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Please Don't kick the machine. It's not broken.

{If you do not tussle with ADHD yourself, but have a child, spouse or friend that has been diagnosed, I hope this material enlightens your perceptions by clarifying a few things that transpire as an individual enters what I like to refer as the "creative zone."

And for those of you in my position, diagnosed with ADHD, hopefully you can relate to at least some of my reflections, which I will add are complete conclusions made from my own experiences and observing my son who is diagnosed as well. }

Let me start by explaining why I so lovingly and openly discuss my diagnosis of ADHD. I feel there is a misconception of this term as well as people who feel it is too often diagnosed. I have a slight annoyance with those who rebound from my honesty about my struggles with the disorder and claim that "everyone has a bit of ADHD"...Okay yes, I agree with this statement to a degree; we ALL want to be doing what we like and in this fast paced rat race that has evolved due to the constant stimulation of technology everyone is "attention drained." Still until you have lived with the multitude of frustrating comorbids that accompany this disorder, and spend years trying to beef up your tool belt to minimize the impediments then please avoid commenting haphazardly.

Rather than dwell on the struggles, I'd rather concentrate on the positive aspects I've discovered over the years, and how I now see this unique brain activity as an asset to myself and those around me rather than a curse. Please bare with me as I ramble a little bit about one very important discovery which helps me justify the fact that ADHD is an enviable aspect to creative exploration.

Have you ever heard the term hyperfocus? Well in case you have not, Hyperfocus is the experience of deep and intense concentration in some people with ADHD. Now this is important as I've had many people misunderstand ADHD to be solely about focus...ADHD is not necessarily a deficit of attention, but rather a problem with regulating one's attention span to desired tasks? (

Many think because I can focus for long periods of time on photography, design etc, that my attention doesn't actually wane. To be honest, I have NO problem sticking with something that is desirable to me, but of course that's not what the above statement means. The hyperfocus struggle is that I become consumed with the things that interest me and once this happens I cannot transition (key word that separates those with the disorder and those with proper levels of brain juice) to other items if they are not desirable, which pretty much means everything outside of photography, design, construction, interior design for my home, writing and all other art.

There are the individuals like my husband who make a list with important tasks at hand and methodically complete that task list with pure satisfaction. While he may get off task for a bit, in the back of his head he knows to go back to that list, and by golly he will return! Now I may have good intentions in starting a list, but once I get to the first appealing item, hours may go by where I'm totally consumed by this one thing. (kinda like what happened today with writing this blog :-)

Rather than scrutinizing this trait, I am going to point out the unequivocal aspect in which the intense focus stimulates the brain to open up where ideas can freely flow to bigger and brighter creative concepts. In my opinion, the only way to get to the "genius state" of an idea is to fully immerse oneself within that idea or project. It takes an unobstructed mind to navigate through the process of creation. It is not linear, thus putting time and boundaries on this development would be stifling. So they say hyperfocus; I say creative spontaneity.

In my experience "creative spontaneity" is nothing but an advantage because when I'm involved in a project, I'M INVOLVED IN A PROJECT! During these moments where I disappear into the creative dominion, the concept or vision is fully developed to whatever I deem close as I can get it to perfection which to be honest requires intense concentration! And yes, the other daily task stuff does momentarily go by the wayside, but when my career is based on coming up with ideas and designs that are unique to what others have done in the past, the other stuff can wait cause this hyperfocus, well, it's just me doing my job right.

Unfortunately to an artist's dismay art never actually reaches a state of true perfection. There is ALWAYS a way to improve an idea or vision. So agreeably, sometimes I do require a little tap to remind me that there are important items that override reaching creative nirvana. You know, those inconsequential tasks such as feeding my teenage boys and such.

So if you happen to pass by and notice that the pinball has been stuck in a groove for a while, try this piece of advice, rather than sending it into overdrive by giving the "gripped" machine a harsh kick; providing a gentle nudge should be the ideal service required to get the ball dislodged and tactfully restore the game.

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