Friday, June 8, 2012

i don't have ADD, just an interesting EEG

I posted a while back that my therapist suggested I be assessed for ADHD. I've been experiencing inattentive moments since I can remember, but this can also be caused by my anxiety/PTSD. The therapist who tested me for ADHD concluded that I do not have many symptoms consistent with other adults who have ADHD, just "an interesting EEG," as he put it.

Apparently, adults with ADHD experience inattention more persistently whereas all the QEEG recordings done of my brain electrical activity ("brainwaves") show a pattern of transient half second "momentary lapses." It is possible that these lapses occur more frequently under stress, amplifying my experiences with anxiety; of not being in control. Because they don't feel like merely drifting off or tuning out in conversation. They have a more jolting, disconcerting effect of dropping into a black hole; like something was entirely lost for a split second and I can't hold on to anything.

The therapist has recommend I see a neurologist to look further into my "interesting EEG" pattern and to see whether there might be some medications that could help me. At this point, as a freelance writer, I don't have health insurance so this is not an option. I'm also not thrilled about the idea of medication. And frankly, I already feel that much better from knowing I simply have an "interesting EEG."

The therapist who assessed me was so helpful in this respect. "What do I do when I go blank giving a talk?" I asked. "Show them your interesting EEG," he suggested with a grin.

He was helpful also in helping me feel better about not being able to catch what people are saying at parties or bigger gatherings. "It just doesn't interest you," he explained; "when you're bored, you can't focus."

And it is true that when a conversation or article truly fascinates me, I will hyperfocus and remember the littlest detail. Whereas chitchat goes in and out, leaving me with that same unsettling feeling that I can't grasp anything.

But really I can. And people with ADHD can too; ADHD or inattentive moments have nothing to do with a person's level of intelligence. On the contrary, a high level of intelligence, creativity and intuition are often observed in people with ADHD. You can think of people with ADHD as super intelligent but bored out of their minds when they can't focus on what interests them. I would have been proud to join the circle of adults with ADHD. At least I have my "interesting EEG" to hold onto.
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