I’m not going to discuss the sexy and aloof “sorry, I tap out when I’m bored, so it’s your duty to keep me entertained,” kind of ADHD but rather, the less glamorous version which (with affection) I refer to as devil-DHD – the kind of ADHD that quite often leads to inevitable shame and debauchery. As I am actually one of them, I hold these specimens very close to my heart.
When around a Devil-DHD person, you might find yourself hearing outlandish lies, leading you to believe that it could be pathological. They may tell everyone how they went to Berghain this summer and had the time of their life, when you – who were on that Berlin trip with them – know full well that the colourful pop-music dance bar you went to was assuredly not Berghain. If you are kind, you let them have it, if you are my best friend, you say “huh? Maddy, what the hell are you on about, that was not Berghain.”, leaving them the joy of ten unimpressed pitying faces. The truth of the matter is, to a traditional ADHD brain, the name of a club or a location often lodges itself in a dark and fastened safe that floats somewhere at the back of the mind. The key to the safe conveniently remains at the location itself (I have keys in Italy, Berlin, Milan, Amsterdam, London). The memory of the event or the feeling, however, is often crystal clear, almost palpably vivid and tangible in our sensory consciousness. It’s the where, what, when, and why that fail us. But to a Devil-DHD, this extends beyond mere memory-loss, and becomes an opportunity to get creative.
It’s a known fact that people with ADHD are more creative. Countless studies (Scientific American, Psychology Today, ADHD Institute and many many more) sustain that “98% of case studies found that adults with ADHD had a higher rate of creative achievements compared to adults without ADHD in their daily life.” And it’s true. I get so creative with my lies that sometimes I wonder whether I should begin writing them down to keep up. My therapist with impressively large gums loved it. She got to help me with so many mind-blowing problems. Whether they were real or not was neither here nor there. Her face, and gums, would light up in a huge, Cheshire-cat smile. “Tell me more” she’d muse, as I told her about the time I once got forced, in Milan, by a drug dealer to deal several drugs to people because he had a warrant after him and couldn’t take the risk. I did go to Milan – I can’t take credit for that – but the rest was all a product of my resourceful imagination.
Another thing that goes hand in hand with the condition is hedonism. Imagine a slightly narcoleptic brain that falls asleep every so often (while your outer-shell appears awake). Then suddenly the brain briefly wakes up again but on steroids. We need to make the absolute most of these few awakened moments. Everything needs to happen fast (men, don’t take that too literally). We need to grab every chance by their hyperactive balls, before it’s gone and Cinderella’s carriage becomes a pumpkin again. These are the times you might find us running to the bar for the seventh cocktail, trauma dumping on a captured victim, and interrupting people like it were a quiz and our buzzer was “oh that reminds me!” It can come across rude, or just plain annoying, and I am aware of this, but dear neuro-normatives, you need to understand the urgency. To understand, you must take into account all of the lower moments (there are many), that occur when the brain is asleep and unstimulated, when we zone out, and for that reason become alienated from the conversation, emitting an icky series of unanswered “who? When? What are we talking about? What? Guys?” that get depressing to hear, even for us.
It is during our lower moments that your phone might begin to ping with eight consecutive “what are you up to tonight?”s followed by a painfully desperate “drinks on me if you come out”. All I can advise is for you to tap into compassion. Even if you choose that you do not wish to take us up on our pleading tequila shots spam, an “oh! Sorry can’t tonight, but definitely tomorrow!” will do, even if it is a lie. We aren’t ones to judge lies and this’ll give our restless brains somewhere to rest, at least until tomorrow. It’s really that simple. It’s when there’s nothing stimulating us and nothing immediate that we begin to wonder why we tried so hard to win the sperm race in the first place. It really does occasionally get that dark up there. An ADHD-er who is self-aware might journal and may have devised certain coping mechanisms, but there is no miracle cure to the overwhelming deserts of boredom and nihilism that we so often stumble upon.
The unhealthier Devil-DHDer will resort to quicker and more harmful measures. A vape addiction will become a good friend and getting batshit drunk on nights out, a BFF. A need for immediate gratification will often turn us into people we don’t necessarily want to be: self-centred, disinterested, debauched.
So, because my boyfriend Mr. Vape is waiting and my brain’s about to tap out, I’ll wrap it up here: yes, there’s the whole fun-loving “I’m quirky” side to ADHD, but behind the veil of hyperactivity there’s also a lot of despondency and pain. (Which reminds me of the painful time I went paragliding and the rope detached, leading me to fly straight into a mountain and I got escorted back to land by an emergency helicopter that happened to be flown by Monica Bellucci – my aunt.)
But in all seriousness, have a heart for us little lying devils. We mean well.