Category Archives: Writings

ADHD gives me superpowers and why that makes my life hell

So, today, someone in one of the ADHD support groups of which I am a member on Facebook posed this question: “We post a lot about the negative aspects of our adhd… but what if it were a superpower in disguise? What are your strengths- superpowers if you will- that are thanks at least in part, to your adhd?” (sic) Below is my answer.

Tl;dr YES we have superpowers, but the “real world” does not recognize superpowers, or if they do, does not like superpowers, and that is why our lives are so rough.

So, this turned into a dissertation. Read if you like, this is something that always really pisses me off, but I just went off onto a rant today because my depression has effectively canceled any impulse control I might have.

I have ALWAYS thought of my “differences” (what I used to call them before I knew they were from ADHD) as superpowers, and they really are. I mean, I can put ideas together that nobody has thought of, creating brand new and much better outcomes. I react like the fucking Flash in cataclysmic situations. Hyper focus is fucking amazing, when I can get it harnessed to do what I want. I can hold way more knowledge in my brain than the vast majority of people. Sure, some of the knowledge may be totally unrelated and random, but it is there. I literally know a lot about nearly everything, from neuroscience to eastern philosophy. Anything that I have spent anytime studying is likely retained, at least somewhat. And, I am absolutely immune to advertising because I am totally internally motivated. I have lots of superpowers, and I love them all.

That being said, I’m not idiot and I know that all superpowers also come with weaknesses. If you study the history of the Hero Myths, something I highly recommend for a hyperfocus session, you see that every hero had some special weaknesses.

For example, my hyperfocus is awesome for gaining in-depth knowledge in a subject quickly faster than anyone else, but sometimes I cannot control what it wants to learn. So, that means that sometimes I spend a few hours learning something that is not immediately relevant.

Likewise, the ability to hyper-react with clear thinking and time-slowing perceptions is awesome and has literally saved my life before. But, that means I get to be on edge all the time, leading to hypertension (high blood pressure), mental/physical exhaustion and other negative effects.

And so on. Would I give up my superpowers if it meant being relieved of the weaknesses that come with them? FUCK NO. Once you identify and understand your superpowers, you can start to harness them and use them for your benefit. Honestly, THIS is what more ADHD therapy should focus on.


And here’s the big but that ends up killing so many NDs. ME or any ADHD thinking/knowing we are superheros is not the problem. Yes, self-esteem and self-understanding is important, but low self-esteem is not intrinsic to the ADHD condition. The REAL problem comes from trying to fit into a “normal” society that not only does not recognize our gifts, but in facts sees us as broken, sub-normal, of lesser quality than they are. I mean, the BIGOTRY is RIGHT THERE IN THE NAME: Attention-Hyperactivity DEFICIT DISORDER.

I mean, the whole ass name of our condition is an insult!!! And, not to be bitter against some of our ND sisters & brothers, but many other ND conditions do not have actual insults in their name. Like dyslexia, autism, Asperger’s. I mean, can you imagine the outcry if they changed the name of the “Common Cold” to something like “Just breath you fucking Moron,” or “Stop coughing stupid you are bothering me.” It’s the same damn thing, don’t tell me it’s not. And we wonder why so many ADHD have low self-esteem, depression, and a lack of productivity? Fucking hell, how about they stop calling us broken and maybe we can finally stop acting broken.

Seriously, I cannot believe the psychiatrists, neurologists, and ADHD activists have allowed it to go on this long. There have been many diseases whose names and indications have changed over the years, as they became more well understood. I mean, the term was coined in fucking 1902, OVER 100 YEARS AGO, and was then defined as “an abnormal defect of moral control in children.” Many people still think of it as that, though the actual science has moved WAY beyond that. Hell, I am more moral than most NTs.

And I would like to counter the assumption that our condition is ACTUALLY an attention deficit. I have come to think that is total bullshit, honestly. When I am interested in something, I have excellent attention. Better than most NTs, in fact. There are a couple things that kill my attention and this is same for most ADHD. 1) the subject or presentation is boring or 2) depression.

Addressing that first one, it seems that NTs, especially in K-12 schools, have some perverse obsession over being boring. In school, they love to present subject matter in the absolutely most boring manner possible. Here I am going to diverge into a revelatory story, where I really learned this.

