Tuesday, May 30, 2017

So Your Character Has Attention Deficit Disorder ... Featuring Ari @ Listen to Me Ramble On

ADD is a very foreign concept to me since I've always been focused ever since I was a little kid. There are several people in my life I know who struggle with ADD and I'm familiar with it from Percy Jackson. I'm glad Ari has come to tell us even more about this disorder.

Let's welcome Ari!

(Images aren't mine) 

I am Ari Sinclair, a teenaged homeschooler who enjoys words, music and food. I am blogging my way through high school, trusting tea, Netflix, and my family to keep me alive and sane.

How does your ADD physically feel? How do you think it compares to those who don’t have ADD?
ADD makes me very fidgety. I’m constantly tapping my foot or fiddling with a small object. Also, since one of the side effects is depression, I’m generally very tired. But for the most part, I don’t think my ADD makes me feel very different physically.

How do you feel about ADD?

In some ways, I guess I’m kind of indifferent; like, it’s just another part of my life. A lot of times, though, it can be very frustrating and I often wish I could be “normal."

What challenges does ADD pose?
I have a very difficult time organizing my time and meeting deadlines, which makes school extra stressful. It’s also easy for me to lose track of time, so I can easily get sucked into reading a good book or writing a story. As I mentioned, my ADD has some side effects, including depression and insomnia, which make general life functions hard. My brain also wanders a lot, so focusing on lectures or sitting through something that I don’t find particularly interesting is tough.

Is there anything you like about being ADD?

It can be nice to not be able to focus. For instance, it’s nearly impossible for me to dwell on something sad or unpleasant, because my brain gets distracted so quickly.

Do you think your day differs from others because of being ADD?
Definitely. My day is built around a schedule, with times and lists and color-coding and reminders. While I’m not exactly married to the schedule, my day gets scattered without it, and if I want to be at all productive, I need to stay on schedule.

Do you have any cultural differences between others who are also ADD and those who are not?
Not really, I guess just that my life is so schedule oriented. Without a plan, my life would quickly descend into chaos and I’d never get anything done. So, though I’m naturally a very flexible, go-with-the-flow kind of person, I’ve had to learn to curve those impulses and stay on track.

What are some stereotypes about ADD that irk you?
I think that a lot of people glom together ADD and ADHD, and while they share a lot of symptoms as far as focus goes, they’re also very different. A person with ADD won’t necessarily be super energetic or talkative, because we don’t have the hyperactivity that comes with ADHD.

What media portrays ADD badly be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?

I haven’t read or seen much that deals with ADD, but the one series that comes to mind is the Percy Jackson books. I know demigods technically have ADHD, but as far as the attention deficit part goes, I found these books rather unrealistic. The author only brings it up when it’s convenient, when it helps a character or adds some humour. In reality, attention deficit affects pretty much every minute of your life, whether you like it or not.

What media portrays ADD well be it a movie, a book, or a TV show?
Like I said, I haven’t really read or seen anything that portrays ADD. Characters with ADHD are more common (I’m not sure why), but I haven’t read much beyond Percy Jackson.

Who are your top three favorite characters who also are ADD in books, movies, or shows?
I don’t know if I can come up with three, but I’d say that Leo Valdez and Annabeth Chase from the Percy Jackson books were best portrayed as having an attention deficit. The author did a better job of incorporating it regularly, and their over-all attitude felt a lot more ADD/ADHD than other characters.

Thank you again, Ari! This is such a wealth of information! Thanks for reading!

Are you interested in participating in this project? Shoot me an email at howellvictoriagrace(a)gmail.com.

Do you have any characters with ADD? Did this inspire you to write a character with ADD? Do you have ADD and you have further input? Feel free to share! Do you have any questions for Ari? Be sure to thank her!

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