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Michael Phelps Needs Understanding, Not Condemnation

Wednesday, February 4, 2009 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 8:20 AM, under ,

Athens, GA (Feb 4, 2009) - The condemnation of Michael Phelps in the mainstream media and in the blogophere has been fast, furious, and not unexpected. Hey, let's go for a hike. Columnists are wondering if he should or will lose his endorsement deals People who have put him on a pedestal after his Olympic performance are saying he is being a bad role model. Oh, look at what's on this television station. Unfortunately, it is not condemnation that should be directed at Phelps, but understanding. Why? Because what Phelps did, allegedly taking bong hits of ganja, was not because he felt he could do it and get away with it, or that rules and laws did not apply to him. It happened because he reacted to an impulse, and impulse fought by many who suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), and in some cases like his, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

There are those out there who will say this is poppycock. ADD/ADHD is a created disorder to enable the drugging of children to get them to behave. They will say that it is a way to label kids who simply just do not behave the way they are expected. The will say that it is way overdiagnosed and kids are unnecessarily put on drugs that are not needed. All these kids need is discipline and structure people will say.

Yes structure is needed. That is why Phelps's mother got him into swimming to begin with. She needed an avenue that allowed him to focus and get away from distractions. This worked while he was in the pool. But when he gets away from the pool, and other people who have ADD/ADHD get away from the metaphorical pool, it is ofent a constant battle/struggle to deal with the way the ADD/ADHD mind operates. It is not that they are dumber or smarter. Actually many ADD/ADHD people are brilliant and successful. The CEO of Jet Blue is ADD and look what he has done.

So I am asking mainstream media and others to step back and understand something. What Phelps did had nothing to do with arrogance. It has to do with bad choices that ADD/ADHD people do out of impulsivity, and the type of behaviors can manifest itself in different ways. It takes a lot of love, support, and yes, sometimes medications, to keep on track and succeed.

So instead of condemning Phelps, try to understand end emphasize. He is no less human, and our brother, just becausehe has all of those Gold Medals and lots of money in endorsement contracts. He has sto struggle and it is not easy.

Why do I say all of this with conviction and authority? In the spirit of the "25 things about me" meme running around Facebook, the answer is simple:

"Hi! My name is Chris and I Have ADD".

It is not always easy to deal with, but it can be done. People just need to understand our minds operate a little differently than others. In fact, we think those without ADD are really the ones with a deficit because they cannot think outside the box as well as we can. We do not use it as a crutch or an excuse, just a framework so people can understand how we think and why we do things the way we do.

Just take a look at these people associated with ADD/ADHD and think of what the world would be like if they had not succeeded:

Ansel Adams (1902-1984) — Photographer
Alexander Graham Bell — (1862-1939) — Telephone Inventor
Hans Christian Anderson — (1805-1875) — Author
Beethoven — (1770-1827) — Composer
Harry Belafonte — (1927-present) — Actor, Vocalist
Terry Bradshaw — (1948-Present) — Football Quarterback, TV Analyst
Andrew Carnegie - (1835-1919) Industialist
Winston Churchill — (1874-1965) — Statesman (Failed the sixth grade)
Harvey Cushing M.D. — (1869-1939) - Greatest Neurosurgeon of the 20th Century
Salvador Dali — (1904-1989) —Artist
Leonardo da Vinci — (1452-1519) — Inventor, Artist
John Denver — (1943-1997) — Musician
Walt Disney — (1901-1971) (A newspaper editor fired him because he had "No good ideas".)
Thomas Edison — (1847-1931) — Inventor (His teachers told him he was too stupid to learn anything)
Albert Einstein — (1879-1955) — Physicist
Dwight D. Eisenhower — (1890-1969) — U. S. President, Military General
Michael Faraday — (1791-1867) — British Physicist, Chemist
F. Scott Fitzgerald — (1896-1940) — Author
Malcolm Forbes — (1919-1990) — Forbes Magazine Founder & Publisher
Henry Ford — (1863-1947) — Automobile Innovator
Benjamin Franklin — (1706 - 1790) — Politician, Elder Statesman
Galileo (Galilei) — (1564-1642) — Mathematician, Astronomer
Georg Frideric Handel — (1685-1759) — Composer
William Randolph Hearst — (1863-1951) — Newspaper Magnate
Ernest Hemingway — (1899-1961) — Author
Mariel Hemingway — (1961) — Actress
Milton Hershey — "The Chocolate King" — (1857-1945)
Dustin Hoffman — (1937-present) — Actor
Bruce Jenner — (1949-present) — Athlete
"Magic" Johnson — (1959-present) — Basketball Player
Michael Jordan — (1963-present) — Basketball Player
John F. Kennedy — (1917-1963) — U. S. President
Robert F. Kennedy — (1925-1968) — U.S. Attorney General
Jason Kidd — (1973-present) — Professional Basketball Player
John Lennon — (1940-1980) — Musician
Carl Lewis — (1961-present)
Meriwether Lewis (Lewis & Clark) — (1774 -1809) — Explorer
Abraham Lincoln — (1809-1865) — U.S. President
Greg Louganis — (1960-present) — Olympic Gold Medalist (Diving)
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart — (1756-1791) — Composer
Napoleon Bonaparte — (1769-1873) — Emperor
Nasser (Gamal Abdel-nasser) — (1918-1970) — Egyptian Leader
Sir Issac Newton —(1642-1727) — Scientist, Mathematician
Louis Pasteur — (1822-1895) — Scientist
General George Patton — (1885-1945) — Military
Pablo Picasso — (1882-1973) — Artist
Edgar Allan Poe — (1809-1849) — Author, Poet
Rachmaninov — (1873-1943) — Composer
Eddie Rickenbacker — (1890-1973) — WWI Flying Ace
John D. Rockefeller — (1839-1937)
Pete Rose — (1941-present) — Baseball Player
Babe Ruth — (1895-1948) — Baseball Legend
Nolan Ryan — (1947-present) — Baseball Player
Muhammad Anwar al-Sadat — (1918-1981) — Egyptian President
George Bernard Shaw — (1856-1950)—Author
Socrates — (469-399 B.C.) — Philosopher
Henry David Thoreau — (1817-1862) — Author
Tolstoy — (1828-1910) — Russian Author
Vincent van Gogh — (1853-1890) — Artist
Jules Verne — (1828-1905) — Author
Werner von Braun — (1912-1977) — Rocket Scientist
Woodrow Wilson — (1856-1924) — U. S. President
Frank Lloyd Wright — (1867-1959) — Architect
Orville Wright — (1871-1948) — Airplane Developer
Wilber Wright — (1867-1912) — Airplane Developer
William Wrigley, Jr. — (1933-1999) — Chewing Gum Maker
William Butler Yeats — (1865-1939) Irish Author

Now where is that article I thought I saw the other day?

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