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We have ADHD. You're Welcome! How ADHD has shaped human evolution and saved our species.

So. You know that part of the brain that helps you think before you act? Us folks with ADHD have less of it. Now before you go jumping to conclusions, that does NOT mean we are less smart. It means we are worse at some things, but better at others; and this process is theorized to have played a big role in human evolution. We are STELLAR in a crisis or under pressure. It be like this:

We are the lifesavers.

So all those times humanity was somehow threatened? Wars, genocide, natural disasters.... We were the ones who got you out of that mess. Imagine a group of 20 people in some major, life-threatening crisis. Now imagine that 1 to 2 of them are built for just that experience. While everyone else's brain is about to go numb from shock, there are your ADHDers keeping calm and directing people to safety, fighting back, thinking clearly. We are your EMTs, your police officers, fire fighters, and your reporters in the thick of danger. You're welcome.

The drawback? We DO get bored easily.

And that's a huge problem as any classroom teacher will tell you. In a crisis we excel. But mundane, everyday life? Boooooring. Problem is, our brains do not produce dopamine unless we are very stimulated. And it turns out dopamine does a lot more than just make you feel happy. "Dopamine acts on areas of the brain to give you feelings of pleasure, satisfaction and motivation. Dopamine also has a role to play in controlling memory, mood, sleep, learning, concentration, movement and other body functions." So we seek excitement! Thrills! Aaaand we may even start a fight or two just to get that dopamine fix. Whatever it takes. Because to a person with ADHD, boredom is like being held underwater and struggling to breathe.

We are the explorers.

So what does ancient old ADHDer decide to do during boring times? When you're as desperate for dopamine as you are for oxygen, the idea of taking risks doesn't seem so bad. So what did we do? "We were voyagers!" Cue that great Moana song! Moana and her real-life counterparts absolutely had ADHD. Moana's dad? Not so much. According to evolutionary theory, this is why we find ADHD all over the globe. When colonists go to Mars? You can bet a big number of them will have ADHD. We face the unknown and all the fears that come with it. We invent. We philosophize and question. We explore. You're welcome. (I'm on a roll with Moana songs here...)

The drawback? We aren't great at "normal".

Unfortunately, despite these incredible super-powers, we are not really built for the "normality" of society's prescribed day-to-day life. And for many of us, that's just fine. Normal is boring anyway. But for many others, we suppress our strengths in a desperate, futile effort to "fit in". (Our ADHD "sleeper agents" are often women.) Those of us who can't, or won't fit in? Well, some of us do end up living in cardboard boxes. Or prison. But not all of us. We are your singers, musicians, athletes, artists, comedians, actors and entrepreneurs. We are found among the very best humanity has to offer. You're welcome.

More of us are coming to the rescue. If you're not thanking us now, you will be.

Rates of ADHD are rising. And not JUST because we have become better at diagnosis. Not JUST because we finally figured out that ADHD in women masquerades as mood disorders. Turns out a nice blend of environment, genetics, epigenetics and trauma make for quite the ADHD cocktail. We've been prescribing Ritalin for ADHD since 1937, but only since the Covid-19 pandemic are we seeing worldwide shortages of those stimulant medications that keep our minds functioning when everything in life is just hunky-dory. Rates in adult diagnoses are on the rise. And kids? Even more so. But with the environment in crisis, overpopulation, food shortages, and the ever-widening hostilities in US and world politics, these new, gifted kids and their neurodivergent diagnoses may be just what the doctor ordered.

If you have ADHD, we need you. It's time to come out.

Check in with that social anxiety. Could it be you're masking your natural behaviors and personalities because you've been punished or shamed for it? There are ways to find out. The sooner you do, the better you'll be able to learn to manage the challenging parts of your diagnosis. Shine your light, and shine it BRIGHT. You are a beacon of our hope.


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