I always enjoyed Stephanie Brush's columns in Comic Relief magazine. Just found this account by her of living with ADD:
I found my phone bill in the freezer one time, and I don't really believe I put it there on purpose, though you never know. I sometimes find myself brushing my teeth and getting so distracted halfway through that I may not finish the job until an hour or so later, though I may have sat down at the piano and written a song in the meantime; or logged on and sent a couple of e-mails; or figured out the distance from Seattle to Portland by car in case I ever want to have the gas money saved in advance for a road trip I may or may not take in the next decade.
I've been inclined to disbelieve in ADD. Not, of course, to deny that the patterns of behavior which have in recent years been labelled ADD exist — it's that last 'D' that's the sticking point for me: 'disorder'. It's relatively easy to get behind considering, say, clinical depression to be a disease: by definition, the depressed person feels bad. ADD's symptoms, on the other hand, have more to do with difficulty corresponding to societal expectations. Defining it as a disorder has struck me as an exercise in homogenizing, in enforcing conformity to an ultimately arbitrarily defined norm. Couldn't the so-called ADD sufferers redefine everyone else to be suffering from an Attention Surplus Syndrome?
Brush's article and the pain she evinces has me reconsidering.
However, I'm unlikely to cease thinking that the description of ADD in children sounds like a description of what being a child is. Or that the U.S. over-medicates children not for their own benefit so much as to make them more tractable for harried and overworked teachers and parents. Not that it mightn't be best for some given child, but for four million?
Oh, and I stopped writing this entry literally mid-sentence to go make breakfast and go to the gym. In every "if you experience 3 or more of these 10 things, you may have ADD" list I've seen, I've tended to recognize in myself, well, all of them. So it's an issue I've given some consideration.