I’ve always loved learning about history. But, of course, I hated history courses in school. Most were taught by coaches as a requirement for them being coaches. Literally the stupidest idea, ever, but that’s school for ya. I did most of my learning on my own, tried to keep my head down in class, and got mediocre grades because I never did my homework, even though I knew it better than the teachers. Then, I got to college. One summer, I took a history course that started at 7am. Fucking 7am, for an ADHD with an altered circadian rhythm. But, this lady was amazing, she explained history as stories. It was so interesting, I was rarely late and paid rapt attention the whole class. Got an A, of course.

Second, depression really kills attention. This is true for everyone with depression and is a well-known and well-documented fact, so it is not opinion. As an ADHD person, especially if diagnosed young, you are being continuously told you are a disorder, aka broken, fucked up, less than good. OF COURSE YOU ARE GOING TO BE DEPRESSED. As I said early, even if you are surrounded by supportive and loving friends, family, and doctors, the very name of your condition reminds you that you are less than adequate every time you hear it.

So, the likelihood is that nearly every person with ADHD is depressed, at least to some extent. And, we know depression kills attention. Ergo, nearly every person with ADHD is going to have attention issues. How do they researches tell the difference between attention-lack caused by depression and attention-lack caused by a neurological misfunction (aka ADHD)? Answer, they cannot. Ergo, they think ADHD causes attention-lack. I completely disagree, and would be happy to challenge any neurologist to prove me wrong. The attention-lack is caused by depression which is caused by a world that hates us.

So, to answer the question, yeah, I know I have superpowers, and it really destroys me to know that I live in a world that hates superpowers. (please pardon any typos, written in a hyperfocus rant without proofreading)

Miami Traffic

It’s funny you mention this, I have been thinking about traffic issues a LOT recently. I will tell you exactly how to fix it. It is fairly simple, actually. Police need to crack down HARD on two rolling violations, line-cutting and crosswalk charging.

The driving problem here stems from the fact that our government encourages self-centered and rude behavior (like the one you described). Because there is little enforcement on what one might call “courtesy crimes,” people who follow common courtesy are the ones that are punished. I am sure you have experienced this many times.

The thing is, behavior shapes reality. People here are rude and self-centered because they are rewarded for being so. If, instead, we punish those behaviors strictly, and encourage courteous behaviors, then people will start behaving better just out of fear of consequences. But, eventually, this new behavior builds new tracks in the brain and becomes their default behavior type.

Through acting more courteous, people actually BECOME more courteous. And all it take is cracking down on those two behaviors. It gets even cooler, though. Because we have actually changed people’s brain patterns, that behavior could bleed over to other aspects of their life. Be enforcing courteous driving, it is highly likely that we build a more courteous community across the board.

None of this is conjecture, it is all based on solid psychological and neural brain science. It is well documented that behavior and thought are a two-way street. Thought shapes behavior and behavior shapes thought.

The Impending Miami Changemaker Collapse

The Impending Miami Changemaker Collapse

I don’t really know if this should be called a #LateNightRant or just a #MondayMorning #RealDeal, but here goes. This is something I have been mulling over for quite a while now. Anyway, sit back, this is going to be a long one.

You all know I tend to overshare, and about two months ago, I overshared about my battle with anxiety and stress. I was near collapse at the time. Many people gave me much great advice, some of which I have followed and am greatly improved. However, that is not the point of this post.

Because of my propensity to share and be open about my trials, it seems that many people are willing to be open with about theirs. What I learned due to my sharing is that not only is my condition not unique, it is not even unusual. It is practically commonplace. It seems that there is an epidemic of burnout spreading throughout Miami’s changemakers and do-gooders.

When I shared my problems, other people started to share theirs with me. Once I started noticing a trend, I dug deeper. When I would run into someone I know, which happens often, of course, and we exchanged the common courtesies of, “How are you!?” and they would inevitably respond with, “I’m great!” I would ask again, “But, how are you really?” More times than not, the response was different and not near as positive Then, knowing that they knew about my fight with anxiety, I would ask if they ever dealt with the same issue. Because I had shared my problems, they felt comfortable sharing with me, as well. The majority, the vast majority of people who I asked said that they indeed were fighting the same battle as I.

