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Just ten minutes. A live online presentation. Why for me should it be such a big deal?
I said to my wife that I have not problems delivering other people’s words (acting) and I have no trouble writing words for others to speak (speech writer, script writer), but what I loathe and struggle with is delivering my own words on any kind of platform.
Big fails on this count, emotionally at least would include:
- My grandfather’s funeral
- My groom’s wedding speech (I was pants at proposing too)
- My father’s funeral
- My mother’s funeral
Because it matters to me far too much when, and only when, the words that I give seem to emanate from my soul.
Let me blog, let me write letters, let me smoulder from my ears into the atmosphere with no expectation of feedback.
Both positive and negative feedback, especially if constructive, sends a shiver through my bones. Why is it that I crave confrontation, that I want to be mentally smacked around the head, then kicked up the arse and sent back into the fray to deliver some amazing show of ability?
We are all so, so, so very different, yet how we are taught, or expected to learn seems so very contrived, so set by context and numerous parameters.
I would prefer to be stuck in a cabin for a couple of weeks with an educator who hasn’t a clue about the subject, but is a natural educator, than someone who has ticked a collection of boxes in order to obtain their position. The natural educator can teach anything. The subject matter expert thinks they know everything.
eLearning can be the subject matter expect – ‘IT’ (literally) thinks it knows it all.
So, connect me, and for me connect students and educators – worry only about the desire and ability to teach or transmit and mange those hungry to gain knowledge, and for students concentrate almost entirely on motivation. If they want to learn pores will open up in their skull so that you can pour in the information and they’ll never be satiated.
THIS is what I adore about the Internet and eBooks. I can do what comes naturally to me, follow my natural inclinations, just as I did when studying as an undergraduate. The huge difference was that finding and ordering a book from the stacks of the Bodliean took between 2 hours and 2 days. I get impatient today if downloading 250 page PDF to an ipad takes longer than a minute – if I think I could boil the kettle it is too long.
I no longer read a non-fiction book from cover to cover in the conventional sense – I see no point at all in putting off references ’til the end. In ‘Thinking Fast and Slow’ Kahneman gives an author and title – I start to Goolge the phrase or author and it not only finishes off my search descriptor but finds what I want. Should I be able to download as a PDF a book (or is it a paper) published in 1973?
My reading process now looks like the essary writing plan my brilliant Geography teacher gave me back in Lower Sixth.
Fig.2 How an essay should look – the stem is the instroduction and conclusion, the stamen is the essay title and the petals the six or seven points you need to make. After Mr D ‘Dusty’ Rhodes, the R.G.S. 1979.
I am undergoing Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. For the last 18 months, initially every two weeks and now every month I see a therapist. I pay for this myself as the NHS could only offer 20 minutes every six weeks and said I was just ‘a bit depressed,’ – ‘like most people.’
Five years ago I was temporarily diagnosed A.D.H.D.
This was turned on its head by specialists in London who couldn’t distract me and found that as the tasks I was giving to do got harder my concentration improved. Ritlan had been fun. My problem was boredom. Always has been. Whenever there is a family gathering should we discuss the first words of various nieces and nephews, let alone the adults, one of my siblings or my mother will say my first word was ‘why?’ and my first phrase was ‘I’m bored.’
I’m still bored and I’m still asking why. I was 49 last week.
I think too much. Rather than thinking less, please can someone put me in a situation where I can think until my brain hurts.
A best moment for me, outside the exam room … a TV programme than was going to go live in 90 mins. The MD pulls the entire theme and my producer looks at me and says let’s do something new from scratch. It was that or waste the expense of presenters, camera crews (live, multi-camera, galley staff, support staff etc: etc No rewrites, no rehearsals, that script was handed out with minutes to go. Unprepared the interviewees were fresh. it worked. I’m good at doing ‘from the top of my head.’
By reflecting on how I behave in certain situations, coming to understand the situations and my upbringing I am changing some of my behaviour – much of the time. This ‘reflection’ has at times been recorded, transcribed and chewed over – just like this. More often I treat the moment, the hour for what it is> I do wonder if I dwelt on it more often, whent back over these discussions if I would embed the change?
My late father when in his mid-twenty to mid-thirties ( I am told and believe) would spend an hour or so with his mother coming home. (That or he was having an affair – more likely?) Something of a matriarch my grand-mother, I could imagine this regular reflection facilitating and guiding my father’s success. Reflection or dictation, being told what to do or coming to yor own decisions? I wonder. It’s value, doubtful beyond building a substantial PLC. In terms of his relationships (catastrophic he went through four marriages). I was staying with him as marriage three collapsed. He was attending Relate. He enjoyed these sessions, admitted he was probably mad and came out of these sessions rationalising who he was without any intention of changing. It gave him an excuse.
If any component of this was reflection, then it was reflection reinforced a modus operandi, rather than changing it.
Wherein lies my issue with reflection and blogging. Is it necessarily something that results in change, or even something for the better?
Didn’t Hitler write Mien Kampf while gaoled? This is narcissistic, self-indulgent reflection that gave him the opportunity to develop self-belief in his warped ideas.
See, reflection can back-fire, bringing the worst out of people, not necessarily the best.
The desired outcome of reflection as a form of thinking in an academic context is to help embed ideas and facts.
It is an aid to a neurological process, by using the information in a variety of ways it comes to matter more, priorities are made, choices taken, you form you own view of what matters and what does not. However, you share this reflection and immediately it is being written for an audience; you reflect and submit this as evidence in an assignment and the first thing you do is to check the requirements of the paper, and how it will be marked and then you adjust, edit and as a consequence contort the truth that reflection should try to uncover.
