When I was younger I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. (And before you all go into some sort of tirade against clueless parents or something, be aware that it was mostly my idea– I was a rather informed young thing.)

There is a long and convoluted story behind all of this but suffice to say that the second school stopped interesting me was the second I stopped caring. As far as I was concerned, my games of make-believe held much more weight than whatever boring homework the school system was throwing at me at the time. The result was that suddenly the “gifted school” girl was failing everything in sight, and nobody knew why. Yeah, that was kind of an uncomfortable time in my life.

I struggled with this issue for quite some time– all through middle school and then some of high school– and then finally I started taking meds.


Mmyep, I read the label, and this was pretty much it. Seriously.

That was when something crazy happened. See, the meds had a completely different effect than what was originally intended. Instead of giving me the drive and focus to concentrate on school, they gave me the drive and focus to concentrate on video games. For hours on end.

Up until that point, I could only play video games for small amounts of time and then need a break. Suddenly I was binging on everything in sight. Zelda: Ocarina of Time for 18 hours a day? Did it. Starcraft for 18 hours a day? Yup. Mario Freaking Golf? Did that too.

Aaaanyways I was on the meds for a while and then halfway through college I quit, cold turkey. There were a few reasons for this but chief among them was “Why am I taking this super addictive crap when the tradeoff is probably not even worth it?”

Plus I missed my imaginary friends.

Well once I got over about a month of painful withdrawal symptoms (further cementing my desire to not touch the stuff ever again), things had returned to normal– so it would seem. See, I wasn’t playing a whole lot of video games at this point because I was working and going to college. In fact, I wouldn’t really seriously game again until I graduated college and installed WoW.

I was soon back to my old shenanigans again as far as video games were concerned: I am unable to sit still and play a game for more than a couple of hours at a time. Oh, believe me, during the early WoW honeymoon phase it was several shifts a day, but these were interspersed with frequent breaks.

Anyways, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “Pike, where are you going with this?”

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. This whole insanely long prologue was meant to be a lead-in for this:

I can’t do that thing that everyone else does and binge play.

Seriously.

Chain heroics? Really? I can do two heroics, max, before I want to smash my head into a wall.

Raiding? An hour in and I’m done. I just stay the rest of the way out of courtesy more than anything. Karazhan was really the only raid that was near-immune to this phenomenon, because it was interesting. And Naxx wasn’t too bad, I guess. But ultimately this was one of the big reasons why I quit raiding. I just don’t have the mental stamina for it. After an hour or so, I simply don’t enjoy it anymore. Maybe that’s one of the reasons why I kind of liked ToC. Short and to the point.

Leveling? Guys, not even heirlooms and the new in-game Quest Helper map can save me from how slowly I level. One level a day is a good day for me… and that’s pre-60. All you people that say stuff like “Oh I am leveling from 76 to 80 this weekend?” Seriously, you can do that? I think when I leveled my druid from 76 to 80 it took about a month. And I was a freaking healer and was getting groups every five seconds.

Doing anything on one single character for more than about an hour? There is a lot of crying and wailing and gnashing of teeth on my end.

Let’s not get me started on dailies. Dailies have tossed a sharp pointy stake in the heart of more than one online game for me.

I don’t know how you guys can do it. I mean, clearly, I must have at one point, because I think back to all the video game marathons I managed back when I was on Speeeeeeed™, and I did it back then. These days, though, I can’t go back to that, and ultimately I wouldn’t want to. I like how I am at this point, you know, with the whole doing-one-heroic and then having-to-log-off-for-several-hours-to-recuperate thing. Because in all those several hours that I am logged off, I’m doing other things like drawing or reading or writing or what-have-you, or maybe even taking out the trash when I’m feeling really inspired.

Well, now that I have elaborated far more on this than I was originally planning to, I hope that maybe you have an unde- SQUIRREL.

22 Responses to “So I was playing this game and OMG LOOK A SHINY”
  1. Kitsuno says:

    This is exactly how I am. Granted I didn’t really have a choice on quitting my meds, unlike you.

  2. Jennifer says:

    THIS. ME. EXACTLY.

    Except I got the bipolar designation instead of ADHD. I suppose this means that half the time I can’t concentrate at all, the other half I concentrate obsessively, and that might change every few minutes?

    But the meds, they have this way of completely destroying your creativity while at the same time making you a FUNCTIONAL MEMBER OF SOCIETY.

    I quickly decided that I’d rather be creative, thanks.

  3. Achloryn says:

    I can’t honestly say that I know where you’re coming from, or understand how you feel, but the last line in your post made me almost vomit from laughing so hard… and I sprayed water out of my nostrils too.. They burn now… thanks for that.

