Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Epiphany or Just Kidding Myself?

I just got home (late on Dec. 2) from a five-day conference of Veteran's Employment Representatives on the new materials for the Transition Assistance Program (TAP) for service members about to leave the military and I wanted to get my thoughts out there with little polishing. The conference, my "classmates," and especially the "trainer," Dr. Beverly Hyman were the best part of the experience. Dr. Hyman and her husband are the co-authors of the book, How to Know If It's Time to Go: A 10-Step Reality Test for Your Marriagewhich I will be buying and readingand I have been divorced almost ten years now.

I have written before of my ADD/ADHD and anyone that knows me would not be surprised that I was that annoying student that was always raising their hand to contribute something to the discussion. There were times I had to force myself to remain still and let others have a chance. It is not (I hope) that I am really that self-absorbed, it is just that, despite my ADD/ADHD, or (here comes the possible epiphany part) because of it, I seem to have a knack for finding connections, metaphors, or analogies between seemingly dissimilar ideas or concepts. One of the diagnostic features of ADD/ADHD is a deficit in "working memory" and that is me to a "T." Might it be that my deficit in working memory forces me, and perhaps others with ADD/ADHD, to draw on their long term memories, or to use a computer metaphor, to compensate for not having enough RAM (where programs and data are stored while they are being used, and which is cleared when the computer is powered down) by having a fast and very well indexed "hard drive" (long term memory) that is able to make rapid connections to things it already knows?

Jet fighters are designed in such a way that, aerodynamically, they are just on the verge of being uncontrollable. Key to the survival of military jets in air-to-air combat is their maneuverability, whereas predictability and stability are what you want in a commercial or military that carries people or other cargo. Perhaps those with a good working memory are able to stay focused and "on task," like a well-designed passenger aircraft. Combat aircraft on the other hand are too difficult for a human to control and it is only the ability of computers to make tiny millisecond by millisecond adjustments to the flight controls that they are stable at all, but when they do need to maneuver, they can do so incredibly quickly-in much the same way that someone with ADD/ADHD can quickly see how a new piece of information might relate to something they already know.

I have some thinking and reading to do. I will certainly have more to say later.

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