Changing your mind: The ADHD mystery

By Suzen Fiskin
Reader Columnist

What do Da Vinci, Whoopi, Einstein, Disney, Cher, and Stephen Hawking have in common? Give up? All are/were ADHD. They think differently, and that’s a good thing!

If you look at the numbers, ADHD has become an epidemic in this country. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, a whopping 6.4 million American kids ages 4-17 get a diagnosis of ADHD. This is an astounding 41% increase from just a decade ago. Whoa!

Suzen Fiskin.

Suzen Fiskin.

Even more alarming is that 2/3 of these young ‘uns are “treated” with the methamphetamine based drugs Ritalin and Adderall. Millions of our children are being addicted to legal meth, as in the prescription version of the “Breaking Bad” street drug. What’s wrong with this picture?

Did you know that there’s no test for ADHD? A diagnosis is made from a subjective evaluation based solely on behavior. Just one opinion can change the course of a child’s life forever. We are drugging out some of our best and brightest young minds to keep calmer classrooms, and marginalizing adults with that same brain wiring.

Houston, we have a problem!

Whenever I run into anything in the public realm with crazy numbers like this, I follow the money. Big Pharma has turned ADHD into a multi-billion-dollar industry from the mere multi-million dollar enterprise it was a decade ago. Bingo!

Surely there’s a better way to dance with people whose minds work differently – a way that honors a diversity of brain wiring. A way that encourages the most innovative people of our nation to add their inventive talents to the greater good.

When I discovered that I have an ADHD brain, I did a ton of research. I learned how to manage my mind through exercise, meditation, and journaling. I still have my challenges staying on track, but I wouldn’t trade my entertaining brain for a more docile one . . .  ever!

Attention Deficit is really a misnomer. We don’t have a problem focusing unless it’s something that bores us. Then, forget about it! When we’re excited, we have the ability to hyperfocus for way longer than most folks. Most people don’t know this.

Thom Hartmann, the author of many uplifiting books on ADHD, gave me an “Aha” moment that let me realize that I wasn’t broken. His revolutionary idea that ADHD is genetic has been recently validated by Robert Klitzman, M.D, the head of the Human Genome Project.

For the last 10,000 years, he says, we’ve lived in two kinds of worlds – hunting/gathering worlds, and agricultural worlds. He believes that ADHD isn’t a disorder at all, but rather an adaptive behavior that is perfect in a hunter/gatherer society. The three traits of ADHD that are mirrored in the hunter are: distractibility, impulsivity, and the need for sensory arousal.

If you think about people who’ve changed the world, you’ll notice that most of them are wired this way. These folks are the movers and shakers who move us forward in inventive ways.

Farmers, on the other hand, are much more patient; tend to enjoy rules, routine and structure; believe that slow and steady wins the race; and don’t get bored easily. Our schools and traditional workplaces are built for the farming mindset. They maintain the status quo.

One secret to having a more peaceful and dynamic society is to respect the gifts of all of our peeps. We want agents of change and maintainers of the status quo working together.

If you or someone you love has a hunter mind, there’s a lot that can be done to be a happier human. Working out regularly, finding projects that blow your dress up, and exploring a meditation or martial arts practice will help you control your mind. A loving, supportive partner can make all the difference in the world.

There are lots of careers that are perfect for hunters. Over 85% of entrepreneurs are hunters, as are most sales people, construction workers, and police officers. Consider becoming an emergency medical tech, firefighter, or nurse. Be an artist, musician or speaker. Do not be a CPA or get an office job sitting at a desk!

For your kids, there’s a lot you can do. Use creativity to make learning exciting for them, play brain games, make sure that they exercise enough to get their yayas out, and encourage them to pursue whatever hobbies that make them happy. If you can, ferret out teachers who understand how your kid’s brains work, who will do what it takes to keep them hooked into their studies. Please be cautious when considering drug therapy. Some need it, but many do not.

The best partnerships are hunters and farmers when each respects the beauty of our differences and creates synergy as a team.

We can make this a better world by working together!

Have a great week.

With over two decades of experience, Suzen Fiskin is a certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, Master of Neuro-Linguistic Programming, Success Coach, and speaker. She has a blossoming personal development practice in Sandpoint. She is also a professional photographer, graphic artist and the author of “Playboy Mansion Memoirs.” [email protected] (208)572-0009

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