ADHD: Building Structure Around Tasks & Life in General
From a series of stories shared with me by Hunters in this Farmer's World
One of the real struggles Hunters have in this Farmer’s world is building structure around tasks and in life in general.
For years, for example, Louise has said that I don’t have a filing system: I have a piling system. My office, closets, and the space around my bed is filled with piles of stuff.
I know where everything is, but it’s a mess. And it echoes my incompetence at managing time. And the struggles I had just making it through high school.
A fellow I met at an Atlanta book-signing some years ago tells the story of how externally-imposed order was, for him, a life-saver.
Bill found success in the Army:
This may sound odd, but I think that the military is one of the best places for people with ADHD. The reason is that there are systems for everything, you always know what is expected of you, and, if your commanding officer is any good at all, you get instant feedback on whether you’re doing things right or not.
Before I joined the Army, I was a wreck. In fact, I joined the Army because I was having such a hard time keeping a job, and a difficult time with life in general. I’d graduated from high school, but even that was difficult. Not because I’m dumb, because I’m not, but because I had a hard time staying interested and getting my homework done.
After I had about six jobs in my first year out of high school, my uncle, who’s a Sergeant at Fort Benning, was visiting over at our house around Christmas time. We talked, and he told me that he thought that the Army would be perfect for me and that I should consider it as a career.
My first thought was that it would be just like school, that it would be awful. More rules, and more pig-headed people full of their own authority, just like so many of my teachers were. I told him that, and also that I’d just read about ADD and thought that I was an ADD person and thinking of finding a doctor to get me some Ritalin.
But he said the Army wasn’t like high school at all, except maybe for the first few months, through basic training and settling into a job. He told me how he was on Ritalin in elementary school years ago in the early 1960’s, and that if he could make it in the Army, anybody with ADHD could.
So I joined up, figuring I had nothing to lose.
I’m now on my second tour of duty, and this has turned out to be a great place for me. In all the areas where I’m weak, the military has developed systems to compensate, or even to make me strong. And the areas where I’m strong are useful here.
I have noticed that a lot of the other guys here are ADHD, too. I don’t see it so much in the officers, although those who are drawn to combat operations are generally more ADHD-ish than those who have the “professional” jobs. It’s probably a great place for somebody with ADHD who can make it through college, too, though. (Usually you have to graduate from college to become an officer.)
I think that if they did a study, they’d find that the military is a huge secret pocket of ADHD people, kind of hidden away from the rest of society. We really do well with the way things are run, and I recommend the Army to anybody just out of high school who is ADHD and looking for a career with both variety and structure.