My take on ADD / ADHD
I myself have been diagnosed with ADD. Initially, I was happy with the diagnosis. After all, I was convinced there was something wrong with me and could only be helped in a targeted way with a label. But the search for appropriate help only led to more frustration and an increase in symptoms. Until I started looking at it from a completely different point of view. This is how I look at it now.
Science's approach to ADD / ADHD
Is it genetic? Is it an abnormality in the brain? Is it mainly triggered by environmental factors/education? A combination of all that? And what is the appropriate treatment? Medication (and which ones?), behavioural therapy, supplements, homeopathy, neurofeedback, meditation? Everyone has an opinion on it. Each a different experience. Experts everywhere try to convince us: ?come to me. I have the solution! Look I have statistics/numbers that prove it???
However, by always looking at it through a scientific lens, we never get to the heart of the matter. At best, our symptoms are suppressed and we learn to cope with our so-called 'disorder'. The problem is that science views us as mere physical creatures. Sort of like a computer encased in flesh. And if a person experiences problems in his/her functioning, there is something wrong with the hardware. Then there are connections that are wrong, substances that are missing and so on. What we often seem to forget is that we ARE not our body, but that there is something much more essential in that body: a soul, energy, vibrations? That is our essence. But it is not tangible and therefore elusive to science (and everything that is not tangible is nonsense in the eyes of many).
From free soul to trapped human being
When we came into the world, we did not see ourselves as physical entities, separated from our surroundings. We were not delineated. Our bodies were not a barrier within which we felt trapped. We were pure and unconditioned. With no awareness of a separated I.
But soon we felt we needed to adjust our behaviour to a certain socially desirable pattern. And the older we got, the more rules/responsibilities/social expectations. Our free spirit thus became more and more circumscribed. The energy that used to be mostly positive, and free to flow in and out, became charged and largely internalised . Where before we saw life as a voyage of discovery, we learned that everything had already been discovered and our path had already largely been mapped out.
?The world is not a playground! We will tell you what is important! Reading, maths, solving problems, science! That's what's important! Are you a creative conceptual thinker (which is what all so-called AD(H)Ds are)? Tough luck! We think linearly here! Above all, don't take risks, opt for safety and security. Change is bad? And so you sit there behind the classroom window dreaming away. A body full of energy, a head full of ideas. But you have to sit still and remain silent. The teacher thinks you're disinterested, lazy... But you're just bored. The energy accumulates and settles. A head full of fears, a body full of restlessness. "What is it with that child! He can't sit still, often dreams away, can't concentrate!"
Meanwhile, you are thrown into a vat of knowledge. Above all, you are not allowed to explore too much yourself (suppose you come to insights that differ from the prevailing view: you would become an outsider, a ?weirdo?). Don't think, just digest and reproduce. Your head overflows, the knowledge evaporates. You don't understand a thing but other kids seem to understand. So you pretend to understand it all too. Even though you often think to yourself, "this isn't right, it doesn't feel right..." you play the game. Otherwise, they're just going to think you're an odd duck. And you manage it too, albeit with great difficulty.
You learn to repress your dreams because they distract you from 'reality'. Everything is so abstract. To others, it all seems logical. How does it make sense anyway? Am I stupid? Am I different? I read, and read and read. But nothing sticks. I do feel this is very unnatural for me, but my parents and teachers tell me it's the way it should be. So it must be. I have to keep up, or I'll be left behind.
Quest for the cause...
Some of us manage to play the game. At least for a while. Because your essence cannot keep pushing you away. We cling to rules and structure because that is the only grip we seem to have. We need the manual because otherwise we get lost (we think). The idea that we might lose that grip makes us anxious. We keep feeling a kind of restlessness, because somewhere we do know that this is not our way. But we want to be accepted, certainly not to be different. Meanwhile, we believe ourselves that we need lots of money a respectable job, a nice house, pretty smart kids, etc. We no longer see the beauty of the world around us. That energy we had in abundance as children has taken root in our bodies.
