In the ADHD world, there is a big divide between people who think ADHD is a gift, and those who don’t. Saying ADHD is a gift seems to evoke very strong reactions in people. Those who don’t believe in the gift of ADHD, say things like, “If ADHD is a gift, can I return it?” and think that experts who believe it is, are giving false hope. However, the people that do think ADHD is a gift, have been working with ADHDers for years and are very familiar with its characteristics and how it shows up in peoples’ lives.
Dr. Hallowell, author of many highly regarded ADHD books, including ‘Delivered from Distraction’, considers ADHD a gift. He admits it’s “a gift that is hard to unwrap”. But it is possible (to unwrap those gifts) and Dr. Hallowell’s positive views about ADHD, helps millions of people.
Clinical psychologist and author of ‘The Gift of ADHD’, Lara Honos-Webb believes by focusing on your positive traits, you develop motivation and confidence to overcome the more challenging aspects of ADHD. When you shift from having a ‘deficit disorder’ to having ‘gifts’, straight away, you feel better about yourself. You have a sense of control and more inclined to spend time developing your strengths; not struggling with your weakness.
When Marcia Hoeck and I were giving our ‘Focus Control and Balance’ Retreat for ADHD Entrepreneurs, light bulbs went off all around the room when we said having ‘ADHD forces you to be authentic’. There is no tricking ADHD! You can’t put your head down and work in a boring job for 40 years. You need to be stimulated and fulfilled. If you aren’t, your ADHD symptoms shoot through the roof and you will be (quoting Mr.Trump,) fired. Having ADHD forces you to find a job that makes you excited and motivated every day.
ADHD also forces you to take care of yourself physically, by exercising and eating right. It leaves you no choice but to spend time with good people who love you, just the way you are. ADHD also pushes you to be self-reflective and get to know yourself really well.
Having a job you love, keeping healthy, being with supportive, kind people and knowing yourself really well, is the recipe to a happy, successful and healthy life. Yet, many people without ADHD seem to settle for a lot less. So if it’s ADHD that gets you to that place, then it’s a gift.
If you are living with unmanaged ADHD as you read this, I understand it might be hard to think of it as a gift. I am severely dyslexic and wasn’t diagnosed until I was 28. Up until that time, my life was completely centered round studying. I shed many tears for each paper I wrote and exam I studied for. My self-esteem was in my boots because of all the negative effects dyslexia had on my life and nothing about that situation seemed like a gift. 12 years later though, I have created a life I love based on my strengths and gifts and if a fairy godmother offered to make my dyslexia disappear, I would politely decline. The same is true for all my ADHD clients, now that they are getting to know themselves and understanding how ADHD shows up for them. They are making lifestyle changes and seeing positive results… they don’t want to remove the ‘ADHD’ part of themselves!
As you are reading this, what were your thoughts about ADHD being a gift? Write them in the comments section below.