Yesterday I was interviewed by Tara McGillicuddy for ADDclasses.com and we talked about creativity. It was a very interesting conversation and I hope you have the chance to listen to it. There was something that I talked a little about in our conversation and that was about how sometimes the diagnosis of ADHD can lead one to believe all hope is lost, and even start experiencing symptoms that were previously not noticeable or problematic. I am calling this: The side effect of ADHD diagnosis. I've suffered a bit from it myself. Of course, I am making up 'the side effect' part, but am I really? Read on and make your own decision. Let me know if you have been affected by the side effect of an ADHD diagnosis.
The side effect of an ADHD diagnosis is a very common side effect and a lot of people suffer from it. As a matter of fact, if this side effect isn't addressed, I believe it could potentially become as challenging as ADHD. This particular side effect is not only limited to an ADHD diagnosis. It has been known to manifest itself for many other types of diagnosis as well.
I am calling it the 'Worse than I thought' side effect.
Once a person learns they have ADHD he or she usually starts to research it and find as much information as possible. That's good and will enable the person with ADHD, or the parent of a child with ADHD, to become armed with valuable information which may help.
But sometimes we discover too much or discover stories that will scare us to death and as a consequence we believe because of ADHD our hopes and dreams are not possible. We may even begin to think we should give up, because no matter what we do or try to do, we will fail anyway. Our lives are filled with proof of our incapableness that we can look back on and point to directly.
Not everyone with ADHD suffers from all of the symptoms, and not everyone with ADHD has it at the same level. But the danger with reading too much into it is that one can easily get the impression that he or she is doomed, or if they are a partner of someone with ADHD it's about time to get out of Dodge! Heck, there's information and stories out there that will make you believe that you are in fact doomed. For some if ADHD doesn't come across as disastrous enough, they will compare it to diseases that are worse and believe that their ADHD will eventually evolve into that disease. Doesn't really matter which disease, pick one, think about it long enough and mix well.
A while back when I was stressed out, my therapist recommended I cut back on reading the daily news to give my anxiety a break. I did that and boy did I feel better after a few days. I didn't realize how much the news affected my mental state of being. Sure it's important to know what's going on in the world, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Now I try to limit my time reading newspapers and watching news reports. For a news junkie, that's not easy! Know what I mean?
When I started reading about all the symptoms of ADHD I started thinking to myself 'this is going to be impossible – no wonder I can't do this or this or this!' It was true, ADHD was inhibiting me from accomplishing certain things, but little did I realize that I was also reading about symptoms I had never displayed before and started to think those were a problem for me to! Not everyone displays all the symptoms or even the same symptoms.
I love reading, read for hours on end, but when I discovered how problematic reading is for people with ADHD I began to have difficulty reading! Books I had read time and time again suddenly were impossible to finish, after a while I didn't even start them anymore. In school I had difficulty reading boring chapters for reports etc. I would try to remember them, but usually couldn't remember the information in time for exams. That's classic ADHD, but when it came to what I loved to read, I could get lost for hours and hours. However, the side effect of an ADHD diagnosis robbed me of that for a little while. I needed to realize how devastating ADHD really is so that I could attack it and find treatment, after all.
I didn't realize that I was adding to my problems.
All I am saying is that ADHD is problematic and needs treatment and assistance, but at the same time it is not the end of the world. ADHD is treatable and in certain circumstances, some of us have found it a boon when we learn to cope with it in our own way.
It's so very easy to get caught up in how bad ADHD is and get lost in that deep dark well of "I have ADHD so I can't do this or that". Who said you can't? It's so easy to fall into that trap. There are other ways of doing things, there's your way and just because those ways are not typical or common, well, if they work for you, then that's okay. You've got to find those ways that work for you first, and thinking ADHD is the end of the world, or focusing on how terrible it is, makes it kind of difficult to find what works, if not near impossible. If you used to go only 3 steps back after 2 two steps forward, and you are now going 5 steps back, consider this side effect.
The other day a young boy with ADHD was showing me illustrations he drew and I have to tell you, those illustrations were absolutely amazing. As a matter of fact, there's a certain book I have been writing which I have considered including illustrations in when I finish it. This young boy's illustrations would fit perfectly. I'll need to talk to his mom about that. Anyway, this boy told me that it doesn't matter how talented he is because he has ADHD and he has too many problems with his school work, he'll never amount to anything. I was taken aback! Who told him that? His mother was shocked by this admission as well and said she would never let him believe such a thing. The kid has so many talents; they are just bursting from him like fireworks and yet, because of what he has heard or read he's already giving up on any future he might have?
We are all much better than we sometimes think we are, even if we are diagnosed with ADHD. Finally I am back to reading the books that I love with full enjoyment. The brain works in mysterious ways.
I am so delighted I had a chance to see that young boy's illustrations and talk to him a little bit. Now his mother is aware of his belief and can help him realize that he is not doomed. Yes, a lot of care is needed for his education, which goes without saying, but doomed? I don't think so.