October 2-8 is Mental Illness Awareness Week.
As a former therapist who used to see a lot of children, I understand why parents and teachers want to get a child’s ADHD under control. It’s like a GIF personified, and you can’t look away even when you want to.
Whether it’s your own ADHD, your child’s, your spouse’s, or even your close friend’s, it’s easy to only see the negatives without knowing there are loads of benefits. Yes, it’s good to have ADHD.
They’re adaptable problem-solvers.
People with ADHD have logistics on lockdown. Their distractibility allows them to have perspectives us boring people don’t, which means they have crucial insights in times of crises, and which also leads me to my next point.
They work well (even thrive) under pressure.
You think they’re procrastinating, but in reality, getting something done the hour before it’s due gives them the intensity and motivation they need to do their best work.
People with ADHD are infamous for their inability to focus. However, when they’re interested in something, they can actually become immersed and concentrated in enviable ways. This trait is especially beneficial for nurses, chefs, anyone with project-based work. For those of us nearby, their motivation can be inspiring and even contagious.
Just because high energy doesn’t translate to a traditional classroom or a board meeting heavy on the PowerPoint slides, doesn’t mean it’s not appreciated in other contexts. Increased energy level means passion, surprise, intrigue.
They’re just plain fun to be around.
When I think about the people I like the most, an overwhelming number of them have been diagnosed with ADHD. That could be due to the fact that it’s overdiagnosed in this country, but that’s another article. Where spontaneity abounds, the party resides. Or something like that. Yet another context where high energy is typically rewarded: social situations. Who likes to rock the party? Well, you get it.
They’re excellent learners. No, really.
Stimulus-seekers may not want to sit still and take notes but they can learn a lot, and very quickly, when they’re engaged.
They take risks.
Sure, this means they might need admonitions when operating heavy machinery, but sometimes taking risks is exactly what needs to happen. The Ferris Bueller-ism holds true here: Life moves fast, and if you don’t look around, you can easily miss it. Starting that food truck or taking those scuba lessons might be exactly the right choice.
Greatest strengths are also greatest weaknesses, and vice versa. Having a disorder-mindset can be a limited approach when it comes to our loved ones with ADHD. After all, they give us the warm fuzzies. Remember that when he says he’s getting a motorcycle.