How many people have wanted to strangle you?
This occurred to me as I began mapping out the topics I’m going to cover in this blog. I can joke about some of the situations I’ve survived, but the truth is that I’ve managed to—without trying—really tax the patience of many of my family and friends. This, I think, more than any other clinical description is what is a huge benchmark of the hyperactive person.
In the columns that follow, I want to have a few laughs at my expense, but the reality is that, at the time, some of this stuff wasn’t funny. Oh, sure, if you were looking in the window or standing just down the hallway and safely out of range, it could be a riot. But for the teachers and other authority figures who had to maintain their professional composure—while wanting to wrap their fingers around my windpipe—then it was not funny at all.
I get that.
And I think it’s appropriate to thank them for their patience, the ones that were patient, and their kindness, when they were kind.
Not everyone was.
You may notice I’ve not apologized here. I have, at times, apologized to specific people for specific things when I clearly screwed up. But some of the behavior that really annoyed people was, for lack of a better term, naïve exuberance. And that is and will be the point of many of the postings here. It’s not that hyper people are trying to be annoying, often they think they’re helping or at least doing the right thing.
It’s hard to apologize for just being the sort of person I’m hardwired to be. I do realize that I don’t have a license to be a total pain all the time. But I also think that being a mature, understanding person can cut both ways. I hope that the non-hyper reader is willing to at least hear me out in these columns. Of course you can disagree, and please feel free to post such comments. But as much as anything, I want to help those who the world deems normal—whatever that means—understand the mindset of we who are hyper-enabled. You may laugh, but many of us think it’s a benefit to be the way we are. Being impulsive is fun, up to the point it’s not. And having bursts of energy can wonderful when it comes to getting things done. But I admit that there is a restlessness at work that can be wearing to be around.
So as I begin this journey, to take a look at what it means to be hyperactive, to share the stories and the scholarship. I want to pause a moment and thank the many people who have helped shape my behavior for the better. I really do appreciate it. Speaking from my life experience, it’s not always possible to “dial it down” as much I’d like. And just about the time I think I have it under control, I find that I’m getting the eye-rolls and those “we’ll talk about this later” looks that tell me that I’ve crossed the line.
All I can say is: “Sorry about that.”
And in writing these posts, I will be sharing the tips I come across for “hacking the brain” to change habits or otherwise be less annoying. I’m also open to your helpful suggestions for tips, books to read, or people to interview, too. But the honest truth is that most hyperactive people are never going to shake off entirely their irksome manners and mannerisms. I think that all of us—those who are hyperactive and those who are in close proximity—are going to have to meet one another somewhere in the middle when it comes to negotiating the norms of behavior. Otherwise, we’ll be fighting many losing battles.
So thank you in advance for those of you who are willing to be flexible, forgiving, and faithful in your commitment to your less-than-perfect friends and family members. And for my part, when I share my stories here, you patient people will be the heroes, because you are. We really do appreciate it when you grin and bear it yet one more time.
But if you can’t… remember that strangling people is frowned upon in 38 states.