ADHD definitely has a negative effect on my life. I missed my dental hygienist appointment on Monday. I wasn’t late, I didn’t go. I was looking for it on my phone calendar today to see what time it was and discovered it was yesterday.
Okay, that’s kind of like being late. But that won’t hold me back. Not in my career, not in my life. I’m not an actor, I don’t make a living with my smile.
So how does ADHD hold me back?
The diagnosis for ADHD requires that your life be affected negatively by your symptoms. Missing an appointment by a day is not fun, but it’s hardly a negative impact … unless, of course, it happens with regularity. But still, is that enough?
There are other symptoms though. Procrastination is a big one for me. I remember thinking, before I was diagnosed, that when I let deadlines go by, I must not have really wanted to succeed at whatever the deadline was for. Instead of considering this to be a self directed lecture on my failure, I would respond with “Yeah, I guess I didn’t want to bother with that.”
Now I wonder what would have made me commit to a deadline for something I didn’t want to be bothered with. Nothing I can think of.
Distraction is another symptom that can have a negative effect on ones life. The life candy that pulls your concentration away from the things you need to focus on is always more appealing. And distraction can often be the beginning of procrastination, hand in hand they can make negatives out of any positive initiative.
These things add up
So these negative impacts accumulate, and negatives carry compound interest. That is to say, the repeated impacts of these and other symptoms will sap your strength and undermine your confidence.
Yesterday I heard someone say that the opposite of confidence was anxiety. If your confidence is missing, anxiety is what takes its place. I’ve experienced anxiety as a side effect of medication. And I know that it’s always a part of my life, though not as bad as it was when I was relying on the medication that caused my anxiety to be so extreme.
But I remember a time when I was confident. I remember a time when, even though I was easily distracted, guilty of procrastination, and forgetful, I was not anxious about my life. I assumed there was a place for me in the world, that I would find my way and fit in and succeed.
I’m still hopeful, but time is running out. And I do feel like I’m being held back.
I’m being held back by the anxiety that my symptoms initiated as much as by the symptoms themselves.