Also, after co-founding an organization dedicated to supporting those changemakers, I have become much more familiar with the processes that many of them operate under. I have been researching the funding process and have spoken with many of these organizations and changemakers about their experience. I have also been studying the formula that local funders use to assign funds to refine our own processes in obtaining said funds. I have spoken with many, many changemakers and leaders regarding their experiences. I have probably spoken directly and honestly to more changemakers than almost anyone else in Miami.

Again, as an oversharer, people are much more willing to share the actual truth with me than they are with most people, especially those in power. More on that later.

So. Here is the trend I am seeing, there is an impending epidemic of changemaker collapse coming in the next few years unless we significantly improve the way things work. There are so many more people working on so many different aspects of the community than there were just 10 years ago, not to mention 20 or 30, and the support infrastructure has not kept up. We need to restructure the institutional support systems for the changemakers. There are not enough resources to support what everyone is doing, even though it is all good work. The resources we do have are significantly misallocated.

The current state of affairs is not sustainable. All of this changemaking is wonderful, but we see people drop out all the time due to inability to continue and we need to look at what changes need to take place in order to better manage our resources. These are issues that we are currently socializing to bring it into the light and really start talking about it on a large scale. Think about it for a while, and we can go into more depth later.


Moderated Innovation in Philanthropy

#LateNightRamblings: So, what does it take to change the world? What does it even take to change your city or your neighborhood? People have been working at it a long time, and look where we are. It just seems like, if we want different results, we need different methodology.

As I delve more into this philanthropic business, this #changemaker world, I see a lot of good ideas, but I also see a lot of inertia, and I definitely see a LOT of bad ideas. I think the thing that upsets me the most is the funding.

I see funding going to so many projects, both new and old, that are so obviously headed for failure. I think the new ones annoy me the most. Sure, they might be some short-lived fun, but in the long run, when the funding runs out, they turn out to be unsustainable. Then, what was the point of all that money?

I see the word “innovation” bandied about quite a bit. I see money going to “innovative” projects for no other reason than they are trendy. Some work out okay, but many, the majority, do not. They are just the theme of the week, they have no substance and no real, long-term merit. But, everyone wants to hop on the hashtag-of-the-week trendwagon. It is like the funders are trying to buy their way into coolness.

On the other side, many of the old style organizations, that have not kept up with the new ideas that do work, still keep plodding along, sucking up dollars that could go to leaner, more efficient organizations. The opportunities presented my new technologies and new management styles are really amazing, but so many people just stick to the “this is the way we have always done it.”

Question everything. Do the old styles of Boards work? I know, it is blasphemy to even ask. Do the old styles of executive management work? Does the old habit of working your volunteers until they crash still work? Do the old funding models still work? If the answer is yes, definitely keep it, if the answer is no, stop holding onto it just out of fear of change.

It is a balancing act that requires moderation on both ends; too bleeding edge, and you end up wasting money on things nobody ever wanted; too tried-and-true and you lose out on the potential presented by new learning. The real magic happens in that middle-area, by taking the old methods that do work, and carefully applying new methodology to them, pushing the envelope, without ripping it.

You know, but nobody wants to talk about the middle. The bleeding edge stuff appeals to the adrenaline junkies and trend-hoppers. The tried-and-true stuff appeals to the complacent and lazy. The moderated innovation that takes place in the middle appeals to no one, but it is where the actual progress happens.

I always say we are inventing the future. We are creating things things that have not been done (e.g. PhilanthroFest), but we base them on the parts of the past that work (it’s a big family festival). If you just do new stuff that has no sustainability, then it does not become the future because it eventually dies off. If you just keep doing the same old thing, then you are not inventing anything. Inventing the future means creating things from the past that are new AND sustainable.

You do have to try new stuff. You do have to learn from the past. You can do both. Unfortunately, it seems that most people think it is one or the other.

#ProTip: Dear PR, It is Not “Highest Priority”

#ProTip: Dear PR people, we love you, but please do not send emails marked “Highest Priority.” It usually indicates one of two things. 1) You (or your client) is way behind and this is a last minute thing. To me, the recipient, that says, “This is going to create extra work for you because you have to rearrange your day to try to get it into the publication right away, so you should probably just ignore it.” Or 2) You (or your client) thinks your stuff is so much more important than anyone else’s. This says to me, “I am going to be very annoying and bothersome, and create extra work, so you should probably just ignore it.” Either way, “Highest Priority” always has a bad connotation.

