The Two Sides of Adult ADHD
The good news is adult ADHD isn't all bad. In fact, many researchers attribute adult ADHD's unique brain wiring to an ability to think outside the box, solve complex mathematical puzzles, and invent new forms of art, music, and films. From presidents and inventors to artists and musicians, many famous people with adult ADHD succeeded beyond their wildest dreams. For now, here are some of the more common positive attributes shared by adults with ADHD.
The Positive Side
Adults with ADHD tend to rely on their gut feelings. This may also explain why so many counselors, psychologists, psychiatrists, pastors, and priests have adult ADHD.
Many people with adult ADHD are very creative in the way they tackle problems and find solutions. They are also creative by nature; many writers, artists, and filmmakers, including a number of celebrities, have adult ADHD.
Adults with ADHD also tend to be very intelligent, even if they don't always score well on IQ tests. The problem is that adults with the disorder become bored very easily. If that online IQ test isn't absolutely captivating or fascinating, you're likely to turn off your computer.
The Negative Side
As an adult with ADHD, you're also likely to display some negative character traits that can make it difficult for you to get along with people.
You may feel that other people just don't “get” you — and you may be right! The fact is that many people don't really understand adult ADHD and some are skeptical that it is an actual condition.
As an adult with ADHD, you may also think and process information differently than other people because of the inherent differences in the way your brain is wired. This can leave you open to ridicule and criticism, which may make you feel like an oddball or outcast.
People with adult ADHD have trouble finishing things because they tend to be overly obsessive and perfectionist in their thinking. In fact, many adults with ADHD believe there is no such thing as a finished product. They may also become too overwhelmed with a project to continue and give up long before it's due.
Trouble getting and staying organized is another major trait of adults with ADHD. You may also be so disorganized that you rarely get things done on time, fail to do the most important things first, or forget when things are due. Time may seem like a foreign concept to you, and you may often appear to be in your own time zone, oblivious to the deadlines that affect the rest of the world.
If you're an adult with ADHD who fails to complete work projects, pay bills on time, or remember important dates, not getting the job done is only one consequence of your inaction. You may also come across as extremely arrogant, self-centered, and narcissistic, as well as oblivious to the needs and desires of anyone but yourself.
The Silver Lining of Adult ADHD
Since thinking outside the box is one of your many fortes you can, by using a little positive thinking, reframe all those negative traits into positive traits that actually work in your favor. For instance, if you're feeling inattentive, it could be a sign that you're just not cut out for that type of work and that you need to keep looking until you find a good fit for your gifts and talents.
Your natural impulsivity may be a drawback when you hit the mall or a Vegas casino, but it can also help you make a leap of faith or take a courageous stand that others might find daunting. It also means you're not likely to stay in a bad situation for long.
There's no doubt that having a high energy level, or being hyperactive, can make it tough to sit still through a long meeting. But it can also be a real asset when you need to get something done, especially since your tendency to hyperfocus means you'll probably devote your full attention to it.
In short, having adult ADHD doesn't have to be a curse. While it poses many challenges, you may have some special gifts and talents that friends and colleagues without the disorder can only dream of.