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 net, the world is increasingly full of professional ADHD experts defining and documenting ADHD.
But there is a problem. I recently watched a video of a 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. Accurate yes, informative yes, insightful no. He just doesn’t get it, he didn’t understand us at all. Yes he got the neurology, but not the experience – not remotely.
But we need to connect the dots in our connected brains. We have to connect the technical neurochemistry/medical-speak to our actual life. How do differences in brain chemistry and genetics impact you specifically?
Knowing why you are late for meetings does not necessarily help. The key 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? When did you make the decision and why? These personal insights help us to make lasting change. But change takes time, perhaps too much time.
Short-cut to personal understanding
There is a way to accelerate this personal ADHD-awareness, to gain insight and resolution to make change. It’s simple, straightforward and quite often free. It can happen in minutes. Talk to someone else who is ADHD – without any doubt the shortcut to understanding your own ADHD – is to see it reflected in others.
Talk 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 with other ADHD folks.
These people really get ADHD, many of them have been working with their own ADHD for decades, not always perfectly but the years have gained them personal insights and wisdom of being ADHD. Advice certainly won’t be perfect, but you can choose which advice to take and when to seek more informed opinion.
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, but to recognise that you have a tribe, a group of people who operate, think, experience the world. as you do. You and not “uniquely defective” but “interestingly different”! You regretfully may see your own negative traits in others, traits that you didn’t want to be reminded about You will meet easy-going, unguarded, funny ADHD people who are a minority, but a sizeable one. People who experience life differently, as you do.
Share your experience
If you share stories, thoughts, beliefs, problems, solutions, ways of thinking and of being with each other – you quickly see the overlaps and similarities and realise the profound differences from “neuro-typicals”. You will see both positive and negative 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, no matter how hard they try!
Support from other people with ADHD
My advice (as a fellow ADHDer!) is to visit ADHD Support Groups, Conferences, read books by ADHD authors and find an ADHD Coach who is ADHD themselves.
I am ADHD myself, so may not be the best placed to share my experience of perfect planning and time-management systems, though I’m getting better after helping so many other people with planning! But my perspectives of what it actually means to be ADHD (the good, the bad and the ugly!) and how to develop find real-world solutions are based on five decades of personal experiences and thousands of hours speaking with, helping and figuring out what it is like being ADHD.