Characters with ADHD : Achieve Physical & Mental Freedom, like Mouse!

“‘You could do all this doctor work if you tried. You just got to pay attention and read what the doctor tells you to.’
‘Not hard for you, maybe. I get twitchy just looking at all those letters.’ Mouse shrugged. ‘Maybe if I could read up here, up high, you know? But I don’t like being down in the squat, with the lantern and all that. Don’t like being closed in, you know?”
-Paolo Bacigalupi, The Drowned Cities (pg. 50-51).
Leave it to Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the award-winning Shipbreaker (one of my favorites!) and the companion novel The Drowned Cities, to prime me with a quote straight out of the ADHD experience. I love keeping an eye out for quotes like this that depict, often unconsciously, struggles with ADHD.

Like Mouse, the orphaned “lice biter” quoted above, I often seek out perches that are free of physical restraints, whether atop my balcony in New York or a tree in the woods of Maine. The itch to break loose is been motivated by a craving for physical, but also mental freedom.

The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
As a kid, I would get up from class to stroll the hallway and just move my legs. I couldn’t stand the feeling of being confined to my desk and forced to follow every word on the blackboard or page. With experience, discipline, and a handful of strategies, I eventually learned to channel this excess energy into academics and extra curricular activities. One of the rules I still live by is “keep physically active,” so that your body can settle down when you need to focus. Even walking to school or work can increase your concentration by sapping some of that extra energy!

I also appreciate Mouse’ response to his friend Mahlia because he admits that it’s “hard” for him to simply “pay attention and read what the doctor” tells him to. For those of us with ADHD, focus isn’t about being told what to do. We know what’s expected of us. It’s about learning the unique restraints of each of our mind and, with medication or personal strategies, discovering how to calm our inner monkey and concentrate.

Have you ever come across a passage in a book or a character in a movie that reminded you of ADHD? What strategies help you to concentrate?