I have ADHD. It is something I talk about a lot. I’ve been accused of wearing it on my sleeve, in fact. But the truth is, there isn’t a part of my life that it doesn’t impact. Having said that, I must admit that I didn’t know I had ADHD until I was 50.
How did that happen?
It happened because I fit in with the world, my world. The distractedness and inability to focus, the wondering what I came into this room or that for, the tantrums, the tree climbing, all of it were exactly what was expected of me because I was that type of person. No one asked the question “What type of person is that, exactly?”
ADHD symptoms are not wild and unusual things. The symptoms of ADHD are common in most people. It isn’t the symptoms that make us different, it’s the frequency and intensity. It’s how they affect a life on an ongoing basis. And they do, don’t they.
Your symptoms are what make up your ADHD. But they are not what you are made of. Neither are you the negative things that you or others see in yourself.
My mind moves quickly from one thing to another. The negative is that I leave things undone, forget things, the positive is that I consider many possibilities, see many solutions, am never at a loss for something to do, I may be bored, but I’m never boring.
There will be some potentially positive effects resulting from your symptoms, they may well be responsible for you being the one that often solves the riddles your peers face. But that might well be because you mentally ran a hundred solution scenarios through your mind while others around you ran three through theirs.
Yes, the fast mind you possess can be a benefit. But it can just as quickly overlook flaws in a solution that others see right away, or overlook a simpler solution because that solution is too boring to entertain in your excitement hungry mind.
The fact that your symptoms are common in the world means that people will often discount your ADHD as something less than the disorder you and I know it to be. It is important that you do not let this make your symptoms larger than they are by defending them too aggressively.
Whether you feel you are misunderstood by people who think that ADHD is not a real disorder or by people who feel that, because of your ADHD, you are not capable of doing things you know you can handle, your symptoms are real.
I have gone on record in the past as saying that ADHD symptoms are not your excuses, they are your laundry list of things you need to work on. Working with someone who understands your issues and compliments your abilities is an amazing advantage, but those people don’t walk into your life every day. And when they do, they may choose not to work with you.
Lets face it, you, and I, are hi speed people in a low speed world. While we’re looking at the destination and going flat out (until we’re distracted by a donut shop) those people who have to guide us around the obstacles can get pretty tired, pretty quickly.
So the bottom line on symptoms is this, figure out what yours are, learn to accept them, and then start working on fixing or negating them. Until that person who compliments our abilities comes along, we’re on our own.
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Last reviewed: 7 Mar 2013