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May 02, 2008


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Anonymous ADD

I don't mind the ADD label, because I think it has done a lot for me in terms of giving me a label where I can connect to others and find help for the problems that it does cause. However, I think to just consider it a disorder does everyone a disservice because it seems to ignore the fact there are sooo many benefits that come with ADD. In most cases, the problems come from society expecting everyone to be the same and measure people by the same standards -- which isn't to say that we shouldn't try to fit in sometimes, though. That's part of living in society, after all, and there are some ADD habits of mine that I know I have to watch because they aren't always positive for me or others.

While I have been diagnosed with ADD, it was only after I sought testing in college. As a kid, I was just another genius kid with no social skills. Because of my great grades and because maybe I'm female, ADD wasn't even on the radar -- despite the fact that I can look back and see soooooooo soooooo sooooo many signs. I got tested in college, though, because I had to understand why I am the way I am. My friends, including my husband, were very hurt when they thought I wasn't listening to them because I got distracted sooo easily. And in college classes, it got harder because I couldn't just read the book. I had to pay attention to the teacher for the first time.

I have meds now. I sometimes take them (as needed), but most of the time ADD isn't a problem for me because I've changed career paths and in my new niche the ADD is more of an asset, even though sometimes it can still be a problem. My husband is more used to it and knowing that I have ADD has helped him learn that it's not him, it really is me, lol. As for friends, well, some parted ways, but I found plenty of other friends who understand -- and many have ADD, too. Getting together with fellow ADD-ers is way too fun, and hilarious.

Dwayne Melancon

Keep 'em coming, Ariane! This is a great post. I'm an INTJ, and I think a lot of the iNtuitive+Thinking that's hard wired into me is responsible for some of my ADD-ish tendencies. For example, they "seeing the global view" trait you list is sort of what feeds my curiosity - and I recognize several other traits on your list. However, some of the traits just aren't there for me at all. Whatever I am, I'm fine with it!

The times I find my curious nature most frustrating is when I have to rule out possibilities. For example, one of the biggest problems I have: filling out questionnaires that make me pick just one thing (for example, even something as simple as "What is your favorite activity?" is very hard - but I usually cop out by putting down something like "Learning.")

And I still run across books all the time that I've read part of, book marked, and never quite gotten back to...


The link to the MP3 file does not work. Can you fix it? I'd love to listen!

Ariane Benefit

@ Miriam - The link is fixed! : )

Ariane Benefit


I know exactly what you mean about questionnaires. I can never easily answer questions about what is my favorite anything! The are so many things I love!
It's amazing how that one characteristic also makes organizing and dealing with clutter a pain in the neck too! : )

The NT personality is usually VERY creative. Having a somewhat strong J preference makes it easier to organize than having a strong P - you are lucky! : )

Ariane Benefit

@ Anonymous ADD

It's amazing to me how the ADD personality actually is an ASSET in some cultures and environments. Not in a high media, strongly scheduled, agressive marketing and consumerism driven culture though. : )

Thanks for sharing your story!


These traits seem very similar to those that manifest in OCD hoarding. Oh that my Mom could have used her "craziness" to organize instead of hoard. Of course maybe I'd still be just as confused about life, but at least others would admire me for being so organized instead of looking down at me for being so disorganized. Feel free to read my blog.


Wow! What a great informative, educational post. It helps me to understand more about ADD. I think I have a titch of it and it makes me a better organizer actually. Your summary of traits is very helpful to me, thank you.


What a fascinating article. I was actually looking for blogs on simple living, but had to stop and read this post.

I'm an INTJ and it looks like that J is saving me from a lot of ADD traits, heh. I do take on a lot of projects, but I'm pretty quick to abandon anything that isn't working.

I see you've got the 4 Hour Work Week site in your links--great book, and I clicked with a lot of what Tim wrote.

Anyway, thanks for the insightful post!

Stella Sophia

OMG!!! I am ENTP too, and just got diagnosed with ADD!! I was wondering if the two were linked, and now I know!

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Isn't it amazing? So glad I could be of help as you absorb this new diagnosis. There is still so much to learn about the links between personality type and AD/HD and creativity!

