Hi Brains, I’m Craig.
People often joke about ADHD and bicycles, but I feel like this is such a tired trope. It bugs me. I may be easily distracted, but bikes aren’t an interesting topic. They should be joking about helicopters and brains. I mean, yeah, bikes are cool but the design hasn’t changed much in over a hundred years. The fastest a human has ever rode a bike under their own power - without a vehicle assist - was 121.81 km/h, set by Barbara Buatois in 2010.
Brains, though, are mega fast. How fast? The electrical impulses in your brain fire through neuron chains at 119 m/s, or 428 km/h, and those neurons fire over 200 times per second! It’s been suggested that ADHD brains might be operating even faster than that. To compare: the Sikorsky Raider, a military helicopter, flies at 435 km/h. That’s 30-40% faster than other helicopters, largely because the design is significantly different from most other rotor craft. Different isn’t always a bad thing.
Brains and helicopters. I think most people would agree that ADHD brains are different.
I am thirty eight, Canadian, and I live in Vancouver, BC. Sunday through Thursday I manage an Australian immigration software company remotely from 4:00 pm to 11:00 pm, and Monday through Friday I work 8:00 am to 3:30 pm at a local university as a technical analyst. I produce content for one YouTube channel at between 8-10 hours a week, and I’m starting another. I write for a video game news channel, co-host a weekly podcast, and I also engage in investigative journalism - the article I’m writing right now is over eight thousand words and covers corruption in the housing market. I also play EVE Online.
I have a seventeen year old and a two month old, and I’m married to a woman who is amazing. She is very patient. I usually sleep five to six hours a night. Ninety-five hour weeks are my norm. I’m trying to change this.
I recently started a bullet journal. The flexibility and orderliness of it makes me happy. Lists make me happy. Bullets are very calming, and checking off those bullets as I GSD is really satisfying. My journal doesn’t have an elastic, but it does have a faux fir micro-texture patterned cover that I could stim on for days. It’s exciting to see my progress using the BuJo method, and I can already picture ways to grow it, but I also have to focus on making sure it’s enabling my ability to stay on task; I could get lost decorating it, and that’s counter to its purpose.
I have four fidget toys, one for each desk I work at and one for my coat pocket. I have more stationery and pens than I know what to do with, and I’m hoping I can chew those up as I BuJo.
I have been called high functioning. I was diagnosed at seven and my mom refused to medicate me. The school was really strongly pushing Ritalin and the doses back then were way too high. So my mom made me busy: karate, baseball, piano lessons, Scouts, Air Cadets, paper route, football (soccer), rugby, and whatever else kept me busy. I walked everywhere and I slept a lot. I think that helped. The teachers could tell I was gifted, but a lot like Jessica’s story the words ‘so much potential’ haunted me for a while. Unlike Jess, I rebelled. I knew I could ace everything, and I did up until about seventh grade; but then the bullying got worse and I just sort of gave up until I got to university. I hated school. I didn’t go back for my degree until I was twenty-five.
I have two degrees and a number of technical certifications. I just sort of kept myself so busy with work and school that I never had time to be distracted, but I also never really worked at 100% of where I could be. Impairment was always a struggle, and while I was able to crush two university degrees with a 3.4 GPA while working thirty-plus hours a week, I wonder what I would have been able to do if I had just focused on school, slept and ate better, and maybe taken medication.
So, like I said, I’m thirty-eight. I’m trying to get a doctor’s referral to a specialist who understands ADHD and prescribing for someone who might also be on the autistic spectrum. While I have a diagnosis for ADHD, I don’t have one for autism, but I’ve had several friends who work with autistic children and adults strongly encourage me to ask for testing. I think the strong hint is that, “Hey, you’re definitely not a normal brain.”
I’m hoping that BuJo will help me get even more done in my days, that medication will help me be even more focused, and that finding a job which will replace my dual income will give me the freedom to take my nights back. Maybe some semblance of a social life.
Nice to meet you, brains. I’m Craig.
Don’t be a bicycle. Be an attack helicopter.