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Does anyone here have ADHD or ADD, and does that make you more creative?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by BloodyHellSausage, Aug 15, 2017.

  1. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    I read that people with the condition(s) tend to be more creative than other people, so if you have ADHD or ADD, does you think that impacts your writing or world-building? The thought to make this thread just came up.
     
  2. pmmg

    pmmg Auror

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    Adhd was not a thing when I was young, and is much more common diagnosis today. My suspicion is if I was in school in the last 10 years instead of in the 70's, I probably would have been diagnosed with this. Truth is, I don't much care whether I would have been or not. Life just is what it is.

    I do think it is a fair observation though, that a consequence of this type of disorder is great attention and focus on things that interest you, and very little for things that don't. That would correspond to being very good at a craft if that was where your interest lied.
     
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  3. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

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    As I understand it, it can. Part of the way a person adapts to the problem is similar to the way that creatives sharpen their creativity. You take in a lot of different stimuli and then try to connect them - ADHD does the first part.

    Tim Harford: How frustration can make us more creative | TED Talk

    This is a great video on creativity. It only mentions ADHD very briefly, but the principles are relevant.
     
    TheCatholicCrow likes this.
  4. My dad and brother both have ADD. I'm not sure it makes them 'more creative', but they are very passionate and intense about what interests them.

    Creativity is a natural part of being human, and a skill that can be practiced. Having ADD could, i suppose, make your brain function in a different way than another person's, but I don't know if it would affect how creative you are so much as how you express it. For instance, focusing more intensely on a project, being able to conceptualize more complex ideas quicker.
     
  5. HiddenVale

    HiddenVale Dreamer

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    I have ADD, and I'm sure it's a factor. But I've also seen it said somewhere that people with messy desks also tend to be creative, and my desk turns out to be that way.....
     
  6. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I have ADHD and it's kind of a double-edged sword for me. On one hand, I do think I'm more creative because of it. But on the other, it causes me to self-destruct a lot. At any given time I'm just overflowing with new ideas, but I often get distracted or burnt out before I can record them. I've never finished anything longer than a short story. My worldbuilding is novel-length at this point, but the actual novel it's for is languishing at about 3k words. So yeah, it's a blessing and a curse.
     
  7. BloodyHellSausage

    BloodyHellSausage Troubadour

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    Do you take medication? I also think meditation, like yoga and stuff, could help.
     
  8. Ah. I relate, somewhat. But my dad is like that; he gets passionate about an idea for like 2 days, but never sees any of them through to completion because of losing interest.
     
    Tom likes this.
  9. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    I don't take meds at the moment. They weren't working for me and my doctor decided to see if I would manage fine without them. I need to talk to her about either switching medications or changing my dosage.

    I've tried yoga, and it does seem to help! The only problem is finding a class that works with my school and work schedules.
     
  10. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

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    Interesting ... I was never a fan of yoga. I like to run instead. (Weather permitting) can do it any time of day. Just strap some shoes on and hit the road.

    To the OP - you might be interested in a book called "Overcoming Dyslexia" - wish I could remember who it was by :( ... ADD/ADHD aren't the same (obviously) but they originate from the same region of the brain (so does Bi-polar and a bunch of other stuff). This book talks about how people are not neuro-typical have brains which literally function differently (beyond the disorder itself). It went into some of the research and talked all about how people w dyslexia are usually more creative (compared to neuro-typical counterparts). I wouldn't be surprised at all if ADD/ADHD works similarly (especially since so many people that have one also have the other).

    I would say I'm a very creative person. I suppose some of that comes out of my need for personal expression, sometimes it can be a way for me to process emotions/thoughts, but lately I've been working to beef up my backlog so I've been tapping into it on demand. Not sure how much ADD plays into it vs personality (I'm INFP) ... but I'm certainly happy to be me. Life would be much more boring if my brain was like everyone else's :)

    Plus - we get Hyperfocus which is totally awesome.

    For all the ADD-ers out there ... check out the magazine ADDitude . It's amazing!

    OH! And Tom ... I seemed to do much better when I was eating Paleo. I know a few people who absolutely swear by the FEINGOLD DIET but I have yet to try it. I'm curious to know if you (or anyone here) has had any success with it.