We get all kinds of psychological and physical complaints. Where do these come from anyway? You think : "I have everything I should have to be happy. Yet I feel increasingly anxious, restless, tense, I can't sleep, can't concentrate? What is wrong with me anyway? It must be a burnout are. Getting me ff put home?" But the thoughts remain. The anxiety intensifies. "I feel like everything is tottering. That everything could collapse at any moment, that the ground under my feet is going to disappear?"
"What is wrong with me!!! Can someone give me a diagnosis! Can someone please give me medication so it stops!? I'll just enter my symptoms in the search engine: restlessness, difficulty concentrating, sleep problem, forgetfulness, impatient? What does it say: AD(H)D! That's it! It totally matches! Doctor I found it! I have ADHD! Quickly give me an official paper so I can take medication! Just ask me questions, I know what to answer."
The redeeming label?
"I finally have a label! Now I can justify my peculiar behaviour. It's not me, it's my ?disorder? Thank you society for making sense of it all. Thank you science for inventing labels (disorders) so that we can be helped! So that all the rest can get on with the serious game nice and undisturbed."
You may decide to keep taking this game seriously. But because you are in a kind of hypnotic state, you think there is no other way. And you are constantly fighting with yourself. The mind against the feeling. And that internal conflict causes many psychosomatic complaints we experience. That way, however, you will never really get rid of your complaints. There is an alternative: recognise that it's all 'just' a game. Play it along, but don't take it seriously. Follow the rules if you really have to, but above all, follow your own path. Free your soul from the straitjacket! The energy will loosen up and start flowing back. Life will feel much lighter.
Rediscovering the essence: The true redemption
Stop, press the pause button. See the absurdity of the game we are all playing. Reflect on who you really are, and what you really want. Let go of everything you cling desperately to. Because it only makes you restless because you are afraid of losing it.
That is what I am doing now. And really, I experience a peace that I have never experienced before. A sense of freedom! I no longer try to swim against the current of my intuition but float in it. Somehow, I knew for a long time that forcing myself to play the game was making me unhappy and sick. But I thought there was no other way. That I would crash if I let go. But you don't die, on the contrary. It's like being reborn and seeing the world through the eyes of a baby: full of wonder.
My final point: if you want to lump the range of symptoms you experience under one heading for convenience, OK. But don't call it a disorder. That is a fallacy of a society who would rather the individual adapt than admit failure. The complaints we experience are due to the fact that we are free, creative, energetic souls who do not easily allow themselves to be pushed in a certain limiting direction. A conceptual thinker obliged to think linearly. Our minds tell us that we have to (to function ?normally?). And so we suppress our nature, and bottle up our energy. Try what it does to you when you look at the world this way. What happens when you let go of what your mind has made you believe all along and learn to trust your intuition.
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Who am I? It is expected that I will then say: Mathieu Wouters, 37 years old, police inspector, father of two children, married, Belgian, ... Combined with my photo, you then have a superficial idea of who I am in our shared physical reality.
Having never felt at home in this 'reality', I thought I needed an extra label that would explain why I was different. Two years ago, I was diagnosed with ADD. An extra label to shape my identity, delineate myself more strongly and be able to seek help in a targeted way.
But it didn't bring me the peace I was looking for. What eventually did is the realisation that beyond this physical world that we all continue to shape every moment, there is a deeper reality. A reality that is much broader and where the soul is at the core. In that reality, I do have the space to be who I am, I don't have to conform to a 'norm'. This is the space we need to experience peace, space we don't get enough of in the physical world.
I used to resist, often unconsciously, the society that was so foreign to me. But that resistance created negative energy that crystallised in my body.
Now I realise I shouldn't hold on. I should not fight. Because that fighting causes suffering. For yourself and often for others around you.
My advice: don't take life too seriously. See it as a game and trust that your soul will bring you to your destination.
I have become a guest blogger for ADDcharacteristics.net to share my views on the collection of traits placed under the AD(H)D banner. After all, I don't really believe in the conventional, limiting explanations :)