Not so long ago, somebody asked me this question: how do you feel about having ADHD? I had to stop and think about it for a minute. I mean, how do you answer a question like that? It’s not possible to give an answer. There are many valid responses – each of them equally true.
Multi-tiered responses seem dithery. But it’s not really a multiple choice question. No matter how you fill in the blanks, having ADD means a lot of things – none of which can be summed up in one final conclusion.
How do I feel about having ADD?
Well… um… !?!?
It reminds me of a story. A young man was sitting his college final in philosophy. Daunted by the knowledge the result accounted for 50% of his final grade, he was understandably uptight. Furthermore, there was only one question on the exam. One question in which to achieve exactly half of his final mark in the class. While he had really enjoyed the class, the idea that he could blow it all on one question unnerved him.
The question was “Why?”
Nothing more, just “Why?” It was a philosophy class, after all.
Others applied pen to paper madly and fervently, concocting all sorts of intelligent and articulate rejoinders, the kind expected in academia. He was stunned and did not know where to begin. Surveying the plethora of options, he could not comfortably and confidently choose a solid debate. So instead he sifted through and pushed aside all ideas, going straight to his gut for his response. Which was:
He aced the exam. One hundred percent. Ten thousand words more could not offer up a better answer.
So how do I feel about having ADHD?
I could say that I hate it. I’m tired of the restlessness, the inability to focus at times and the incessant drive to always be “doing something”. I’m sick of misplacing things and forgetting important tasks, and of losing my train of thought every… what was I going to say?
I could say that I love it. It blesses me with an abundance of ideas. It keeps me on my toes. It makes me good at handling unpredictable circumstances, to think quickly and take decisive action with little preparation or notice. It certainly makes life interesting.
Depending on when you catch me, both those answers are true – at times. But for the most part, my real answer is a simple as the Why Not that aced the exam.
How do I feel about having ADD?
I don’t. I don’t feel anything about having ADD.
How do you feel about it?
How about your teeth? How do you feel about having teeth?
How do feel about having a heart? How about your lungs? What do you think about breathing air? How do feel about living on land? What about gravity – how do you feel about that?
You don’t, right?
After many years of learning about my ADD and growing with it, I have learned to accept it. I’ve had much help in learning to manage my challenges, and most of my growth has been realized through discovering and fully embracing my strengths as well. I’ve taken the good along with the bad and the ugly. My ADD hasn’t got better. I’ve just got better at living well with it. So the challenges have been minimized, opening the door for the positives to manifest themselves.
Oh yeah… and through doing this all I have been blessed with the opportunity to coach my ADD comrades and help them manifest the same in their lives. Not a bad job eh?
Truly accepting and working with ADHD means that eventually, for the most part, you won’t have too many feelings about it at all. It’s just a part of you, like your teeth and your heart. It’s just a part of life, like gravity and living on land.
You won’t have to feel anything about it. You will take the good and the bad along with the air and the gravity. It’s just a part of life. And you’ll just get on with it.
In part two to this post, we will explore why this kind of acceptance is so important. Not just important, but absolutely crucial to creating your greatest masterpiece – a life lived well. But for now, I leave you with the question once more…
How do you feel about having ADHD?
(See those spaces down there? The ones under the heading “comments”? Those spaces are for your answers so go ahead and comment! I guarantee, every comment will get a 100% mark from me!)
Image courtesy of http://unh-ed604.wikispaces.com/Feelings