Monday, July 22, 2013

I would argue with a sign post

I love a good argument, er, discussion.  There's a thrill to picking a viewpoint and defending it with every fact, every feeling, every bit of logic in your arsenal.  I remember growing up I would have regular discussions, usually with folks much older than me, and usually about fine points in Christianity.  Oh occasionally politics were brought into it, or what toothpaste was the best.  But I was raised in the church, went to Sunday school every Sunday, listened to Moody radio and Focus on the Family, so church was really what I knew enough about to have an opinion.  I would debate the merits of baptizing adults rather than infants, and immersion over sprinkling; a woman's place in the church; and I remember one mission trip in high school where I took on two pastors and the majority of the youth group over the topic of predestination.

It wasn't even really about being right.  Oh there have been some folks who took a hard line attitude and tried to back me into a corner, you just can't back down from something like that.  Mostly it's about the stimulation that allows me to focus all of my mental power around a point of view.  That kind of focus doesn't come easily for the person who has ADD, so these arguments gave me the opportunity to construct my own belief system and to really understand why I believe what I believe.  I get a thrill from listening to someone build a case point by point for an opposing view, and then taking each point and either knocking it down, or twisting it to show why it really fits my point of view better.

That kind of structure for organizing your thoughts doesn't come around every day.  When I was in high school I joined the debate team thinking I would really enjoy it.  I dropped out after one meeting.  I couldn't wrap my mind about researching one topic to death, and then being arbitrarily assigned which side of the topic I could take.  Oh, in most arguments I can see and understand both sides of the topic, but I can't really argue for something I don't believe.  That need to believe in the thing I'm doing has caused me trouble throughout my career, from needing to believe in the music I was singing, to needing to believe in the people I'm working for and the product I'm supporting.  Sometimes we end up having to do something we don't believe in, and I find I just never can do that as well.

The more I learn about ADD the more I realize that this desire to discuss... everything, isn't normal.  It's part of the un-regulation of focus.  I also need that thrill of proving my intellectual prowess.  Not that I have to beat you down, but after years of feeling slow and stupid I need that acknowledgement that I am your intellectual equal, that I am worthy of the debate.  One of the hardest things for me is to back down from a discussion, or to have someone unwilling to talk or listen to me.  It's akin to yet another person saying, "you're not worthy of my attention."

Keep that in mind when you deal with the ADD people in your life.

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