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Women with Attention Deficit Disorder: Embrace Your Differences and Transform Your Life Paperback – November 29, 2005
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Straightforward, informative, and understanding, without wrapping female ADHD up in the flowery and quirky language we tend to see. You've got a problem, Sari Solden understands it intimately, and she's going to explain to you what's going on and help give you some of the tools to cope. From the relevant point-of-view of an adult woman, free from the misconceptions and stereotypes that virtually always accompany ADHD. This book is time well spent.
People who have ADHD are often extraordinarily bright, high achievers, even "miracle workers" among peers. Common companions to this level of achievement are monumental effort, inability to perform, and huge inconsistencies in application of skills.
What people near an individual with ADHD rarely realize is how well that individual is hiding the tremendous time, effort, and inconsistencies behind their accomplishments. All the public sees is the "magic" the ADHD individual can work. What's hidden is the extreme opposite (the "dark side"): an inability to perform so pronounced that the person with ADHD herself cannot grasp a reliable self-image from the enormous range between the low and high sides of her performance. When she shares her difficulties or others learn of them, her peers often react in disbelief and even mockery of the idea that this extraordinary, highly intelligent person cannot manage an everyday task like clearing clutter, doing the dishes, or paying bills. People with ADHD make life-altering decisions in an effort to avoid the failure, discovery of, or mockery/disbelief from peers: they move, quit their jobs, change majors, quit school, pick up addictive habits (self-medicating) like heavy caffeine usage, and so on (Solden, 2008).
Solden confirms that ADHD results in cognitive and psychological challenges, but it is a physical ailment that is medically identifiable via MRI (2008). More often, individuals are diagnosed through various psychological tests and questionnaires that are diagnostically sufficient but enable the patient to assume an ability (and failure) to control the symptoms of ADHD far beyond what is realistic. The result is that they blame and berate themselves for non or poor performance. "I need to try harder, get up earlier, start sooner, do better, wake up, stop doing this" or "I'm lazy, ungrateful, slovenly, undeserving, etc." Compounding this assumption is the ADHD person's sense of shame resulting from a history of parental, other authoritative, and internal messages admonishing messy desks or bedrooms, lateness, forgetfulness, etc. In a nutshell, the person with ADHD tends to blame himself and does not accept excuses for his shortcomings, attributing failure to character flaws rather than a breakdown in cognitive (specifically executive) functions in the physical brain (Solden, 2008). Because of this, the ADHD individual sees a diagnosis of ADHD as an "excuse" rather than a disease, resulting in delay of diagnostic clarification, treatment, and recovery.
What Solden does extremely well is to identify the variety of manifestations one encounters in an individual with ADHD, their common sources, and pathways to recovery. She addresses the far lesser known and often misunderstood hypo-active individual, finally making sense of the individuals' tendency toward low activity, low stimulation, the feeling of paralysis, and the overwhelm that leads to the behavior.
Yes, as another reader pointed out, the proofreading for this book was sorely neglected. It is more rife with unintentional grammatical errors than any mass-produced book I've read (that's a lot of books). Surprisingly, I did not find them annoying enough to detract from the reading experience: the content is powerful.
If you have or know someone - male or female - with ADD, ADHD, or anything related, get this book ASAP.
Also, I should mention that I'm friends with a lot of "grumpy old men," and I'm finding that a lot of them have very similar inattentive-ADD traits. We think of men (boys) as having the more obvious, hyperactive form of ADD, but the quiet, sedentary, lazy, underachieving ones are out there too.