An “Aha” Moment Hits the Right Note

By Annette Tabor

Mark Stenson had his “Aha“ moment 22 years ago while walking up and down the aisles of Barnes and Nobles and found a book entitled “ADD and Creativity” by Lynn Weiss. He immediately started reading the book and thought, “Hey this sounds like me…I think I have ADHD!”

At the time, Mark was seeing a psychiatrist for depression; he went back to his doctor and told him about the characteristics he read in the book that were similar to his. Mark and his doctor worked together to find medication and strategies that worked for him.

Recently Mark was trying to find an ADHD support group for adults locally. As he was researching online, he discovered the ADDA website and became a member. He learned about the Virtual Support Groups and found one in particular he liked called the Power Hour. Mark recognizes that participants in ADDA Virtual Support Groups have instant empathy for each other. He feels he and other ADDA Facilitators create an environment to help others be productive and accountable!

Mark is a retired music composer. He has always been fascinated by music and sound. Having grown up in the 1950’s, his mother would say that “Mark was vaccinated with a phonograph needle”. He has composed for the National Forest Service, radio programs on NPR, local television, numerous video productions, and music for worship. In the early 1980’s Mark was a software beta tester for developing computer programs for music writing/scoring and sequencing with MIDI. In addition, he also received a scholarship to complete a Master’s degree in Music Theory.

Mark’s talents include customizing the writing, composing and recording to suit each client’s preferences. He feels that, thanks to his ADHD, he can easily come up with five or six different musical ideas and let his creativity “fine tune” the finished musical product to what works best for his clients.

The down side of his creativity is that he sometimes starts a project but gets new ideas in the middle and doesn’t finish the project. He has created a strategy to help him successfully complete projects. If the deadline for the music is December 1st, Mark sets his deadline for ten days earlier. That has worked well for helping him to narrow down and polish the music his clients are expecting.

I asked Mark, “How does having ADHD impact all of the things in your world?” Mark replied, “I see ADHD as having symptoms from A to Z. Some people have five symptoms, and some have many more. I’ve tried to identify my symptoms and build in support processes to minimize the more negative effects.”

Mark is naturally curious, which has fueled his love of being a dedicated lifelong learner! Now that he is retired, he is spending a lot more time diving deeper into jazz theory. So many things to learn.

For Mark, doing what he loves at this stage of his life is like the frosting on the cake!

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