Ferrari Brain With Bicycle Brakes
Written by Melanie Naismith on 24 December 2020
“Have you ever heard of a Ferrari Brain with Bicycle Brakes?”
When a guy asked me this I was immediately fascinated by the analogy. I love analogies. I was like “NO, but I love it, what does it mean? “ “Look it up.” He said.
Reckless and full on. Dennis the Menace the girl version. That’s often how my mum would describe me off the cuff. “You never stayed still for more than 5 seconds. I never knew what you were going to do next, I couldn’t predict it.” I bruised my mums ribs before I was born because I kicked so hard from the inside trying to get out.
“For some reason when I was in town or at group gatherings. You were on your best behaviour then.”
“You knew what was right and wrong you just pushed the boundaries and limitations to the upmost degree”. I still do this.
At my last job interview I was asked if I like rules.
I said, “Not really. I like my rules. I’ll play the game until I know it. Then I’ll work out which rules are necessary, what are advisory only, and apply accordingly.”
I would cry and if Mum and Dad didn’t bring the cat in quick enough I’d projectile vomit across the room.
I was talking and running at 9 months and I don’t think I’ve had a rest since. Neither has my mum according to her. The only positives I see out of having operations when I’ve been sick is a forced induced sleep. There isn’t anxiousness behind it, it’s more finally I’m going to get some rest.
When I was about 2, I disappeared. Mum found me outside sitting underneath my pony leaning back against its legs as a back rest. I had my blue heeler dog underneath with me, I’d pulled her mouth open like a lion and had pulled her tongue right out to inspect what was in her mouth. I have this unbridled curiosity that knows no limitation. Can you imagine finding your small child like that and immediately knowing all the danger she was in?
My Mum has a fear of razors and blades because she found me once with a razor in my mouth.
Sometimes I operate completely on impulse. Other times I am rendered almost completely paralysed and useless because I overthink everything to the extreme.
Everything I do, I analyse. I’m my biggest critique because my brain is on a constant loop of different perspectives. How, What, Why?
My brain is three steps ahead of where my mouth is. While people are comprehending one thing I’ve done or said. I’ve moved on to the next thought process. You know when a toddler keeps asking questions? They question everything. It’s so annoying. That’s me in adult life. It’s not because I don’t respect what someone says. I just want to know more.
I always wanted to help Dad growing up, I love being outside and physically doing things. When I got to go, I’d pepper him with questions and want to know why we were doing something one way and could we do it better another. I always wanted to try everything. Sometimes when I’d ask Dad, “Can I help?” Depending on the day, an answer I’d get was, “Not now, I’m in a hurry.”
I can’t just do things without context. I need reason for everything, unless of course I’m working on impulse. Then there is no reason. Until after. When I piece together the thought process.
I have some friends that say they’ve never been so invested in a story only for it to change complete direction and lead them up another nonsensical path. I’ve learnt that my brain connects things differently and seamlessly.
If you find me at home, I’ve usually got music playing or something going in the background. Having noise around me actually quietens the stuff going on in my head. I hate quiet. I usually try to go to sleep with a movie playing in the background so that I don’t have to pay attention to it, but it’s a background distraction. Even as I’m writing this I’ve got a movie going on in the background. One that I’ve seen before that I don’t need to be invested in.
I actually bought a book about 5 years ago, something on being driven to distraction but I still haven’t been focused enough to sit and read it. When I told this to a psychologist friend this year he said he’d never heard such an ADHD statement ever, and he specialises in kids with the condition.
October is ADHD awareness month. Ironically the month is nearly over and I’ve been too distracted to sit down and write about it. I’ve always known my brain worked differently. I’ve known, I’m fidgety can’t sit still, intense, talk a lot, I get distracted easily and I’m like a bower bird with shiny blue things in front of it.
The idea of doing yoga and being quiet was quite possibly the worst possible nightmare for me to step into.
My brain doesn’t stop. It actually took me two years of going to yoga almost daily before I was allowed to participate in a relax class. This was because the teacher thought I was too distracting to others and detract from their experience.
I’m a deep thinker but it often appears as though I’m not paying attention. I have a completely unique perspective on life which I love, but it’s not always understood.