Thanks for writing and Good Luck in your journey to fuller self-understanding and acceptance!



Great article!

I'm actually wondering to what extent ADD-ishness/ creativity /personality traits like INFP etc might be 'genetic' or 'from environment' - both psychological/social and physical: nutrition, toxics from environment, electro-magnetic radiation etc? or even weather related/seasonal - an online friend said he always tested differently according to season, a relative's mother in law always gets more forgetful in winter when the air outside is worse and she's mostly indoors as opposed to gardening all day in other seasons.
Some think that all these factors might be connected.

Is creativity just 'coping' with forgetfulness? (I admit in my case it sometimes is, ha ha - I've forgotten a word and coined a new phrase and made people laugh and think what a genius I am lol!)

When is creativity/ADD-ishness still an asset and when does it become, well, ADD? :)

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

Hi Layla! Thanks for your thoughtful comment. In the last year or so, there have been several genes identified that are linked to ADD, so the genetic link is now proven. It is also known to be hereditary. That said, all the other factors (social, psycholigical, physical, nutritional etc. have a GREAT deal of influence on the "traits" and whether or not they are an "asset" or an "impairment" The potentiality for ADD being an asset is always there...but as with most gifts, it must be cultivated.

We are in fact very sensitive and reactive to the world around us - including the weather, toxins, the air we breathe, and the people we connect with. So sensitive that that exercise and outdoor activity have been found to be more effective than medication in many cases for treating the "symptoms" aka helping us focus and function better. In other words, we were designed to be "hunters" living outdoors and constantly scanning to notice any minor changes in the environment around us...in cave man days, we were the ones who fed the tribe.

In our culture today, in the right environment and with the right care and support, we are still very capable of making huge contributions...but in a negative environment that does not play into our strengths, we can become extremely depressed, traumatized and dysfunctional.

The good news is that highly effective treatments and support is out there...the bad news is that so few people know about them...and that qualified professionals in the healthcare system are hard to find. It's unfortunate that so many doctors and patients alike abuse medication treatments, and worse, many to this day still even deny that ADD is a "real" phenomenon.

I hope you find that your personality type is an asset - whether you have ADD or not! Anyway...ADD is a spectrum thing...so it's all a matter of degree....and whatever you call it, what works for managing ADD - works for EVERYONE to help them have a better life!

Theresa Hartman

I have never been diagnosed with ADD, though other adults in my family have been and I seem to be just like them. I seem to fit any list you choose of attributes, and I have several children who are also this way. I have read some heartening books on the subject, such as those by Dr. Edward Hallowell, which have helped me somewhat. The big problem is, most of my family doesn't believe in ADD/ADHD. They just think I lack discipline. After all, I have trouble keeping a "real job," meaning one where you do the same thing every day, over and over, even though I am acknowledged to be one of the most talented, and most intelligent people in my family. My marriages failed, and now my three children and I live with my parents, in whose home I have one bedroom where I am expected to keep all my stuff. It is a complete disaster area; think "household gridlock." I am incredibly driven artistically, and in many different media, yet jump around like crazy from project to project, medium to medium, and so I am storing all the equipment for those pursuits, as well as what's been condensed from the seven-room house I used to live in when I was married, in that room. I also have some overflow in the garage, which my parents are not happy about. What I'm really looking for is some way to handle all the stuff I need to handle, and to know; is this my moral failing? Am I just not "buckling down to business?" Or am I a pretty normal ADD person? Or is there some other explanation?


Sounds SO familiar, especially condensing an entire workroom of artistic supplies & furniture into a smaller space, post-divorce. Fortunately my new sweetie (an ESTJ) is very conversant with Myers Briggs types and understands that I (an INTP) am simply wired differently, even when he is exasperated with the disorderly way I handle some things. I also have held a series of jobs instead of building a career, and now have 2 fledgling businesses between which I split my time, plus a FT day job, at which I (thankfully) have a range of duties, so there is some variety/novelty. I think it's not a moral failing, it's that you'd thrive in a different environment where other people (the "stable" ones) would falter and dither. If you want to talk about this further, I'd love to correspond. I'm callipygiangirl (at) h0tmail

The best compromise I've found is concentrating on a small art form, materials for which take up less space and are therefore less offensive to others. Still, it's a limitation. Good luck getting your hands on a winning lottery ticket so you can get back your 7-room house and enjoy your creative frenzy without constant familial judgment.