  4. Grimmtooth says:

    A lot of people don’t grok the “Hyper” part of ADHD, and think we’re just easily distracted. The flip side is when we get into something, we GET INTO IT. Worse, at least in my case, people trying to get me to multitask during those hyper-focused periods usually make me hyper-cranky.

    To this day, I can’t talk on the phone while someone else is in the room talking.

    I never took meds for this, mostly because I was already an adult before ADHD was widely recognized as a real ailment. This played hob with my school grades, you betcha. But eventually – by the time I bombed out of college and joined the Navy – I developed coping mechanisms to finally gain the ability to be a student; I’ve had to maintain those all my life now. I imagine you have, too.

    Heck, I KNOW you have, at least to some extent, seeing that you seem to have developed similar WoW habits to mine. There is a reason I have 14 toons in-game (10 on one server), and that is because I can’t imagine playing the same toon for more than a while without an actual goal in place. Same for raiding – when the only goal I have is “eventually down Putri”, my patience wanes at around the 3-hour mark (Progression: love/hate, really).

    So, yeah, you and anyone else that maybe feels a pang about not being on the pills, just don’t feel that way. There are other ways, but they’re not easy, and they require you to own the issue and deal with it personally. Can’t use it as a crutch, and can’t use it as a free out. But you have to understand it. That was key for me. Until I heard about it, and what it did, I had no idea what the hell was wrong with me.

    Now I know at least one part. The rest is a mystery :)

    Oh, BTW – is that a for-real Calvin & Hobbes? I’ve never seen that one!

  5. Mockingbird says:

    I like the way you told that. Sounds like you like… you. so that’s good :D

    The Calvin and Hobbes spoof nearly made me cry.

  6. Marillawen says:

    Well, I do not have ADHD, but I hardly play more than one, two hours a day (If I log of course). Even before when I was more active, I stayed logged in for a long time but I was talking and chatting more than I actually played. The only time I actually get into the game for a long time now is during the weekend, if my boyfriend starts to play Call of Duty (I have a hard time looking at this game since I feel dizzy after ten minutes)

    I totally understand you on this: Hell, 1 level a DAY before 60? Are you -kidding- me? Ask around; I am slow. VERY slow to level! ;) And I think I did instances / raiding 20 times, during all those years.

    So yes…I don’t have ADHD but I can be distrac- OMG SPARKLES!!!!

  7. Minos says:

    Psychoactive drugs are scary, at least when they cause personality changes. For about half my time in college, I was taking anticonvulsants to control seizures from a brain tumor. It wasn’t until after I was weaned off of them that I realized the effect they’d had on me. Suddenly, I could think again! It was like my brain had been working in slow motion and someone had cranked the film speed back up to normal.

    My friends and family said “it was like having the old Simon back.” After I graduated and noted my disappointing GPA, I took my transcript and calculated two GPAs: one for the semesters I was unmedicated and another for the semesters where I was drugged up. The unmedicated one was a full point higher.

  8. Ardprest says:

    That stuff didn’t exist when I went through my “what the hell is wring with him” teenage phase. Or my “what the hell is wrong with YOU” post-teen phase. Maybe that was a blessing. On the other hand I still don’t get you NTs sometimes. And I still play WoW on 5 different characters, rotating through them an hour or do at a time. Meh, I’m happy enough…

  9. Llyrra says:

    I don’t have ADHD but I also cannot play more than an hour or so before I need a break. The only in-game exception for me is when I’m progression raiding…. I know the payoff will be worth the effort (yea! wearing Llyrra the Kingslayer as of last night) but it’s not easy to focus so intensely for so long on anything.

    I remember that particular Calvin & Hobbes comic because of how sad it made me when I read it. And now I know that it still makes me very sad.

  10. Melkorka says:

    Bugger, you just described me 100%, and I have never looked at myself having ADD!. :S I’d go see a doc about it if only my chronic apathy towards my own health didn’t prevent me from worrying about it. :)

  11. Shayzani says:

    Seems the fashionable opinion to have here so far is to villify the meds. Medications aren’t inherently bad, even if you experience horrendous withdrawls. You’ll have similar responses to a lack of food and water after all.

    For me, the meds made the difference between constantly failing at virtually everything I did and actually being able to live my life.

    Now if only I had insurance so I could get back on them.

  12. Pike says:

    @ Achloryn – Hehe, glad to be of service!

