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Using Some Discretion

ADHD Discretion
The better part

The word discretion means several things. It means to have the freedom to act, as in “at your own discretion.”

It also means acting with decorum, choosing actions that are socially acceptable, as in “Use a little discretion, won’t you?”

I have ADHD, which means I am familiar with both of these meanings. I discovered at a very early age that I was at my own discretion all the time.

That is, I was free to choose my own actions … and suffer the consequences.

And suffer I did!

We all have made our share, or more than our share, of mistakes in life. I was almost always in the wrong place at the wrong time. I often would attempt things that, if thought through, were not good sound choices.

ADHD does that. Being “at our own discretion” is not always a good thing.

But we have no choice. We, like anyone else, would balk at being controlled in life. We thrive on structure, but we do not do well with routines.

We have to have control

We need structure to assure us that we are taking care of things. Lists often provide such structure. They tell us what needs to be done, what needs to be acquired, what needs to be gotten rid of.

But they do not tell us how to go about the doing or acquiring or divesting of. They provide a structure in which we can function autonomously.

Does that mean we’re okay with lists?

Ha! No. It means we’re better off with some form of structure, whatever form that may take in our lives.

But we will still find ways to fail, because we will continue to explore options others ignore, and some of them won’t work.

But if we use a little discretion, along with some structure, we may find that we have less failures, less problems.

But that’s not easy …

Damn straight it’s not. But the bottom line is that if we wish to be left to our own discretion we must use discretion in our decision making, in our choices.

Not that anyone is going to take away our right to choose, they’re just going to try to make choices for us, attempt to lecture us on how things should be, try solving our problems for us.

And as we’ve all experienced, “they” haven’t got even half the story about why and how our lives go wrong.

Consider this …

If you want those around you to not have to waste their time telling you how to behave and what to do (that would be them creating routines), use your discretion when you deem it to be helpful.

I mean, you could just tell them that they aren’t able to help, but they aren’t likely to believe you.

It’s better to pretend they know what they’re talking about and then solve your own problems … because discretion can also mean acting discretely.

And that discretion is the better part of having ADHD.

Using Some Discretion

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. (2019). Using Some Discretion. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 20, 2019, from


Last updated: 18 Jan 2019
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