|This is a complex mental health disorder, it is well known as a childhood problem. However, it's only recently been recognised publicly in adults, it's not that we develop it in adulthood, we've always had it but so many were never diagnosed as children. I was one of those; imagine my surprise when at seven and a half my son was diagnosed with ADD, and I was told that he'd inherited it from me. I have to say that my life suddenly fell into place, I found out who I was.
ADHD is very misunderstood and the obvious signs that you see in children are not always evident in adults. As children, we have boundless physical energy; this is how many children come to the attention of parents and teachers because of this excessive inability to keep still. On reaching adulthood, this develops into much more of a mental energy, although some people do keep their physical energy as well. The problem comes when you try to harness this excessive mental energy that feels as if it has a mind of its own. How can I explain this clearly?
Boredom: Consider being in a training session. It's quite interesting so you're all engaged, then a part comes along that you need to know but it doesn't grab your interest. Most people know that, although it's boring, it's an essential part of the training for their job. Those with ADHD lose their focus big time, almost every time it's guaranteed that our brains go somewhere else, for example, to what's going on outside the window, to what a fellow co-worker is wearing, whether there's a text we might need to check. Now don't get me wrong we all do this at times but most people are able to control it, we struggle, it can be done but it's not by just willing it. We literally have to retrain our brains, teaching them to do something that goes against everything they understand.
Hyperfocus: People are confused when they see someone with ADHD who isn't supposed to be able to focus on anything, organise anything or sit still for five minutes, suddenly sitting doing something for hours. It goes against everything they know about the illness and so often assume we're just lazy. In contradiction to the part of our brains that cause us to not be able to focus, there's another part, that if something piques our interest, it goes overboard and then we find that everything that is us is focused on this one project with no thoughts about anything else that might need doing. It's a bit like a drug addict needing drugs, or an alcoholic needing a drink. We need something that stimulates our brains and helps to get rid of the extra mental energy. This is so much harder for people with learning difficulties that often accompany ADHD such as Dyslexia, the most common learning problem that tags along with ADHD. I thankfully missed that one. As children, it can come with Dyspraxia (a problem with fine motor skills, doing up buttons, tying laces and a lack of coordination etc) and also nervous tics both in vocal and movement. As adults, things like Dyspraxia seem to ease but new problems arise, the biggest one, struggling in Social Situations. This struggle starts in childhood, it is not caused by other people's treatment of them; it's a literal inability to understand social cues from their peers. It is interesting though that they often relate better to those who are either several years older, or several years younger than themselves. However, they have a depth of empathy, which appears to be stronger than in their peers. They can tell when someone is upset but they may not know why or the right way to approach the situation, often saying the wrong thing or making wrong assumptions as to why they may be upset.
Creativity: A real positive is that most people with ADHD do have great creativity, not that we always finish what we start, hence another problem with severe procrastination and what most people understand with this condition, lack of organisation.
Entrepreneurs: Many people with this condition use their hyperactivity and creative ideas to build new businesses. Some of the biggest businesses have been built by these people. In addition, scientists who have made great breakthroughs and some of the world's great artists are known to have had ADHD.
Along with this condition often live depression and anxiety, occasionally other disorders are there too, so it can be difficult to navigate.
This makes it all sound quite negative but I've found that when it is managed and you have good people around you who understand your quirks then life can be extremely good. I've found that I have unique gifts that others find useful and once I can focus my creativity this is a wonderful thing, that not only I enjoy but I hope touches others too.