Unlike the boy from fifth grade, who had ADHD and was always shouting out answers and getting out of his seat, I was the quiet daydreamer who sat in the corner thinking and sketching in my notepad. But as I began to learn more about ADHD, the suggestion started making sense.
I was easily distracted, would often get lost in thought and would frequently forget or misplace things. In school, I would sometimes forget the due date of an assignment or tune-out the announcement of an assignment altogether. I was apprehensive about going forward with being tested for ADHD because of all the negative stereotypes associated with it. But I made the decision to go for testing and was diagnosed.
Understanding and Awareness
Here are some tips and information I have learned through my experiences and struggles with ADHD over the years. The first step to take is education.The American Psychiatric Association defines ADHD as:
“A pattern of behavior, present in multiple settings (e.g., school and home), that can result in performance issues in social, educational, or work settings…failure to pay close attention to details, difficulty organizing tasks and activities, excessive talking, fidgeting, or an inability to remain seated.”
Despite being afraid of the stigma, I was relieved to discover that my behaviors and difficulties could easily be explained.
I realized that I’m not stupid, careless, lazy, crazy, or any of the other negative labels I or others had given myself. I simply have ADHD.
Play to Your Strengths
If you have ADHD, it’s time to come to terms with it. You may have to do things differently than some of your peers—some things may take you longer. But you shouldn’t compare yourself to others, because your brain works differently. The encouraging news for those with ADHD is that you’re in good company.
There are many famous people with ADHD, including Albert Einstein, Benjamin Franklin, President Lincoln, Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Emily Dickenson and Michael Phelps. There seems to be a correlation between ADHD and creativity, which is not yet altogether understood. But it is clear that people with ADHD think in a way that is unique. My advice to those with ADHD is to use this creativity and innovation to your advantage. Find your strengths and let these compensate for your weaknesses.
Next week we will feature Back to School Tips on Succeeding with ADHD: Part Two from our Guest Blogger Alyssa Wiley Fast, BA.
Author: Alyssa Wiley Fast, BA for Miller Counseling Services, PC.