

  2. I was going to ask what was going on with E since I hadn't heard anything.  Seems pretty normal so far which is good.  ~ Mike

  3. This is so interesting. I read your previous entry (March 24) and I commented on your writing style, which I really like. The former English teacher in me can't help but pay attention to things like writing style, tone, etc. Then in reading this entry, you direct me back to your "orange swirl," entry in which you talk about your writing process in terms of ADD/ADHD. I had not started reading your journal at that time and missed that entry. What you describe as a writing style that is reflective of your ADD is exactly what I like about your writing style. (Hope that sentence makes sense.) Orange swirl is a good descriptor. I wish that I had met you when I was still in the classroom. I would have invited you to talk to my students about writing; you explain your style so well.

    Your discussion on chaos theory as applied to Add/ADHD makes so much sense to me, especially your observation that what appears to be chaotic may not be as random as it appears to be.

    I don't know if I've ever told you, but my nephew, now age 21, has Apsergers Syndrome, an autism spectrum disorder. The book that E recommended by Haddon is one of my favorites and my nephew's as well. I also think that you would like this book and I agree with E that minds work in wondrously different ways.

    I've been focusing on how lucky you are to have found someone like E but it is E who is lucky to have found someone like you. You are one of the most interesting, thoughtful, and intellectually stimulating people that I've ever had the pleasure of knowing.--Sheria

  4. Just have to add how honored and flattered I am by Sheria's comment!  Yes, E is a lovely man, and we're both lucky, really.  Hmmm, my writing style deciphered, clarified.  Controlled orange swirl stream of consciousness.  Youv'e made my day, Sheria!  -- Robin