Where the inside of my mind leaks onto the screen.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Down the Rabbit Hole

Hyperfocus: to "focus so intently on something, no other information gets into your brain"
-- psychologist Brandon Ahinoff (read more here)

**And please click the links to see sources for all the sections of words from the experts I have used!**

More specifically: to ignore all the important things on one's desk because one posted a poll in a Facebook group and cannot stop crunching the resulting numbers and attempting to draw conclusions.

And so while I had planned to wait until I had more data and more appropriate time, I am instead going to attempt a brain dump (a complete transfer of accessible knowledge about a particular subject from your brain to some other storage medium) and see if that helps me move on. 

[And to think that in the past I would have just said I was procrastinating because writing held more appeal than doing my work.]

So I posted a poll in this awesome Mom's with ADHD group I belong to on Facebook.  I had been struck by a random curiosity to know the distribution of Myers-Briggs personality types in our group.  As I throw out some numbers, keep that idea of curiosity readily accessible.  This was a small sample size.  And there are way too many variables to suggest either causation or even correlation.  But the results show significant and noticeable trends. 

And trends fascinate me.

So let's start here.

Image result for personality type distribution for females

A few conclusions are pretty easily drawn:

  • Whoa... one out of every five women I meet will be an ISFJ.  Maybe I should read more about that type and start there when I meet new people?  Hmm...
  • Look at that bottom one on the female chart.  ENTJ.  That's me.
  • The top four types for females are "SF" types.  Over 50% of the female population.  That seems significant!  
What I expected when I posted the poll: the distribution among my ADHD tribe would be a fairly similar representation of the female population as a whole.  

What I hoped for when I posted the poll: that I would find some link between my ADHD and ENTJ personality (even though none of my internet searches thus far have turned up anything).

What I found: 

#1: 50% of the women who answered my poll exhibit INFP personality traits. Another 25% have ENFP personality traits.  I know you can all do the math, but --drumroll please-- that's 75% of the female ADHD'ers that I polled who have an *NFP personality.

A few highlights about these gals:

  • INFPs have a talent for self-expression, revealing their beauty and their secrets through metaphors and fictional characters.
  • If they are not careful, INFPs can lose themselves in their quest for good and neglect the day-to-day upkeep that life demands. INFPs often drift into deep thought, enjoying contemplating the hypothetical and the philosophical more than any other personality type.
  • When something captures INFPs’ imagination and speaks to their beliefs, they go all in, dedicating their time, energy, thoughts and emotions to the project.
  • The ENFP personality is a true free spirit. They are often the life of the party, but unlike Explorers, they are less interested in the sheer excitement and pleasure of the moment than they are in enjoying the social and emotional connections they make with others.
  • When it comes to new ideas, ENFPs aren’t interested in brooding – they want to go out and experience things, and don’t hesitate to step out of their comfort zones to do so. ENFPs are imaginative and open-minded, seeing all things as part of a big, mysterious puzzle called life.
  • ENFPs are natural explorers of interpersonal connections and philosophy, but this backfires when what needs to be done is that TPS report sitting right in front of them. It’s hard for ENFPs to maintain interest as tasks drift towards routine, administrative matters, and away from broader concepts.
#2: While approximately 65% of women have an "observant" personality (the S in the type code), only 10% of the ADHDers who responded to my poll are in that camp.  The rest of us (finally, I am in the majority!) are iNtuitive

The second letter in the Myer-Briggs types represents energy, and it "determines how you see the world and what kind of information you focus on."

Whoa!  Wait... so for a population whose diagnosis often boils down to "lack of focus" has a major discrepancy from the general population regarding how we see the world?  Yeah, I get that it shouldn't be surprising.  And it really isn't.  

But what it is is validating.  

When I feel a little different from "everyone else" -- yeah, major over-exaggeration there -- it's because my ADHD has a significant impact on how I see the world.  Fortunately on this one, I am so far from alone.  35% of women have the iNtuitive personality type.  But according to my informal poll, 90% of female ADHDers do.  

What does this mean?  It means that when I interact with a female student diagnosed with ADHD, I can pretty confidently start from the iNtuitive platform and see how that goes:

"Individuals with the Intuitive trait prefer to rely on their imagination, ideas and possibilities. They dream, fantasize and question why things happen the way they do, always feeling slightly detached from the actual, concrete world. One could even say that these individuals never actually feel as if they truly belong to this world. They may observe other people and events, but their mind remains directed both inwards and somewhere beyond – always questioning, wondering and making connections. When all is said and done, Intuitive types believe in novelty, in the open mind, and in never-ending improvement."
It also means that when I am working with a team of neurotypical women, I can expect over half of them to add a beautiful balance to the equation:
"In contrast, individuals with the Observant trait focus on the actual world and things happening around them. They enjoy seeing, touching, feeling and experiencing – and leave theories and possibilities to others. They want to keep their feet on the ground and focus on the present, instead of wondering why or when something might happen. Consequently, people with this trait tend to be better at dealing with facts, tools and concrete objects as opposed to brainstorming about possibilities or future events, handling abstract theories, or exploring fantasy scenarios. Observant types are also significantly better at focusing on just one thing at a time instead of bursting with energy and juggling multiple activities."  <------- b="">[Just in case you missed the description of Andrea.]
Why does all this matter to me?

Before you read this next part, please keep in mind that my ADHD diagnosis has done nothing to temper my ENTJ ego.  Those who have heard me say, "I don't need others to like me because I like myself enough for everyone," needn't worry.  It is still true.  I am proud of who I am and how my brain works.  


I can be a really crappy friend.  You see, it takes two skills I am not so great at:

1. Noticing a problem in the first place  (thanks, ADHD)
2. Putting human needs in front of efficient processes  (thanks, ENTJ)

"Children with ADHD often miss [the finer points of social interactions ... sharpened by observation and peer feedback.]. They may pick up bits and pieces of what is appropriate but lack an overall view of social expectations. Unfortunately, as adults, they often realize 'something' is missing but are never quite sure what that 'something' may be."
Combine that with my favorite representative ENTJ quote of all time:
"I don’t care if you call me an insensitive bastard, as long as I remain an efficient bastard."
...and maybe you can start to see how I can literally forget to be a good friend.

I did some math today.  Which I estimated to make the figures easier.
1 in 2 adults in the US is female.
1 in 100 of those female adults has ADHD.
1 in 100 females have an ENTJ personality type.

That is 1 in 20,000.  (And some really non-scientific assumptions which I officially acknowledge now). 

The number doesn't mean much without a little context:

So for comparison, a female with ADHD and an INFP
1/2 x 1/100 x 1/2 = 1 in 400
Still not common by any means.

Or consider this: fill Rio Tinto stadium (the local soccer arena for any non-Utahns who might be reading my blog) to capacity with 20,000 people.  It is fairly likely I will run into one of the 50 ADHD/INFP ladies out there.  Probably at the information desk where we will all be inquiring about lost keys.

But if you're looking for the superpowers (and the super-weaknesses) of a female ADHD/ENTJ...

I'll stand up and wave.

[And I have 11 minutes before they make me leave work.  Let's see what I can accomplish with all of this out of my brain!]