Yesterday I had a talk with a mother who is a friend and she brought up a topic that I think is not thought about enough in America today.
This woman was formerly was a professional road bike (bicycling) racer and later coached a team of teens. She had told me previously that she felt her (unmedicated) ADD helped her hyper focus on the racing and that it helped her achieve success. She said her former teen team would all be diagnosed today with OCD. The teens were so focused and driven by what we now call OCD symptoms that they were a strong team. They would not have won races if they were not OCD.
We talked about how OCD and ADD and ADHD are seen as negatives in America today but the fact of the matter is that past inventions and breakthroughs were done by people who today would be classified as having those "disorders". The very nature of their "disorder" is what allowed them to work so hard and long on the topic of their obsession. They achieved great things. So are their disorders really disorders?
What will society get when everyone with certain "disorders" is medicated with drugs and those symptoms stop?
I know another person who has been medicated to "have a better quality of life". They have lost all their artistic and creative abilities and sit around kind of like a zombie most of the time doing not much of anything let alone doing any of the number of wonderful artistic projects they used to do.
Due to privacy concerns I choose to not tell more detailed stories about this person. I wish I could so you could see a clear illustration of the situation. Here are some issues stated in general terms.
This person today would be classified as gifted, they have a high sensitivity to their environment and the people in their lives. That led the person to be artistic and creative. Sadly the schools said she had dyslexia and they could not fix it so she has thought all her life that she is stupid and flawed. Her deep interest in various arts and crafts and even a scientific interest in hybridization of plants led them to what some would consider being obsessed or having OCD tendencies. She worked so hard on what she did that they achieved many things and impressed the people who knew of her accomplishments. The real benefit of these activities was the internal satisfaction and enjoyment of the process of doing what she loved.
However, being highly sensitive led to emotional sensitivity and sometimes errors in interpretation of reality. Being very right brained this person sometimes also got confused between what she perceived and assumed was real versus what was truly real. If you imagine someone is angry with you, but they are not, you can get really messed up thinking you are living with people mad at you when in fact they are happy with you (especially if you are a highly sensitive person and really do care what others think of you). Symptoms of depression were present, even a layperson may be able to see a link between the misinterpretation of other people (and poor communication skills) - that it could help fuel sadness that progresses to depression.
Later, by using prescription drugs from the psychiatrist, she was suddenly not considered clinically depressed and not suicidal but she lost all of her creative spark and artistic talent was not being used at all All the OCD tendencies were gone and the person instead sits around watching TV for most of their life. The person is barely functioning with daily skills such as not even having normal sleeping patterns (she is up most of the night and sleeps most of the day). She can't even clean the house and can barely make meals.
As if that was not bad enough, she also has negative neurological side effects from the medication and shakes so she can barely write by hand, and has done other things like not realized she had her mouth widely agape and drooling down her face. How can the psychiatrists live with themselves knowing they do these things to some of their patients? If you read the doctor's medical records I bet you'd find a description of a case they deemed a success.
Of great concern to me is the trend to label young children with neurological disorders or psychiatric disorders and to medicate them. Are we going to end up with a nation of mediocre kids or zombie kids on medicine and little achievement? Is it worse that these people are not always satisfied with their daily living experiences as they are hardly functioning and feel badly of themselves for being flawed due to having a disorder label and thinking they need medicine just to get through life?
Add to the list of reasons why I homeschool: I have not wanted to put my kids into situations where people who believe in things like that nearly every little boy today has ADHD are in a position to judge my kids. I think a lot of misguided things are happening today with regard to these disorders and that kids are getting over-medicated and I won't have my kids be victims of that craziness. We are opting out.
If you are concerned with labels and are wondering about the link to giftedness I recommend you first read A Parent's Guide to Gifted Children by Webb et al then read Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of Gifted Children and Adults by Web et al. Both are published by Great Potential Press.
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