This Post Is Gift From Ram on One Aspect of ADHD
Last Spring I took a trip to Portugal to visit my family. While we were there, one of my sisters (a pharmacist with a college degree and a deep interest in all things health-related) took the opportunity to finally go see an exhibit about the human brain and dragged me along.
We had lots of fun in that interesting exhibit, that was actually quite interactive, but the best part was the one-on-one competition they had available for anyone who was willing to give it a try. (Note: I’m in no way associated with Mindball(registered mark) )
I had to sit around for a while because there was a school class of little kids, eagerly taking each other on under supervision of an exhibition guide, challenging among themselves and challenging their teachers. The goal of the game: two people sit in front of each other at two ends of a table and in the middle of the table, there is a ball. This ball is connected to a magnet under the table that responds to the EEG readings of the meters connected to each of the players’ heads. When a player is more focused and calm than the other player, the ball moves away from him. Whoever manages to push the ball away from himself and all the way to the other player, wins. During the whole game, two graphs on a big screen display the level of focus of each player.
Because I have ADHD and my sister is a “vanilla”, I was eager to take her on, desperate to see how my graph would compare to hers. While watching two of the teachers of the field-trip taking each other on, I noticed how high their levels of focus were (I don’t have pictures of their graphs, sadly).They both kept their eyes closed and they were almost flatlining on top of the graph, the ball between them barely moving: an exciting mental tug of war.
My sister, who had been still wandering elsewhere in the exhibit, finally joined me and I told her to wait until the kids were gone – which would prove to be a test of my patience, because the kids were having so much fun and wouldn’t let go. Eventually, two kids were playing and while one of them had a more or less constant graph-line of focus, the other one showed big spikes of focus that almost immediately let down. I quietly told my sister “Look at those focus spikes and how they drop! I’d bet you anything that kid has ADHD…”
Finally, the exhibition guide – who had noticed me a while back – told the little kids it was time to move on, because “there’s a couple of ladies here who also want to give it a go”. They frowned but moved on, my sister and I were finally ushered to the table and I gave the guide my cell phone and asked him to take pictures – which he gladly did at all the right moments. I decided to not close my eyes. I was afraid my mind would start wandering and decided to focus my gaze on the ball. The ball was still on my side – from the last pair who played the game – and started resetting by moving towards the middle of the table. Suddenly I was unsure of myself: was the game already on? It looked as if the ball was moving farther away from me than the center of the table would be? I had to ask and, after getting an affirmative answer, I stared at the ball. The ball was jerkily but steadily moving in the direction of my sister – meaning I was winning – so that for a
moment, I was unsure and looked at her in disbelief.
She was starting to break down in laughter and saying “I’m gonna lose!”. It startled me so much that, for a second, I lost focus and the ball took a big leap at me. I intently focused my eyes on the ball and gave my best. All the while thinking “focus, focus on the ball, deep breaths, be calm, focus on the ball” almost like a mantra. In a matter of seconds, I won.
The guide took a snapshot of the comparing graphs in the end, I thanked him and then we checked and analyzed the graphs.
Now, this is what you’d call anecdotal evidence, of course. But as I predicted, my brain focus worked in big jerks that constantly dropped if I wasn’t careful. To add further information: I had taken my meds (a compound like the one you’d find in Ritalin but under a different name in Europe) about 3h previously, so I was at the peak of my performance. Which makes sense: I could force myself to focus, but it was a conscious effort, and a jagged one at that.
My sister, being a vanilla, had a constant focus, though she didn’t focus very well because she felt put on the spot and unsure of herself.
It really gave me a tickle to see the difference of our brains displayed in graphs and I wanted to share it with other ADHD fellows, so I offered myself to write a guest post for Doug, although I’m no blogger myself. I do hope it is of interest for all of you!
I only edited a few typos. Ram struggled to get this done. She deserves a lot a credit. More about that later. Thank you, Ram.
It show that we can surprise ourselves with what we can do.
@addstrategies #adhd #add @dougmkpdp