ADHD & MeBlog

Systems Shutdown

Creating terminology to describe neuro-divergent behaviours is natural, common and often important to help understand what people are experiencing. Unfortunately, not all terms sit right with the community and are obviously bestowed by doctors or ‘outsiders.’ The term “time blindness” is perfect example, and it’s often argued on smaller stages—though when this argument reaches the big stage, where the likes of Dr. Ned Hallowell and Dr. Barkley share their powerful voices, one can only imagine.

A brief info drop on why the term “time blindness” is problematic; first off, it’s insensitive to people who struggle with actual blindness. It’s also confusing—are there people who can see time? I have long gone with the phrase “have no concept of time” and while it may seem wordy or less catchy, it’s rarely misunderstood.

When we experience life in a way that is glaringly obviously different from others, we can be prone to internalizing ignorant and harmful perceptions of others. Some people simply want to live life on a basic level—or to put that in a less rude way “not everyone wants to be a scientist” which is why it’s important for us weirdos to embrace our differences as our power, which it is.

I like this woman Jaqui; she doesn’t have ADHD but she was diagnosed late in life with dyslexia and I’ve been curious about what the world looks like through those eyes. My memories of childhood are mostly scattered snippets—I’ve always been easily overwhelmed and I have a nasty habit of locking onto a point of interest that triggers me. I refer to it as ‘morbid curiosity’ and sometimes it’s simply part of my sexuality.

There was a child who had dyslexia, or an adult complained about the Toys ‘R’ Us name and knew someone with dyslexia. I never truly met someone with dyslexia and as a child, the only information I remember getting on “what’s dyslexia?” is ‘people see words backwards.’ I could have done some research over the years, but mostly I’ve had my own issues to manage.

Seeing the world differently is an asset, if you can get all the pieces together to take care of the weak spots. I make a lot of gaming references because it’s helpful, and readily available, comparative data. Your typical magic user, for instance, has the power to light up a field of enemies 20 feet away; also might have power to heal multiple targets simultaneously. The armour rating of magic users is very low, however, to balance the character in a group. Having a character who has powerful offensive power and intense defensive protection is only fun in theory; in reality, a player gets bored quickly when there’s no challenge to stay alive.

I can see some things very clearly that others can’t see at all—usually these are foundation social issues which are often rooted in ‘looking at painful truths is uncomfortable, therefore I no wanna.’ This is a common perspective and often what inspires the struggle between those with power and those without it. There is an intentionally distracting element employed because citizens can’t come together to empower themselves and each other if we are all too stressed and unfocused. A really good example of this, oddly enough, is the earliest phase of #BLM when several talking heads took to saying “all lives matter” as a way to end a conversation and confuse people. Regardless of whether or not all lives matter {which they obviously don’t because of how animals are raised for food} the importance of #BLM is that it could have been the beginning of non-white people inspiring global attention. This was thanks to the invention of ‘hashtags,’ of course, which are basically points of vibrations that connect across the vast expanse of the interwebs.

These points of vibration do us little good unless they have nametags—black lives matter, good trouble, ADHD and so on. This is why it’s so essential for us to come up with solid terminology and why some of us are struggling to get the argument about time-blindness on the big stage: so we can change that term.

Jacqueline Sinfield wrote Untapped Brilliance and also has a website and is an ADHD coach, she’s very insightful as far as I’ve explored. She’s even written a post which I found fascinating, it’s got very useful tips for managing something I’ve been dealing with my whole life. Even though I find her post, overall, to be fascinating—it also gives me conflicted feelings. On the one hand, I now know how to better handle this reoccurring issue of mine—on the other hand, I really don’t like her term.

An excellent example of ‘there’s a name for that’ is in Catch and Release during which there’s a seen with an annoying child and his annoyed mother “papaya papaya papaya!” he yells at the local farmer’s market, holding the mango she’s failing to inform in is not a papaya, “fine it’s a papaya.” There was no preexisting term for this reoccurring issue of mine so I began to call it a “systems shutdown” and that seemed very logical to me. When I become overwhelmed to a certain degree {sensory overload, you might say} my humanoid limitations are maxed out and, like an overloaded computer, I’ll ‘crash’ as it were. During a systems shutdown I have many more feelings than a computer, unfortunately, and my mind is often assaulted in waves by the various things I’m not doing.

I might hyper-focus on Skyrim {Elder Scrolls, Xbox 360 ftw} because my higher conscious is often better able to sort through some things when my anxiety isn’t breaking her focus every 2 seconds. Also, as I’m feeling restless and agitated—gaming gives me a sense of accomplishment as: yay, my smithing is 5 points closer to making dragon scale armour! Or yay, I totally murdered the emperor and no one caught me! Or yay, I rescued what’s his face’s brother and slaughtered an entire stronghold of Thalmar wankers!

The length of a systems shutdown varies depending on countless elements: how effective is my recovery time? What level of stress triggered the shutdown? Sometimes a few days, sometimes several months—it all comes down to my ability to regain my equilibrium, and however challenging that is.

This all ought to sound very familiar, especially if you’ve already read Jaqui’s insight—though she’s got a different name for it and let’s talk about that. I’ll do my best not to sound like a self-absorbed child:

Hibernation is a state of minimal activity and metabolic depression. Hibernation is a seasonal heterothermy characterized by low body-temperature, slow breathing and heart-rate, and low metabolic rate. It most commonly occurs during winter months. Is what Wikipedia says, at the very top of the page for a google search. There are many articles about hibernation from National Geographic,, discovery and I’m resisting the urge to read read read because I’m busy.

I do not hibernate; bears, frogs, turtles and a variety of other creatures hibernate…but not we humanoids, we’re too busy leading stress-filled lives. Thank you so much for your insight, Jaqui, your input and perspective has truly helped me manage a reoccurring issue of mine that I’ve barely understood.