Living and Dealing with ADHD

by Patricia Allen

It was back in 1974 that I first became familiar with the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prior to that “diagnosis,” I believed  ADHD  was  simply the “way” I was and we as a family were, and I attributed it to coming from a large family, where if you had some- thing to say at the dinner table, you had to respond or say words quickly in order to have your voice heard. That made sense to me, because the dinner table was the forum for conversation, the gathering of family, and the only platform from which to convey a point of interest, whether it be related to the events of the day or what we referred to it in school as current events.

I failed to see ADHD as an impairment or mental disease. Speaking fast was a necessity, comparable to being able to “think on one’s feet” in a lively debate. And I was admit- tedly very adept at speaking fast and thinking on my feet. In a family where the boys far outnumbered the girls, as well as a time period – the ‘60s to ‘70s – it was, to me, a successful tool to join in on conversations and be assured my opinion was heard. We children were all informally well-versed in rapid speech, and I have little doubt that it was borne out of necessity in order to be actively involved in any of the topics of conversation that took place at the table.

As the fifth child and the first daughter to follow four sons, perhaps for the sake of competition and proving my self-worth in not only a male dominant family, but male dominant society, as well, I adapted in order to commu- nicate my thoughts and join in on conversation. And I  was very good at it. I was so good at it that I intimidated my brothers, and to this day continue to intimidate oth- ers who insist I “talk too much,” when I, in actuality, sim- ply am a quick thinker and quite articulate.

As I wrote in my previous article, I was no stranger to smoking pot, and in fact, had been doing so consistently since the age of eleven, albeit a secret my parents were clueless to, credit being given to my discretionary use.

Of major importance regarding this rapid speed speech dinnertime scenario is the fact that I personally benefited from the “high,” particularly when it came to voicing my opinions succinctly at the infamous rectangular round- table. What was purely experimental at first – getting  high before dinner – served me quite well; it allowed me

to be more rational and less emotional when the words became heated and the competition was both on and in my face. Although my mother was indeed educated, her voice was rarely a factor in these lively conversations, nor was my grandmother’s or my sister’s, simply because they chose to let the opposite sex dominate the dinner table podium.

Rebellious since youth, I had an uncontrollable desire to be heard because I believed my opinion mattered. I still do. I suppose, in retrospect, I was never running a popu- larity contest, because these discussions were more akin to debates than simple conversations and the sharing of ideas. I wanted in, and regardless of the open criticism, I found strength in speaking my mind, particularly fueled by the era-based notion that women were to remain silent, while intelligent conversation was left to the boys and men.

To this day, I can still recall the firm supportive grip of my grandmother’s hand, out of sight, beneath the  cover  of the linen tablecloth at the dining room table. My grand- mother was a woman far ahead of her time, a suffragette, a self-employed businesswoman who boldly opted out of an arranged marriage in the 1930s and privately encour- aged me to express myself whether it was considered acceptable or not. She, herself, was rarely outspoken at the dinner table, but those bony yet soft fingers held tight to my hand in support. I recently had the pleasure of viewing the film “The Help,” and the one line that stands out the most in my mind to this day was “…sometimes courage skips a generation.” I believe if my grandmother were alive, she would agree. I believe she remained silent out of respect for my father, her son-in-law whom she had great respect for, as I did. Interestingly, I do not recall a time when my father did not welcome my voice, although my brothers certainly did object and did so with insults and mockery, imitating my voice to initiate a melt- down and quick exit from the table. But by my early teens, I was far past the teasing that led to my tradition- al retreat to my room upstairs. I was gaining strength by being my own voice of reason.

When the diagnosis and suggestion of treatment for ADHD first emerged I was a teenager and under the scrutiny of my educators, who insisted I suffered from what is now considered a learning disability. Even worse, that diagnosis, first identified by theory, not fact, in the mid-‘70s was the cue for the pharmaceutical industry to produce a cure, as well as turn over a profit by producing a drug by the name of Ritalin, the first of many to follow to “cure” my quick thinking and rapid responses. And after being literally dragged out of classrooms by my hair and into the vice principal’s office for disciplinary meas- ures, I actually began to believe I did have a problem. My friends were not supportive, and told me I spoke too fast, and worse, accused me of failing to listen, when in actu-

ality I was and still am quite capable of listening, retain- ing AND speaking at the same time with incredible accu- racy. My question now is, and I smile as I write this: Is that NOT what a lawyer, an esteemed and educated pro- fessional, practices on a daily basis?

