What is ADHD?

I know, it’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. But, what does that even encompass?

I’ve heard a lot of things about this disorder. I’ve heard things ranging from “it’s a personality type, not a disorder”, to “it’s a chemical imbalance of dopamine”, to even the brute “it doesn’t exist”. So, who is right?

Well, I guess scientifically speaking, there is a basis for ADHD to actually exist. It’s been shown in numerous studies that those who’ve been diagnosed with ADHD typically have lower dopamine levels than the average, and dopamine is that ‘reward chemical’ in our brains. Basically, when we do something good, we get a sense of reward– and that sense is caused by a rush of dopamine. So, naturally, if you’re deficient in dopamine, you feel less rewarded when you do something worthy of praise. Thus, you never feel satisfied, you keep doing more and more to feel accomplished- “you feel overly compelled to do things, as if driven by a motor”. Sound familiar? If not, that is like the #1 question on ADHD/ADD surveys that I’ve seen. Checking “yes” in that box- that, yes, you feel as if you’re overly compelled to do stuff- is an indicator that you might have this attention issue.

Then again, that is very vague. I’ve always had an appetite to create things, and I never thought hmmm, something must be wrong with me. I have the idea that everyone feels that way- I mean, don’t they? Well, I’d actually have to go out and ask everyone to find out. I can only see things through my own eyes, and maybe I’ve been wrong this whole time. But, even if that is abnormal, is it really a bad thing? 

I always felt that inner drive or motor was a positive thing. I couldn’t find a way to paint the energy I have to create things in a bad light. The more you do, the better, in simple terms. It keeps you busy, your mind occupied, and best of all, it ensures you aren’t wasting the gift of time.

That being said, always trying to do something new can be quite confusing. And, I don’t think I ever noticed to what degree that it could be confusing.

Over the past week, I’ve been off my vyvanse prescription for the first time since starting it in January. I can’t really take it whilst recovering from surgery- it’s unnecessary and I need to sleep a lot to recover. So, while being off it, I’ve noted a few things- 1) I really am a sleepy person 2) I’m much more ‘myself’ when I’m off it, and most importantly 3) I’m scatter brained. 

This is something that I have always noticed in myself- when I get excited to do something, I usually wander and think of yet another thing to do- get excited over that, and then conjure up another idea- until, I have a list of things I’m hyped up about, yet I end up doing none of them. It’s a hard thing to explain, but it’s definitely a focus thing. I lose focus and don’t complete things. I’ve always struggled with this. I get 70 percent done and move forward too fast and then bam- I never get it done. Vyvanse has really cured this. I have stuck with things since being on it- I now complete games from start to finish, get a to-do list done, make things happen and make them happen daily. The downside, is being less creative- I don’t allow my mind to brainstorm 50 different blueprints, but it’s for productivity’s sake.

All of that has prompted me to question this- do I actually have ADHD? 

Now, the reason I willingly take my ‘ADHD Medication’ is because it helps me with the most debilitating health issue I have, and that’s constantly being sleepy. It’s a side effect of stimulants, but in the meantime, I’m noticing just how better off I am since being on a focus enhancer. I have things I can point to that prove it- much improved grades, 3-4 video games that I finished (before vyvanse, I’d start a game and usually never finish it. Seriously), better maintenance of habits (cleaning my room, work ethic, etc), notes for video scripts that are organized, and the list goes on. I think about the things I struggled with before vyvanse, and it’s kind of a daunting list. Indecisiveness to the max- the main reason I’m at community college is because I couldn’t pick a college to go to. Not grades, not just because of money, but because I couldn’t narrow down and choose. Is that a problem? Looking at it now, from being past it, yes.

Everyone has those issues. Does that mean everyone has ADHD? I don’t know- but, I don’t think so. ADHD is more of a personality type, in the end. I know plenty of people content with spending a Sunday inside and relaxing. That has never been appealing to me, because my mind goes into a mode of being dissatisfied if I don’t do something. So, maybe I’m fixing a problem that I really do have.  

Thanks for reading

Luca DeJesu, 5:11 PM

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