SUGGESTED TITLE: NC Artist with ADD Manages Well

DISABILITIES

By Daniel J. Vance MS, LPCC


Last year, I featured Jeremiah Ray of Charlotte, North Carolina, now 32, who in second grade was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder (ADD). The quality of Ray's life has done a one-eighty since last year because of his success in better managing his many ADD symptoms.

Ray's lifelong symptoms have been inattention, making careless work or school mistakes, appearing not to listen when addressed, being unable to stay on task, and being easily distracted, forgetful, and disorganized. His inability to stay focused on task throughout most of his adult life was so problematic that until recently he lacked the necessary focus to drive a car.

For years, he managed ADD only using medication prescribed by his doctor. In a telephone interview, Ray said, “But this medication came with a cost. Either I'd be unable to sleep, it would affect my creativity negatively or I wouldn't eat well. It was an amphetamine. At times, I'd be so jacked up from it, I could focus on maybe one thing at a time. But part of being creative is letting your mind wander and creating new ideas in a more fluid manner.” Ray considers creativity his greatest strength. He's an artist.

In 2011, he started trying natural substitutes in place of his medication. He eventually went on an all-organic diet that made a “night and day” difference, and began using supplements that mimicked his medication but lacked the side effects. He also started a quest to better understand ADD, such as how it affected him daily and long-term.

He said, “(And doing all that) changed everything. I can't even put it into words. I'm running my own art business part-time now (in addition to a part-time job). I'm doing what I was designed to do and am able to fully communicate to the world and be accepted on my turf, which gives me equal footing. But last year, I could barely leave the house due to ADD.” \

With his girlfriend's help, Ray's business, Synthetic Human Studio Fine Art and Comics, creates and sells portraiture art, abstract painting, and comics. He said, “I'm able to manage life well now. I still have struggles, but the ones I have are far less paralyzing. One reason people with ADD don't fit into the 'regular' world is because we process information differently and quickly, which is why we often speak way too fast.”

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