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“But he can focus when he wants to.” WRONG!!!  – Video

One of the most common reasons people dismiss the possibility of ADHD is that the person can focus. But only when it’s something that interests them. Of course, what me mean by interest is lots of brain activity. It’s easy to do something when your brain is firing on all cylinders. When you have enough neuro-transmitters. The challenge is to wake the brain up. Video games do that. But so does driving too fast, getting into a fight, having an affair, gambling, or any number of other behaviours.

I thought I knew a lot about my Attention Deficit Disorder. But when we were making the documentary “ADD & Loving It”, I was surprised by a number of things. Partly cause there’s so much to learn, and new discoveries are always being made. And partly because… I forget things. *  Forgetfulness is common with people who have…you know, uh what’s it called.  I have it.  I think. *

One of the things we heard again and again was Hyper-focus.  Sounds like one of the X-Men. *ADHD and ADD is not just about being inattentive and easily distracted and who wants ice cream…  * It’s about uneven attention.  Lots, then none.  And no control over when you have lots or none.  Sometimes, la de dah
And sometimes it’s about being so focussed that you lose track of time, and don’t realize five hours have passed and you’re now starving and you have four seconds to find a toilet before your bladder bursts…*

Doctor’s call it Hyper Focusing.  Artists call it, flow.  Athletes call it being in the zone.  I call it “Remember to breathe, Ricky.” *

Adults with ADD will tell their Doctor, or any Doctor, cause we talk a lot, * “Doctor, sometimes I can really focus like no one I know.” Their spouses will say, “Yeah, he can focus when he wants to.”   Author

(CYNICAL) “He can focus when he wants to.”  Well, sort of.  And not really.  He, or she ,may be able to really focus, but not always when they want to.  And not necessarily on the right thing.  “She managed to hook a rug in one 38 hour stretch… during which five dogs died of starvation.” *

Which is why an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder can sit down at his/her desk to write up an urgent report and end up spending two hours making a cool picture for next year’s Christmas card. *

Lots of people have told us that sometimes ADD is like the channel’s keep changing and someone else has the remote. But then, sometimes you can sit and watch the same channel for 10 hours straight… and miss the program you really wanted to see. *

And unfortunately your life doesn’t come with a VCR or PVR.  Just a lot of IOU’S, SNAFU’S and I’m P.O’d. *

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17 Responses to ““But he can focus when he wants to.” WRONG!!! – Video”

  1. EventHorizon says:

    “…an adult with Attention Deficit Disorder can sit down at his/her desk to write up an urgent report and end up spending two hours making a cool picture for next year’s Christmas card.”

    Aha! Now I have an explanation for why, when I had to submit a book report – way back in junior high – that I instead handed in a detailed drawing of a cat!

  2. tashg says:

    Loved this one. It’s actually really poignant and sad. Thanks, Rick. I missed my daughter’s class assembly this week – why? we didn’t get a note through from the school saying we could go – I’ve known she was rehearsing for ages – but thought it was just for the kids. Turns out all the other mums were saying how great she was … you can imagine how great I feel about that…

    The other thing was that, even if I had known, I was so behind on my work I’d not have been able to go. ADD is a deeply deeply distressing tough thing to have, A lot of it is REALLY fun, and some of it is NOT at ALL FUN. At ALL.

  3. Space Cadet says:

    I related to Rick’s statement “I forget to breath”. I do that often. I am so engrossed in an activity that I don’t breath. My spouse will tell me to breath because he will hear me catching a big breath. My doctor thinks I have asthma, but I really think it my hyper focusing. Any other people have this? P.S. I have never been “diagnosed”, but our son has been.

  4. spngbob says:

    i love this. great description of hype-rfocus because that does tend to be the refrain with my momma. “y’all can focus when you want to.”

    and the description of channels that keep changing and someone else has the spot on.

    not too long ago i realized that when a thought popped into my head that i considered great, hilarious, important or whatever and i shouted OH OH OH i was scaring everyone around me. it entertains the hell out of me but i’ve really had to work on not doing that. wonder how many other things are funny to me and no one else? 😀

    im goofin off at work. i love this website. its addicting. in a good way. unless my boss walks in.

