To be lacking or deficient is to have a “deficit”.
ADHD—Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder—is commonly misunderstood to mean that those who experience it simply have a lack of attention. While the disorder can certainly make focusing more difficult in many situations, often the opposite is true: those with ADHD often notice everything around them. Hyperactivity is another aspect that is often interpreted as excitement or physical movement. While this can be partially true, it often refers to the mind—where rapid leaps of logic can connect otherwise unrelated subjects.
Deficit is an interactive experience created to express a perspective of living with ADHD. The game is based loosely on some of my real-life experiences, and should not be considered a comprehensive example of what life is like with ADHD. Everyone’s life experiences vary greatly, and the lives of those with ADHD are no exception.
The title was chosen in defiance of the disorder’s misconceptions. We live in a world where being neurodivergent is at best ignored, and at worst demonized. Institutional and societal structures are organized with a complete disregard for people whose minds function differently than those who are neurotypical. Our media regularly uses tropes of mental health for comedic effect, or to ignorantly inform antagonists’ motivations. This negative depiction directly causes harm by perpetuating stereotypes, and pushing back against empathy and understanding of folks whose minds are subsequently “othered”. In using the name Deficit, I instead invert the gaze towards society and insist that it is the structures by which we live that in fact are lacking.
Despite the grim tone, having ADHD—and all the difficulties it, and society presents— can be a joyous thing. I’ve often been told that I have my head in the clouds, but it’s that perspective that allows me to see and dream in ways others do not. I have known so many adults who have lost their joie de vivre—I cannot speak for everyone living with ADHD, but I find it difficult to not explore new ideas, or pursue endless projects.
Deficit is structured as a series of connected vignettes; each designed to explore various facets of how ADHD can manifest in real life. You will find yourself navigating professional settings, flirting at parties, and trying to order at cafes. From the minutiae of cleaning up your room to soul-gazing introspectively, you will find a range of experiences within the game.
I hope this game helps those who wish to better understand the ADHD experience and is validating for those who live it every day. I see you—and I’m rooting for you. Fellow space cadets, I salute you.