Leaping forward to the years that followed, while being mindful of the years passed, it is now obvious to me why I chose to write instead of speak with my voice, rather than risk constant reprimanding  and the condemnation of my family and my peers for “talking too much,” of which I am still accused to this day. My usual response was of no help, but I did commonly respond with the words “no, it’s not me; it’s that you can’t listen fast enough.”

The words you are reading are a reflection my voice, of speech. The writer within me is the product of my ability to communicate on different levels, albeit now in writing it is without interruption and criticism for speaking, rather than the topic I chose to address, and the conse- quences of voicing my opinion. Writing is merely a tool for communication, pared down to words on paper, instead of spouting from a face “too cute” to be taken seriously and from a female amongst vocally dominant males. An interesting point here is how I adapted my speech to the written word, coincidentally at the same time I began smoking pot. I think of my writing as  a  direct reflection of my voice, and find humor in that it is more acceptable for me to write than to speak to this day.

By my junior year in high school, after having been criti- cized for so long, particularly by teachers, whom I some- how managed to intimidate, as well, that I questioned their ability to teach me and set out to prove that I was quite capable of doing it myself.

I concocted a plan to discredit my teachers for attempting to silence me. Quite simply, I did not attend class. I spent my days riding my bicycle through the countryside, stop- ping occasionally to take a few puffs off a joint. My thoughts as I pedaled up hills and through valleys were coherent and flowed without interruption. It was the finest form of mental and physical freedom I had ever experienced. With the assistance of a few classmates, I was able to complete and turn in homework assignments, as well as ace tests, all without attending class, aside from the hours that the tests took place.

This brilliant concept, however, backfired miserably. I  was unaware of a school rule stating that if more than seven classes were missed, the teacher was entitled to give me a failing grade, regardless of my test scores, which were indeed as high as I was most of the time. My French teacher, in particular, began a crusade to have me expelled, and this is where the issue regarding pharma- ceutical treatment first was addressed.

When my parents learned that I was about to be expelled from high school, despite my excellent grades, because of my lack of attendance only, they were called into a meet- ing with the principal of the school, also attended by var- ious educators and psychiatric professionals. The out- come of this meeting was sad indeed, yet to this day is an example of how the term ADHD and the pharmaceutical industry stood for profit, as well as the medical profes- sion, and at my expense.

I was indeed removed, but as they stated, it was in order to assure that no other students would take on the same challenge, I was not formally expelled, but was isolated from the only public school for secondary education  in my small, yet affluent hometown. I was required to see a psychiatrist, as was required to avoid the high school and my peers altogether. A private tutor was hired at the expense of the town’s taxpayers, and the plan was for stu- dent and tutor to meet at the elementary school, in the music room in the basement, to complete the necessary credits in order for me to receive my diploma. At 16, I was prescribed Ritalin and warned to stop smoking pot.    I did not stop smoking pot, however.

Fortunately, my reaction to Ritalin and change in demeanor was bizarre enough for my father to insist that I discontinue taking it. I recall feeling “up,” but more scatterbrained than ever before. I simply could not focus, that is, unless I smoked pot while taking it, which I believed at the time negated its effect on me.

 HEMP CHRONICLES

As for my continuing education, and my desire to graduate from high school and move onto the college level, well, that dream was stunted as was my social life. But being resourceful by nature, yet another asset of those often diagnosed with ADHD, I did succeed in convincing Springfield College to allow me to take a junior level sociology class, without the two year pre- requisite courses. This “in their face” move proved to my advantage, as after closing grades, the college sent  a letter to my high school praising my  successful efforts despite the obstacles, and requesting more stu- dents like me take on the college challenge.

Recently, it was suggested to me that my diagnosis of ADHD was one of a learning disability. My immediate response reflects what I believe we need to seriously- consider today during what I believe is the peak of the pharmaceutical age and rage. I suggest we throw out the notions of additives and genetic predispositions to this bogus diagnosis, as well as the even more ridicu- lous notion that smoking pot literally fries your brain. In my life, it is a staple, no different than food for nourishment or water for hydration. It is my brain food.

