Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Thriving or just Surviving with ADHD – Sometimes the past gets in the way

Some days, they pass so slowly and some days, they pass so fast. When we wake, nobody knows which type of day it will be.

There can be no preconceived plans without adaptation. There can be no reality without visiting our dreamlands. There can be no pleasure without intense pain. Everything has its price and it seems to me our price is higher and higher and is too unbelievably excessive!

We know we can – we know… there’s that place… right there – inside each and every one of us. You and me. That Special Feeling inside, inside our hearts, inside our minds, inside, yes, inside our very souls. When we reach it, but… oh, it’s just out of reach and so far away, and right… right there, just right there in front of us. You can see it, you can feel it and some days, on the good ones, you can almost touch it, just almost.

Don’t give up, no, never – never ever do that! Don’t give up. And we don’t – we survive, we are survivors each and every one of us.

Yes, we are survivors… our traits, our wits, our passions and our pleasures and yes, even our challenges… those things, those things make us, we continue, we continue to go on… day after day… day after day!

 There are things we can do so well, instead we go day to day, never halting our focus, our focus on survival – the fear of letting go of surviving, it’s… what we do every day.

The lock, the key, to put to rest the worries, the fears, the instinct to survive every minute, every hour and every day… to put to rest the worries, the fears, brings upon us… brings…

Brings upon us… the power, the tenacity, the passion and the knowledge to…

Thrive!

Perhaps, just perhaps, mind you, perhaps our grip on merely surviving day to day is the ultimate barrier, the decisive factor between fight and flight – surviving and thriving!

As adults with ADHD, we have gone through lifetimes of just making it, forgetting things and waiting for the other shoe to drop. For far too many of us, we lived through a childhood of always doing the wrong things, forgetting our homework or just not doing it and as we grew older, into the adults we are now, we never forgot those feelings, those childhood emotional fears of catastrophe striking us at any time. Sometimes the past never goes away and lives within us day to day, keeping us in a constant crouch – ready to jump at any given moment… Those same fears and those same emotions, those same feelings of not being good enough, for some of us they create a belief so powerful that nothing anyone says and no matter the proof, nothing seems to have the power to overcome those past memories which lurk within still creating havoc, even to this day… perhaps, I say again, just perhaps, that’s something to think about. When we break things down, and explain those things to ourselves, is the glass half full or half empty? It can go either way; you choose which way it goes, just like I do. I had help… sometimes that’s what we need… help. Nothing wrong with that, nothing at all, it’s a brave thing to do and it can be the right thing to do! 

~Bryan

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Melissa Raines April 11, 2009 at 8:27 pm

Absolutely loved the artical of Thriving or Surviving with ADD/ ADHD – every single bit of the artical hit home for me . I consider myself as a Survivor as well as Thriving . As one of the lyrics of my favorite song say – I aint dead , I aint done, I aint fold here I am shorty !!

Laurie Siegel April 12, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Whenever I have a monumental idea, I either forget it or dismiss it, before writing it down. I think get it, Brian.
By default, we have become Zen masters, and in many ways our experience, is parallel to the novice graduate. The very thought of being present in the moment, however elusive, is the only logical way to live. That’s really all we have, today, this very moment. The past is too painful to dwell on and the future only blurs my vision.
There are days when it feels like I’m barely clinging but at least I have a grasp. It’s an open-minded realization capable of laughing at itself. For is does not wish away pain and suffering, seeking an opening for light to shine through. It is the sum of our experience, when we can acknowledge and accept that not only are we not perfect, but we do fit well in our imperfect surroundings.
“If we couldn’t laugh, we would all go insane.”
Jimmy Buffett

David Phillips May 30, 2009 at 6:07 pm

A meditation practice grounded in mindfulness helped me to move from surviving to thriving several years ago, though I was resisting treatment of my ADHD at the time. Then, I started effective treatment and eventually got the courage to explore a part-time Master’s program while working full-time. Graduated two weeks ago with a 3.84 GPA and am making plans to do a doctoral program starting late 2010.

Every moment holds the opportunity to forge one’s own future, in spite of the past.

Bryan May 30, 2009 at 6:29 pm

Well said David and well done! Congrats!

Debbie Tolleson May 30, 2009 at 7:42 pm

I think you are spying on me! Even though I know there are many people in the world with ADD it still amazes me when someone just describes things perfectly. I have always done the surviving thing. I “go with the flow”, “fake it till I make it”, “roll with the punches”, or however else anyone wants to put it. I rarely ever feel that I am thriving. Even when I do, just as you said, there is always that feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop. I try to be positive and I now have much more confidence in what I can do, but the feeling of impending failure still seems to lurk in the back round. I’d love to stomp it in the ground for good. Any ideas on how to get to that point? Great article! Keep up the good work!

Michael May 31, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Bryan; Reading your words this morning gave me that good epiphanal shiver up my spine – especially “Sometimes the past never goes away and lives within us day to day, keeping us in a constant crouch – ready to jump at any given moment…”. As a man who suffered ADHD in school before they even had a name for it (graduated in 1979), those primal responses of ‘fight or flight’ and depression linger into the year of my 30th reunion.

What saddens me is the lack of understanding or empathy from those that do not share our condition, and see it instead as a copout. Until the non-ADHD folk can empathize and accept that we aren’t bad, merely different, I am afraid that the recriminations, lost patience, lost jobs lost opportunities – will continue.
THANK YOU for your attempts at informing others about who we are!

Olga May 31, 2009 at 10:14 pm

THANK YOU FOR REMINDING ME THAT ITS THOSE WITHOUT THE UNDERSTANDING THAT WE WITH ADHD HAVB A GIFT THAT OTHERS DONT. I SEE IT AS MY GIFT, BEING ABLE TO HELP AND UNDERSTAND THOSE WHO DONT YET KNOW THEY SUFFER FROM THE SAME PROBLEM, ITS AMAZING TO GET THE THANKS WHEN THEY REALIZE THEY ARENT CRAZY, THEY ARENT STUPID AS A MATTER OF FACT WE ARE SOME OF THE BRIGHTESS PEOPLE ON EARTH, JUST MISUNDERSTOOD. WHEN THIS GIFT IS USED APPROPRIATELY ITS A TRUE BLESSING. I REFUSE TO DENY THIS SO CALLED ILLNESS, BECAUSE FOR ME AS I SAID BEFORE ITS A GIFT THAT MANY SHARE BUT ARE ASHAMED OF.. WE ARE THE ENTRPRENEURS OF THIS WORLD!

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