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Maybe You Don’t Have A.D.D.

I believe God created the heavens and the earth. But I struggle to understand the broken parts of creation. For example, does God create people with A.D.D.? Do some of us come out of the womb with a “distractibility gene” that makes it hard for us to learn or focus? Or is it really a different ki…
By Seth Barnes

I believe God created the heavens and the earth. But I struggle to understand the broken parts of creation. For example, does God create people with A.D.D.? Do some of us come out of the womb with a “distractibility gene” that makes it hard for us to learn or focus? Or is it really a different kind of perception that he has gifted some of us with?

How many of you have been defined at some point as ADD? I know I have. But I don’t have too little attention – just too many ideas for the attention available to allocate to those ideas. So, I struggle with the ADD label. In America, as many as one in ten have it and five times as many boys as girls are diagnosed ADD.

ADD posits that we need a certain amount of attention to complete tasks. In school, these tasks may be studying, reading books, and writing papers. As adults, our work requires completing certain tasks, tasks that we may struggle to complete. If you often have difficulty keeping attention during your work, you might be ADD.

But some psychologists like Thom Hartmann see the issue differently. They say that while it is an issue for some, for many people, it’s not a disorder at all. Rather, it’s the result of a natural division of labor between men and women in generations past where men have historically been hunter-gatherers who needed to scan the horizon for game and move into action quickly.

This contrasts with women who historically have minded the nest and maybe watched the family farm. They were able to focus for extended periods of time on relationships and nurture. Their neural wiring fired across synapses that required predictability, while their hunter-gatherer mates had to adapt to an unpredictable environment.

Coincidentally, farmer-minded people became our school teachers, teaching students according to their standards and ways of learning. Typically, little boys didn’t fare as well as little girls in their classrooms.

Einstein, Franklin and Edison were all labeled ADD, outliers in a farmer-run world. But were they broken or just different? Their quick-react brains were perfectly suited for the task of creating the modern constructs that we now take for granted.

In saying this, I don’t want to diminish the real problem that some struggle with. And whether it’s a disorder or not, clearly, to be effective in our modern world some people need help focusing more.

But for others, it may help to know that they are not broken, just different. Perhaps they have struggled to understand themselves and will find solace in escaping the labels of others. And if you’d like to delve deeper into the subject, I recommend you read Hartmann’s book, A.D.D.: A Different Perception.

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Now, having broken free of the shackles that the experts have put us in, I’d like to return the favor. In the spirit of better understanding where we’re all a little broken, I’d like to propose a disorder of my own.

I call it L.O.D. “Labeling Obsession Disorder.” – It’s the need to categorize things and people in tidy little boxes so that we don’t have to deal with the messiness of how we are different.

I’d like to suggest that some of the experts who live life according to these boxes are not any healthier than those they put in the boxes. Perhaps they are just L.O.D. sufferers who are projecting their issues on the rest of us.

In fact, maybe we’re not ADD at all. Maybe it’s just them inflicting their brokenness on those of us who are different. Perhaps the reality is that by studying and researching the issue a bunch, they acquire the title of “expert” and get to declare that those who are different than they are in fact have a kind of illness.

Or maybe this line of thinking is just the addled result of me needing the Ridlin I was never prescribed in the first place?

What do you think?

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