Archive for March 2012
Sometimes, people find it hard to believe that my sister and I are from the same family. She has dark hair and eyes, while I have blonde hair and green eyes. I have a loud voice and she tends to be soft spoken. She’s a nurse, and I get squeamish simply from hearing someone describe a wound. I have ADHD; and she has always been very punctual, rational, focused, and organized- that is, until the birth of her children.
Ever since my adorable niece and nephew were born, I’ve noticed a change in my sister. She frequently shows up later than expected to family gatherings. Her home, which was once perfectly clean and organized, now looks like as though it’s been raided by two little monkeys that escaped from the circus (one wearing a pink sparkly dress, the other wearing a blue T-shirt with a fire engine, of course). My phone conversations with her are often abruptly sent off topic.
That’s when I suddenly realized that having ADHD is a lot like being the parent of a toddler in many ways.
- Your house, desk, etc. is always a mess.
- You often can’t find objects, even though you swear you know exactly where you left them.
- It takes you twice as long to get ready in the morning.
- Despite your best intentions, you frequently arrive late for meetings and appointments.
- When attempting to have a conversation with someone, you find yourself getting distracted by someone you see running past you.
- You find that you have to work even harder just to keep up with others.
- You’re constantly running around and jumping up and down.
- You have less time to do the things you enjoy.
- When attempting to do a task; it can take you quite a long time to even get started.
- You’re surrounded by noise and chaos that you just can’t ignore.
- Your “to do” list is always longer than than your list of things you’ve accomplished.
- You’re constantly frazzled and stressed out.
- At the end of the day, you’re exhausted, even more so than your peers without ADHD/without kids.
Now, I’m sure many of you are thinking, “Sure, having ADHD can be stressful, just like having small children. But it’s not really like being a parent. You don’t get to have an adorable child to cuddle and play with, and you don’t have the satisfaction and pride when your child gets an A on a test or hits a home run in a Little League game.” While this is true, ADHD has some perks and benefits as well. For instance, many people with ADHD are very creative and are able to pick up on connections that other people miss. It’s also possible to learn to use your ADHD to your advantage. One famous person who has done so is Jim Carrey. He has been able to channel his hyperactivity into something productive- the ability to make people laugh and to have a successful career as an actor and a comedian. Other people with ADHD can be brilliant writers, artists, musicians, and storytellers because of their vivid imagination. People with ADHD are often highly motivated and driven to success, because of their ability to hyperfocus.
Of course, none of the perks of ADHD can be reaped without first learning to manage the symptoms of the disorder. For some people, this may been taking medication. For others, it may mean therapy or counseling. For others, a combination of both medication and therapy is the best result.
Once you have learned to manage living with ADHD and to use it to your advantage, you will feel a great sense of accomplishment. You could say that your toddler within has grown up to be a mature, self-sufficent adult.