Dr. Stacy Storey
Often we look at different diagnoses as a hindrance to living life as we feel we should. One such diagnosis would be ADHD. While no diagnosis is ideal, looking at them from a negative perspective does not help us to move forward in our lives. Throughout this article we are going to examine ADHD from a positive perspective, to help not only remove the stigma from the diagnosis but to reveal the ADHDer’s superpowers.
We have recently learned that many women were not diagnosed with ADHD, or were misdiagnosed, due to the expectation for women to just be good at multitasking, or being creative. Well, more recently, more women have been properly diagnosed with ADHD after years of wondering why some things felt harder, or maybe easier, for them than they were for other people. Some of the ADHD superpowers include hyperfocus, resilience, creativity, conversational skills, spontaneity, and endless amounts of that sweet sweet natural energy. While there are still the downsides, of inability to focus or sit still, increased risk-taking behaviors, adverse effects to medications, the list goes on, right now we are going to put those downsides aside and focus on the positives.
First things first, imagination and creativity. My youngest kiddo was diagnosed with ADHD when he was little, which felt really scary and overwhelming because I did not know what to expect at the time. With some support and guidance for building the coping/processing skills for the challenges, we can now really enjoy the positives. He is such an incredibly innovative and creative person, it is amazing. He sees things in different ways. He has had math teachers reach out to me to express their excitement for his new way of thinking about the math that they are presenting. It is incredible what someone can do when they are not viewed as being different in a negative light, but celebrated for having amazing skills that others might not possess.
Next up perseverance and determination. Being diagnosed with someone can make someone feel like they do not want to keep trying, or that everything feels harder for them. Understanding the challenges and then finding the specific tools that work for the person struggling, helps them to be just as successful as anyone else. Being able to recognize the downsides, but not letting them take over, helps to be able to push through and to keep on trying.
Multitasking! This one is my personal favorite. I find that doing one thing is close to impossible, and my brain actually focuses better when I am doing two things at once. I can not say that I am as efficient as I could be if I could focus on the singular task, but it feels like it! Working on work notes and listening to a podcast helps me to focus on both. If I was just doing one, my attention would drift and I would feel like I could not get anything done. While this feels like something that maybe would make my life more complicated, it feels like it works for me and I enjoy the accomplished feelings I have when I am done.
While looking through the different superpowers of the ADHD mind, it is important to remember, that a lot of the superpowers arise from working through the challenges and honing in on the specifics of the person. In order to work through the challenges, and the symptoms that hinder success, a mental health counselor can support building positive coping/processing skills and finding your personal superpower.