The first thing to do is to congratulate yourself for having the honesty and courage to know and accept that you have ADHD.
In spite of biased press reports that ADHD is over diagnosed, the fact is that many more children, teens, and adults have ADHD and are unaware of it. Because of this, they are often misunderstood, isolated, or mocked. They react by withdrawal, depression, or anger. They float between jobs, often abuse drugs, and are over-represented in prisons.
Educating yourself about ADHD, including those closest to you, is the single most important objective –learning not only about ADHD in general and its treatment, but to understand your own variety of ADHD.
Right along with that, it is critical that you come to understand your own strengths. Some strengths – like energy and creativity – seem to be actually empowered by ADHD, as long as you keep aware of perspective and limits.
Positive psychology has shown, unequivocally, that focusing on strengths and using them preferentially is the surest way to succeed. (A good sign that you are acting from your strengths is that you are energized at the finish!)
We all know that we have weaknesses – people with and without ADHD. We use them where we must, while being cautious to not expect too much of them, using use resources and asking people for help when necessary. Asking for help is, itself, a powerful human resource.
Be aware of the undermining effect of our mental “gremlins” – those discouraging and accusatory thoughts about ourselves. Seeking perfection is a fool’s enterprise. Learn from your mistakes, pick yourself up, and live in reality.
Pace yourself. All overused engines, including human drives, can overheat, break down, or lose efficiency. A brief rest for both brain and body will multiply your subsequent focus and efficiency.
Pause periodically, a word which I carried away from the November 2013 CHADD conference.
Pausing allows us
- to assess
- to prioritize
- to see if we’re making progress
- to affirm ourselves if we are making progress
- to consider what is the cause when we are not making progress
- to check on the energy and stress level of our bodies and minds
- to determine what is most important in the moment:
- to make sure that our ladder is leaning against the right wall.
Finally, be good to yourself. While respecting others, being accountable, picking up your own share of the load, you too have rights and worth. No one wants to be, or has to be, a doormat for others.
YOU ARE a worthwhile person for who you are, for your efforts, for your aspirations, for your caring, for your courage. Always remember that.