The Gift of ADHD... wait... WHAT?
I recently saw a story on Good Morning America about a man who started a gym for paraplegics. Wesley Hamilton, founder of Disabled But Not Really, survived a shooting that left him paralyzed from the waist down. Hamilton’s goal is to inspire people with paraplegia, helping those in the disabled community to achieve healthier bodies, minds and lives.
Hamilton was awarded a $1 million gift by the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, a California-based organization that supports programs and research that helps people with spinal cord injuries.
In his Good Morning America interview Hamilton stated, “the man who shot me meant me to die, but instead he gave me a whole new life.” He went on to say, “I am living my purpose, and everybody is seeing that you must follow your dreams despite the circumstances that happen to you.”
The Impact of the Diagnosis
Receiving an ADHD diagnosis can rock your world. For some, it brings a sense of shame. For others, there is a feeling of relief because it explains so much. Those diagnosed as children have a very different experience than those diagnosed later in life.
There are those who call ADHD a gift. People with ADHD can be incredibly creative, can hyper focus and brainstorm better than most people. ADHD also comes with daily challenges, such as managing time, following through, planning, organizing, and managing tasks at home or at work.
The Real Gift of ADHD
The real gift of ADHD is that we are forced to understand how we roll. Most of us have incredible daily coping strategies, even if we haven’t seen them as such. The neurotypical population tends to be sequential in their approach to tackling tasks. People with ADHD tend to create solutions in a way that works for their unique brain wiring. The flexible thinking required has been called lateral thinking.
Thinking Outside of the Box
I have heard many clients share creative solutions to their challenges over the year. Check out these examples of ADHD creativity in action:
Paper problems: A road warrior struggled to do paperwork for his job, until he bought a car desk. Now, his desk goes along for the ride.
Messy mats: A momma who wanted her car to stay clean replaced her mats with Astro turf. It worked, plus it made her feet feel good!
Superstore solution: A woman who felt overwhelmed when out shopping now orders groceries online and has them delivered.
Cleaning help: A client who struggled with clutter was able to clean her house as long as she was talking to a friend on the phone.
Child’s play: One mom who tired of leaving things behind began bringing her kid’s supplies to playdates in a wash basket, so she could see what she had.
White space: One businesswoman who found herself too distracted at home to do important paperwork now stays overnight in a hotel, so she can complete her bill-work in a distraction-free environment.
Memory through movement: A woman who wanted to remember phone numbers found that she could recall them if she created a series of dance steps.
Shower power: A person who often had great ideas while showering began using Aqua Notes to capture them.
Super speller: A student with poor spelling grades now aces spelling tests, because he takes them standing up.
Oral ability: Another student finally passed history class, once his teacher let him test orally.
Sensory stickers: One client found that touching Velcro or Calm Strips allows him to focus better when seated in school.
Calming clothing: An anxious person began wearing compression shirts and pants in order to keep calm.
Soothing touch: A lady who loves snow improves focus by running her fingers through snow dough.
Musical memory: A student memorizes facts for tests by singing them to a familiar melody, like Old MacDonald.
Background sound: One of my clients listens to broadcasts in Chinese when she studies, so she isn’t distracted by the words. (She doesn’t speak Chinese.)
What Does it Take for You to be Successful?
The challenges of ADHD can be converted into incredible self-knowledge! What if ADHD becomes the vehicle for us to truly understand ourselves and what we need?
What is in your ADHD toolbox?
How can your strengths lead you forward to new heights?
With the right support, individuals with ADHD can be as successful as anyone else. Let’s not define ourselves by the challenges! Once ADHD is managed, it gets smaller, and your life gets way bigger.
Once you embrace the diagnosis, all things are possible! Is ADHD a gift? No. The gift is what we discover about ourselves that can lead us forward.
“Although the world is full of suffering, it is full also of the overcoming of it.” - Helen Keller
“Conventionality is the refuge of a stagnant mind”- Alexandra Townsend
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