"I can pay a lot better attention to something when I’m taking a walk or listening to music or even when I’m in a crowded, noisy room than when I’m sitting still and surrounded by silence. God save me from the reading rooms in libraries. These are peaceful havens for most people, but for me they are torture chambers."
"The way I go through a museum is the way some people go through a bargain basement. Some of this, some of that, oh, this one looks nice, but what about that rack over there? I love art, but my way of loving it can make someone think I’m an ignorant Philistine."
"If there is a separate disorder called Can’t Wait in Lines Disorder, I’ve got it."
"Like so many people with ADD, I lack tact. Tact is entirely dependent on the ability to consider your words before uttering them. We ADD types become like the Jim Carrey character in Liar Liar when he can’t lie. I remember in the fifth grade I noticed my math teacher’s hair in a new style and blurted out, 'Mr. Cook, is that a toupee you’re wearing?' I got kicked out of class."
"I’ve since learned how to stifle most of these gaffes, but I can still get into trouble for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time."
"As you might imagine, intimacy can be a problem if you’ve got to be constantly changing the subject, pacing, scratching, and blurting out tactless remarks. My wife has learned not to take my tuning out personally, and she does say that when I’m there, I’m really there. When we first met, she thought I was some kind of a nut, as I would bolt out of restaurants at the end of meals or disappear to another planet during a conversation. She has since grown accustomed to my sudden comings and goings. I am lucky I married her."
"Many of us with ADD crave high-stimulus situations. In my case, I love casinos and horse races. I deal with this passion by not going often, and when I do go, I bring a modest sum that I can afford to lose. And lose I usually do! Obviously, a craving for high stimulation can get a person into trouble, which is why ADD is prevalent among criminals and self-destructive risk-takers. ADD is also often found among so-called type A personalities, as well as among manic-depressives, sociopaths, violent people, drug abusers, and alcoholics."
"But it is also common among creative and intuitive people in all fields, and among highly energetic, interesting, productive people. You can find high stimulation in being a surgeon, for example, or a trial attorney, or an actor, or a pilot, or a trader on the commodities exchange, or working in a newsroom, or in sales, or in being a race-car driver!"
"Usually the positive side of ADD doesn’t get mentioned when people speak about it."
"Suddenly, the radio station is tuned in, the windshield is clear, the windstorm has died down and you can start to build that house of cards. You can start to use all the great plans and ideas you’ve been storing up for years. Now the adult or the child who had been such a problem, such a nudge, such a general pain in the neck to himself and everybody else, starts doing things he’d never been able to do before. He surprises everyone around him. He also surprises himself. I use the male pronoun, but it could just as easily be she."
"People with ADD often have a special 'feel' for life, a way of seeing right into the heart of matters, while others have to reason their way along methodically. This is the person who can’t tell you how he thought of the solution, or where the idea for the invention came from, or why suddenly he produced such a painting never having painted before, or how he knew the shortcut to the answer for the geometry problem. All she can say is she just saw it, she could feel it."
"If the environment insists on rational, linear thinking and “good” behavior all the time, then these people may never develop their intuitive style to the point where they can use it profitably."
"What is the treatment all about? Anything that reduces the static and strengthens the true signal. Just making the diagnosis helps muffle the static of guilt and self-recrimination. Building certain kinds of structure into one’s life—like lists, timetables, and healthy habits of sleep, diet, and exercise—can sharpen mental focus. Working in small spurts rather than long hauls helps. Breaking down tasks into smaller tasks helps."
"Marrying the right person and finding the right job are probably the two most important 'treatments' for adults. And for kids it is most important to get rid of ridicule and fear from home and school and promote big dreams."
"We who have ADD need help and understanding from others. But, then, who doesn’t? We probably need more than the average person, as we can be especially exasperating and difficult. We may make messes wherever we go, but with the right help, those messes can be turned into realms of reason and art."
"So, if you know someone like me—of any age—who’s acting up and daydreaming and forgetting this or that and just not getting with the program, consider ADD before he starts believing all the bad things people are saying about him and it becomes too late."
"So let me describe ADD from my point of view. First of all, I resent the term. Maybe it’s just because I have ADD myself, but it seems to me that if anyone has a disorder, it is the people who plod along paying close attention to every little speck and crumb, every little detail and rule, every minor policy and procedure in every minuscule manual. I think these are the people who have a disorder. I call it Attention Surplus Disorder. They did exactly what they were told as children, told on others who did not, and now make a living doing what they’re told, telling others what to do, and telling on those who don’t."
"As far as I can see, many people who don’t have ADD are charter members of the Society of the Congenitally Boring. And who do you suppose advanced civilization? Who do you suppose comes up with the new ideas today? People with ADD, of course."
"Many metaphors come to mind to describe it. Having ADD is like driving in the rain with bad windshield wipers. The windshield gets smudged and blurred as you’re speeding along, but you don’t slow down. You keep driving, trying your best to see. Why don’t you slow down or, better yet, pull over? That is not the way with ADD. You keep going. Faster is better. It is in your blood (and in your brain)."