Tuesday, 22 October 2019

The Upsides of ADHD - by Tamara Richardson

Sometimes it might be challenging to see all the upsides of ADHD when you are facing a lot of obstacles or struggling with the typical symptoms’ day after day; So, I thought it would be a good idea to write down just a few of the upsides of having ADHD! These are the upsides that I personally experience, but there are so many upsides, and they are different for everyone.

#1.) Imagination and Innovation! I am very imaginative and an “outside the box” thinker. My mind is almost always racing, especially when I'm researching something, I am passionate about. Since my thoughts sort of just quickly pour out all at once, I write them down as quickly as they come so I won't forget, and then set a reminder on my calendar to re-write and act on them later. When I set aside the time and space to refine those imaginative and (usually) long-winded ideas into clear and concise plans, I end up being more productive. 

#2.) & #3.) Resilient and Optimistic Problem Solver! Although I am more prone to experience more personal failures or mistakes than those without ADHD, those failures are just more opportunities for me to learn and grow. I tend to be quite positive and optimistic when facing challenges, because I myself, have had to constantly find solutions for my own daily mishaps throughout my entire life. Being able to get back up after falling down, again and again, builds inner strength, even though getting back up can be really difficult some days, I find, in the end, it is always worth it. 

#4.) Enthusiasm! When I stumble upon something that piques my interest, I tend to get really motivated and excited, visibly more than others. Sometimes I'm so hyped I accidentally interrupt or talk over others, but I always try to be thoughtful of those around me when I feel myself getting a little overzealous. The upside to the enthusiasm is that it usually rubs off on others and is a great tool when you are working with a team of people to help motivate or encourage them to work together and find solutions. A second upside is that no one ever asks you to "speak up a little." 

#5.) Humour! I wouldn't necessarily say I'm 'comedic,' but when you're continually saying "Whoops," "Uh-Oh," "My Bad," "I'm sorry, I'm gonna be late again," sometimes you just have to laugh it up and joke about it. I often walk into a room (out of breath, quite literally always running late) and just start with "Hey guys, sorry I'm late to our meeting again, at least I'm consistent!" 

#6.) Hyper-Focus! Hyper focusing is a bit of a double-edged sword - although it doesn't quite help us in situations where we have to follow other people’s schedules and routines or self-care routines, like getting to bed on time- it DOES, however, boost my ability to be super resourceful! Sometimes I can research an exciting topic for 10 hours straight without getting tired or feeling the need to stop or skim-read an entire encyclopedia on New Guinea's "Vogelkop superb bird-of-paradise" in one night and be able to tell you everything there is to know about it in the morning! This can really come in handy if your working on a project and a significant component changes last minute; then its Hyperfocusing to the rescue! Reflecting on some of the positive traits of your ADHD can help foster self-compassion and understanding. Those with ADHD tend to be more self-critical and struggle with their identity more than those without ADHD, so it is crucial we take the time to reflect and acknowledge that these upsides contribute to what makes us unique.

#7. Energetic! I love high energy places! Whether it’s a concert, or music, street and community festivals, group art classes, trail walks and hiking; I am at my happiest during my leisure time when I get to participate in activities where everyone else is just as excited to be there as me! You also never have to worry about shifting focus or getting distracted, because that is the whole point! To take in and absorb everything around you! Am I stopping on a trail hike to look a group of ants all carrying a giant leaf? Sure! Why not! Am I stopping at every single festival booth that catches my eye, weaving in and out of local shops, trying fifty different types of foods! Yes! 100%! It is all about the journey of the activity, not about getting to the end.

#8 Entrepreneurship! Do you love walking, sorry, running to the beat of your own drum? Me to! Those with ADHD tend to make fantastic entrepreneurs, as their drive for following what they love and making something great out of it, with the right support can really pay off! 

#9 Curiosity! Those of us with ADHD typically love to learn! We just all love to learn in different ways. We can be captivated by so many things around us that we are always learning and taking in what’s happening around us, that others may not notice. I love the fact that I am constantly curious, even though I may not always be the best at focusing on one thing at a time, but through that struggle I am always stumbling upon new and exciting things. 

#10 Authenticity! ADHD brains are amazing at just being themselves! Depending on how someone’s ADHD presents, their quirks may or may not be evident to those around them. With that said, they quite literally can’t help but be who they are! I do my best to learn as many strategies and skills to help myself in situations where my ADHD may hinder me, but in one way or another, the fact that my brain just works differently than others never fails to shine right on through! 

These are just 10 Upsides to MY ADHD – but they’re different for everyone! On the “My ADHD Forum,” I would love to hear what your favourite things about your ADHD are and why they’re so great! 

Thank for Reading!

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