It’s been interesting for me to watch the various reactions to my discussions around ADD. One of the biggest reactions is denial. Denial that I have ADD, denial that they have ADD, and denial that ADD is really a thing since “almost everyone” has it.
Agreed. Most people have at least occasional ADD-like symptoms, but lots of people really do have ADD, in a clinical, diagnosable sense. It is a spectrum of characteristics and symptoms. That’s part of what makes it so hard to diagnose. It can sometimes be hard to tell if it’s a personality quirk or an ADD characteristic that you are struggling with.
How can you figure it out for yourself whether you have ADD or not, and whether you have ADD-like symptoms? Look at your life. Is it easy or difficult for you to keep it together, or are parts of your life in shambles? Are you fulfilling your potential, just getting by with the skin of your teeth, or flailing? Be honest now. And even if you don’t have ADD, does a loved one in your life have it, someone who will benefit from you having a better understanding ADD?
It takes curiosity and a learning mind for starters. If you aren’t curious, and maybe are even afraid of the concept of having ADD, then chances are you won’t explore the possibility. You can take an online test. You can get an official diagnosis. Or maybe you can glean enough about ADD from a book, article, or podcast to know if you, or a loved one, have ADD. Or not!
I shifted from accepting I might have ADD to embracing the idea! Embracing it lets me do more with my strengths and superpowers and gives me motivation to start working through the hurdles that have tripped me up all of my life. My sense of humor and compassion for others have increased with my self-diagnosis because I’m realizing that I never know what struggles others have in their lives.
That’s how it was with me for my husband. His quirks were so frustrating that at times I thought he was an ass. I was an impatient and rude wife at times in my frustration with his quirks. My initial reaction to hearing our issues were reflections of his ADD was along the lines of relief that we could fix things. We won’t fix the ADD but we can fix our reactions to the symptoms. And we can learn to manage our symptoms too. Now his quirks have a name that I can have compassion for, a sense of humor with, and learn to plan for.
If either of us were to deny his/our ADD we’d miss a beautiful opportunity to improve our lives — individually and together. What a tragedy that would be! You wouldn’t deny having a broken limb (hopefully, anyway) and would work to heal it. That’s how I see accepting ADD — it can’t be “healed”, though your mindset can. The syndrome remains with you and you deal with it, always working on it.
While I don’t fully understand why people deny for me that I have ADD, or even the possibility that I do, my sense is that they fear having it. And if I admit to having it the threat for themselves is bigger.
If that sense I have is close to being spot on, then here’s my counter. Some of the world’s most successful and prolific people have ADD. Those are the people who embraced their ADD-related strengths.
You don’t have to do world-shaking things with your ADD strengths, but you can do amazing things for your life with your strengths. It’s when you embrace your strengths that you start clearing your hurdles, and that’s when life starts flowing and great things start happening for you.
To live in focused energy you have to empower yourself through mindful balance. It takes mindfulness to structure your life for success, to develop the strategies that support you, and to tend to the self-care that makes it all possible to maintain. Without the mindfulness the strength embracing is merely a tip of the hat to your potential. Without the mindfulness you will continue to aspire to changes in your life.