Reframing Expert Advice for the Care and Feeding of Hydrangeas and ADHD
About six weeks into spring in Birmingham, AL, and my hydrangeas are thundering! Blooming wildly, soaring to over six feet! Pretty enough to stop traffic, which they do. They are Snowflakes, a variety of the Oakleaf family of hydrangeas. (FYI. Check Aldridge Gardens, the South’s premiere hydrangearian spot, for this variety @ http://aldridgegardens.com).
The hydrangeas were planted 10 years ago alongside the driveway, under a massive 125-year-old oak tree in the front yard. They don’t get watered regularly. All I’ve ever done regularly is run over them backing down the driveway.
Planted them under that tree because I was advised by expert hydrangearians that hydrangeas thrive in the shade. Well, they don’t. Not these hydrangeas anyway. Up until this year, those plants were mere scrawny vegetation, randomly dotted with a few blooms. Last year, a storm blew through and the huge old, 75-foot oak tree fell. On its way crashing down, it took out several other trees, power and cable for a whole block of neighbors, an iron gate, my next-door neighbor’s lawn bench and cracked up the sidewalk. Felt kind of bad about that. But no hydrangeas were harmed in the storm-created fiasco.
Since the fall of the great shade tree, the hydrangeas are thriving. Now, with show-stopping hydrangeas, the-won’t-grow-in-the-sun advice doesn’t hold true. Instead, they’re booming like never before. Soaring to great heights. Blossoming plump and healthy. The ice-cream-cone-shaped vanilla blooms grew from single scoops to triple scoops. The bushy parts surged from wimpy two-foot pygmies to six-foot Vulcans. All happened when they defied traditional counsel on hydrangea care and emerged from the shadow of that big tree into the sunlight to flourish.
The hydrangeas-won’t-bloom-in-full-sun theory goes against the long held beliefs and sensibilities of expert hydrangearians. We believe experts. Botany experts. Education experts. Learning experts. Mental health experts. ADHD experts. And our mamas. But the very unexpected ravage of the storm that conked out a tree, breathed new life into those hydrangeas and challenged the beliefs of experts … at least in the case of my hydrangeas.
I think about this as an image for much that I know about being ADHD, experiencing all kinds of advice and counsel about thriving and surviving with ADHD. I used to embrace all that without question. Now I have questions. I see so many ADHDers trying to follow experts’ advice, to do what’s right for them. Sometimes they are not able to do it in productive, successful ways. Sometimes they are not able to do it in ways that are wise, good for the people around them, or good for themselves.
I see parents, far too many parents, who leap to the drug-‘em-up-to-plug-‘em-in approach for the sake of their children’s academic survival. Struggling to do what is right or at least less harmful. But it doesn’t always seem right to me to plant ADHDers in the shade when sunlight is what is needed. Somewhere there has to be a balance of the grounded-in-the-research-expert-advice and practical knowledge and acceptance of the positive side of ADHD traits to unleash them to be everything they are meant to be.
What wisdom, what life-giving force there is in these blooming-in-the-sun hydrangeas to provide care for our ADHD selves and other ADHDers in our lives! With the wall of shade removed from the hydrangeas, they thrive and flourish against all odds, after struggling for years to survive and conform to life the way experts suggest.
Easily distracted … so say psychiatrists about ADHD. Positively reframe easily distracted to mental meandering, distraction attraction, or thirsty curiosities. Time to take ADHD traits out of the shadows and let them thrive! We’re hunter-gatherers trying to make sense of a modern world. Reframe ADHD and set us free to get back to hunting and mental meandering with our thirsty curiosities.
Have been struggling for days to write this short blog, doing all those things the experts say … turned off Google, Facebook, instant messenger, the phone, email, the TV. Didn’t work. Only when I clamped earphones on to listen to music and dance, muted the TV to scan CNN headlines scrolling across the bottom, turned on iPhone and iPad to text, email, and talk with friends on Facebook, was I able to write this blog.
Now you can know about my experience growing hydrangeas. I’m no hydrangearian, so don’t go suing me if you chop down all the trees in your yard to make your hydrangeas grow and bloom and they don’t. I’m just saying what happened in my yard.
But I am clear, clear, clear about reframing ADHD traits experts slander across the pages of the mental disordered handbook … er … I mean handbook of mental disorders. Spin all those ADHD traits into the positive traits they really are. I do that in ADHD Reframed! Totally Crush Life and Career with an ADHD Fast Brain.
When ADHD traits are positively reframed, they can be translated into career abilities and job skills. I am an expert on that and I reframe and translate them for you, linking them to the right careers in ADHD Reframed! Grab ADHD Reframed! Totally Crush Life and Career with an ADHD Fast Brain at Amazon and Smashwords.
You don’t even have to worry your ADHD self trying to sit still and stay focused through the whole book front to back … you can start with the last three chapters to get you linked to the right career to totally crush life! You can even download a bunch of free pages at Smashwords to see how you like this sassy, positive-traits-of-ADHD consciousness-raising book, grounded in the career development research on natural abilities.
ADHD is a legitimate, life interrupting disability. I know that. I also know it is a gift to be valued and celebrated. The gift of ADHD is celebrated in ADHD Reframed! Totally Crush Life and Career with an ADHD Fast Brain.
Patricia Lloyd, Ph.D.