We don’t get a lot of compliments when it comes to our ADHD symptoms.
I’m not saying we don’t get any, but we mostly have to give them to ourselves.
When we do get compliments, it is rare that they are given as compliments to ourselves and more likely that they come with the tagline, “See, I told you you could do it if you just put your mind to it.”
But one of the compliments we do get is that old chestnut about thinking outside the box.
I often joke that I didn’t know I was thinking outside the box, ’cause I didn’t know there was a box.
And while that’s funny, if you think about it, it’s actually kind of sad too.
The reason is easily told in three points. One; yes there’s a box, two; no, I didn’t know it was there; three, the box is a construct of the neuro-typical mind.
Those of us with ADHD don’t see the box because it is constructed of limits and restraints that are present in mind of someone who does not have ADHD.
If they really wanted to compliment us, the correct phrase to use would be to identify our ability to innovate. That’s what they say when they’re proud of their own work, they were innovative.
So why is that?
Why do they often reserve the “outside the box” phrase for us? Because they want to make sure that there is an awareness of our difference. We’re “outside” because we are not within the norm.
We must be kept aware that we are different so that we cannot ever consider ourselves to be normal.
Well, I’ve got news!
If the cost of being allowed to be innovative is to be among the normal, I opt to stay outside the box.
I mean, what comes in boxes anyway? Litter. Crackers. The blandest of pasta.
Find your people
As soon as you’re accused of thinking “outside of the box,” look around and see who else is being isolated in that manner and connect with them. These are likely your people.
Like Dorothy in the Wizard Of Oz you should be starting to see in brilliant colors at this point and, if you’re not struggling to get back into the box you’ll also see that the others who are outside with you are alive and flamboyant and wildly enjoyable to be in the company of.
And then, immerse yourself in the new culture of “outside the box.”
If the cost of being “innovative” is that you must immediately return to the inside of the box, I say, don’t pay it. Refuse. It’s way too expensive, the payments keep ballooning, and the interest charges never go down.
And it isn’t your debt, they’ve just been telling you it is.