Please give consideration to a theory I read that made absolute sense to me when my own son was diagnosed ADHD at the age of seven. As written by authors Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.  and John  J. Ratey,  M.D.  in the book Driven to Distraction, there are simply dif- ferent personality types in society, and they are all part of the diversity that contributes to society itself. This one book validated a theory I had yet to identify, let alone consider, but a gift of an analogy that I have cherished and believe to this day. Basically, this book explains that there are both “hunters” and “farmers.” each of whom combine and benefit society as a whole. Had I actually conformed I would have betrayed my own unique role in society. I am a huntress. I am high- ly cognizant of my surroundings, adept at noting indis- crepancy, and a decidedly content nonconformist. I am not suggesting that every child or adult would benefit from Cannabis as I have, but I do believe it, in consideration of my previous article, is of benefit to me and my voice, whether it be written or spoken aloud. From a strictly anthropological, historical point  of view, I have to question whether some of history’s greatest minds would have stunted and blunted by the side effects of pharmaceutical treatment for what I now refer to as a learning ability, not a learning dis- ability. And I have to question how many of  these  great minds secretly used Cannabis as I did and still do in order to maintain a healthy focus amidst a continu- ously expanding and diverse range of distractions in what we know call the age of both misinformation and information at the same time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Latest Posts

This menu shows the most recently posted content for a quick update since you last checked-in.

From the Family Vault of Shanti-Baba

"Seems more than strange to grow up as a child and see how important my parents and their peers viewed...

Why Get Pines Wheatgrass

Wheatgrass might just be a typical plant growing in your backyard, but few people know that it has a lot...

How to Make Your Own Canna-Caps

by Old Hippie BeyondChronic.com What do you do when you need cannabis medicine and you can’t or don’t want to...

Database Search

Are you researching marijuana as medicine? Use the simple form below to search any condition. Read personal stories from patients just...

Cannabinoid Receptors in the Body and Their Importance

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine In 1964 Raphael Macheoulam, an Israeli professor of Medicinal...

The True Origins of Haze

By Big Herb It all began in 1969, In Santa Cruz, California. At the time, there was Thai Oaxacan and...

Top 5 Health Benefits of Hemp Seeds

Hemp seeds are those seeds that are formed from Cannabis Sativa, a hemp plant. They are different from marijuana but...

Cannabis and Working Out

If you're wondering how cannabis can help you with your workout regime, then you probably need to read this article....

How Companies Are Creating Innovative New CBD Products

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive compound found in cannabis and hemp that may deliver unique health benefits. CBD is just...

5 Marijuana Compounds That Could Help Combat Cancer, Alzheimer’s & Parkinson’s

by Paul Armentano Deputy Director of NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) This commentary was initially...

Living with Osteogenesis Imperfecta

By Michael Morrow My name is Michael Morrow, I'm 37  years  old and I have Osteogenesis Imperfecta. OI is a...

Gifts from Mother Nature

By Dianna Donnelly - "The couch activist” Aspirin, otherwise known as Acetylsalicylic Acid, is one of the most commonly ingested preventative medicines...

Paradise Seeds Allkush; More Than Just Kush

One of the new feminised strains from Paradise Seeds is named “Allkush”. So nothing but Kush? Taken genetically literally, no...

28ft… The John Berfelo Story

By John Berfelo "Medical marijuana saved me from a life on pharmaceutical drugs..." My name is John Berfelo and this...

My Grinspoon Moment

By Carl Hedberg Sometimes a single meeting can change your life. Such was the case for me when, in the...

The Science Behind Cannabis Safety

David B. Allen M.D. By legal Democratic Vote; Cannabis Is Medicine. Drug safety is on the minds of most all...

Heavenly Hash: The Art, Science and Industry of Cooking with Cannabis Extracts

by Samuel Wells Samuel Wells is an Assistant Professor of English in Denver, CO An Edible Enigma As scientific and...

Living High with HIV

How Medical Marijuana Rivals Mainstream HIV Medicine By BenBot In 2011, I was diagnosed with HIV. An unmarked van was...

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

With Veterans at Risk, Change is Necessary, but Progress is Slow By Mary Lou Smart In 1933, the repeal of...

