Attribute #7 Reactionary vs. Responsiveness
I’ll never forget the thirty-plus-year-old man who came into my office some years ago. Historically, first fledgling signs of a positive side to ADD were just beginning to peak out from behind the shrouded pathology-laden symptoms of “ADD, the mental disorder.”
Jason was gaunt, high strung and anxious. He had been referred to me because of his battle with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).
His story was simple. Returning from Army service abroad, he had out-of-control attacks of anxiety that vacillated with depression, black outs, and occasional rage reactions when his family and close friends failed to keep an orderly, calm environment around him.
Too many people, too much noise, too few calm breaks and too little sleep or too much alcohol could flip his balance, setting off his emotional system. These outbreaks frightened his wife and children and they left him with feelings of failure.
Before serving duty abroad, Jason had been an active, fun-loving ADHD young man who laughed a lot, enjoyed his many friends and family while courting a special young woman whom he planned to marry shortly before leaving to begin his career in the Army.
He reflected the high activity common to ADHD as well as a high level of sensitivity to most everything in his environment and in people. His sensitivity to friends made him loyal to the point of going out of his way to help those in whom he believed. He would even put himself at risk to save another.
He wanted to serve his country and build a strong foundation for a new family. Jason was also counting on using his time in the service to save his pay from GI benefits for college.
In training, it didn’t take long to identify the skills Jason had that the Army could make good use of. He was quick, persistent, courageous and a confident leader that led him to taking the position of point man, guiding his soldiers on patrols.
As it turned out, his ADHD quickness and sensitivity to the environment around him as well as his having a seemingly unending intuitive ability to lead his group of soldiers made him perfect for the job. Leading his troops forward, he and his men became known as a powerhouse that quickly succeeded in identifying and moving on targets to overtake the enemy they were tracking.
Jason was so good at his job that he was used, over and over, often ignoring the time needed for rest. With little down time, he would be sent out yet again to ply his awesome skillset for tracking, finding, and catching those on the other side of hills and tangled jungles.
Jason’s responsiveness, a rapid fire action on target in civilian life (there goes the soccer ball into the goal—yeah Score!), was largely due to his ADD style of Brain Construction. It was of value under those conditions. But not so when he didn’t realize his sensitive nature was taking a beating at the same time. Yes, his body could stand up to high activity levels outside of military life, but not at the level he was performing in the field. Anything less would endanger him and his troops, and to that end his ADD reactionary nature overrode his judgment and demanded that he go on and on and beyond.
But paired with a body that housed innate sensitivity that he could ignore for periods of time in civilian life, the sweetness and tenderness was unable to provide enough padding and recovery time to keep him from being seriously harmed in the field. So, back on the home front, one of his greatest attributes was damaged, not because it was bleeding or in need of surgery, but because it had been wounded in a way that he had to allow to heal slowly and with trust that he and his nature would one day again become safe.
So it is for Jason, still recovering a bit at a time with days of healing becoming more and more apparent as time passes. Slowly with understanding from his family that is learning how to help him and the support of veterans suffering from similar hurts, he’s finding additional help that he needs by joining with our ADHD group of adults who share their BrainStyle vulnerabilities and strengths with him so that he remembers and learns he really wasn’t and isn’t so different after all. He’s on his way.