Recent research explored the function of physical movement, or “hyperactivity,” of ADHD children. The study asserted that the movement facilitated and enhanced focus and concentration (Sarver et al., 2015). The basic function of homeostasis for the human system is to seek and maintain a condition of balance or equilibrium within its internal system. Poignantly, it is unhealthy for human beings’ minds and bodies to stay overstimulated and/understimulated for too long.
Structurally; ADHDers restore equilibrium differently. Hypothetically, ADHDers move (primarily) from understimulation to homeostasis while neurotypical human beings move (primarily) from overstimulation to homeostasis. Let’s highlight this hypothesis by exploring the common mental and emotional state known as restlessness. Similarly and functionally, when restless; human beings are struggling to concentrate on the task or situation in front of them. As an implicit assumption, we view restlessness as a sign of overstimulation.
Similar to the subjective experiences of the solar-paneled and electrical power plant structures being different, restlessness is a sign of underarousal of the central nervous system and cortical grey matter of the brain for ADHDers. Movement functions to restore homeostasis by adding stimulation for the ADHDers human system.
In other words, the ADHDer is restless because their system isn’t energized enough in a particular moment, which disrupts homeostasis. Restlessness, as movement, is trying to connect to its Environment (e.g., what teachers are highlighting) even though the kid may be physically moving, doodling, or staring out the window. An ADHDer may say; “When I add a little stimulation to my system right now, I can concentrate and focus more effectively.”
Of course, misunderstandings run amuck due to understimulation. Others misunderstand ADHDers as evidenced by characterizations of ADHDers (e.g., disruptive, anxious, lazy, crazy, stupid). As significantly, ADHDers misunderstand themselves. Many ADHD clients who stumble graciously and adorably into my office believe they’re overstimulated and overwhelmed instead of understimulated and overwhelmed. More poignantly, many ADHDers are either afraid/ashamed to admit they’re understimulated or too brazen/unapologetic about “being bored.”
In truth, ADHDers feel as though they need to hide the reality that certain routine tasks are understimulating. In essence, they don’t want others to perceive understimulation as a signal of de-valuing those tasks. Valuing a task and being stimulated by the task are not one and the same. ..Without a deeper understanding and acceptance of understimulation, ADHDers may force stimulation by jolting their systems into motivation.
For example, the ADHD energy may force an existential crisis, criticize Self harshly, become angry at others or a situation, use deadlines for motivational energy, and/or delve into Self-injurious behaviors whereas neurotypical human beings jolt Self from overstimulation as they cut corners on projects, complete tasks sloppily, judge Self/others prematurely, make quick assumptions about others, and/or label situations prematurely. For ADHDers, oftentimes; the result of jolting is scatteredness, which will be expounded upon in Part Three.
As we continue the process of learning how to say “No” to binary options (either hiding or jolting), zooming-out can sense the various spaces and rooms in which to wiggle.
When an ADHDer zooms out, the whole is experienced and the brain entertains more stimulation. In the airplane image, the experience of zooming out can be awe-inspiring. By seeing the whole, variables are added and space is created. Jolting and scattering are the antipodes of zooming-out; they mimic hyperfocus and hyperactivity, which contracts space and creates tunnel vision.