I’m constantly asking questions and my curiosity can sometimes be too much for others.
I’m all or nothing. Bull at a gate. On or off.
I get overwhelmed easily and a lot. Daily in fact. I have so much that comes into my brain and not always an outlet to get it out. I’m often late, but not intentionally as I seem to have no comprehension of how long things take a lot of the time. Sometimes it because I get distracted it takes me waay longer than it should to do even the simplest of tasks. It takes me 15 mins to sit and mind numbingly brush my teeth in the morning. For some reason the thought of doing one thing at a time is too hard.
I’m someone with novelty factor. I’m fun and full of energy to be around, but it can wear thin and burn out. Even on myself.
I need to move on the regular. In fact sitting down puts me to sleep or makes my brain shut down a bit when I’m trying to concentrate. So usually when people like to take a break at lunch I’d prefer to power through. Once I stop and lose momentum it’s very hard to regain it. Once I gain momentum though. There is no stopping me.
It often intrigues me how I’ll start talking to someone about something they did and they have no idea what I’m talking about. I just get brain tweaks that link me into different topics.
I work on what I call the rice cooker method. The act of absorption, it doesn’t look like I’m doing anything but I’m absorbing everything that comes near me.
The best way I’ve come up with to describe is my brain is like a messy computer desktop. Files fly in, they get chucked on top of everything else. Nothing is kept in folders or is organised. I just know it’s there somewhere. But I don’t always know where or how to find it. Sometimes knowing that so much is there to sift through is enough to stop me from doing it.
What happens unexpectedly next is like when you run your mouse over the screen and then click something randomly. This sets off a chain reaction of hyperlinks. The information that comes out is fast and linked in a series of somewhat nonsensical ways to others but makes complete sense to me.
As if it was a computer server operating with codes behind the scenes.
So Ferrari Brain with Bicycle Brakes…
What is it?
You have a turbo charged mind. Like a Ferrari engine, but with the brakes of a bicycle. A brain like this is very powerful but without brakes strong enough, you might race through places where you mean to stop, or ignore instructions you mean to hear.
The neurological underpinning of ADHD is a relative state of disinhibition, gives rise to three negatively associated symptoms. Distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.
Rather than looking at these things negatively in a child or adult, let’s look at the positives because there are a lot.
Creativity, Different Perspective, Persistence, Compassion, Engaging Conversational Skills, Romantics, Constant Surprises, A Great sense of Humour, Spontaneous, Willingness to take risk, A Strong Sense of Fairness, Ingenuity, Generosity, Personality, Resilience, Hyper focused and Empathetic
Once I started mentioning that I think I might have ADHD, no one even batted an eyelid. The most common response was DER! Or yeah but it’s just you. We love you like that. That’s all well and good and I love that my friends accept me. I’d just like to be able to harness a few things better.
If we can find ways to strengthen those brakes a bit better, we have a formidable car to drive that will leave the masses behind. A Ferrari is an amazing vehicle but if you can’t stop it at full speed it can be a dangerous thing to have on the road unbridled with other traffic.
Dr Hallowell came up with the Ferrari brain analogy. I love him for that. His understanding behind ADHD is amazing. He says, ”I don’t see it as an disorder, I see it as a trait and if it’s managed well. It’s an asset.”
Another helpful person is Jessica McCabe. Watch HOW TO ADHD. It’s a very useful tool to listen to someone else that’s real with what’s going on and authentic to herself. People respond to that.
Kerwin Rae has ADHD and sees it as a gift once harnessed.
The funnest and most amazing thing I’ve found out about ADHD, people that were in constant Fight or Flight Mode who act on impulse.
Think of the ages when we were hunter gatherers, we are all sitting round a fire trying to keep warm.
There is a rustle in the bushes, 3 people run into the darkness without thought with their spears and kill a sabretooth tiger. Saving the tribe. By the time this has happened others are either only just noticing what is happening or have been frozen with fear. Everyone rejoices then the heroes get to sleep with everyone’s wives as reward. What a life!! Without people who operate on impulse, we might not all be here today to continue to enjoy it.
Ferrari Brain with Bicycle Brakes for the win.