The OCD ADHD Mind Vs. The Chaotic ADHD Mind


Chaos vs. order. Some people seem to fall firmly inside one camp and others into the opposite. Some (maybe most) straddle the fence, between the two.

Now, add to this equation, the ADHD mind.

Within the subsets of ADD/ADHD that exist, the two that stand out to me the most are the OCD oriented ADHD people inside the Tribe and the Chaotic ADHD people, or, as I like to call them, the “functions through chaos crowd”.

Guess which category this author falls under? Lol. Let’s examine the two:

I know people who belong to both these families of ADHD, and while they share the same knack for creativity, eccentricity, talent and moxie, they go about exercising these traits in VERY different ways. A dear friend of mine who is part of team OCD is extremely meticulous in all that he does. His work space, living space, car, everything reflects this. Whenever I would visit his apartment, I’d always remark on how the closet was so neatly stacked; the boxes of shoes inside said closet specifically. To be cheeky sometimes, I’d occasionally move something out of place or switch it around and then wait until the moved item was noticed. After a moment of him going apoplectic, we’d both have a laugh and then start our usual back and forth on the merits of being on team ADHD-OCD vs team ADHD-Chaos. I’d be lectured (in the best way possible, lol) how OCD meant being organized – even at the expense of being too obsessive over very minute things – and also focused. I’d argue back that functioning through chaos meant truly freeing yourself; your mind, and really being outside-the-box, and that being too OCD meant confining oneself, “sweating the small stuff too much” and coming across as too “one note” in character.

See which team I belong to now? Lol.

My friend had very salient points to bolster his arguments, to his defense. Truth is, whenever I talk to folks from either camp, they envy or wish they embodied traits that the other has. Case in point, I have another friend who collaborated with me more than once at Florida International University that functioned-through-chaos the same way I did. We had a sort of mind-meld and “got” each other and our very best work was done when we had all of our textbooks open, notes everywhere and we brainstormed left and right in this manner. Our first semester together, we worked on a tough-as-nails project for an equally tough-as-nails professor, and thanks to our brand of thinking and harnessing our ADHD energy in this manner, we not only aced that project, but set the bar for how the rest of the groups in class presenting had to meet expectations. No small feat, to be sure, and “functioning through chaos” this way can definitely help you expand your mind and free your inner creativity. The downside to camp chaos’ approach is being “too all over the place” and falling into the pit of disorganization and letting it consume you, just as camp OCD can become too obsessive over minute things and run around in circles, trying to fix what’s not broken.

So the final score? Team OCD 1, Team Chaos 1. BOTH sides win and with their respective ways of going about life and approaching a task or problem, can be just as successful and productive as the other. I’ve said it before, it’s all about HOW you channel that energy. All my best work done, whether in an academic or professional setting was accomplished in the “function through chaos” method, all the while learning to rein in those aspects that might lead to too much chaos and not enough function. It’s how I won salesperson of the year when I worked at The Miami Herald and Outstanding Contributor every quarter for that same year. My friend from team OCD (when not re-organizing his closet after me pranking him) does his best work with this laser-like, more honed approach and has done spectacularly well, graduating from my alma mater’s rival, the University of Miami with honors, and going on to do just as phenomenally well in his personal and professional life. Again, we both have many feathers in our caps to wear, thanks to being team ADHD-OCD and team ADHD Chaos. I’m sure many of you reading this are nodding your heads and thinking the same thing, from both camps.

That said, the friendly lecturing on whose side is the winner continues, lol. So are you Team A or Team B!?!? Feel free to sound in! Talk to you all soon!