October is ADHD Awareness Month. It’s a time to celebrate all that is wonderful, unique, and special about you. If you, or someone you love or work with, has ADHD, you’re aware of the various challenges and obstacles that go along with it. There’s a lot to manage day to day and it can leave you tired, overwhelmed or just wishing things would be easier. So I’d like to propose a little break from the hard work of living with ADHD and instead let’s shine a light on the positives. Sometimes we are so wrapped up in dealing with challenges that we forget to celebrate the wins. ADHD Awareness Month is the perfect time to highlight all that is special about you!
Folks with ADHD tend to be highly creative. The same symptoms of ADHD which can be seen as determinants can actually inspire creativity. For example, impulsivity, curiosity, spontaneity, and a tendency for daydreaming are all essential ingredients for unlocking the imagination. The ability to hyperfocus on an interesting activity (within limits) may aid you in getting the tough stuff done just as it fuels novel ideas when you’re immersed in an art project. Folks with ADHD are often great writers, musicians and artists. Creative expression can bring a world of joy into your life and gives you wonderful opportunities to engage with the world around you.
Strength and Resilience
Let’s face it, living with ADHD can be challenging at times. Sometimes it takes extra effort to do things others consider “easy”. Other times it takes seemingly forever to master a skill others take for granted. You may not notice it, but over time, living with these challenges builds strength and resilience. You learn how to overcome obstacles, face difficulties head on, and pick yourself up after each stumble. Navigating academic, professional, personal, and romantic relationships gets easier with the confidence gleaned from lived experience. Strength and resilience will help you overcome hardships in life and help you reach your goals. Be proud of these superpowers!
Empathy and Compassion
Living with ADHD means developing a deeper awareness of how your brain works, understanding what feels comfortable, and noticing when things become overwhelming. People develop self-awareness (metacognition) over time which helps with emotional regulation, motivation and focus as well as making and keeping friends. Through experiences at school, at work, in social settings, you learn to observe what goes well and what needs tweaking. Getting to know other folks with and without ADHD helps you build empathy and compassion.
Compassion means meeting people where they are not where you think they should be and accepting that we are all perfectly imperfect. When you accept the brain you have and lean into your strengths, you show up for yourself with more kindness. Then, you’re able to be available to others without judgment. When you understand your own challenges as a natural part of being human, you can then extend that awareness to others, spreading kindness and compassion in the process. Everyone is wired differently, and no one understands that more than folks with ADHD.
You Are Wonderful Just As You Are
Children and adults with ADHD are not deficient but rather blessed with creative, innovative ways of seeing things, a comfort with spontaneity and unique sensitivities. These traits are worth validating and celebrating. Take the time to acknowledge your special gifts and accomplishments today and every day. Notice, write down or talk about three things that have gone well enough every day to counteract negativity bias. Emphasize the positives (no matter how small) and turn the volume down on negative self-talk, criticism and worry. Think of all that as background noise – it’s always there humming in the background, but can be tuned out. Strive to measure yourself by the progress you make rather than striving for perfection. You are worthy and wonderful just as you are.
Upcoming ADHD Awareness Events:
- Instagram Live with @drsharonsaline & @coachingwithbrooke. Happening Friday, October 20th at 3pm (EST). An open discussion on ADHD, specifically managing your adult ADHD so that you can then assist your children, family, etc., will ensue.
- Building Better Brains Webinar. Happening Wednesday, November 8th at 7pm (EST). Dr. Sharon Saline will help participants navigate the challenges of living in and running a family with ADHD.
- ADDitude Facebook Live. Happening Friday, October 27th at 4pm (EST). Dr. Sharon Saline will offer advice for improving the executive function of working memory, which is commonly impaired with ADHD. Related questions welcome from adults, caregivers, and professionals.
- ADDA Tadd Talks. Happening throughout the entire month of October 2023. Dr. Sharon Saline’s will be on October 20th specifically. TADD Talks are an ADHD-friendly riff on “TED talks.” TED talks are 18 minute presentations on a variety of interesting subjects, TADD recordings are only 9 minutes long (we do have a shorter attention span, you know!) on interesting ADHD topics. Dr. Sharon Saline will be speaking on Unpacking Social Anxiety: Perfectionism, Imposter Syndrome and RSD. Registration Link: https://add.org/taddtalks/
- 2023 Annual International Conference on ADHD. Happening in-person on November 30th – December 2nd in Baltimore, Maryland and Virtually on December 5-6th. ACO, ADDA, and CHADD—the leaders in ADHD support for individuals and families—welcome the ADHD community to the 2023 Annual International Conference on ADHD. Dr. Sharon Saline will be in attendance and you don’t want to miss it! Registration Link: https://adhdconference.eventsair.com/adhd-conference