Do you guys like having ADHD?

This is one that I’ve heard people within the ADHD give different answers on.

I know some ADHD folks who consider their ADHD part of what makes them special and see a lot of benefits to it. I’ve seen TEDx talks (including the one Jessica gave) where people talk about ADHD being a difference in cognition instead of a disorder and even some people talking about it like it’s some secret superpower.

I also know people with ADHD who refer to it as being an exclusive negative thing. They often get annoyed when people talk about the advantages, saying that trying to sensationalize it into something positive undermines the struggles of people with ADHD.

After having thought about it for awhile, here’s my own stance. I don’t like that I have ADHD, but I wouldn’t change it if I could. ADHD affects every part of how I think and process information. It’s not like there’s a neurotypical Coen underneath my ADHD. Eliminating the condition would essentially kill me and replace me with a stranger who happens to share my social security number. That said, I don’t think it’s an advantage. I think the net effect of my ADHD on my life has been negative and if I was being reincarnated and I got to choose, I’d choose to be reincarnated neurotypical.

What about you guys?

5 Likes

TL/DR: life is good and bad. Like everything else, ADHD has good and bad. I like being an ADHD-er bc I like myself :yum:
The way I see it, ADHD is part of me. If I didn’t have it, I’d be a completely different person.
That being said, life is hard and ADHD is just one of the things that makes it harder. So while I like being an ADHD-er, I recognize it’s not all sunshine and roses…
My favorite example is hyperfocus: lots of people claim it as this wonderful superpower, but I personally dislike that comparison. I think tons of us have stories about forgetting to eat, sleep, etc. bc we get wrapped up in a project. But, there can be benefits to it. So while it’s not a exactly a superpower, I definitely rely on it to get my work done :sweat_smile:
Hope this makes sense, I feel like I’m trying to cram 3 different points in at once !

3 Likes

It’s a hard thing to remotely say, I mean without it I wouldn’t be me.

It’s not something like me being dyslexic that only effects remote regions of the brain. It effects the entirely brain, in multitudes of ways, so if I didn’t have ADHD I wouldn’t be me.

But do I like being me ?

Yes and No as with everything.

When life turns into a complete catastrophic disaster, due to my symptoms of course it’s quick to wish I never had it. But that’s only look at one side of things, and also without the experience of going through those phases of disaster how would I turn out? I don’t know.

As awful as it can be sometimes, there’s no telling the experience, sympathy, empathy I have gained from going through some bad experience that were mostly due to things you could attribute to ADHD.

And there’s also is an almost, I hate to say it, because I don’t like over glorifying these things as it’s a dangerous idea to spread, but as you said, how some people put it per se, super power like attributes to it.

In 5th grade, my grades were not up to par, nor was my attendance, or disciplinary. It was seen that I was a very intelligent kid who just didn’t apply himself, I feel many may relate. But I had this massive science project I had to do, worth a big percentage of my end of the year grade. My teacher mr.P was concerned and told me I wasn’t going to do good on it since, we had weeks to do it, and it was the day before, and as you could imagine, I had not started one bit of it.

The project happened to be on the health with the human body, and kinda of stuff like that.

Now 5th grade me wanted to become a DEA agent, I had a intrinsic interest in drugs, the war on drugs, traditional medicine, herbs, health care, and doctors. Needless to say 5th grade me, knew way more pharmacology than anyone would expect, I would read college books on it, I would read scholarly articles on google scholar (and possibly a site where you could get them for free).

Surprisingly I had about a college reading level in 5th grade, I recall this being a big thing, because my grades were ya know, not great, how I actually tested that high is beyond me, because some days even now, in high-school, I can’t read, and other days I can’t stop reading, I’m not even sure how that works.

But mr.P telling me I was going to fail, combined with my opposition defiant disorder, and emotional regulation, pissed 5th grade me off a bit, as in like a “yeah i’ll show you”.

