Some people criticize me for tuning out, being fidgety when I’m expected to sit still, talking too much or out of turn, repeating jokes, being immature and just being out-of-touch with most other adults. I sometimes feel like a kid in a grownup’s body. I’m sure most adults with ADHD can relate similar experiences.
Despite that, I continued to have fun and work hard and despite setbacks, I was able to develop confidence in certain skills, honing my ADHD strengths long before I even knew what ADHD was.
I never heard of ADHD prior to attending college, but in 2002, I was diagnosed with ADHD combined type. I always knew my mind was different, but I never knew how or why until receiving my diagnosis. Medication helped me read faster, comprehend better and listen to others without tuning out, but I also continued to rely on the skills I had developed prior to my diagnosis.
I’ve always had certain talents that always came naturally to me and astonished others. Some of them are related to my ADHD, while others are simply abilities I happen to have. I’ve discovered the same is true of almost every adult with ADHD. We tend to discount these abilities because they come easily to us, but making the most of our natural talents is the real secret to success.
For example, I remember everything I read, and whenever someone tells me his or her birthday, I always remember it even if I haven’t seen the person in 20 years. When I worked as a substitute teacher I was able to memorize up to 30 students’ names on the seating chart in less than five minutes. The students would be shocked I knew all of their names in such a short time.
I frequently forget to eat when I’m busy, but I work best when I’m busy doing many things at once; I am most productive when my mind is as busy as possible. In social situations, it may seem like I talk too much and ask too many questions, but that same natural curiosity about everything makes me an excellent news reporter.
As an adult with ADHD, I’ve found there are downsides to having ADHD, but I’ve experienced upsides as well. If given the choice I wouldn’t trade my condition for anything. Having ADHD makes me who I am. I love it and the best people in my life love me, and the ADHD quirks that are part of the package.