For a few weeks now, I have been seeing a therapist. I had to acknowledge that I am too unhappy and too stressed out to not ask for help. It was a decision I had been meaning to make for quite a while, but I was too distracted to make it worthwhile. I think I chose the perfect moment to help myself out, and even better, I also think I found the perfect Therapist.
At first it seemed like all our time together was just going to be me venting my frustrations onto a stranger before saying “See you next week!” only to come back to do it all over again. Every session I felt like I had to convey the frustrations of the past week while at the same time trying to pass on the information of a lifetime of frustration that had been building up and building up. Our Sessions always seemed to end too early. I could have spent years constantly talking to him and trying to make him understand why I was there. After many extra long sessions of me pouring out all of my frustrations on to this poor guy (seriously, the life of a therapist must be hard), he finally stopped me to shine some light on the deep darkness of my mind.
A big part of my sessions were me talking about my ADHD-I. I have never been what I have come to understand is “properly diagnosed” but a psychiatrist did run me through a DSM5 questionnaire that said I was right on the border because I didn’t answer positive for any hyperactivity. He even prescribed me some medication that I still take because my other doctor and I decided that it was helping me. This plus me reading up on ADHD and watching countless videos online has lead me to believe that if I were “properly diagnosed” I would test positive for ADHD Inattentive type.
My Therapist heard all of this and came up with an idea. He listened to me for a while on our latest session but stopped me after a bit. His idea was simple and he conveyed it in a way that played on my natural geeky tendencies. He said that I was constantly focused on all of the problems that were plaguing me due to the way my brain works. He said that I know everything I need to know about my ADHD and how it can not only hurt me, but help me too. He said to try breaking free my focus on the negative and refocus it on the positive. What positive traits do ADHD individuals have and how can you harness them like a mutant power?
Once he started drawing similarities of my ADHD to that of the X-men, I realized that I was just like any new superhero coming to terms with his or her powers. In Spiderman, Peter Parker is bit by a radioactive spider and given spider powers. Now, unlike me, Peter knew exactly what his new abilities were and how he got them. He also saw the immediate benefits of them. This, for me, was a longer and more confusing journey. I didn’t know why I thought the way I did. It was a problem in middle school all the way up to the day when I discovered ADD, after that, it finally had a name and I was able to research and test myself to see if I fit that mould. Unfortunately, what I didn’t realize is that all Superheroes must come to terms with the negative aspects of their powers. For Peter, he learned that if he didn’t use his powers, his life and the lives of those around him would fall to tragedy. He also learned that telling anyone about his powers could put them in danger. Peter felt a great loss due to the death of his uncle and the alienation of friends and family.
This is a scene you see in every superhero movie. Hell, you see it in every movie where “The Hero’s Journey” takes place. In Spiderman, It’s the scene of Uncle Ben’s Funeral. In X-Men, It’s the scene where Rogue’s boyfriend is having a seizure on her bed. The Avengers, Bruce Banner passionately talks about his attempted suicide. Lord of the Rings, Frodo sees the effect that the One Ring has on Bilbo. Harry Potter, always getting locked in his “room” for doing magic. Matrix, Neo faints when he realizes the truth of his existence and what his life will be from now on. Frozen, Elsa hurts her sister and locks herself away. Kung Fu Panda, He becomes the dragon warrior but is saddened to find that nobody likes or accepts him. Finding Nemo, Marlin is saddened to find that the only fish willing or able to help him has short term memory loss. I could go on and on.
The interesting thing about these scenes are what happens right after them. Someone who is a little more experienced in this “new world” the hero has stepped into, enters the scene to lend a helping hand. This help usually comes in the form of showing the hero the positives of their new abilities. This person refocuses their thoughts and says “hey, you’re still human so mistakes will happen, but look at the good you can and could do!” In Spiderman, Aunt May reminds Peter that his uncle knew he would grow up to do great things. X-men, Iceman reminds Rogue of the beauty their powers can bring. Avengers, Hulks power can be an immense force in battle when harnessed. Lord of the Rings, Sam constantly reminds Frodo what they are trying to save. Harry Potter, Hagrid brings Harry to a world where magic is accepted and taught to be controlled. Matrix, Neo learns the benefits of tapping into his brain like a computer. Frozen, Elsa is able to build amazingly beautiful structures in a matter of seconds. Kung Fu Panda, Master Shifu shows Po that his passion of food can be transferred to Kung Fu. And finally, in Finding Nemo, Dory shows Marlin that if you persevere through the bad and don’t let it scare you, the world will open up to amazing experiences and lessons.
My therapist looked at me drowning in all the negativity that my ADHD has seemingly caused me and reminded me that, if properly channeled, my abilities could help me to do amazing things. He told me to focus on all the times where I was being a functional human being. Focus on all the times my thoughts were working exactly how I wanted them to. I need to analyze those moments and discover why I functioning so well. Think of all the times I was hyper-focusing and what caused it. Treat my ADHD as a super power. Learn the physics about my abilities. How do they work? What causes them? What stops them? How can I get the most benefits with the least drawbacks?
That is what this Blog entry is all about. I am taking the first steps towards honing my mutant powers. I am starting my training montage. Step 1: Hyper-focusing. This is a common ADHD trait and I aim to find out how it works. The following blog entry will be all about it.
PS: This song is relevant. Kirby Crackle – The Day My Powers Arrived (YouTube)