Look, a wall! I'm going to bounce off of it!

One of the reasons it took many years for me to be properly diagnosed as ADHD is because I express my hyperactivity in a very different way than most.

The "typical" ADHD kid of my generation looked like this: boy, slightly above average intelligence, troublemaker, with a short attention span (considerably less than the 45 minute average class time) and a tendency to fidget and act impulsively externally.

Contrast that with girl, higher than average intelligence (99th percentile), short for her attention span (45 minutes), and a tendency to fidget and act impulsively internally. Nobody notices the fidgeting or the impulsive activity if it's smart kid who multi-tasks like mad and jumps through 15 lines of thought continuously while the teacher lectures. Ditto if her impulsive nature is expressed through continuous internal emotional drama.

Continuous emotional and mental drama, real or manufactured, is how I provided enough internal stimulus to keep me "awake" and engaged. It's a very difficult habit to break and it's meant finding other ways of keeping awake (adderall is very, very lovely in this case).

The impulses are hard enough to counter, but then you encounter the bane of every parent's existence: hyperactivity.


[hahy-per-ak-tiv] Show IPA
unusually or abnormally active: a company's hyperactive growth; the child's hyperactive imagination.
(of children) displaying exaggerated physical activity sometimes associated with neurologic or psychologic causes.

Hyperactive is a relative term. So is hyper-intelligent for that matter.

Some people with ADHD  are born with a broken internal meter and metronome, in that time passes more or less quickly for them than for other people. Minutes can feel like hours and vice versa. Some are just born with a much faster internal meter and metronome and don't understand why other people think and act so slowly. For either type, being forced to "slow down" in order to accommodate those around them causes a sort of "excess" of thought and energy that is not purged or expressed properly. Hyperactive kids who express their excess energy physically end up bouncing off of walls and desperately trying to use up their excess (this is part of why getting rid of recess is never the answer in these cases). Internally hyperactive kids, having run out of things to read or listen to or do, begin creating.

What do I mean by creating? How can you create something to occupy yourself entirely internally? Well, some kids write stories. Others create ideas (things they'd like to do or inventions they'd like to make). 

For some of us though, those who for some reason either couldn't do the above or stopped themselves for various reasons (fiction never pays the bills, I'll never be able to make that, I'm wasting my brain and all the other brainwashing stupidity often spoonfed to them by well-meaning parents) end up turning to creating emotion.

Anyone who has ever imagined someone close to them dying or their crush finally noticing them knows exactly what I mean by creating emotion: the act of internally designing life events that cause great emotion. The events don't even necessarily have to happen to cause the emotions; the thought is often enough.

This can be incredibly addicting and destructive. The brain is a weird thing, and so is the body. Just like memories can be "planted" in someone's head, so can emotions be associated with other people and events just by imagining the events happening.

It's a really tough cycle to break.

For me, once I started to break the cycle and the habit I found myself bouncing off of my own internal walls again. So instead of going back into manufacturing emotion, I went back to my original internal hyperactivity coping mechanism: writing.

Most people do not know this about me, but by the time I reached 14 I'd written at least three books entirely in my head. Parts were written down, but most of the books stayed in my head. I'd intended on writing them down then editing them into perfection. In fact when I was done with my work at school that's exactly what I did; started writing parts down.

The stupidest move I have EVER made short of my first marriage was showing ANY of my stories to anyone else before I had a solid enough sense of self to weather the criticism.

Funny how an overweight 14 year old girl can lose what little self-esteem she has so quickly. No criticism over the quality of the writing, just over the act of writing itself. What kind of geek spends all of their time writing? Don't you know that's weird???

Family members weren't much better unfortunately. There was a bias against "thought" work, as only physical, visible, pays-the-bills or cleans-the-house work counts. Everything else was a waste of time and talent.

Hey, look at that! I'll never be accepted writing, so I'll just have "normal" teenage girl drama instead! That's an awesome idea!

Like I said, a hard habit to break once started.

Now though I understand just how wrong everyone else was at the time. My internal writing may not pay the bills but it does something equally important: it keeps me sane.

Now every time I feel the "itch" or the impulses of the hyperactivity I start turning that excess energy and thought into creation. I write entire blog posts that never get published. I write more fiction (better fiction than before thankfully). I start coming up with new ideas and new creations, many of which never reach paper or type. I work on something until I run out of mental energy that needs to be burned off.

Creation beats drama any day of the week.