In general response, I (an INTP) work with many SJ types, few of whom comprehend that there is method in my madness (or moodiness with respect to variety & novelty). I get chewed out periodically by our office assistant, who is incensed that I have 6 or more containers of leftover food in the breakroom fridge, mainly because I'm never certain in the morning whether I'll be in the mood (by lunchtime) to eat reheated stirfry or supermarket black bean stew or a ham sandwich. She sees it as messy laziness, I see it as enjoying my options.

Rather than a traditional career, I've held multiple jobs, from bridal gown consulant to tech writer to admin asst (at which I struggled, where an SJ would have flourished) and have at times berated myself for lack of professional advancement, compared to peers. However, I pat myself on the back for being relatively balanced, since my interests (widely dispersed, of course) include yoga, garden design & implementation, stage costuming (I've done that professionally, but there's little $$ in it), sketching/watercolors, jewelry making, and art modeling. Stereotypically, I've thought "I should get into that" about dozens more hobbies, but manage to contain myself to buying books about it (and of those, there are thousands in total, naturally).

I'd love to hear anyone's (but particularly life coach's) recommendations for selecting an environment in which creative personality types can truly thrive. Do we have to fixate on design, where our disinterest of follow-up translates into an asset? Can we flourish in academia, where stuffiness and tradition often abound? Travel writer? Food critic? Screenwriter? Just don't say middle management for a government entity - I'd rather commit hara kiri!


I am really looking forward to diving into this website and the information available. Right now I've been told that I'm on my "last leg" at work because I haven't been able to fulfill my role as our company's trainer. After two years on the job the number of classes I've actually put on is minimal at best, so I know they're right. For the last two years, however, there's been a major project going on which tapped each department's resources to the max. As a result I had to cancel several classes because no one was able to attend them. That made me reluctant to schedule more classes because I felt it was "just a waste of time" because I knew no one would be able to attend. Does that sound like it's in line with the "loosing interest trait" you mention? The ironic thing is as I'm sitting here typing this comment my mind is racing with all of the different information and articles I want to look at. Ahhh! What's a girl with ADD to do? LOL! Thanks for this great site!

Ariane Benefit, M.S.Ed.

RMBR - It could be losing interest, or could just be smart to not run a class no one is going to attend. On the other hand...it might make sense to run it and cancel it if not enough people register. Then you'd have proof that you weren't just "slacking" : )

What's a girl to do? How about just sign up for the posts by email..and read only one additional article at a time. It's all about the boundaries and limits. Remind yourself that you can't learn it all at once...there are no magic secrets hiding in here. Just good solid wisdom and it won't expire!


I was reading this blog with my daughter and husband in mind (she fits the ADD profile and he is a hoarder) and found some of myself in there. I'm far, far from a hoarder, and am not ADD, but I do wonder about the creative personality. I like and need order, but hate sameness. Does that make sense? I get restless and want to live new places, eat new foods, try new things. I typically excel at my work, whatever it is -- until I get bored with it. I'm usually good for about three years in a traditional 9-5 job, then I'm miserable and have trouble making myself perform even minimally. The one exception was doing freelance day tripper articles (travel writing focusing on places for a one-day trip close to my locale). I loved it. However, the job itself was of short duration, so I don't know how I would have been three years into it. I'm in the third year as an office coordinator and here I am researching ADD and creative personality traits instead of doing the pile on work on my desk. I not only want to leave the job, I want to move to Wyoming. My husband is so attached to the home he has been in his entire adult life (on the land where he was born and raised) surrounded by acres of "stuff" he won't part with (but has at least consolidated into one area behind a fence) that he thinks I'm really out there. He won't even look at job opportunities making more than twice what he makes. I've really been on the hamster wheel trying to figure out which one of us has the problem!

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