    @ Grimmtooth – I cannot hold a conversation with someone while another conversation is going on. Whether it be someone standing nearby on the phone, or the TV, my mind just… wish I could explain how it feels. Suddenly it is overloaded with INFORMATION OMG and it feels like it’s just getting sprayed all over the place and I can’t do anything with it. I am glad to know I am not the only one. Also, I believe the C&H comic is a fan comic.

    @ Shayzani – I should probably have clarified in the post, I don’t actually have much of a problem with meds myself. If it works for you, it works for you, and if it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. I don’t feel like the meds messed with my creativity or anything like that (any comments I have made that insinuate that thought were rather tongue-in-cheek *nods*) Truthfully the reasons I gave in this post for discontinuing the meds were only half of a very long story, the other half was, in a nutshell, that I began having some severe physiological side effects from the meds and I was too lazy to go get a different kind. *shrug* I considered talking about this in the post but it would have veered horrendously off-topic…

  13. Shayzani says:

    I wanna hear that part of the story! D:

  14. That’s actually really interesting. As another ADD gamer who was medicated from age 3 till halfway through college, I am kinda the opposite. I do binge game for hours at a time, then I get bored with the game and wander off. I think it’s a compensation mechanism, that I learned to hyperfocus but I can only sustain the effort for so long. It’s a theory anyway.

    Do you also have twenty billion things you want to do in game, but have issues focusing on one long enough to get it done?

    And the meds. I was undermedicated for years because they couldn’t up the dosage enough to be actually useful without causing me crippling migraines. At this point I’ve learned to cope with it, and my case is mild anyway. I actually think it gives me an advantage in some ways. I know a little bit about many many things cause almost everything is interesting. If nothing else, it’s entertaining to be able to jump from talking about the various RAID arrays to the history of Victorian knitting.

  15. I was diagnosed ADHD back in the mid 70′s just as Ritalin and theo whole cadre of drugs were being introduced. My mother decided not to medicate me.

    Overall, I do OK, but it’s a day to day thing.

    I absolutely cannot talk to someone with anything else verbal going on in the room. Even loud fast instrumental stuff causes me problems. If pushed, I can *Try*, but that, combined with less than perfect hearing makes it a nightmare.

    Needless to say, multitasking is not something I can do well. I can do multiple tasks, but each one, in order, after prioritization, and -

    SHINEY!

  16. [...] Aspect of the Hare » So I was playing this game and OMG LOOK A SHINY [...]

  17. Mazil says:

    Calvin and Hobbes comic – so very sad! Someone please tell me it’s not a real strip or I might have turn into a sad puddle.

    Back to the topic at hand, I think it’s great to play a bit and do other things too. Everything in moderation, as they say.

  18. Mitsune says:

    I remember a guy back in.. hurr, converting school systems sucks – high school maybe? – had ADHD, and I always wondered what it was like, for him, but I guess it’s not something you up and ask someone about, eh. Or, well, it wasn’t, as I never knew him too well, anyways.

    Herp derp, what I’m getting at is; interesting read, thank you for sharing!

    And NO way is that a squirrel!

  19. Jaedia says:

    *giggle* love that dog.

    I’m a little bit like that I guess, but when I really put my mind to getting something done, I will spend a long time on it. Though most days I’ll be a bit “watching anime – BORED. Play some WoW, ooh WG – BORED. Time to do the cleaning, right, mopped the floor – BORED.” I have to get myself into some kind of weird zone to get anything done, though my excuse would be more laziness and procrastination methinks :p

  20. Naithin says:

    Heehee, is it bad that the end of that post made the whole thing seem a big ol’ joke setup to me and that ended up being all I focused on after reading it for a good while? :P

    Anywho, I’m pretty much like Jaedia actually. Get bored of things fairly easily unless there is some driving need to focus. i.e., I’m fine in raids, I actually quite enjoy them. I also USED to be able to chain heroics back when it was worth while to do so.. But now I do maybe one or two per character- BORED. :P

    To the more serious bits of the post; all I really have to say in the end is that I’m glad you came through in the end OK, although I do regret you had to go through the awful withdrawal symptoms to get there!

  21. Priestgiblet says:

    I can sympathize with you on the leveling department. I absolutely hate it with a passion. The only character i leveled in a reasonable time was my priest which had the full support of a guild since we needed a healer for Kara. Recently i just got my hunter to 80…. after 2 years of leveling.

  22. Donovitch says:

    just one day you need to change your site’s name to “aspect of the doug” with that pic there at the top lol- been there ms pikey and I completely know how you feel….problem is I have 7 alts at 80 in icc gear….and well…uh…I’m sorta starting to run out of stuff to do.

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