Milagro Oil for Lung Cancer

By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com Compassionate care advocates Michelle and Michael Aldrich at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh National Clinical...

Living and Dealing with ADHD

by Patricia Allen It was back in 1974 that I first became familiar with the term Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder...

Inflammatory Comments

by Bill Drake As a long-time TY reader I’ve noticed what seems to me to be a rather over- whelming...

How Cannabis Might Keep Coronary Stents Open Longer

By David B. Allen M.D.Cardiothoracic and Vascular Surgeon, Member ICRS. And Prisoner of the Drug War Cali215doc@gmail.com First the set...

Unlocking the Secrets, Advanced Tissue Culture

Tissue Culture is a process of isolating cells from plant tissue (explants) which are cultured (grown artificially), in a nutrient...

Anxiety Panic Disorder and Cannabis

By Hal Lubinsky My name is Hal Lubinsky. I'm in my forties, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a U.S....

Can Cannabis Cure Schizophrenia?

By Richard Shrubb, Freelance sailing, health and social affairs journalist ould cannabis treat or even cure schizophrenia? Things look promising...

Multiple Sclerosis: Regaining the Good Life with Whole Plant Therapy

By Mary Lou Smart© 2012 www.medicalcannabisart.com A trial attorney, Jim Dyer practiced law in Tucson, Arizona for 34 years before...

The Science of Cannabis Leads in Many Directions

The Evolution of a Sense of Well-Being By Mary Lou Smart www.medicalcannabisart.com While speaking at Patients Out of Time’s Seventh...

Healthy Body, Healthy Mind

By Shantibaba It is evident for all people who wish to listen that doing all things within moderation is better...

Post Traumatic Stress

Psychology and Medication at its Best By Jeff Kundert OTR Jeff works as a Wellness and Fitness Educator. He has...

The Ripper Effect

By Subcool Some really interesting information has come to my attention, and I am very excited to tell everyone in...

Auto-flowering Plants

By Shantibaba The discreet evolution of Auto-flowering cannabis plants is a recent occurrence, one that is in mode at present...

Uncovering the Original Sacrament: Chris Bennett’s Cannabis and the Soma Solution

Review by Samuel Wells When asked to name an author crucial to the growing mainstream understanding of the uses of...

Cornerstone of Individualized Phytogenetics ACDC 22:1 @ CB3

Alternative Cannabinoid Dietary Cannabis 22%CBDA:1%THCA acting at GPR55 Alias CB3 by William L. Courtney, MD, AACM American Academy of Cannabinoid...

Mr. Magoo

By Ron Hudson My birthdays: I woke that birthday morning, in October of 1966, knowing it would begin like the...

Medical Cannabis University

By Reverend Philip H Hoff - Chancellor, MedicalCannabisUniversity.org ( MCU, Inc. ), a 501 c(3) nonprofit school. The school focused...

Storm’s Story

By Georgia Peschel WHEW! Delivering this kid was like delivering a hurricane!” When our son was born, those were our...

Soil Pests & Diseases

By Lazystrain Soil is a living organism made up of billions of microbes and bacteria. The cosmology of soil life...

A Tragedy Felt Around the World

by Jonny Appleweed On Oct. 27, 1970, President Richard M. Nixon signed into law the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and...

Autism & Cannabis

Prohibition Makes it Tough on Parents by Mary Lou Smart Jeremy Patrone (not his real name) has a goal. He...

Vaporization of Cannabis: Are there benefits over combustion?

By William Eckhardt Although vaporization is a relatively recent development for the delivery of cannabinoids the proliferation of vast numbers...

Bedrocan

By Harry Resin Generally when you think of Amsterdam, you think of the coffee shops, but that’s not all that’s...

The Art of Making Cannabis Seeds

By Soma - www.somaseeds.nl Making cannabis seeds is an art. Just like art, there are a few different methods of...

The Gas Lantern Routine for Growing Cannabis

By Daniel Boughen During the course of my observations growing cannabis, I have noticed that factors such as clone burn-out...

How to Yield Pounds per Plant

Five Grow Secrets of the West Coast Masters By Dru West Each medical marijuana program across the US sets limits...

Sensi Star: As Mighty as Ever

by Green Born Identity - G.B.I. Cultivation data Strain: Sensi Star Sensi Star Pedigree: Afghani with a hint of sativa...