Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Yes, Virginia, There Are Positives to Having ADD

Everyone is always willing to give you a list of the problems that occur in one's life when you have ADD or ADHD. Forgetting things, losing things, losing concentration during a conversation, clutter, blurting things out, messy, negative self-talk and the list goes go on. They can rattle off the bad things and all the negatives, but you rarely hear about the positives of having ADD. 

Seriously, there are positives to this disorder. 

Lately, I've been writing about my personal campaign to bring more order in my life. I've been looking for ADD coaches and how they might help me. I found a great website called "Adult ADD Strengths" by Pete Quily (he's an ADD coach in Canada). His blog has a page that is a list of the 151 Positive Characteristics of People Who Have ADD. (It's not really 151 because several are the same thing, just phrased differently, but still a great list)

It was just what I needed to read - to remind myself that ADD isn't the worst thing to happen to me, that perhaps it's been a blessing because of the skills it has forced me to learn. I printed out the list and have posted it on my refrigerator to be a daily affirmation system. 

I'll write about many of them over time, but starting at the top of the list:

The Ability to Find An Alternative Path - growing up with untreated ADD, I created coping mechanisms for things most people don't give a second thought. I had to find a way around barriers because I didn't want to be left behind. ADD'ers think outside of the box largely because that's where we've spent the majority of our lives - outside of the box looking in. 

Adaptive - This a great positive to ADD. I have never had any problems adapting to anything new because new things engage me (and ADD'ers like to be engaged). I'm always curious and willing to try new things. Change rarely upsets me. I've found myself to be socially adaptive, too. I can be put into most any situation without feeling trapped. (Except on airplanes, sitting next to people who think I want to know all about their life. I don't. I usually want to sleep.)

Artistic/Creative - Those aforementioned coping mechanisms? I think I'm creative because I've had to be. And that creativity helping me cope, spills over in to my personality and keeps my creative spirit alive.(Occasionally a little too creative with multiple projects going at once.)

Adventurous - Here's that negative "impulse control" is turned around. I'm always willing to take a risk. When I started doing social media at work, I did it without long discussions with leadership (Who would have required a large amount of education) and I did it on my own because committees don't get anything done. Oh, sure, that pesky impulse control issue can be a problem, but if life isn't an adventure, why bother?

Honestly, in the last couple of weeks, I've had one thought cross my mind many, many times: I rarely regret saying "yes," but usually regret saying "no."

I hate saying no. 

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