Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Adult ADHD and Nature-Sufficient Syndrome

ADHD and nature

My husband (pictured above, with San Francisco in the background; more photos below) and I had just parked the car last Sunday and were headed for the trail on San Bruno Mountain when I remembered, "Oh! My first-Tuesday blog post is due this week. What shall I write about?"

"Well," he said, following close behind, "you could write about how most of us are too attached to our electronic screens and devices. And how the industry is exploiting human vulnerabilities." 

This came as welcome news, especially since it wasn't that long ago that between the two of us, it was only me issuing frequent warnings about "cyber addiction" in our house and in society. A great uncontrolled experiment is being conducted our collective brain, and aside from a few researchers raising the alarm, few seem to care.

My husband was an early adapter of personal digital devices, being one of the first Apple Newton users and buying each successive iteration. 

When we finally purchased a flat-screen HD TV, the effect on him of watching even mediocre commercials was impressive: lounging on the sofa almost slack-jawed and reminding me of a listless opium-den habitué. The rapture lasted only a few weeks, though. Then one night I noticed him looking at my iPad while watching TV. 

Did I mention that we live smack-dab in Silicon Valley, where the ante is constantly being upped in the digital-distraction game?

Fortunately, living here also means we have a rich variety of hiking trails in every direction. Getting out for a trek together at the coast, in the redwoods, through the inland valleys has been a great unifying thread throughout our married life. 

No matter what else was going on when either of us suggested a hike, the other one always said, "Yes, let's go." These outings have been our salvation in more ways than one.

Living with ADHD, in oneself or a partner, the threat always lurks of being distracted from self-care and relationship-care by the easy stimulation. 

So it was that on a beautifully foggy and cool day, as we started up the trail, I nixed the idea of talking about the blog post in favor of savoring the sights, smells, and sensations.  And my husband gratefully agreed. 

Wildflowers still bloomed in abundance. Fog rolled over the hills. Birds chirped and swooped. The chaparral smelled fresh and sparkled from the light mist. We found a funnel-web spider's hole (see photo below). 

 My husband, a great forager, picked so many wild blackberries for me (the only time he does the "cooking") I had my fill. The heavy fog had kept most hikers away and we felt like we had the entire mountain to ourselves.

In hopes of inspiring you, too, to heal any lingering "nature deficit disorder" in your life or relationship, I share below some photos of our hikes over the last year or two.

I also invite you to share with other blog readers how you recharge your batteries in the great outdoors -- perhaps with a sport, a bicycle, regular walks in the neighborhood, or lazing in the hammock and listening to the wind or the birds.

ADHD and nature-sufficient syndrome

ADHD and nature therapy

Gina Pera

ADHD and nature therapy

ADHD and nature therapy

Adult ADHD and nature-sufficient syndrome

Adult ADHD and nature