Some ADD folks fought back. One replied: "people with ADD can 'hyperfocus' if their brain chooses to. So yes." Another responded: "Re: ADD We don't focus, we *hyperfocus*. Have you read Thom Hartmann's 'Hunter vs. Farmer' theory?"
Hyperfocus! That sounds great. I didn't know ADD folks actually had a superpower. It's like you were exposed to radiation at a nuclear factory as a kid and now you get to yell things like "Quick, to the Ritalin Cave! It's time to hyperfocus!"
I guess I didn't know about it because I've never heard anyone say, "I've got ADD. That's why I'm so hyperfocused on what you're talking about right now! Tell me more. I'm fascinated with what you are saying and I can't wait to pay more attention to you."
That's not the ADD I ever see. The one I tend to encounter: "I've got ADD. That's why I can't do my homework, sit still, listen to anything you say, or...wait, what was I talking about?"
See, I have this crazy theory: When you have a hard time paying attention to things that aren't interesting to you, that's not a disease. That's actually totally normal. (OK, maybe a few people out there have a brain chemistry issue that needs correcting. I'm guessing that's a tiny percentage of the people who claim ADD though.)
The real problem is society and what we surround ourselves with: smartphones, Facebook updates, Twitter posts, YouTube videos, emails, IM messages, texts, Foursquare check-ins, iPods, iPads, laptops, TVs in bars, TVs in backs of cabs, TVs in elevators. Elevators! We can't even go five floors without a goddamn TV.
I was on the Q train the other day and as soon as the train got out of the tunnel and went over the Manhattan Bridge (cell service then becomes available), every single person in that car immediately went to check their phone. We looked like a bunch of jonesing addicts that were finally given access to a pile of glistening needles.
Labelling this a disease is a lie. First off, it should be a red flag when everyone has the same disease. Also, a disease is when your body isn't functioning correctly. That's not what's going on. Our bodies are doing exactly what they should do: freaking the fuck out because they are being attacked by information and don't know how to process it all.
So let's stop blaming our bodies. We, as individuals and as a society, are making choices. We're continually choosing to stick our faces in front of this information-spewing fire hydrant.
Yet instead of accepting responsibility for our behavior, we choose to disease-ify everything. We let Merck, Pfizer, and the rest of the pharmaceutical industrial complex sign us (and our children) up for their neverending subscription programs that pick our pockets on a monthly basis while we tell ourselves we're the poor victims here instead of admitting we're junkies.
And while we're on the subject, let's settle down with everyone being "depressed" too. Depressed is just what we call people who understand what's happening. Look around. If you're not at least a little depressed, that's when you should be worried something's wrong with you.
And don't take a pill to forget about your "depression" either. You feel pain for a reason; It's your body trying to tell you something's wrong. Listen to it, don't numb it. The solution to touching a scalding hot pan is to stop touching the damn pan, not to take some pill that makes you forget your flesh is melting.
Oh, and while I'm addressing disease inflation, I suggest we rename "Type 2 Diabetes" to "You ate too much poison that laboratories in New Jersey disguised as food."
Ever notice how rarely these things exist in third world countries? Starving people who are desperate for a meal don't have ADD, Type 2 Diabetes, or depression. They have real problems. The prevalence of these "diseases" here are a sign of our society's excessive wealth and free time. Malaria, now there's a disease. Being bored and checking Facebook a lot? That's a choice.
Listen, I'm as guilty as the next guy. I raced to check my phone on that train. A 500+ page book? Uh, no thank you. Read your screenplay? Doubtful. When my phone vibrates, I stop caring about what someone is telling me because I just want to look at my phone. Because my phone wants to tell me something about me! And there is no more fascinating topic to me than me.
But I do not have a disease. It's my fault. I'm making choices. I spend too much time staring at screens. And when you constantly bask in the glow of pixels that are customized to your every whim, almost everything else, including actual human beings, starts to pale in comparison.
So ADD people, let's all just be honest and admit that the real problem...ah, who am I kidding? There's no way they made it this far.
Permalink | 6/01/2011