If I received any amount of currency for anytime I was told to "focus", I'm pretty sure I would be rich to a confusing extent; I'd have so much money that I wouldn't know what to do with the rest once I did or bought everything I wanted to. But we're not here to talk about riches.
There's this thing that I’m sure many are familiar with called an attention disorder, ADD or ADHD. I’m not here to teach you the science of it but let’s talk about this specific thing for a little. Whenever ADHD is mentioned, some associations may be “impulsive”, “can’t sit still”, "easily distracted” and, well, it’s pretty spot on if I should say so. But that’s usually about as deep as it goes; ADHD means you move too much and that’s about it.
I, personally, know of exactly two people who suffer from an attention disorder: my cousin and myself. And while I may not see him as often as my siblings, whenever we’re around each other, the difference defines itself. I will admit, he does kind of fit the ADHD stereotype: concerned with anything else other than the subject matter, sudden sounds and bright things are distracting, and he is a rather active person. He is basically that case scenario where one look can tell you “oh he must have ADHD”. But I wonder if people think the same with me.
I am very excitable and have moments where paying attention to something isn’t easy but do those times where I’m so hyper-focused on something cancel that out? Does the fact that I can sleep longer and slouch in a chair for a while means that my attention span is fine? I remember when ADD came into question for me and the main flag was the fact that it took me significantly longer to do homework than normal.
This wasn’t because I’d just put down my homework and do something else. It was more like my brain would quite literally “clock out” of that and switch over to something like “oh I have to message my friend happy birthday today” but then I’d want to Google images of neck-less giraffes. Only to later remember I still have homework.
If I could do it single-handedly, I would physically remove some of the ways we think and talk about attention disorders and replace them. When we think about them, all we know is that it means you can’t pay attention and/or you can’t sit still.
The truth is, attention disorders are more so a dysfunction than a deficit. With ADHD, your attention span does not pack its vacation bags and leave; it’s just irregulated. Either less time than normal is spent focusing on a single thing or the opposite. That is, I could spend five minutes folding clothes but then remember I have that new game I wanted to beat and then put in five hours of gameplay time.
As many times as you tell us to, “just focus”, I promise you it’s just wasted energy. Is the task engaging? Is the task purposeful? Is the task relevant to us? Instead of scolding us for not being able to focus, give us a reason to be interested. In those moments where we’re hyper-focused, assess what’s capturing our attention. Is it harmful? Is it beneficial? Is it interfering with something else? There’s never anything wrong with helping someone control their mental illness so long as it is done right and with diligence. So be patient with us until we’re done chasing laser pointers.
Article Credit: Myyeka Team of Contributors
Written By: Killercatziller