Talk to someone else who is ADHD – the shortcut to understanding your own ADHD, is to see it reflected in others
I think the first step to living a happier and more fulfilled life with ADHD is to better understand the neurology of our complex difference. This comes in “academic terms” at first, from books, doctors and the internet – the world is increasingly full of professional ADHD experts defining and documenting ADHD.
But there is a problem, many experts grasp the medical side of ADHD but fail to understand the experience of being ADHD. I recently watched a video from leading expert on ADHD, speaking at a conference about the current scientific understanding and neurological basis of the “ADHD disorder”. He discussed problems with frontal lobes, inattention, inhibition, memory, motivation and emotions. He was accurate and informative yet offered little insight. He didn’t get it, he didn’t understand us at all. He got the neurology, but not what it is like to be ADHD, not even remotely.
If we are ADHD we need to connect the many dots in our highly connected brains. We have to relate the technical neurochemistry/medical-speak to our actual life. How do differences in brain chemistry and genetics impact your lived experience?
Knowing why you are late for meetings does not necessarily help you change your behaviour. The key to change is to observe your ADHD thoughts, decisions and behaviours that lead to you being late. Why did you ignore the time and write that email instead? When did you make the unhelpful decision and why? These personal insights help us to make lasting change. But change takes time, perhaps too much time on our own.
Short-cut to personal understanding
There is a way to accelerate your personal ADHD-awareness, and to gain insight and the resolution to make change. There is clear, proven and effective advice available and quite often it’s free. Talk to someone else who is ADHD – the shortcut to understanding your own ADHD – is to see it reflected in others.
When you speak with with someone else with ADHD: their insight, experience and strategies can illuminate and enrich your own. Find a way to meet, relate, talk and share your experience with other ADHD adults.
Fellow ADHD adults have also been reflecting on, struggling with and working to resolve their ADHD challenges for decades – not always perfectly but they too have gained insight and wisdom of being ADHD. Their advice certainly won’t be perfect, but you can easily identify the approaches that could help you too.
Connect with like-minded people
In moments you can relate to aspects of their ADHD personality, such as
- Problems in tearing themselves away from facebook
- Crazy bed-times
- Eclectic tastes and interests
- Inability to cook while someone is talking
- Always seeing the big-picture, frustration when others can’t
- A non-conformist outlook and attitude
- Frustration with authority, process and boring meetings at work
- Love of novelty, laughter, conversation and humour
It’s not just in the sharing of strategies that helps, but in recognising that you have a tribe, a group of people who operate, think, and experience the world as you do. You are not “defective” but you are “different”, and not so different as perhaps you thought. You may be disappointed to see your negative traits in other ADHD adults but you will be pleasantly surprised to meet such easy-going, creative, unguarded, insightful and funny ADHD people too. We are in a minority if we are ADHD, but it’s a pretty sizeable minority, many others experience life differently as we do.
Share your experience
If you share stories, thoughts, beliefs, problems, solutions, ways of thinking and of being with other people with ADHD – you quickly see the overlaps and similarities and realise the profound differences from “neuro-typicals”. You will see both positive and negative ADHD traits, sometimes a little painfully, as if reflected in a mirror.
Other adults with ADHD can offer you true empathy, insight and acceptance because they have experienced the same problems and have some of the same alternative views that you do, no one else will find the phrase “just do it” as uniquely offensive as someone else with ADHD!
Support from other people with ADHD
My advice as a fellow ADHD adult, is to visit ADHD support groups, attend conferences, read books by ADHD authors, watch YouTube videos with funny ADHD hosts and find an ADHD Coach who is ADHD themselves.
I am ADHD myself, so may not be the best placed to share my own experience of perfect planning and time-management systems. I am a lot better at planning today and have fourteen years experience in helping hundreds of other ADHD adults master their own planning and organisation. My insights and support come from my fifty years of living my own ADHD life together with the thousands of hours I have spent coaching, reflecting, and helping my clients figure out how to live a happy and fulfilled ADHD life. I could help you to see yourself too.