I recently wrote a post called 15 Reasons Why Anne of Green Gables is Neurodivergent. I wrote it for fun one day after rereading the first few Anne of Green Gables novels by Lucy Maud Montgomery. As a special needs parent, I found so many parallels between Anne and my own children, as well as other people I know who are neurodivergent.
That post quickly become one of my most popular, so today I’m sharing a few more observations about our beloved Anne as a fun way of educating us all a little more on ADHD, and the unique minds all around us. You may be surprised to see yourself or someone you know in this post. ADHD is more common than many people realize.
5 (More) Reasons Why Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables is Neurodivergent:
- She is Accident Prone
ADHD is not just hyperactivity, as many people think. There is also a huge inattentiveness that comes with this neurological difference. When someone is preoccupied with a million thoughts in their own mind, they can sometimes miss things right in front of their eyes. This seems to happen to Anne with alarming frequency. In the novel Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne is a fully grown woman, not to mention the principal of a prestigious high school, yet she still falls victim to “silly” accidents you would normally associate with a child. One morning, she woke up excited to start the day, and decided to bound out of bed… forgetting that the bed in her boarding house was several feet higher than her one back home. She landed on the floor in a heap, and was “black and blue” for the rest of the week.
- She Procrastinates
…but only certain things. As you read through the series of Anne books, you may notice that she is often spontaneous and too quick to act when she is excited, but is slow and highly unmotivated to do other tasks such as chores. Anne is always looking for activities that have “scope for the imagination.” She has very little capacity for activities that lack an exciting/imaginative element. This is something that a lot of us have been taught is a moral flaw. We have been taught that putting off tasks like this is laziness, uncooperativeness, or even ungratefulness. This leads to a lot of guilt for ADHD-ers who struggle greatly to accomplish mundane tasks, due to their brain chemistry. The ADHD brain requires a greater amount of Dopamine to function properly. Dopamine is sometimes referred to as “the reward chemical.” It is one of the neurotransmitters in the brain that causes feelings of motivation, and feelings of satisfaction after a task is complete. Often, uninteresting activities like daily chores simply do not provide enough Dopamine for an ADHD brain to feel satisfied and accomplished. That “job well done” feeling that a person gets after a successful day at work, or when they sit down and enjoy their tidy home after a day of cleaning, is missing for them. For someone with ADHD to feel the same level of satisfaction, they often need to accomplish bigger, better, and more exciting tasks. If you know a person with a thousand hobbies, or a different money-making idea every month, or an impossibly full social calendar, they very well may be struggling with undiagnosed ADHD. Their brains are seeking Dopamine.
- Her Life is Full of “Adventures”
“I’ve always been one to whom adventures come unsought. I just seem to attract them, as it were.”
-Anne Shirley in Anne of Windy Poplars
Do you know someone who always has the craziest things happen to them? Do you call to catch up and hear an entire saga of little accidents, misadventures, and the craziest circumstances, and find yourself wondering, how can all this happen to one person?! Some people seem to just attract adventure (or misadventure!) One way these things can happen to one person with regularity is neurodivergence. People with Autism, ADHD, and DCD all have differences in their executive functioning ability, as compared to their neurotypical peers. Executive functioning is a set of mental skills that help us manage our day to day operations in the world. Skills that fall under the executive functioning category are: working memory, time management, task persistence, mental and emotional flexibility, self-monitoring, and more. When these skills are underdeveloped or missing, a person’s life can quickly become a series of unfortunate and hilarious accidents. Forgetting things, losing things, missing appointments, being late, prioritizing the wrong things at the wrong time, suffering the consequences of procrastination, etc… can all lead to many “adventures” indeed! If a certain auntie, friend, or coworker has come to mind while you read this, there is a very good chance that they have executive functioning issues related to undiagnosed or untreated ADHD, autism, or DCD.
- She Hyperfixated
Do you remember the time Anne dyed her hair green? A peddler told her that the dye would colour her hair black, and she eagerly forked over her money for it. In the first book, Anne of Green Gables, Anne is completely obsessed with her red hair. She hates it. She believes it is the cause of many of her problems, and that it will hold her back in the future. She is hyperfixating on her hair. Hyperfixating is a common symptom of ADHD, but can also be a symptom of autism, and OCD. When someone is hyperfixating, they are obsessing about something so much that it becomes unhealthy and distracts them from other aspects of their life. Some people become so hyperfixated on a project, that they will forget to eat or sleep for several days until it is complete. (Think of that Investigative Journalist stereotype in movies. They disappear into their cave, refuse to answer phone calls, get themselves into risky situations, and eventually resurface days or weeks later looking like they’ve been through a war.) Obviously Anne’s hair obsession didn’t go that far, but it did cause her to get scammed. Hyperfixation can be a “superpower” for those who have it, causing them to accomplish more than their peers, however it can also have serious consequences, such as damaged health from the lack of sleep and nutrition, or damaged relationships. Someone who hyperfixates frequently needs the love and support of a partner, parent, or friend who will check in on them and make sure they are taking care of themselves properly.
- She is Creative & Dramatic
Anne’s Oscar-worthy apology to Mrs. Lynd, her dramatic recitations at fundraisers, the drama club she leads as a school principal, and her side job of writing fiction as an adult are all solid evidence of Anne’s creative and dramatic ability. It is not uncommon for someone with ADHD to be creative. Their minds are naturally imaginative, and they experience a greater range and depth of emotion that allows them to be incredibly empathetic/put themselves in another person’s shoes. They also have the ability to tap into that hyperfocus, which allows them to put 100% of themselves into perfecting an art piece or dramatic role.
Some famous performers with ADHD are:
Zooey Deschannel, Emma Watson, Channing Tatum, & Johnny Depp
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2 thoughts on “5 (More) Reasons Why Anne of Green Gables is Neurodivergent”
Interesting. Thanks for sharing. I think I have some ADD.
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Wow. Saw myself in so many of those things, and learned a very possible reason I struggle cleaning my place.
Maybe one day I’ll actually read Anne of Green Gables.
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