Welcome to Adhd

imageFull speed ahead

Full speed ahead

This is the sort of post I usually wouldn’t make. I guess that means I should in a way. It is, I promise, not about complaining. It is also, I equally promise, not a new-fangled thing that I was diagnosed with recently as I was diagnosed back in the early 80’s.

My Adhd is very real and has been my entire experience of life as lack of sight is to a blind person or confusion of events is to someone with schizophrenia.

It is naturally not as debilitating as these previous ailments as unlike them it has its positive and negative attributes. Adhd people would have been the best watchmen (or watch persons) as we are always switched on
There is no down time. There is no relaxing. We won’t do it later and we are always hyper-aware of the…ooh what’s that? Just kidding but funny enough I’m getting what I call “the shakes” as I write this. Or maybe I just need another smoke. It makes smoking really hard to quit, well for me anyways, as it is perfectly meditative.

Coffee which I’ve talked about before has different effects and I know for some of us Adhders (it’s a word…well…ah, smile and nod) coffee can actually work wonders in strangely balancing the rush. And I think the reason is like I’ve experienced. Coffee slows us down. You didn’t misread that. I’ve had a double espresso and passed out shortly after. And no, you didn’t…well…you get the idea.

Because we are so much in our high gear coffee is a paradox that speeds things up even more which, unlike the Seinfeld episode with Kramer and the multiple espressos, it goes into an overdrive that’s exhausting. Down we go. Moderated we can use it to just slow it down gently instead of a sugar-like crash.

This brings me to the downsides. Not only is reading something that is hard to focus on, as is a formal lecture situation (we’re great strangely at self directed study) where information is being fired at us but in the same way that coffee can overwhelm so can over stimulation. Much as we are great at seeing lots a high speed situation can go all the way over and like with my espresso crash things go into overwhelm. When that happens I swear I couldn’t spell the short version of my name.

It’s Tom. Now that’s pretty easy. But seriously those situations are like a Japanese train being derailed. Our being fast only makes it worse. I’ve learned to breath when I feel those jitters that spell the overwhelm sign. You can pause and stop because much as the situation may ask you not to its going to be lots worse if you don’t.

I don’t know if these experiences resonate with others. I know Ritalin and such have never worked and only made me feel dopey but then I’m looking through my camera view of the world. Please share your views on this if you like.

Cheers,
Tom
Created by TomPogson.com

The art versus the artist

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Joy Division by Anton Corbijn

I could have just as easily put up a image of Robin Williams, Charles Dickens or Vincent Van Gogh.  Creativity doesn’t necessarily have to come from a dark place to be worthy of exposure.  Sometimes artists are in their best place when they create their best work.  An easy example of this would be A Kind of Blue by Miles Davis.  Miles and a group of incredible players went into the studio with only a few basic sketches of ideas and improvised what would soon be a classic.  I know for myself that being in a miserable intoxicated space doesn’t usually produce my best work (naturally I’m not going to place myself alongside these artists.  After watching Jaco Pastorius – Modern Electric Bass I always feel like the tribes least talented and clumsy Neanderthal.)  It is very likely that some of these struggling iconic figures were in their most lucid when they created their work. 

I don’t know if forms of mental illness create artistic genius.  I have known many extremely talented people who don’t have any visually crippling ailments (though not all ailments are as easily seen).  However there are plenty of examples you can find of genius residing in people with mental illnesses. 

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Winston Churchill

Winston Churchill, Prime Minister of Great Britain during World War 2 struggled with depression, coining the phrase of the “Black Dog” that would visit him.  This image immediately brings forth the sound of another great Englishman (me and U.K culture again, I know…)
Strange version of Nick Drake’s Black Eyed Dog
Maybe it boils down to what Anthony Robbins said that the two things that move people are either inspiration or desperation.  Some success stories come from things fallen in place from a love of something and some come from the push of pain.  I personally believe that the main source of talent is a love for what you do that makes you pursue it daily, vigorously with your full mind and spirit.  People who suffer from mental illness often have grown up with the concept of struggle being inherent to existence and so perhaps their persistence is only amplified.  Perhaps the pleasure from the what they do (which doesn’t have to be necessarily in the arts) helps these people escape from their black eyed dogs.

But in response to the postaday prompt which I read today, I personally don’t look for the struggle or think that it means the art is better or worse.  To me the art and the artist are separate things.  The art is the body of work like any job done by a master’s hand.  The artist is the fragile master behind it, the craftsman with calluses.  The work lives on in the stars.

Created by TomPogson.com