    Also, as far as medication alternatives go, Fish Oil is supposed to help... also makes you hair, skin, & nails nice too :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 30, 2017
    Tom likes this.
  11. Tom

    Tom Istar

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    Paleo? Huh. I'm not on a specific diet, but I don't eat a lot of processed foods as it is, and I only eat grain products sporadically. The taste/texture of grains has always put me off. I also know a ton of people who've said that artificial dyes in food, specifically red dyes, exacerbate their ADHD symptoms, so that's one thing I try to steer clear of. Once I stopped eating foods with red dye I noticed a pretty noticeable decrease in my hyperactivity. I'll have to do some research on paleo and Feingold and see if it would be a good fit for me!

    By the way, does anyone else with ADHD take melatonin? I started taking a 10mg pill every night before bed and it's helped a lot with my sleep issues, even my persistent insomnia.
     
  12. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

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    Melatonin is AMAZING! I don't use it very often though I probably should.
     
    Tom likes this.
  13. MauEvig

    MauEvig Scribe

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    I just found out yesterday that I have ADHD!
    Now I know I said I had ASD, but it turns out that I actually have a combination of ADHD with mild OCD, Generalized Anxiety Disorder and Social Anxiety.
    Apparently those symptoms combined can make it present itself a lot like Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the disorders are almost like "cousins" in the divergent community.
    I think it has helped me come up with ideas. I often get creative ideas when I'm at work cleaning stuff, the problem is I don't always have time to write the ideas down because I'm busy.
    So yes, definitely it's helped me with world building and coming up with ideas.
    The problem is, I have trouble focusing on ideas, and I think that might have been the real contributor for why I struggle with writing down details. My brain just decides "I'm going to tell the story and get it out!" without going into too many details, because I tend to get bored when there's too many details.
    But I'm going to try medication to control it, and hopefully it'll help me get some of my important projects done, along with target the issues I have with anxiety.
     
  14. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    I've once tried medication for half a year, and I did experience a noticeable difference. The best description that made sense to me at the time was that it felt like in my mind the waves calmed down, and my thoughts were less tangled up. But I also noticed that my thoughts were not quite as entertaining to me as they normally are. Which is kind of the point of the medication, I guess.

    There certainly was a difference in creativity. There's more meandering and energy in my thoughts. The great thing about ADD medication is that it kicks in very quickly and lasts for only a couple of hours before the effect completely disappears. You can stop and start taking it again at any time without side effect. I often would take one in the morning that would last until early afternoon, and skip weekends entirely. You basically can switch between focused and creative mode and set your creative work time accordingly.

    I have not tried it, but I could imagine that for outline writers with ADD, it might work quite well to do the creative planning phase without medication, but sit down to get words on the page with it. Then perhaps going again without while revising the first draft to look for opportunities to spice up the scenes or dialog. Or the other way around. Might be interesting to experiment with.
     
  15. I have severe ADHD, and it makes life a very large struggle for me. I tend to work on projects until I experience burnout and then never work on them again. The only project that's stuck around is my fictional world, and even that has had erratic progression. I tend to work on it really hard for several days straight, then abandon things for a few weeks before picking it up again.

    Because of my ADHD, I do my best worldbuilding and writing when I'm infodumping to someone.

    My current method of writing documents about my world goes like this: I open a Google Doc and pretend that I'm infodumping to a group of people online. Then if it's any good, I keep it, and if it's really good, I either post it somewhere publically or send it to my friends, depending on how I feel.

    Whenever I'm stuck on a point and don't know how to answer my own questions about my world, sometimes I do a modified version of this where I just pretend that I'm asking a question to other worldbuilders, with a bunch of context. Then I read through parts of it and usually I can answer my own question!

    For example, I wasn't sure why ghosts in my world would want to move on to the afterlife, because these ghosts are very similar to mortals but have supernatural powers. It would seem like a perk to live among the living but have ghost powers. But after writing down facts about ghosts and writing down what I needed to figure out in the format of a question to other people, I realized that the answer is that ghosts in this world are mortal! If a ghost dies for a second time, their soul is destroyed and they don't move on to the afterlife, they just cease to exist.

    ~~~

    Also, does anyone here suffer from RSD? I do. It stands for Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria, and it's a common set of symptoms among people with ADHD. Basically, when someone with RSD feels that they're being rejected by people, they tend to have sudden negative emotional responses that can mimic bipolar depression. When I have an episode of RSD, I become severely self-destructive and overly apologetic for a short amount of time, even if I was feeling fine before my RSD was triggered. Once it's over, I'm only mildly depressed at most. Most of the time I'm totally fine after a couple of hours, like nothing ever happened.

