Of the various reactions you might get from telling someone you have ADHD, “oh, you’re so lucky!” usually isn’t one of them. You do have to get a certain ticket in the genetic lottery to have ADHD, so there’s some kind of luck involved alright, but it’s not necessarily good luck.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have ADHD and be lucky. Once you have ADHD, there’s still a lot of luck involved in how it affects your life. Here are some examples of what it means to have ADHD and be lucky:
- Getting diagnosed: Having their symptoms recognized isn’t something that ADHDers can take for granted. Having ADHD is a challenging place to start from, but it’s even more challenging if you don’t know you have ADHD.
- Finding your passion(s): People with ADHD thrive when they’re engaged in tasks they find stimulating and interesting. We’re lucky when we find activities and hobbies that check that box!
- Finding a job that fits your brain: It’s lucky to find activities you like, but finding a job you like is hitting the ADHD jackpot. Having an ADHD-friendly work setting makes a big difference in being able to manage symptoms, stay motivated, and stay happy.
- Having a strong support network: People who thrive with ADHD rarely do it alone. They tend to be fortunate to have others who support them in their journey, starting with parents and teachers and continuing to friends, partners and coworkers.
- Encountering opportunities: One of the basic features of our society is that not everyone has access to the same opportunities in terms of education, job prospects, and financial security. This is true among non-ADHDers, but it makes a difference for ADHDers too – how you cope with your symptoms will be determined to some extent by the opportunities you have access to.
All of these things involve luck, but of course they aren’t determined 100 percent by luck. You’ll be more likely to find your passions if you explore many different activities. You’ll be more likely to get a diagnosis if you’re proactive about seeking mental health treatment. You’ll be more likely to have a strong support network if you try to build one.
That said, luck does play a factor. You can’t help whether the parenting style you’re raised with is ADHD-friendly or not. Sometimes finding the right job or hobby is down to the pure randomness of happening to try out the right thing. Sometimes you have to take an ADHD-unfriendly job to pay the bills. And so on.
As with many things in life, it’s a combination of personal growth, which you have some say in, and external luck, which you don’t. So if, like me, you have some of the things in the list above (like a diagnosis, for starters), it’s worth taking a moment to be grateful!
Image: Flickr/Neil Tackaberry