Summary: What's it like to live with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder? In this post, we explore some of the strengths and some of the challenges of life with this particular brain type.
ADHD (Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder--also known simply as ADD for Attention Deficit Disorder) can be difficult to live with. If you or someone you love has it, life can sometimes seem "unfair."
Life with a challenged brain is simply known to those living with the challenge(s) as "life." If it weren't for certain social expectations, such as punctuality, goal-setting and achievement, organization and career advancement, ADD people would probably live life without any sense of being "different." However, if you live with ADHD, you know that such expectations have a tendency to pressure you (and your fellow ADD sufferers) sometimes almost unreasonably.
Here are some quotes by people who've learned to manage their Attention Deficit Disorders:
* "Losing my keys and going crazy trying to find them used to be a daily occurrence." - Tara McGillicudy of My ADD / ADHD Blog
* "Some of us ADHD adults (like myself) self-medicate with information. I love learning about new things and ideas: Quite stimulating and a great way to boost dopamine, the neurotransmitter that does many things, but helps us focus and is the reward chemical among other things. ADDers have lower levels of dopamine, so we do positive and negative things to help increase it." - Pete Quily of Adult ADD Strengths
* "Lately, my ADD wife (who is now all too familiar with some of the impact her ADD is having in her social relationships), is beginning to share her feelings of overwhelm and low self-esteem with me. Things like 'I just have SO many things to work on and I can't be working on these things all the time!' and 'I can't believe anybody even likes me, because I am so bad in conversations.'" - Reader of Melissa Orlov and Dr. Ned Hallowell's ADHD and Marriage
It's apparent from these comments by ADD-affected people--some of whom are professional experts in managing ADD brain challenges--that those with ADHD diagnoses are all too painfully aware of their social differences. But as Pete Quily and some others note, these differences can also be strengths. Here is a snippet taken from his "151 Positive Characteristics of People with Attention Deficit Disorder":
Adaptive - Can see the big picture - Comfortable with change and chaos - Constantly evolving - Creates connections easily - Detail-oriented - Energetic - Good in emergency situations - Great storyteller - Likes learning new things - Lots of interests - Multitasks well - Outgoing - Passionate - Playful - Spontaneous - Takes initiative - Tenacious - Willing to help others
Does this describe you or your ADD loved one? Self-awareness means recognizing your limitations as well as your strengths. When you can see the two areas together, you have a clearer, more realistic picture of yourself as a whole. And, like reading a map, you can move forward from there.
In the next post, we'll look at the differences between the three different ADD-specific diagnoses. 'Til then, you may enjoy reading my article on How to Meditate with ADD.
© KiKi Productions, Inc. 2010