    Depending on the situation that triggered it, I have slightly different reactions.
    • If I make a one-off mistake that I haven't really had to deal with before, and someone gets mad at me, I tend to become a people pleaser to an unhealthy level. I try to fix things and 'prove myself' to that person, prove that I'm sorry and that it won't happen again.
    • If it happens because I repeated a mistake I've made in the past many times, and someone got mad at me, I tend to become hopeless and start to feel like I'll never improve.
    Because of my RSD I have a severe fear of being hated by people, and I get afraid to open up to people about certain parts of myself. It's a nightmare.

    Luckily, I've been going to therapy again, and I'm planning on bringing this up to my therapist! I hope it goes well.
     
  16. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Something that was quite clear very early on, was that I won't even bother with trying my hands on some big epics. That's way too much long-term commitment. Instead I am aiming at short length, episodic stories that will be able to stand on their own in case there will never be any follow up. If I can do three or four adventures about one hero, that's also nice, and I always have the option to come back years later and write some more. It also means that if I should run out of steam after 200,000 words, I might have four or five completed stories instead of having half an unfinished one. That'd be something I could show as a result.

    I also don't start writing before I have all the main plot points and the ending planned out. Just starting and seeing where it might take me seems like a recipe for total disaster. I'd just be making up stuff as I go, probably with little to no coherence to it, and then being unable to come up with any kind of halfway satisfying conclusion.
     
  17. MauEvig

    MauEvig Scribe

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    Well with this kind of medication you have to take it before bed and it's supposed to last all day. I don't seem to have much trouble so far getting my creative side to function, and it's helped a little. But it tends to wear off when I'm at work. The psychiatrist didn't give me the typical ADHD stimulant either though, he gave me this stuff that is supposed to not only help me focus, but it's supposed to lower anxiety and blood pressure (which is fine because I also have anxiety disorders and high blood pressure).

    I'm also trying to do therapy as well as diet and exercise.I'm hoping I can stay on a relatively low dose, I'm not crazy about medication by principle, but I had enough of my anxiety making my life a living heck and not being able to focus.
     
  18. Yora

    Yora Maester

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    Psychiatric medicines certainly are no toy and way too often they are prescribed irresponsibly. The same way that antibiotics get thrown at all kinds of problems where they don't do any good. But when used for the right conditions in the right amounts, they can bring huge relief. They should not be used lightly and on a whim, and if they don't work or make you feel even worse overall they should not be continued to be taken.
    But in the end, they help the brain to get its chemicals to the levels they are supposed to be and work more properly. It's no different than wearing glasses to see better or using a cane to walk better. If it's an option, try it out to see if it helps. In the end, it comes down to what the patient feels is the best balance between symptoms and side effects. That's an individual perception and judgement, not something to say "trust me, I'm a doctor, it's supposed to be that way".

    Now that you mention it, I think there are two different types of ADD medication. One that kicks in immediately and lasts for 6 to 8 hours or so, and another type that works over a longer period. Which one is better for you depends on personal needs. For people who think their medication interferes with their life, perhaps switching to the other might help. I certainly would prefer something that gives me the option to more or less switch the meds on when I need them and have the option to let them run out a few hours later if that suits me. Medication that keeps me under a stable effect I really wouldn't want. I need to be able to get back to having my thoughts roam freely in the evening and on weekends.
     
  19. MauEvig

    MauEvig Scribe

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    Well since I have anxiety this one seems to help a little...albeit it does come with a side effect where I'm a bit drowsy. But exercise helps to counter that. I could definitely feel a difference, but I know I'm going to need more than just medication.

    Definitely agree that the world is over medicated, and I'd prefer alternative methods first if possible. I just hope I don't have to be on medication for the rest of my life. I'm hoping to build up skills by dieting and exercise and therapy so eventually I can be OK without the medication.
     
    Thunder Angel likes this.
  20. Thunder Angel

    Thunder Angel New Member

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    I have various forms of synesthesia, and possibly high-functioning Asperger's. The stories I write are kind of weird and visceral, which, I don't doubt, could be contributed to my unconventional cognitive-processes.
     
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