In my last post, I shared about how I donâ€™t feel that an ADHD diagnosis is a disability, but rather it is incredibly liberating. In case you havenâ€™t read that post already, here is the portion where I talk about this:
Let me begin by saying that there is something very liberating about my diagnosis. I donâ€™t see my ADHD as a disability in any wayâ€”in fact, just like with Steve Jobs, Ted Turner, Bill Gates, and Albert Einstein, I feel it has been a strength and a contributing factor in my success up to this point. However, there are challenges and difficulties. One of those challenges is that itâ€™s difficult (and sometimes impossible) to stay mentally focused and engaged on tasks that we donâ€™t find interesting.
Imagine that you were wrestling with The Invisible Man. He has you pinned to the floor and no matter how hard you try to get up, you canâ€™t; there is this unseen resistance that you canâ€™t overcome. You feel paralyzed for no reasons and just feel like if you tried harder you get up. Youâ€™ve never heard of The Invisible Man before, you canâ€™t see him, heâ€™s bigger and stronger than you are, and heâ€™s got you pinned to the floor. Then suddenly, someone (probably your clinical psychologist or psychiatrist) throws a bucket of paint on the two of you. All of a sudden, you realize you arenâ€™t paralyzed after allâ€”you just have a big man on top of you holding you down. Now you can see your challenger! After he has been identified, you are then on a level playing field where you can meet his challenges.
This is what my ADHD diagnosis was like for me. Now that I can see my challenger, I can find ways to overcome those challenges. To those without ADHD, these may seem like small insignificant challenges. Thatâ€™s OK. Youâ€™re wrestling with The Invisible Man. But those who are need some strategies and techniques in order to win the fight. This article is one such strategy that Iâ€™ve stumbled upon that helps me tremendously.
As I was writing this analogy of wrestling with The Invisible Man, I happened to remember something I had shared with my psychologist. I shared with him about a recurring aspect of some of my dreams. I must admit that I very rarely remember my dreams, but I typically do remember a few each year. For the past 4 or 5 years, I would periodically dream that I was in some threatening situation and that I was unable to move at allâ€”I was totally paralyzed. In the earlier parts of the dream I was normal, then I would be threatened by thugs on the street, invaders in my home, or in some other situation. I was never hurt in the dreams, but the threat was very near. I would struggle to move, but couldnâ€™t move a single muscle. Then I would suddenly break free and simultaneously I would wake up.
Iâ€™ve never been one to think much about dreams as a window into the subconscious. I do believe that God revealed things to people in the Bible through dreams and that He can do that today as well. I think that most of the people who try to interpret every dream as having either some deep spiritual or psychological meaning are making dreams much more of a god than they deserve to be. Having said all that, I do think these dreams of mine had some relation to what was going on inside my mind.
I had been searching for a few years for the cause of some of my challenges in life. When I was diagnosed with ADHD, a lot of things suddenly made sense. Just like in my story above, I could finally see my challenger, and since I could see him, the playing field was leveled and I could look for ways to beat him. In my dream, as soon as my muscles broke free from the paralysis, I woke up. In real life, once I realized the cause of the challenges it was like waking up from a dream.
Itâ€™s interesting to note that I havenâ€™t had this particular theme in a dream since then. I donâ€™t know if this should be explained as psychological or spiritual, but I do believe there was some connection between this dream theme and my diagnosis. Now that Iâ€™m â€˜awakeâ€™ Iâ€™ve been finding lots of ways to cope and overcome The Invisible Man of ADHD.
So, has anyone else experienced anything like this? Have you experienced something where a dream turned out to have a deeper connection to something going on psychologically inside you that was undiagnosed? I know I canâ€™t be unique here and I would like to hear otherâ€™s stories.