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Gift or Curse – The Age Old ADHD Argument

Creativity is a gift, but where does it come from?
Creativity is a gift, but where does it come from?

Dr. Hallowell says your brain is a Ferrari engine with bicycle brakes. Dr. Barkley says that there is no such thing as hyperfocus, it’s perseverance, and it’s bad.

Doctors have been debating the idea of ADHD gifts since the label was minted and the debate about ADHD’s existence began.

The one gift that is most often touted as being given to us by ADHD, is creativity.

Do you buy that?

I’m not sure I believe that my ADHD is the source of my creativity. Conditions might exist because of my ADHD, conditions that augment my creativity, but does that mean that ADHD is the source? I’m not sure.

Here are some facts about me that you may or may not know, see how many of them you can relate to:

  • I could not wait to grow up, couldn’t wait to be considered a peer of the adults in my world, and so did anything I could that pleased them.
  • I found that I could make things more interesting, less boring, if I made them more difficult, so I often challenged myself to do more than was expected of me. Especially in work that required creativity.
  • I loved finding out how things were done, especially how they were done well, so I often worked hard at going the extra mile to do my best at things I was learning.
  • When I was bored I’d do things to occupy my mind. They weren’t always the things I was supposed to be doing, but looking back, they were always creative.

It seems to me that my ADHD made me seek out things to keep me from being bored. Boredom, as you may know, will not kill you if you have ADHD … it will only make you wish you were dead.

Okay, that’s a bit over the top

But if you have ADHD you most likely know what I’m saying.

I think I became creative because I needed to keep from being bored. And I think that I’m very creative because of the speed at which my mind goes through random connections.

If I’m working on something, something original, my mind cycles through a myriad of possible options at every decision point. I choose what I think will be the best option. Because I have ADHD, the best option, to my mind, is likely to be the shiny one.

So? Yes or no?

So, is creativity a gift of ADHD? Good question. The best answer I can give you is … maybe. But for my money, I’m saying my creativity would not be the same without my ADHD. It would not be the same at all.

Gift or Curse – The Age Old ADHD Argument

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or more generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about having ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2013). Gift or Curse – The Age Old ADHD Argument. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 18, 2018, from


Last updated: 11 Jun 2013
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 11 Jun 2013
Published on All rights reserved.