If you want to indicate that something is timely, please just put the date in the subject line. It is so much more polite and it actually conveys useful knowledge to the recipient in a convenient manner. Thank you! via Facebook

Tax Day #ProTip: How to get bonus money from your income tax

#ProTip: Since it is Tax Day, today’s tip will feature how to get bonus money on your taxes. Many people take the tactic of paying in a little extra from each paycheck so they get a nice refund. Do not do this!

This is like giving the government an interesst free loan with your money! Why would you do that??? Pay attention, this is a little complex, but I am going to tell you how to get “free money” from the government, but it does take some work.

Instead of paying in extra, you should pay in as little as you can throughout the year.
* Take as many deductions as you can off your salary, so that you pay in less each month. Get it as low as possible.
* Then, you take that extra money and put it in an interest bearing account. Call it “tax-account”.
* Do not cheat! You have to take that extra tax-money each month/week and put it into the account.
* When taxes are due, take what you owe out of your tax-account and pay that.
* Then you have the extra interest left-over! It is like you are getting money for free!!! Basically, what happened is that the government gave you an interest-free loan and you invested that and get to keep the interest.

If you want to have more left over, just put in a little extra than you would owe each month, just like you have been doing for the government.

Let me give you an example. Say that you normally owe $10,000 in taxes. Usually, you pay in $12,000 from your salary, $1000 per month, so you get $2000 back at the end of the year.

Do it my way. Instead of giving that $1,000 per month to the government, only pay in $500 per month (for a total of $6000). Take that other $500 and put it into an interest bearing account. Say you make $300 in interest throughout the year. Then, at the end of the year, you have $6300 in the account. You pay the other $4000 to the IRS (total of $10,000). You end up with $2300, instead of $2000! It’s like a free $300 and all it takes is a little effort and discipline on your part.

The more you can keep from your monthly pay-in, the more interest you can make. Just make sure you do not snitch from your tax-account throughout the year! With your extra $$$ you can buy me a drink as a thank you.

#ProTip: Put Needed Info Info Prominently on Your Website

#ProTip: for those of you producing an event, whether big or small: PUT YOUR DATES, TIME AND LOCATION AT THE TOP OF THE FRONT PAGE OF YOUR WEBSITE!

This goes right along with having enough toilet paper as something that is easy and cheap to fix that really enhances the experience of your patrons. Why make people search for this most basic of information?

You would think this kind of thing would be self-evident, but I cannot tell you the number of websites that hide this important information.



This gallery contains 19 photos.

We went to Naples this Thanksgiving weekend. It still kind of amazes me that I have been coming here for over 40 years. My grandfather lived here and we have been visiting since I was a little kid. Now, my … Continue reading

Silly Fun

Sometimes you should just get away and have some silly fun. For Thanksgiving this year, we went on the Murder Mystery Dinner Train. The food was actually quite good, and the service was spectacular.

But, the really silly part was the dinner show. It was all about 4 ghosts who had died 70 years ago and were trying to figure out which one of them killed them all. Attendees were supposed to write down the clues and figure out who the killer was. As usual, I picked the main victim as the killer. I really suck at these things.

The thing is, it was just goofy fun, and sometimes that is all you really need. There are a lot of stresses and everyone needs a break. I know many people who are or were suffering from massive stress. It is often hard to break away from that and take a break. Paying bills always looms over your head. People are hustling and working so hard just to keep their heads above water. They are scared if they even take one day off that everything will come tumbling down.

I was like that. For about two years, I could barely breathe. Could not sleep. My waistline attests to the fact that I did not have trouble eating, but I still was ill much of the time. Finally, I had to step back and take some time off.

So take a day and go see a silly murder mystery. Or, whatever. Do something to take your mind off the stress for a little while. When you come back, you will be able to handle it better, I promise you.

#SMCSFblog 29/30


Happy Thanksgiving 2013!

Wishing all of my friends, fans, followers, and those soon to be, a very Happy Thanksgiving from Naples, Florida where we are visiting my parents. I hope you all are celebrating in a warm and happy way, while remembering those who may not have as much to be thankful for.

I am so very thankful of all my friends, it is only through your teamwork and support that we truly can change the world and bring a Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone!

#SMCSFblog 28/30