I always wonder what it's like to be a normal person without an ADHD mind.
- Does their mind rest?
- Can they literally chill?
- When they go to yoga and lay down in Shavasana (at the end of practice where you let your mind rest), do they let their mind rest and focus on their breathing without racing thoughts coming to the forefront of their mind?
- What happens when they try to go to sleep?
- What is their mind thinking about when they drive a car?
I can tell you, from experience, that the ADHD mind doesn't focus long enough to rest.
- In Shavasana, I can guarantee you that I TRY to focus on my breathing, and it lasts for five measly seconds before I'm thinking about the prescription I need to pick up after practice, or what I said on a conference call earlier.
- When I sleep my mind races through the day, replaying it, reminding me of all the things I meant to do but forgot. My husband can fall asleep in two seconds with the TV blaring, and I can lay in bed for an hour and wonder how he falls asleep with no effort!
- When I drive a car, I pay attention to the road (of course!), but I am also solving a work problem in my head (I actually did figure out a solution to a work problem in my head today on the way to the gym)!
How about these other traits?
Do you pick fights to give your brain some adrenaline?
You should have seen little ole me growing up in the 80s and 90s. Not many people knew about ADHD then, and luckily in my teenage years it settled down. I was not diagnosed until I was an adult, so my childhood years were challenging. There is a reason I was nicknamed, "Queen bitch of the Universe." To be honest, I wasn't mean! I'm seriously the most empathetic person you could ever meet, but I loved a good argument.
There are too many stories I can tell you where I pissed my brother off so much that he would run through the house with a fireplace poker trying to beat the crap out of me (for the record he never did!) My brother and I never got along growing up. I instigated and agitated until he blew up pretty much every day. I'm sure my parents were ready to ship me off to boarding school, and it's probably the reason my dad drank at night, but my brain needed stimulation.
Thankfully my parents realized I couldn't just sit at home. They worked too much for me to be involved in school sports, and I really didn't have the attention span anyhow. Cue in the story about the time they enrolled me in baseball. I was in the outfield and was too busy watching cute boys to notice the ball whizzing by my head. Baseball was a bit too slow for me. Karate was a perfect outlet. It taught discipline and with hard work I was soon a black belt sensei. It also probably cured my brain of that much needed physical and mental activity.
Are you obsessed with music?
I think people with ADHD are naturally drawn to music. Sure, I watch tv, but I'd give up tv for music any day. I used to have music with me at all times when I was growing up. The cassette tapes were my best friend. I would even take my Walkman to school so that I could have music in one ear and the teacher in the other. I would even listen to music while taking tests. I'm sure the teachers didn't always like it but I KNEW if I listened to music while taking my tests, I would do better, and I did.
I'm also one of the only people you will find that does computer coding with headphones. I need it. I can't stand the silence. Sometimes it's the 80s, sometimes it's smooth jazz and sometimes when I'm really stressed out, it's spa music (all compliments of Pandora). It's a proven fact that people with ADHD focus better with music. I know I do.
Embrace your gifts.
What I do know is ADHD makes me unique and special.
My youngest son, Justin, has ADHD and I tell him all the time it's a gift.
- How many people can hyperfocus and solve issues?
- How many people can solve problems doing normal things (like driving!)?
- How many people thrive on chaos and easily manage it? We live for that!
- Multi-tasking? We have that down pact.
- Creative ideas? We have that, too.
- Love of learning? That's a trait we have because we hate to be bored. Throw as much new stuff at us as you want. We love to learn new things!