If you think or know you have ADHD, you’re probably a little confused. You may not feel like you have a “deficit” but you may not be entirely happy with how things are going in your life.
Let’s be honest. Here’s some stuff that you just have to know.
1) First, if you have ADHD, you’re different. Your brain works differently. You can’t do anything about it directly (as far as I know, there isn’t a brain exchange program – yet), and, whether you like it or not, it has a major impact on your life. Most people aren’t like you.
There’s a reason you’ve been having all the issues you’ve been having – it’s not your fault.
2) There are amazing things about you that you don’t appreciate. Other people simply aren’t as energetic, friendly, interested in biofuels or spontaneous as you. By focusing on your strengths, you will achieve great success and the respect, admiration and even envy of other people (“why can’t I start my own art agency/legal practice?” and, “why can’t I get that promotion?”)
3) Life will make it near impossible for you to focus on your strengths.
You will instead focus on the fact that you can’t sit still. That you have trouble having “normal” conversations about small, boring things. That you drive really fast, blasting music. Whatever the symptoms the ADHD causes – those are the things that will hurt and depress you.
And when you focus on the bad things, other people will too. People instinctively look to other people for social guidance, how to judge things, even more so than you might think. (People with ADHD can be quite resistant to group think because they can’t ignore that nasty voice inside of them saying, “this is stupid!”)
If you are down and unhappy about your flaws, other people will see and judge them the same way you do. They’ll think, “wow, that guy’s not normal.”
If you focus all your energy on doing things that you feel you have to, but are excruciatingly hard, you’ll never be happy. And you won’t do them that well anyways!
Your gift is in certain areas, certain things, certain strengths. You are AMAZING at those things but don’t realize it. And trying to do the things you can’t, that people without ADHD can do easily, is a sure fire way to fail and be unhappy.
Would you expect a great and passionate painter to spend his time filling tax forms? Or the CEO of the company to mop the floor?
The Hunter/Farmer model proposed by Hartmann is very empowering and just makes sense to a lot of people. What it says, basically, is that people with ADHD are more like hunters – they need constant stimulation, variety, excitement and change. Other people are like farmers – focused, able to do boring things for long times, and conventional.
Now, remember, ADHD isn’t just a matter of feeling, or personality types, or lifestyle. (Although based on how many executives I know have ADHD, it can actually be an advantage at some jobs). It’s a neurological condition that we have pretty much proven is a physical condition.
If you have ADHD, your brain has different wave patterns and activity than people without it. Your basic energy processing system is different, as well as the way that you respond to stimulation. For you to maintain focus on something, it has to be very, very interesting.
We’re starting to be able to prove that by pointing at specific brain activity and abnormalities.
4) If you have ADHD, you are still fully responsible for your life. But treatment can change everything. That’s not just hyperbole. We’re talking about a complete change in everything – for the better. Even so, and even though ADHD is a real problem that can make your life hell at times, you’re still responsible for everything you do.
If you have ADHD and you run a traffic light – you still get a ticket. If you don’t do your homework and miss the final, you’ll get an F.
Remember, most other people are simply too busy to care about whether or not you have ADHD. They care about what you do, whether they enjoy spending time with you, doing business, or whatever. You are the only one ultimately responsible for your life.
And, ADHD or not – how can you make it great?
Wow, that really helped!
Some people read this article and are amazed at how accurate the advice it gives seems.
If you want to learn more, see here.
What Sucks & What Rocks About ADHD – what is good about having ADHD, and what is bad?
In 70-80% of people, when combined with therapy, medication works fairly well to treat ADHD. See a Full List of ADHD Medications to learn what the most commonly used treatments are and how well they work.