So Many Ways to Know Thyself
As people with undiagnosed ADHD, a lot of us spend much of our lives on a quest to find out who we are and what makes us tick. Or, in the face of undiagnosed ADHD, more likely to find out why our lives are NOT ticking as they should.
Who am I? …not just a question for adoptees
Like many who are diagnosed with ADHD late in life, I spent most of my life feeling like I had all the right ingredients for a successful life, but every time I tried to put them together, the recipe was a flop.
Sure, I coulda heaved the whole burning mess into the trash bin – but I’m no quitter.
So, it was either get my life cooking – or starve.
But how? What was the secret ingredient?
The quest was on
I was hungry for success. Hungry for the answer. Hungry for that one, mysterious instruction that would let me pull all the ingredients together to finally create that perfect, balanced dish – my life. Yum!
While my ADHD diagnosis and treatment (including medication, education, self-coaching, counseling, etc.) has finally begun to make my life more palatable (and livable!), I’ve found that some of these unconventional tools have also offered insights and perspectives worth pondering as I’ve struggled to know myself better, and to make my life work.
Here’s a sampling. I’d encourage you to consult any of them if you’re curious and haven’t already. You may find that you resonate with some of their insights. You might find a way to ease your path.
Or you may just think I’m a total flake! *sigh* But here they are, anyway:
There are nine Enneagram personality types:
1. The reformer
2. The helper
3. The individualist
4. The investigator
5. The loyalist
6. The enthusiast
7. The challenger
8. The peacemaker
In 2006, when I took the test, I was The Achiever. At our best, Achievers are said to be authentic with a self-deprecatory humor and a fullness of heart. Our biggest fear is of being worthless. Wow. I just read that again for the first time since 2006.
Only last weekend I had a dark afternoon of the soul and ended up in tears, muttering, “I’m nothing.”
Another personality test. I did this one at a professional training session through work. The personality types are identified by four different colors: blue, green, gold and orange. Blue is the sensitive, touchy-feeling type; green – the thinkers; gold types put a lot of weight into status symbols, academic and occupational credentials; and orange are the wild & crazy party animals.
At the time (around 1990) I measured highest in green and a close second with blue. I still identify with both. For example, if you call to ask me to go to a movie, I have to think it through – what movies are playing? When? What are the reviews? Etc., etc. I think everything to death if I don’t catch myself.
A rating scale to determine your preferences in four categories: where you focus your attention (don’t go there) – on the outer or inner world: E – extraversion or I – introversion; and how you acquire information – S – sensing; or N – intuition. The scale purports to tell you about your values and interests. It shows your preferences, but doesn’t measure your abilities or development.
I was introduced to this psychological tool in 1989 by a Jungian analyst I was seeing for therapy. I was an ENFJ, heavy on the intuition.
This is an astrological reading based on your date of birth. Mine indicated a strong draw to the field of writing. Duh. And teaching, which I’ve done since I was 15 when I first taught adults how to swim. I’ve gone on to receive a B.A. in Adult Education.
There are many approaches to numerology. The best I’ve seen can be found in Dan Millman’s book, The Life You Were Born to Live – A guide to finding your life purpose. Millman is also the author of Way of the Peaceful Warrior.
Also based on your birth date, I’m doing an informal survey to test a hypothesis to see if people with ADHD tend to fall into certain categories. If you decide to find your numbers – please write in with them for my survey! (I’m a 32/5).
Astrology – North Node
This one is a new discovery for me, based on the book, Astrology for the Soul, by Jan Spiller. A fascinating read, with a fresh perspective on what drives us.
Have you found any helpful tools in your quest to Know Thyself? Let us know what they are!
Kessler, Z. (2011). So Many Ways to Know Thyself. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 21, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/adhd-zoe/2011/03/so-many-ways-to-know-thyself/