5th grade me, unmedicated and undiagnosed btw. Ended up consuming borderline lethal amounts of energy drinks, and came in the next day with 5 poster boards, demonstrating and with sources (scholarly too and FDA), the effects of nicotine (mostly in smoking) because it’s a common drug people don’t always view as a drug, caffeine for the same reason prior, alcohol same stuff prior, The effects of more illicit drugs on one poster board, Cocaine, Crystal Methamphetamine, and Heroin. The effects of different balanced diets on the body as well as exercise, with a small portion on benefits of meditation on the last poster.

My mother almost died when she saw all this in the morning, she wasn’t sure if she was proud or annoyed I didn’t sleep.

Mr.P gave me the 1st over 100% in that class he has ever given, only person to ever gotten extra credit in the class which wasn’t supposed to be possible, bet I still have the highest grade for that tho, weird flex, I know.

And then I got all those like “wow you’re actually smart.” comments after :slight_smile:

But the thing being the same condition, and symptoms that caused me to almost get a 0 on a massive project, and almost not be able to even attempt it, due to time management not existing for me.

Was also the same condition that caused me to get so pissed off over something most people would have forgotten in minutes, to the point that I ended up forcing myself awake, and getting the highest grade ever for that project.

So there’s 2 sides to every coin, and it’s hard to say how one would be without the other, so I think I kinda like ADHD, at least maybe overall.

3 Likes

Life is all about prespective for me I have many different disabilities. Labels are just a label that life gives you but you can define what that label means for you. For me my label of Adhd just means that I will always have a work ethic unrivaled to my peers and I can crack a few good jokes here and there. Also my label of adhd is what gives me the ability to make others smile and brighten their days even when my day is not so bright

3 Likes

Well, to quote a famous 20th century philosopher:

I yam what I yam and tha’s all I yam

I could do without the stigma, the frustration and all the missed-out-on chances, sure. On those occasions when I trail of into a spiral of not getting started and feeling more and more impatient with myself, I do curse at my brain for being what it is. And I wasn’t that super-cool kid who actually liked being an outsider although I do appreciate the quiet time it got me.

But none of the things I’d rather do without are because of my brain. I know that now. They’re because my brain didn’t fit in and I didn’t get the right support in time. Or at least not consistently.

As for a life without ADHD, I can only assume what it would be like from what I can glimpse of the people around me through the filter of the only brain I have which is the one with ADHD. It doesn’t seem very interesting. To me. Then again, that person growing up without my brain condition wouldn’t be me as I (y)am now, so maybe the other me would like it? Then again, would that be a good thing?

@Chickentender's story reminded me of a school anecdote of my own.

At the end of tenth grade, my class got disbanded as we all moved on to a different educational stage. Some kids had the idea to make a magazine with funny articles and caricatures of all the teachers as a farewell present, and for some reason they thought I’d make a good editor. Or maybe they just wanted me to make those caricatures, I don’t remember. Anyway, I ended up editing it, collecting articles from my classmates (the first time in four years that I exchanged more than a few words with some of them, incidentally - I was surprised to learn they were actually quite nice), layouting it and getting the copies made.

We presented it at the farewell party, and though I’d rather we just handed the thing over and left it at that, somehow I ended up hosting that presentation, too. (Totally winged it but it went okay.) Our main teacher thanked us and said, with a wink, she wished I had applied myself in class the way I had for that magazine. (Well, if class had been as interesting… nah, I didn’t say that. But the thing is, she had little to complain about. I was already one of her best students, with as little engagement as I could get away with!)

I never struck a balance between over- and under-applying myself. Never developed an instinct for what the right thing to apply myself to should be. But slacking off on some things alllowed me to excel at others. The only way I can imagine being neurotypical, compared to that, sounds like being “just okay” at everything. Again, filter of my brain. I don’t mean any disrespect against neurotypicals and I know they can excel in their own rights. I just can’t picture it.

2 Likes

I do like a lot of things that turn out to be related to having adhd.

I like being able to lose myself in an activity (hyperfocus).

I like having a head filled with trivia from all over the place and often being able to make connections between that stuff.

