Often times attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADHD, has a negative connotation to it. So, what is ADHD? ADHD is commonly known as a neurodevelopmental disorder that can cause impulsive behaviors, difficulty concentrating, and can also lead to having difficulties forming relationships. While all of these symptoms can be perceived as negative, throughout my time in the mental health field, I’ve found ways to reframe with the hopes to create a positive and self-esteem boosting impact on those who are diagnosed with ADHD.
How did I shift my relationship with ADHD?
I’m going to share a story about my experience with reframing ADHD. My ADHD presents itself in the form of bouncing around before one single task is finished, and I always felt very unaccomplished because I would be working on 5, 6, 7 things at once.
A few years ago, I was explaining this to a professor of mine and getting extremely frustrated with my lack of concentration in one area and he said “what a beautiful ability you have.” I was very puzzled, to say the least, so I asked if he had heard me correctly to which he replied “of course I did, you just told me you were able to multitask and concentrate on 5, 6, 7 things at a time, most people have a difficult time concentrating on one task at hand.” I let this sink in for a while and started looking at ADHD as an ability to multitask which completely shifted my perspective and really took me out of the victim mentality from this diagnosis.
Since then, I’ve continued to find and create ways that ADHD has been beneficial in my life. Some of the benefits I’ve discovered include, forming deep and meaningful long-term friendships and giving myself a mental break when I need one. Within shifting my relationship with ADHD it’s been wonderful to discover the positive impact this once negative diagnosis has had on my life.
Who has ADHD?
Anyone can have ADHD! Children, teenagers, adults, the elderly, and anyone in-between. There’s absolutely no discrimination when it comes to mental health abilities or disabilities and ADHD is no exception to that rule. However, ADHD is one of those tricky diagnoses because it can present in such a way that we’re expected to act at that developmental stage.
For instance, a four-year-old running around with a lot of energy is extremely normal and expected. However, this same child could be presenting their excessive energy source in this way but have the ability to concentrate just fine in class, this specific child would most likely be diagnosed later in life if it were to start impacting them. Whereas another child of the same age may be very calm and quiet outside but may be unable to concentrate on one thing at a time in the classroom setting.
When is it diagnosed & How do you treat it?
ADHD is typically diagnosed at a young age, around the elementary school years. However, it does impact adults as well and can be diagnosed at a later stage of life. Like I explained above, the symptoms can present differently in different people making some diagnoses more obvious and some a bit more difficult to identify. There are a variety of treatments for ADHD but most importantly, it’s not something to be afraid of, but rather something to learn to incorporate into your day to day life if you are diagnosed with ADHD. The treatments range from utilizing different methods of talk therapy to medication (please speak with your doctor prior to taking any form of medication). Another type of treatment is called neurobiofeedback which is a way to measure your brain waves to better examine how each individual case can regulate brain function.
While this is an overview of ADHD please be aware that symptoms can range from low impact to extreme varying from person to person and there may be additional or different symptoms that were not mentioned in this blog. Additionally, shifting your perspective does not require a diagnosis. You can shift your perspective towards someone you may know or even if you don’t know anyone with ADHD and were just curious about it, reframing the negative symptoms to positive symptoms could offer a different outlook of the diagnosis. My hope in writing this is that we all spread a little bit of compassion with one another since we may not have full awareness as to what another person is currently dealing with in their own mind at any given moment.
Disclaimer: There are other symptoms that may present with different cases of ADHD in addition to what this blog explains. This post is not a suggestion for what every single person needs to do if they are diagnosed with ADHD or may think they have it. Lastly, please do not self-diagnose, if you are struggling with these symptoms or already have been diagnosed with ADHD and want to change your relationship to it, schedule a session to learn how to shift your perspective!
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