Powerful evidence. But therapeutic revolutions--especially ones requiring expensive equipment and nerdlike technical skills miles outside the average therapist's comfort zone--need more than scientists to become known. They need explorers, promoters, and innovators--Columbuses, P.T. Barnums, and Thomas Edisons. They need word-of-mouth buzz, training programs, and the cash to develop them.
Sterman and Lubar could provide none of these things. The National Institute of Mental Health and the pharmaceutical companies had no interest. So neurofeedback slipped out from under the laboratory door on its own, like a purloined spell.
Living With AD/HD
I have a confession to make: I didn't pursue this story strictly out of journalistic curiosity. I was hoping that neurofeedback might help me, where years of psychodynamic therapy, seven months in a Buddhist monastery, countless hours in self-help groups, and even a two-week experiment with Ritalin had failed.
All my life, I've collected ribbons and demerits. I learned to read when I was 4, edited my high school literary magazine, aced my SATs, and squeaked into a competitive New England college. Yet, since the day I lost my first mitten, I've sensed I wasn't playing with a full deck.
My mother called me scatterbrained. My father pulled out his hair. My French teacher called me an underachiever and once held up a messy paper I'd labored over, saying, "This oozes 'I don't care.'" Impulsive, disorganized, and endlessly procrastinating, I swam through life in a flotsam of pinned-up hems, minor car accidents, forgotten appointments, lost sweaters, exasperated tax accountants, and puzzled friends. I packed for trips at the last minute, got lost for hours in newspapers I didn't want to read, blurted out things I later regretted, and got breathless and dizzy at even the prospect of assembling an Ikea bookcase.
Spinning through my days, I felt like a butterfly tethered to a concrete block. Some dreams, whether writing a book or just keeping my bedroom neat, seemed to be forever just out of reach. I wanted to Photoshop my personality. I wanted to be me without the angst.