New here! Hoping I can get some advice or perspective on how to manage my work situation with my ADHD and other LD’s. I have pretty severe ADHD, Hyperactive, but been leaning a bit more to combined as I’m aging. I also have some other learning disabilities.
I work in a very analytical and strategic role and it’s very much geared to NT kind of mind sets and it moved in a very fast pace. It requires me to constantly have to take in a LOT of information often in areas that I’m not trained in, but have an indirect impact on what I do, and process it very quickly, sometimes in real time.
On the surface it basically is a nightmare for an ADHD brain like mine, but I’ve managed to do very well because I like things structured and am naturally very analytical even though I have to do it in ways that seem odd to other people. I’ve been successful because a lot of what I can do is independent and on a computer so I can work in my own weird ways and have access to the tools I know can help me. Plus I work a lot with people in other locations so I have the advantage of distance and time to get my stuff together.
However, as I’ve been moving up in my career I’m having to work more directly with people in real time, and my timelines are getting shorter and shorter. Recently I was in a training and it became really apparent to me how if I don’t have my computer with me or am in a live group setting with people all my coping strategies fall apart, I become overwhelmed and flustered, and can’t do parts of my job that I otherwise could do very well if I were back in my controlled environment.
My issue in working with others is partially a pressure thing, I get anxious about myself and panic. Same with time, even if it’s enough time to get something done, knowing there’s a limit causes panic and I just can’t think. Mostly though it’s that when I’m working with someone else to solve a problem the way they start talking about it and addressing it makes no sense to me. Then I try to explain my way and it makes even less sense to them and I have no way to explain it. So either it looks like I’m arguing with them on something they may be right about, or that I’m an idiot because I’m not explaining myself right so my contribution gets lost. That’s extra frustrating because verbal communication is a huge strength of mine when I’m feeling calm and in control.
Regarding input of information, I also can’t take notes while listening, while I do better with auditory input, I still miss things or forget, and reading alone takes me longer to process sometimes. Ideally I would have all lectures with a follow along book. This makes it a challenge in meetings and group work.
I’m wondering about what others who work in similar type of environments - heavy information input, lots of meetings and real time collaborations - do to be successful. Are there accommodations you ask for? Do you just openly control the agendas for meetings or ask directly for people to slow down or repeat in meetings, or to circle back on issues after the fact to have process time? Are you open about needing your tools (like your computer or reference information) with you and that if you’re asked for something and don’t have it that you’ll get back to them? How do you manage if that’s not possible?
If you advocate and ask for needed accommodations either formerly or informally, how do you do it so it doesn’t sound like an excuse or that you’re incapable of doing your job or handling more? Do you request these accommodations informally as needed or (for those in the US) get it formally documented through HR under the ADA? And if so, how has that worked and what do you ask for?
Thanks in advance for any support or advice on how I can address this and stay successful.