G is for Guilt and the Gift of Grace

Day SEVENApril A-Z Blogging  Challenge 2015



One of the debilitating mental factors that hurt people with mental health is the social burden they have to carry. Along with having to endure the symptoms of the illness, mild or pronounced, there is this constant pressure to be like everyone around, in terms of working, interacting, or just living each day with its challenges of adjustment. For very long, several types of mental health issues were not even recognised as problems. I have lived with people for whom the world is an unfriendly place with no one to empathise or understand, since the so-called symptoms are so hidden or not seen as symptoms at all.

In children who are intelligent and above average, there might be a lack of motivation to achieve. They might be bright but restless and without focus or obsessively focussed on something. Such children and adults are dubbed difficult, lazy, careless, intelligent but not conscientious, arrogant, wilful and so on. Such reactions from parents, teachers and adults in the case of children and from peers, spouses, colleagues in the case of adults can create a sense of guilt in the person that they may carry silently and unconsciously for a long time. The reasons for such behaviour lie in brain chemistry.

One example of this is children with mild forms of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). I came across an interesting article that said that in people with ADHD, certain chemicals or ‘key proteins’ that are required for human beings to experience a sense of reward and motivation are lacking in the brain. Due to the deficit in production of Dopamine in the brain, many ‘normal’ qualities are missing in these children.

New research by US brain researchers show  that ADHD is not just about abnormalities in the attention systems of the brain, that is, areas controlling attention and activity, “but abnormalities in the motivation and emotion centres as well. These deficits in the brain’s reward system may help explain clinical symptoms of ADHD, including inattention and reduced motivation, as well as the propensity for complications such as drug abuse and obesity among ADHD patients.” It goes on to say, “For far too long there has been an assumption that children with ADHD are deliberately wilful which has led to mismanagement and ultimately permanent exclusions from school.” You can read the full article here: ADHD Brain Chemistry Clue Found

For parents who sometimes hear the complaint that their children are ‘not well brought up‘, there is a pleasant catch here! You have a gifted child. These same aberrations in chemical production also make these people extremely resilient and creative. Also, sometimes it just is the creative energy seeking an outlet. In what is called ‘shared neuron pathways’, symptoms of a disorder and a child wanting an outlet may look the same. So watch out!  ‘Indeed, while many experts automatically link overexcited, impulsive, and even disruptive behavior to ADHD, there are some who believe this same conduct may simply be the earmarks of profound creativity looking for a way to flourish. 

Says an article on ADD-like behaviour, “People who don’t understand intelligence and giftedness and creativity think that if you’re smart you ought to know how to behave, and if you don’t behave you’re not smart — or you have something wrong with you — but that couldn’t be further from the truth,” says Minnesota child psychologist Deborah Ruf, PhD, National Gifted Children’s Coordinator for American Mensa and author of the book Losing Our Minds: Gifted Children Left Behind. Read here: Not all restless children are ADD 

The Gift of Grace comes from awareness. Awareness of symptoms, that these are caused by brain functions basically, that there are outlets to be creative that can help and so on. Guilt is a useless burden, especially when it has no basis other than ignorant social norms. Convert the energy expended in guilt to discover the gifts inherent within.

© Lakshmi S. Menon & VOICE’nVIEWS


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