If reflection has worked then I can see a need to return to live or as-live TV. I thrive on pressure – head pressure.
A visit to the Neuropsychiatry Unit
The usual stuff
I write from 2.30 a.m. to 4.30 a.m. At 6.20 a.m. precisely a small boy gets me up.
Itake the train into London; it takes 2 hours. I arrive with 30 minutes to spare, 20 minutes of which is spent finding my way around the sprawl of the South London and Maudsley Hospital.
The unusual bit
I have an appointment in the Adult ADHD Clinic of the Neuropsychiatry Unit
Is this a coping mechanism? Using the Psion in strange places ? On a train, in reception of a hospital.
It is like a scene from Brazil, the porter is cross-eyed, the receptionist has an unintelligible accent.
I shouldn’t feel like this is a job interview, I don’t have to fake it.
An hour was spent with a clinical psychologist undertaking a series of six tests.
These were designed to test my perceptions, understanding, level of education and I.Q. Once I understood the demands, and some of the tests became extraordinarily complex, I was in my element. In all cases I ploughed through each set of tests only coming to an eventual halt one or two pages off the end. When the Psychologist said she couldn’t do the last section I wasn’t surprised. I have an IQ of 155. Wherein lies the problem.
The only two places I fell short was when artificial ‘distractions’ were put in place and when the test was long and easy – for example, identifying sets of figures in a telephone directory like lay-out while listening out for then counting a series of background tones and then completing a ‘snap’ like game on a computer screen – during long sequences when there wasn’t a match I started to dwell on how I sometimes forget my lines on stage during performances of Shakespeare at University. (I played Mercutio in ‘Romeo and Juliet’ that was performed in Magdalen College Chapel, for example)
After this I sat in an empty waiting room and completed a number of forms that were designed to determine my state of mind; am I happy, sad, angry, depressed?
The tests were:
2. As an adult
3. HAD Scale
4. Culture Free S.E.I
5. Anger Inventory
I had time, and to relieve my boredom, I wrote down the questions for your benefit. I’ll turn this lot into a ‘Survey’ on depression.
They were all ‘closed’ questions, with a scale along the lines of ‘a lot, moderately so, a little, not at all’
So, for example,
Do you/are you:
Fail to give close attention to details or make careless mistakes in my work?
Fidget with hands or feet or squirm?
Have difficulty sustaining my attention in tasks or fun activities?
Leave my seat in situations in which sitting is expected?
Don’t listen when spoken to directly?
Don’t follow through on instructions and fail to finish work?
Have difficulty engaging in leisure activities or doing fun things quietly?
Have difficulty organising tasks and activities?
Feel ‘on the go’ or ‘driven by a motor?
Avoid, dislike or am reluctant to engage in work that requires sustained mental effort?
Lose things necessary for tasks or activities?
Blurt out answers before questions have been completed?
Have difficulty waiting turn?
Forgetful in daily activities?
Interrupt or intrude on others?
Restless or overactive?
Disturbed other adults?
Fails to finish things you started – short attention span?
Inattentive, easily distracted?
Demands have to be met immediately -easily frustrated?
Cries often and easily?
Mood changes quickly and drastically?
Temper outbursts, explosive and unpredictable behaviour?
Similarly, on a scale from: ‘not very often, not often, occasionally, hardly at all, most of the time, nearly all of the time’ answer the following:
I feel tense or wound up ___________________
I feel as if I am slowed down ___________________
I still enjoy the things I used to enjoy ___________________
I get a sort of frightened feeling like ‘butterflies’ in the stomach ___________________
I get a sort of frightened feeling as if something awful is about to happen ___________________
I have lost interest in my appearance I ___________________
I can laugh and see the funny side of things___________________
I feel restless as if I have to be on the move ___________________
Worrying thoughts go through my mind ___________________
I look forward with enjoyment to things ___________________
I feel cheerful___________________
I get sudden feelings of panic ___________________
I can sit at ease and feel relaxed ___________________
I can enjoy a good book or radio or TV program ___________________
After all of this I spent 90 minutes with a Consultant Psychologist. He quizzed me for an hour, then assessed my test results and came back with the following:
It turns out I have a ‘superb IQ’ but I have tendency to distractibility
In the US I might be diagnosed as having ADHD, not so in England where all management of the psychosis is with stimulants such as Ritalin.
It appears that what matters for me is the environment in which I work and time management.
I thrive under pressure, when set a demanding challenge, where my goals are clear. The less demanding the task the greater the need for exam like conditions.
I am easily bored, a boredom that is satisfied by allowing myself to be distracted. This makes perfect sense to me. When writing a weekly new programme for Renault I was fine, better still when a week’s work had to be turned around in a few hours. When given major projects, substantial training videos for example, to turn around in several months I have been fine too. Where it has gone wrong has been when there isn’t the work, where I am expected to ‘tread water’ or undertake mundane, non–engaging tasks to fill the day for which I am being paid.
I could take an anti-depressant, if I return to work then it should be a job where I am set clear short term goals with equally clear rewards and penalties. It shouldn’t be overly stressful, so I won’t be selling space in magazines then.
At the age of four I went to a Child Psychologist
I undertook similar tests to those above. Then, as now, it was shown that I had a high IQ and a tendency towards boredom. My mother was supposed to cope by ‘tiring me out’ – so I went swimming most days. I didn’t stop me being easily bored, or distracted, but I slept better and became a reasonable swimmer.
I keep applying for and accepting the wrong job.
I may have been better suited to being a lawyer, or neurobiologist … or doctor. Something that challenges. A bit late now
The next best thing? Live TV. Location filming. Period costume. Crowd scenes. At night and underwater (which I have done. see JJ27VV on YouTube)