What Sucks & What Rocks About ADHD

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A businessman and woman

You’re distractable, impulsive, and constantly worried if you’re doing the right things.

But you’re unpredictable, fun, and always trying out new things.

Having ADHD can be a real pain in the butt.  Still, it gives you strengths and differences that you probably don’t appreciate.

It’s up to you to learn how to use the good and accept your limitations.

Great Success

People with ADHD can be incredibly good at focusing on what’s important to them, impatient in some ways, and able to multitask really well.  They tend to get excited by things which are new and exciting to them and can think of entirely new ideas, innovating.

Michael Phelps, one of the most admired swimmers ever, has ADHD.  He used his ability to focus on what matters to him to become the best in the world.

Emily Dickinson, a famous poet, may have had ADHD.  She is famous for having written a massive amount of poetry that stands out for its high quality – her ability to produce such creative art and so much of it is classic ADHD.

Seth Godin a modern marketing guru, has ADHD.  He used his out-the-box thinking to come up with marketing ideas that are ingeniously simple and effective.

I know several executives who have ADHD and they are all extremely interesting people, highly accomplished and fun to work with.  The technology business and popular music scene are always evolving, require learning new ideas constantly, and always changing – perfect for people with this condition.

Challenges

But it’s not all good.  People with ADHD can find it incredibly hard to finish tasks, to sit through meetings, or plain pay attention.  Social relationships can also be a challenge.  Friendships may be exciting at first but lose their luster, with your friends feeling unappreciated, or simply not understanding the way you show your care for them.

If you have it, you may only feel fully comfortable in certain environments.  You may, for instance, only be able to think about a subject for an extended period of time while doing something totally unrelated, like taking a walk or riding a bus.

And you may have brilliant ideas that, when you actually have to do, turn out to be a lot more boring than you thought.  Or when you pursue them, you get bored just as they start becoming successful.

You may even be confused for someone with bipolar because of the many similarities between the two conditions.

Ultimately…

ADHD is so common that it could be argued to be normal.  If you have it, then that’s what you have, and you’re different.  That doesn’t mean worse or bad, but it does mean that you have to understand your strengths and weaknesses.  And don’t downplay your strengths.

If you can’t make it through a long meeting, but can spend hours doing your own thing – that’s great.  Think of it like this: the vast majority of people can do what you can’t, which means it isn’t that special.  But, because ADHD talents tend to be really esoteric and focused, there is hardly anybody who has the ability to do what comes easily to you.

You also have to realize that you may work in a different way than other people.  And you have to take their feelings into consideration as well as realize that what may make perfect sense to you might not to them.  Don’t be overly neurotic, of course, but be smart and realize there is a difference and, sadly, it’s up to you (because it’s your life) to bridge the gap.

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55 COMMENTS

  1. Brooke, I read your comment top to bottom… and as I was reading it I could swear that I had written it myself. I myself was diagnosed with ADD – inattentive type and deal with many similar, if not the exact same, problems you had described. It made me feel comfortable to know that there was someone else out there dealing with the exact same struggles in life that I myself have, I guess I just wanted to return the favor…