I like a lot of other Brains and I think that has to do with ‘getting’ them in a way that I probably wouldn’t if I didn’t have adhd myself.

As @themax says, though, I only have the adhd me to think these thoughts with.

I am glad that I understand myself a whole lot better since the diagnosis, the counselling and the research into adhd.

I am also very glad I have been given a lot of help with coping with myself.

I don’t want to be someone else, so I don’t want to not have adhd.

The world needs difference, in my view. So if I have a wish, it’s for more tolerance and understanding and acceptance and appreciation of each other’s differences.

3 Likes

I think that ADHD brains just behave differently to neurotypical brains, neither worse nor better, just different.
It’s like comparing still lake water with crashing waves, each has there uses and limits, but essentially it’s the same thing.
There’s no right or wrong way of being water :ocean:

5 Likes

Love the analogy, @Samuelburns!
Plus think of all the reasons to miss either the lakes or the sea :grinning:

2 Likes

Mmhh very true…
I guess it begs the question of: would we see ADHD as an inherently positive thing if the people around us treated it like one? Or would we have just learned to embrace and properly manage it :thinking:

1 Like

I didn’t know I had adhd for over four decades. In that time I became aware of the existence of adhd but mostly ‘didn’t know anyone with adhd’ (:roll_eyes::joy:).

When I finally read details of what adhd was, I was immediately in the ‘what is it with all these ridiculous labels’ camp, because it seemed like it was just a description of normal people, I mean ‘for goodness sake, I do most of those things and I don’t have adhd!’ (:roll_eyes::joy:).

OK so then eventually I realised that I do have adhd and that most people don’t (there was a phase in between where I thought, ok, so I have these behaviours and I accept that adhd is a label that fits, but how do we know that nearly everyone else doesn’t? If we tested them would we like nearly all have adhd?).

Sorry for this very long reply to the question ‘would we see adhd as a more positive thing if we hadn’t been told it was negative?’ ( I am paraphrasing here). And I think that my answer has to be yes. I think my years of denial are precisely because I could see a lot of positives and so I couldn’t possibly have that thing everyone says is bad, y’know?

Positives like:
Keeping on going for hours with a task once I finally got started.

OK, so I’m often late, but I hit the ground running (metaphorically speaking that is. The only time I tried that literally was painful and embarrassing :joy:)

Being able to follow a zigzaggy train of thought,whether that’s my own or someone else’s.

Being able to see the funny side of most things.

Being quick to move on from an argument (we’ll not discuss the being quick to blow up in the first place if that’s OK with you. This is a list of positives after all :grin:).

Anyway, when I finally knowingly met a load of people with adhd for the first time was when I was on holiday as a volunteer for young people with physical challenges who would otherwise find it difficult to go on holiday without family. This gave them the freedom to be themselves without other people’s fixed ideas of what they were like and what they could and couldnt do. Ah. OK. So now I finally understand the next bit:

On part of our journey we shared a coach with a different group, all with adhd. Some people were worried about how hectic that would be. This made me think the same. But when we had been on the bus for a few hours together I remember thinking that I couldn’t see anything wrong with these teenagers and young adults and what was all the fuss about? And why did they need a separate holiday? Only now I realise that the ‘being yourself away from your family’ might be a big thing for some Brains. I thought for a while that it was kinidof weird, condescending dnd offensive, to be honest, but the kids on the trip did seem to be having fun.

1 Like

brooklyn 2 mins

HTML HTML Raw

Well if a yam is a potato then clearly Popeye’s favorite song was “I only have eyes for you”!

How a peeling is that?

:joy:

Good judgment? Social skills? Impulse control? . . .

Who me?

(Don’t know how I deleted this . . . So put it back for the archives) :joy:

3 Likes

Is this an ADHD thing??? Bc I either move on weirdly quickly ( judging from others around me ) or hold a heck of a grudge and I never thought anyone else would be the same…

What was that like? I’ve never heard of something like that and it sounds kinda interesting!

