+Danielle Barnham Âû
I feel you, man. As a "sufferer" of fairly severe ADHD I was raised with my own mind being pretty much a "black box" -- I was told how I was supposed to be, but for some reason could never meet those expectations. Despite many attempts to figure out what was going on, I was undiagnosed until I was 31.
I shudder when I think about the sheer blind, dumb luck (combined with a strong stubborn streak!) that finally got me into a decent school, where I had almost zero social skills; Being smart and "behaviorally challenged" had pretty much exiled me to a status just shy of the "short school bus" status in high school (which was a step UP for me, as I did get to ride the "special needs" bus throughout the seventies, before "mainstreaming" became the norm).
Once in college I could have still completely flamed out. Instead, my tendency to be hyper and restless saved me. As I wandered the dorms I cam across a group of people listening to this ernest young man describe what Dungeons and Dragons was, and how it worked.
I was fascinated, and without even realizing it had started several friendships that very night. The man in question invited us all to a beginners game, which basically became an even broader social circle.
The most surreal part of the games was not just that I felt more comfortable and safe than I had in any previous social interactions in my tumultuous childhood, but that there were people who had less social skill than I did. Suddenly I was learning and teaching what I learned, a process that would never stop (can it ever?), and one that would lead me to a successful life.
That first dungeon master, one Neil Rosenstein, went on to be a big player in the New York Public Interest Group (NYPIRG). I had a chance to get back in touch a few years ago, and to tell him exactly what he did for me. I hope I was able to convey even part of the intense gratitude I felt... and still feel... for what he, and D&D, did for me.