  5. mhagler says:

    I can sit down to edit a video and look up 8 hours have gone by the kids are back from granny and i have not ate or done any of the things i wanted to do that day other than edit a video.

  6. clynn says:

    I forgot to call my bro-in-law on his birthday. :/

  7. hedgehog says:

    After the video i ended up watching Scrubs.

  8. ravenlunatick says:

    This! In the “All natural” video you lost me bc I thought,” Damn. I have to get that deadly nightshade out of the backyard before my kid eats it…”

  9. Riri says:

    This is great! I experience exactly the same thing, but sometimes I fail to explain, or I don’t explain it good enough, to people around me. Next time, I will just copy this one, or simply have people watch it. After all, this is funnier than my explanation.

  10. Jim_in_Pismo says:

    This is probably the best of Rick’s video shorts. Funny and so dead on true. The final comment expresses something I’ve said (or thought) far too many times. The most difficult aspect of ADD in adults is that other folks think it’s voluntary. They think we simply make poor choices, that we don’t care – and in this video, Rick very aptly shares the deep pain we feel when we’ve managed, once again, to let someone down. Thanks Rick.

  11. MrXxx says:

    This is fantastic! Short, sweet, and to the point. Always takes a lot of editing to get there doesn’t it Rick?

    I’ve lost count of how many times I heard this sentiment while growing up, and now my wife and I are hearing it from our son’s teachers.

    I’m going to INSIST every teacher that makes this claim watch this clip from here on in.

    If they don’t start changing their attitudes, I’m going to tell them to quit calling me asking for advice when they shut down because of being pressured when they’re stuck.

  12. Ruth G says:

    Prior to “ADD and Loving It” and, I didn’t realize this was a symptom of anything other than procrastinating. I’ve never liked cleaning (although I like things clean) but when I was in school and had a project due you better believe two things: FIrst, I waited until the last possible moment to start and Second, before I typed word one, my entire house was clean. Including ishy things like the toilet and kitty box and difficult things like under the stove and fridge, the ceiling and so on. Before I knew it, it had been hours since I “started” my project, the house was clean but my paper was bank! How I made it through college, I’ll never know..

  13. Amy says:

    My worst problem with hyperfocus comes in the evening if I start working on a project (that I really love, of course), and then next thing I know, it’s way past midnight or 1am and I’ve got to get up early in the morning, and I don’t get enough sleep. (Like right now, I had planned on going to bed an hour ago!)

    I also do this with jigsaw puzzles and looking for shark’s teeth on the beach. I have to be almost literally dragged away from doing these things because I could spend hours and hours and hours doing them.

    It’s been helpful to set alarms on my ipod touch to get me to stop (“Nag” is a great app for this, btw), but usually I forget to set it in the first place! 🙂

  14. bigdissaved says:

    Rick, you never said where this ice cream shop is, the one down the street… Oh, the video is still going….

  15. SheilaMry says:

    Yup. (No one understands.)

  16. nickypatips says:

    ooooh. man. yeah. this has been me my whole life, and, right now, since I’m supposed to be working. lol! ooh look, lemon drops! yum! my hands are kinda sweaty. i think i need to wash them. then i’ll put lotion on them…and make a christmas card good idea! oh crap i missed that deadline…. 🙂

  17. librarian_chef says:

    I wish this description of hyperfocusing was in the original movie as it more accurately conveys the positive and negative aspects. I still don’t like the term “hyperfocusing” as it doesn’t reflect the lack of control that we have over the trait. Some times it is on task and we are extremely productive,but most times it is not on topic and happens at the worst possible time, e.g. when you were supposed to be getting the keys and running to an appointment, you wind up spending over an hour looking up how to beat a level at a video game or reading tech news.