That was my first reaction but I guess if they’re enjoying themselves thats the important part shrug

2 Likes

@ConfusedbutADHDandLD
It was fun. Met lots of people I wouldn’t otherwise have met, there were some challenges that were really interesting to work around: like how to write a diary for someone who understands everything but is limited to yes and no and pointing as a response (answer: I checked each sentence before writing it down and adjusted if if it wasn’t good yet, as in, didn’t reflect their experience of the day). Also: how to make a shrimp eating expedition on a fishing boat interesting and enjoyable for someone who is not allowed any solid food at all because it could choke him to death (plus it was the same guy I just mentioned so discussing it is also difficult) Answer: I checked with him and the medical professional on the trip and got approval for him to taste the shrimp without me letting go of it. It was one of the high points of the trip for us both, and I only hope that, via the diary, this was not the last time he did this with someone.

I don’t know if it’s an adhd thing that I didn’t accept the simple instruction of ‘don’t give him any shrimps’ when it was like taking someone to a toy shop and watching everyone else get to play. It went from being a crappy reminder of his limitations to a great day. And one of the reasons why it’s important to have a break from your regular carers once in a while, especially if you’re very dependent on other people, who naturally get into a regular pattern of what works effectively after a while. The downside is that it takes a new volunteer a while to work out the best way to clean your teeth or whatever, but the upside is loads of new people around who are focused on safe fun rather than just safety.

1 Like

I can’t say I like having ADHD but I would never choose to not have it. It contributes to so much of myself that I really don’t think I would be me without it. It makes life much harder but what really helps me through and what I love about it is that it means I’m part of such a great community of incredible people all going through the same things and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

4 Likes

Yes, yes, yes . . .

:+1::+1::+1:

Welcome, welcome, welcome!!!

1 Like

I’ll bet that song would sound great from a brass quartet of TUBER players . . . who are NOTE worthy . . . and not in TREBLE . . .

:rofl::rofl::rofl:

2 Likes

Hmmm I was only diagnosed at close to 40. Like most of us I had my struggles growing up (if growing up is even a real thing). I look back and mourn some of the opportunities I missed because of ADHD. But diagnosis and the journey of leaning about my brain and gaining understanding of how it works and most importantly how it doesn’t has given me plenty of positives gifts even. I am way more understanding of people’s differences than before. In reflection on my life so far I have been able to look at mistakes I have made and apply that understanding to them and I suppose it’s allowed me to forgive myself for making them. The regret is still around some things but it helped a lot.

Would I be where I am today without ADHD? Who knows ? That’s a life that belongs to someone else.

Do I like having ADHD? I think I like knowing I have ADHD. I would never trade my current life to find out. I do like myself. I like the people who are my friends that are interesting and bright that I need because I have ADHD.

It has its gifts and it’s downsides and I like learning new things to manage those downsides.

So If i had to pick a side I would have to say I do like it more than I don’t. If I actually had any idea what it was like to not have it then I could be qualified to say otherwise. Life is a collection of experiences and they in the end are really the only thing that is truly ours. So I suppose if i don’t embrace them for what they are am I really living my life the best I can ?

M

1 Like

Well put and kind to yourself . . . :+1:

My experience is fairly similar. I’ve tried to picture myself without it and I can’t figure out what I would be like. So in the hypothetical situation where I got to choose it would be between ADHD and a complete unknown.

There are parts of ADHD I enjoy. ADHD should probably also get part of the credit for some of my major strengths. It’s definitely not all bad, but I’m not comfortable with people categorizing it as a purely positive thing in general (I have no problem with them saying it’s a purely positive thing for them).

For me ADHD wasn’t identified until I was in my 30s. Having untreated ADHD until now has caused a lot of damage. For me the downsides of ADHD are very large and very painful. Altogether it is still more negative than positive. That balance may change for me as I figure out effective treatment/supports, and it might have turned out differently if it had been identified when I was younger.

2 Likes

And that you do . . . Quite effectively . . . which I appreciate personally!

1 Like