  2. Jennifer, I feel the exact same way! I felt like while reading your post, I was reading something I have written or could have written myself. Everything from the side effects of smoking, i’m constantly clinching my teeth and I dont even realize until I let loose and feel the burn, I feel great other then a few of those side effects. I am on Adderall, just started taking it yesterday. I do not like the feeling I have when i’m coming down off of the medicine ie: severe headaches, heightened sense of hearing, heart racing. My mom also noticed I got a bit aggravated very easily yesterday evening. I was reading a book which I have not been able to do in a very long time. I was fully focused and she interrupted me to watch a video on youtube. Before medication I was always very aggitated constantly so she is used to it, but I accidentally snapped at her and realized it after I did it and immediately felt guilty and apologized (something i would not do before). I don’t know if this is a side affect of the medicine or if I was just finally able to hyperconcentrate on reading a book which I love to do and couldnt understand why she would want to interrupt me when i’m finally enjoying being able to fully focus on reading. Either way it was uncalled for, I didn’t actually “snap” or anything I just got frusterated and asked her to hurry up because I was trying to read. The medication allows me to fully multi-task without any thoughts, doubts or worries about messing something up. In the past most of my mistakes came from lack of confidence and self doubt. I too, jump from job to job, relationship to relationship, groups of friends, social events. I want to just be completely satisfied with ONE job, ONE spouse. I want to stop looking for the next best thing, constantly thinking about the “what if” in everything. I feel this medicine makes me happy, and I have a natural energy with it. I was a very advanced child, my parents thought I was going to be a whiz kid and looking back on home videos of myself as a toddler, I know I was very advanced for my age. I knew my abc’s in english and french along with prayers in both languages before I turned 2, I knew almost every song on the radio, I was not shy at all and I learned from others very easily. I have vivid recollections of myself as a very small child, things my parents cant explain because according to them I should have been entirely too young to remember, but my memories are spot on. I started school and all of my previous advancements slowly declined. I made straight A’s until 4th grade. I made my first B and then came C’s D’s and a few F’s. I hated school, I enjoyed being with my friends but I could not ever concentrate in class. I thought that was normal for a kid, none of my friends liked school but they made better grades then me. I always thought I was just lazy and not applying myself, even knowing the punishments I would face at home for my grades, I still couldn’t pick them up. I’ve always felt like the daughter that failed my parents expectations, whereas my younger sister is an amazing student. My parents tell me all the time how much they love me and are proud of me, I just know in my heart that I have so much potential and dont know what to do with myself. I have no college degree, I went to college on a softball scholarship and quit 6 months into school. I started working and have been working ever since. I jump from job to job, my longest job being a little over a year. I have no trouble getting jobs because I am a great people person and have a great energy about myself. I always accel at every job I have had and every job that I have quit was always for better opportunities then the one before. My previous employers are always sad to see me go and I still have a great relationship with all of them. Throughout my struggles with ADD (which I never knew I even had until a couple of weeks ago) I have learned alot about myself. All my life I have been struggling with a major identity crisis. Since I have always felt different from everyone else, I have focused my time and energy on making other people happy in order for them to accept me and like me. All along I couldnt accept myself for who I was because I was uneducated about my disorder. After breaking off a 4 year relationship with my fiance’ & feeling like i’m in my 50’s when i’m actually only 23, I decided to seek a therpaist to help me figure out what is wrong with me. Why am I always depressed, searching for something more, worried, anxious, looking for the highs in life, never satisfied etc. etc. She came down to the fact that I am ADD. I do believe at times the Hyper comes into effect but not very often. Although this is oly my second day taking Adderoll, I can honestly say that I finally feel like the me I have always longed to be. I am anxious to find a job and stick to it, ready to be independent and take control over my life living for who I am now. It is a great feeling to finally understand who you are and fully embrace it. It helps to surround yourself with people who are open minded and understand your disorder and accept you for who you are. My ex called me immature, dramatic, etc. I was always hearing statements like “Grow up!”, “Calm Down!”, “You are so annoying!”etc. I gave him headaches and he pulled me deep into depression. I stuck it out as long as I did in order to somewha prove a point to myself that I needed to stick it out no matter what and stop jumping from relationship to relationship, just be happy with what I have and so on and so forth. I am very thankful for the loving friends and family that accepted me for who I was even though we didn’t fully understand it, and is very thankful and appreciative to have the “old me” back. Now that my family and close friends are educated on my disorder, everything makes better sense and we have put a little bit of humor to the whole situation. Anytime I do something
    that my family or friends or myself recognize as an ADD symptom, we joke about it and make it known by saying something like “There goes your ADD again :)” or i’ll jokingly apologize with “Sorry, that’s my ADD making an appearance. :)” we all giggle and it helps me to recognize things I need to work on. Being aware won’t fix the problem but it does slow it down A LOT! now with my medication I am finally an even better version of myself, and I feel normal besides the minor side effects which i’m hoping will eventually fade away. I hope my story has helped you and given positive hopes for your betterment. It’s all about trial and error, realization and acceptance. everything else will fall into place. One thing I will never stray from is following my gut, I was very adament about not taking medication. I don’t even take anything for headaches, I just don’t like medicine. I wasted a lot of time and years because i was stubborn. To anyone who isn’t sure and can relate to any or all of the things I have dealt with,Ii can promise you.. you can’t do it alone, no matter how bad you wish you could. Trying to “fix” yourself or “control” things or “just don’t/just do it” won’t work. Medicine really does help the things that therapy and strong minded aspirations can’t change.If you are reading this now and suffer with all of the things on this post and relate to everyone commenting in some kind of way, I’m asking you to give medication a chance. You can always discontinue use if it doesn’t work for you or you don’t like it. Just please don’t waste anymore of your life untreated, you are missing out on all the things you have always wanted and dreamed of, from reaching goals to small relief of anxiety or depression. Everything helps. Good Luck and God Bless all of you! Remember: YOU ARE NEVER ALONE.

  3. Hi Stacey,
    Balancing out my Adderall has been a big challenge.  If I take too much I become somewhat of an asshole.  Self confident but not caring about what others think.  Also the “My way or the highway” syndrome would exert itself.  The XR version of Adderall has a much smoother lift off and let down.  I take much less then is normally prescribed also.  About 15 mg per day maximum.  I have also balanced my Adderall with an SSRI inhibitor that I was taking for years before the ADHD diagnosis.  It is a careful balance of the two but I think I finally have it down.  The Citalopram (SSRI) makes me nicer and less edgy.  My self confidence is so much better now.  I can speak in public and do a great job again.

  4. I think the ADHD is one of the biggest scam of the pharmaceutical companies. Im sure some children have problems but not 1 in 4. That is crazy!! They diagnosed my stepdaughter as ADHD when she was in 4th grade and wanted to put her on several drugs. Fortunately we did not. She moved from her Mothers to Fathers house where she received more structure,discipline love and more time to go outside to play. In 2 weeks she changed from the worse kid in class to one of the best. The school psychologist wanted a meeting to see how the change occurred. By the way the school psychologist child was on ADHD drugs. We found out that many kids in the school were on ADHD. Its ridiculous.

  5. Children should rarely be given medication for ADD. I have horrible ADD but I still don’t think it’s worth it, as some studies have shown physical effects on brain growth and development from certain drugs if taken by children – while not affecting adults in the same way at all.

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