ADHD has many challenges. Sometimes, it can be hard to get through the day. But it’s not all bad news. I really feel that it is misnamed, as people who have adhd do not suffer from a deficit of attention. We have plenty of attention. It’s just that sometimes we don’t have a lot of control over where that attention is pointed, or how intense it is. That’s not always a terrible thing. There are some good things about having adhd, and that’s what I want to focus on here. Here are the five best things about having ADHD
1. Endless Creativity
Most of us have brains that are just bursting with ideas. I personally have more books and stories in my head than I will ever have time to write. Others are gifted artists or musicians. We tend to be people who have a large number of thoughts in a short amount of time, and these thoughts are often all over the place. This can make it hard to communicate what’s in our heads, but if we can develop strategies to slow down and show people what we are thinking, those people are usually surprised at how many different, workable ideas we have knocking around in there. Not all our ideas will be good ones, but the fact that we have so many of them means that our capacity for innovative ideas is higher than a neurotypical’s might be.
2. Good Problem Solvers
This is probably related to the last thing, but we tend to be surprisingly good in a crisis, because we’re good at solving problems. Adrenaline can sometimes trigger a deep state of focus (more on that later) and we tend to see connections between things that other people might miss. We can not only ‘think outside the box’ we are usually unaware that there even is a box. For this reason, we tend to be rather good at designing systems to help people with different tasks. (We’re awful at maintaining those systems, but that’s another subject). Also, when given a particularly intriguing problem, our Godzilla brains bring to bear all their powers at solving the mystery and coming up with a solution. We usually don’t give up until we’ve figured it out.
Granted, this can be a double-edged sword, but when we’re really interested in something, we can achieve a state of deep focus that’s hard to interrupt. This is usually triggered when given an engaging conundrum to figure out, or an intricate project to complete. It can be hard to tell what’s going to activate this state, and some of us can’t count on it to reliably appear. For myself, I can usually trigger a state of focus when I do my daily writing, using certain rituals and by virtue of the fact that when I am writing, I am spending time in a world that I control, which can be very motivating. Hyperfocus does feel like a super-power sometimes, and I think if we could activate it on cue, we would rule the galaxy.
People with ADHD have generally been through a lot. We fight our own brains to accomplish things. We’ve put up with social ostracization, and we endure despite the fact that late-stage capitalism is not set up with our needs in mind. Like, at all. So, most of us just kind of ‘roll with the punches.’ Not that we don’t suffer from self-esteem issues and other problems, like depression. But when we’re down, it’s hard to keep us down for long. We can be emotionally volatile, but that also means our moods don’t always last as long as other people’s do. The emotional weather changes, and several low days might lead to one with a higher vibration. It’s a feature, not a bug. Once we’ve really settled on a goal, we see all the various paths that might lead to it, and will usually achieve it, even if it might not be the way we (or anyone) expected to do it.
5. High Energy
People with ADHD get genuinely excited about things. Sometimes it’s a goal or a project. Sometimes it’s a movie or TV series. It can be a sports team, or a special interest. Whatever it is, our enthusiasm carries us into a high-energy state. This is the good side of hyperactivity. And when paired with hyperfocus, this can make us unstoppable. Our enthusiasm is sometimes infectious, as well, and can serve to motivate other people (if only to get us to shut up about whatever it is). Granted, follow-through can become hard, once the initial enthusiasm has drained away, but that’s true for everyone. Our innate enthusiasm can carry us much further along in a project that a neurotypical’s can.
So, these are the best things about having adhd, at least according to me. They are not a result of empirical research, but my own fifty years as a person who’s learned to make his ‘disorder’ work for him. Your mileage may vary, of course.