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Reply To: How do I Explain this to Others

Reply To: How do I Explain this to Others2013-11-27T15:01:04+00:00

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I kind of had an epiphany about the Non-Believers. I’ve said it before – people don’t like any suggestion that human beings don’t have complete Free Will. But I’ve just realized WHY – what’s that about? It’s about a deeply embedded survival instinct. The world is a frightening place. People want to believe they have control over their environment and their destiny. They need to believe it, or they’d be too terrified to live.

When an ADHDer comes along and doesn’t have the degree of  control people expect – when willpower fails – neurotypicals panic. To deny willpower is an outrage because it threatens their core, essential conviction that anyone can, through sheer determination, informed by moral principles, overcome obstacles and gain mastery over their lives.

The more deeply someone is convinced that people get what they deserve in life, the more they are threatened by others with invisible differences. They don’t want anyone to be let off the hook when they think they are fighting the good fight. When they mistakenly believe their perceptions of reality ARE reality. They don’t want to allow themselves an inkling that they might not have as much control as they need to believe they do.

No one wants to believe their destiny rests on luck or chance. No one wants to be the victim of circumstances. It’s too scary.

And I think a lot of us probably have doubts about ADHD for the same reasons.

As the child of a schizophrenic, I learned very early that some people have more free will than others. That life isn’t fair. Bad things – really bad things – happen to people who don’t deserve it. Hard work and being a good person are no guarantee of success. Justice is far from given – the exception, not the rule.  I’ve also lived with the kind of depression where nothing much matters, where every effort seems futile – where life itself is a pointless exercise.

But a lot of people out there can’t handle that. It scares the living daylights out of them. Fear turns to anger and lashing out. They are not equipped to cope. They want to live in an orderly world where right and wrong are clearly defined, and things happen for a reason.

That just hasn’t been my experience, so when questions about free will come up, I tend to be pretty flexible in my expectations of others – what we can reasonably expect someone with certain abilities, in a given environment, to actually be capable of. Do things happen for a reason? All I know is, things happen that I don’t understand now, and will never understand, and can’t control. If I’m lucky, I can control a small corner of my own private universe. I don’t imagine my abilities or limitations extend to everyone. But most people do.

Just a theory.