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Syl Interlude to an ADHD reader

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I don't know if it's coded to emulate the experience on purpose, as Brandon is usually aware and intentional in depicting neurodivergencies and mental conditions, but as a a long time cosmere fan with strong ADHD, the syl interlude gave me Fuzzy Feelings Of Being Seen.

On one hand, depicting a character mostly known as carefree, childish, sometimes pestering and prone-to-losing-her-intelligence-and-maturity character as potentially ADHD worried me it might be somewhat stereotypical and based on a surface understanding of the disorder ("oh look a butterfly! Haha!") . The idea that because ADHDers struggle to focus and are easily excited they're Happy-Go-Lucky goofballs is one you get tired of seeing at a certain point, y'know.

But I feel Sanderson handled Syl's issue with attention very well and with a lot of understanding!
Syl's struggling with her buzzing brain full of thoughts in order to get what she wanted to do done, her "hanging on" to important tasks trying to keep them in her mind and fearing she'll slip- not only they were a much more nuanced take on the trouble inattention and hyperactivity can cause to an ADHD person and how does it feel to battle them, but they also connected to issues like excutive dysfunction and emotional regulation which are less talked about but very central parts of the disorder!

Other readers, ADHD or not- did you interpert the chapter that way? And specifically Fellow ADHDers- what did you think about the chapter as far as Representation and what not goes?

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I have ADD and i felt personally attacked by this interlude. In a good way, but still.

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Hmm I didn’t interpret it this way, since it was directly related to a magical bond and her actual sapiency wavering, but i think a more direct adhd character that Brandon is trying is rushu, the ardent, and this is especially evident in a POV chapter in dawnshard, if you’ve read that. Honestly though, I feel like she was also done a little bit this way of oh look a distraction!! When that’s not really how it works and definitely does perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Guess we can’t expect Brandosando to be a psychologist 

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13 hours ago, Gloomspren said:

Hmm I didn’t interpret it this way, since it was directly related to a magical bond and her actual sapiency wavering, but i think a more direct adhd character that Brandon is trying is rushu, the ardent, and this is especially evident in a POV chapter in dawnshard, if you’ve read that. Honestly though, I feel like she was also done a little bit this way of oh look a distraction!! When that’s not really how it works and definitely does perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Guess we can’t expect Brandosando to be a psychologist 

Good point on Rushu! Tho, honestly, my lil young pre-Non-binary ass got unreasonably-afectionate on Rushu from the first time I read that little scene she has in WoK rambling about "What IS up with beards and gender and hair?" in the middle of a different more important thing, so, I would probably forgive her as a Good Character even if she murders someone on screen gfsdgf

to be honest. If i was a lighteyes in roshar, where ADHD was not known about, I would have probably joined the ardentia too (who has the mind for Social Propriety) and would be a lot like her- unmedicated and thus esaily distracted peppy scholar ardent who wants to study everything and anything and goes on tangents talking to actual monarchs.

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17 hours ago, Gloomspren said:

When that’s not really how it works and definitely does perpetuate harmful stereotypes. Guess we can’t expect Brandosando to be a psychologist 

I mean....she could just be an easily distracted person???

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As someone who has ADD I'll be honest. I do become distracted like that. I could be talking about a book then somehow got talking about chemistry or language. It is possible to be like that. I don't think anyone really has demonstrated ADHD in the books unless you really want to stretch it to Lift (and I mean stretch) but Rushu the ardent (the one with Navani right?). She seemed fine to me. In fact she was probably more like me because I too would get distracted by something else while doing another. 

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I have ADHD and boy do I sometimes wish I could turn into a tuber and just roll my way out of a potentially awkward interaction B)

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Fellow ADHDer here! (Hi friends!)

I just woke up so I'll try not fumble around with my words too much. I am gonna ramble a lot so uuuuuhhhh... Hang in there? ;v;

Syl's interlude was super relatable, even if it had ties in the supernatural. I don't think she's necessarily ADHD, being a little piece of Honor, HOWEVER she IS pure cognitive function, so... I don't see why not either lol. I think the personalities of a lot of radiant spren are meant to "offset" the personalities of their chosen radiant, see: Kaladin gets-his-head-stuck-in-the-crem Stormblessed, tempered with Syl Born-to-be-free Phrena. Or Teft who gets trapped in self-loathing spirals, and Phendorana, kind-and-patient-but-firm, who'll call him out on his non-sense. So... Syl being distracteable maybe in direct foil to Kaladin who has a hard time LETTING himself be "distracted". 

As for Rushu I'm... Hesitant. She's got the inattentiveness, only maaayyybe hints of executive dysfunction, but I haven't seen much evidence of rejection sensitivity dysphoria. 

Like in Dawnshard, 

Quote

when she goes to adjust Rysn's chair without asking and gets (patiently!) called out by Rysn. Sits back, asks, then gets right back to work. 

If that were me in that situation, I'd be getting inundated with shame spren whether I like it or not. (If it hadn't been polite, it probably would've been anger spren. Reactiveness is funny (annoying) like that.) 

RSD is shown in, and I think I'm remembering this right, 97% of ADHD folks. Rejection, be it litteral or even PERCEIVED, feels like a huge mental punch in the gut, even over little things. It can be confused for bipolar disorder if it's really bad, but can spiral off into depression, avoidance disorder, social anxiety, etc. Depending if the ADHDer in question is prone to externalizing or internalizing. That sensitivity, in combination with the other a Big Two (Three if you include hyperactivity *points at self*) can result in, well... A Very Annoying Character. Seeing how polarizing (whomp whomp) Shallan can be in the fandom (I've avoided those forums bc I LOVE Shallan, as an artist and as someone who copes/coped with trauma by... Blanking.) I'm anxious about whether I actually want to see her shown with the full ADHD buffet. 

THAT SAID... Navani is just about the best patron/master/guide one could ask for. She never blames or berates Rushu for Being Rushu, just gently and firmly guides her on her own path. Which makes for an engaging yet low-stress environment for her to flourish! (I'm a little envious, actually.) 

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Rushu is a lot like my personal experience of ADHD (and gender tbh), I do want more of her.  Syl has hints of ADHD but I didn't really connect with her interlude as much in that way.  

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Brandon has actually been asked about this and your intuition is right:

Quote

Eric

Does Syl have ADHD?

Brandon Sanderson

I wrote Syl like I perceive my son, who has ADHD, perceiving the world. So yes, that was a touchstone when I was writing her viewpoint, was that. She would probably be diagnosed with ADHD if you had her sit down and talk to a therapist now. She's spren, so I'm not sure if I can call it true ADHD, 'cause ADHD has certain root causes in human physiology and psychology. But that's how I wrote her. I said, "What would it feel like to be Syl," and I felt like she would exhibit some of the same behaviors and same thought patterns.

You could call that a "yes." The short answer is "yes." The long answer is, "I'm not sure if I can diagnose a spren." (And I shouldn't be diagnosing anyone, because I am not certified to do so.)

YouTube Livestream 13 (July 23, 2020)

 

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Rushu reminds me more of NVLD or NLD, which shares some elements with executive processing disorder. I doubt this is the case though, as NVLDs aren’t very well known.

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On 11/24/2020 at 9:53 PM, Sasja2112 said:

I have ADHD and boy do I sometimes wish I could turn into a tuber and just roll my way out of a potentially awkward interaction B)

Awkward avoidance is always a plus.

I never thought of Syl that way but it does make some sense.

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Fellow adhd-haver, I liked it and firmly related to both syl and rushu and I've rewritten this post five times before realising I need to just go re-read dawnshard and the syl interlude again before I go into it <_<

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