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Re: Anger due to the differences between severe and mild sufferers

Re: Anger due to the differences between severe and mild sufferers2011-07-01T18:00:04+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey I'm Angry Anger due to the differences between severe and mild sufferers Re: Anger due to the differences between severe and mild sufferers


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@memzak: I completely agree we should stop apologizing for stuff out of our control. The 6’5″ thing is a good analogy. As I mentioned, I’m 6’5″ as well, and I do think it’s a “gift” in the same way. There are pros and cons:


  • I can see over people in crowded rooms
  • I can reach the top shelf easily
  • It’s easier to get respect (and to intimidate)
  • I don’t worry about walking down a dark street at night.
  • Basketball is easy


  • I love to travel, but airplane seats are excruciatingly small
  • I’ve never fit comfortably in a car, truck or van
  • Chairs, toilets and every form of furniture is too low to the ground for me (my feet press into the floor like I’m standing all the time!)
  • Chandeliers and ceiling fans are hazardous to my head
  • Bugs that fly a few inches over your head fly right into my mouth.
  • Normal clothes don’t fit.

So, on the basketball court, or at work, or in a place with high ceilings, being tall is a gift. In airplanes, while driving, or standing up in a room with a chandelier or fan, or when I’m buying clothes, it’s an impairment.

But in both cases, it’s not a defect. Or a disorder. Or a disease. I’m just tall. The world is built for ordinary people, and on the bell-curve of height, I’m waaaaaaay over on the right. Doorways, seats, apparel are not made for me–I need special handling.

I can’t help but think of ADD in the same way. When I’m doing a deal, or focused on something that interests me, my ADD lets me hyperfocus. I can bear more pain and physical stress because my ADD quiets the pain signals. I can see the big picture clearly and quickly. I can problem solve in non-linear ways. It really is an asset. I don’t overcome it, I leverage it. I use it to my advantage.

But when I have to do my objectives for the year or my “Individual Development Plan” for HR–it’s a huge liability. When I have to wait in line, or in traffic–it drives me insane. When I respond quickly by email–and misspell my own name–impairment. But just like seating, clothing and ceilings, these frustrations are with a world designed for the others. For the “norms.”

It is arbitrary how far a seat is off the floor. If we were in nature, a normal person would sit on a small log, I’d get the taller one. But chairs are mass-produced, so they have to go for the average. I’m left out because I’m one of the 1% of the population that is too tall for comfort.

So too, HR and all forms of bureaucracy are arbitrary. Why is school structured? Why do we have to describe our jobs to our employers who tell us what to do? Why is letter-sized paper 8.5 x 11? It’s all man-made. They have to motivate and track people who don’t deal well with crisis; who need to be turned on and who need to be pointed in the right direction. ADD does that for me, so having to catalog it is frustrating. And boring. and tedious, and other synonyms, too.

What we need is a world, a job, a life, that is the ADD equivalent of a Big & Tall store. Stuff designed for us–the 5% of people who have this different way of being. Is it any wonder why ADDers are 300% more likely to start their own company?