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"

The Gift of ADHD and the Power of Positive Thinking

I love ADHD

I really do! And if you stick with me through this post, you’re going to find out why. It’s amazing what powers I have found within myself and my ADHD traits. I wouldn’t give up my ADHD for anything in the world, not now, no way!

When I first found out I had ADHD at the age of 37 and how it had been negatively impacting my life all along I was very upset about it, mostly because the diagnosis came so late and my life and circumstances could have been much improved with an early diagnosis, especially if I had been diagnosed in first or second grade, instead of just being held back and then put in a special education class.

In truth, I loved my special education class, I talked about it in my first book “One Boy’s Struggle”, but let me tell you here that being taught with just a handful of other students was wonderful – I was able to pay attention and get interested because the teacher was generous, caring and always right there with me for each and every word I read or wrote. Unfortunately, only after 6 months or so I was deemed too intelligent and advanced for the special ed class and was put right back into a regular class setting of 20 or more kids. With my return, I plummeted once again. It’s a sad story that happens to so many with ADHD, even still today in the modern age where all of us have heard of ADHD to some degree.

One Boy’s Struggle

Those who have read “One Boy’s Struggle” know that I have plenty of reasons to hate, loath and curse my ADHD. To some degree I have more distressing reasons than a lot of people, but I am not comfortable about writing about those things on my blog, so let’s just put it out there that I have plenty of compelling, painful reasons to allow ADHD to keep me full of hate, regret and negativity. But, and this is important to me, I don’t. And you don’t have to either, it comes down to choice. We can allow our circumstances, experiences and disadvantages to rule over us or we can take another road by recognizing those things, treating them and cultivate a more positive attitude about the only life we have, which is this one.

Like I said, I love having ADHD! And why not? Clearly, there are plenty of reasons why not, but it seems to me that those who focus more on the reasons why ADHD is so terrible and how their lives would be improved if they didn’t have it or how they could give the so called gift of ADHD back, live in a vicious, degenerative cycle of “I am going to endlessly beat myself up mentally”  and guess what – it does not help! And with this mentality complain how one cannot become successful with ADHD. Truth be told, I have met successful, happy people with ADHD, but I have yet to meet any successful, happy people with that type of thinking. Maybe there’s a connection?

With that knowledge, I CHOOSE my thoughts to be otherwise, to think positively about my circumstances, because, quite frankly, the reality is I can’t give my ADHD back, its here to stay and either I make the best of it or I suffer the consequences, that’s just the way it is. The problem is that self inflicted punishment works to a degree by providing stimulus to our ADHD brains and can drive us for a while, it’s a survival skill I learned well, but after a while it becomes counterproductive and can lead to depression and hopelessness as it once did with me. Yes, such thoughts resulted from undiagnosed ADHD, so in affect it was ADHD to begin with. Undiagnosed ADHD was the reason I was originally in trouble, failing and I suffered the consequences severely in many ways. I had the right to think the way I did, but just because I had full explainable reasons, the right, didn’t mean it was going to help or benefit me in any way, shape or form. If there was an enemy within, it wasn’t the ADHD, it was the thoughts that resulted from living with undiagnosed ADHD for so long and the consequences that came with it.

Mindset Power

How will a negative, depressing or pessimistic mindset help me improve or make it from day to day? I discovered the hard way and after years of therapy that ultimately, even more so than my ADHD symptoms, negative, depressing and pessimistic thinking which developed thanks to my life with undiagnosed ADHD, held me back far more than anything else. It’s not all in one’s mindset, but I tend to think that one’s mindset is a very good predictor of which direction they may go in the future and sometimes, as with me, it took therapy to improve and modify and once my mindset improved in a positive way, oh my, oh my, the world sure opened up for me!

We can wish and pray all day to give ‘the gift’ back, but we already know we can’t. Or, we can embrace it and find the benefits that aren’t so obvious at first. The gifts, by the way, are what you make them to be. There are folks that will talk you silly into believing the gift of ADHD is bogus and ridiculous and what have you, but ultimately, when we stand back and inspect closely who’s doing well and who isn’t, even when symptoms are equal, or even worse, who’s believing or thinking in what way – ask yourself: how are they doing with that type of thinking? Is that how you want to continue? You choose.

The symptoms of ADHD are real, they have very real affects on our lives and the ones we love, but they are not the end all, be all, in of themselves. As I mentioned in other articles, if I had been diagnosed with ADHD first I might have a completely different story and perhaps would never have shared it with anyone.

The Power of Positive Thinking

For me, The Power of Positive Thinking isn’t a weapon against any so called enemy; it is a wonderful, uplifting and abundantly useful resource in discovering my gifts and benefits within my one and only life.  It’s become a way of life for me. I don’t believe in any enemy within – all parts of me make the whole me and I believe all of them to be good! That is my choice. But, hey, that’s just me… I look at it like this, if we have ADHD and we do not account for it with modifications, treatment and the proper care it deserves then we are asking for trouble – the same thing goes for the way we think about things, even ADHD, if we continue to defeat ourselves within our thoughts first, so much so that we don’t even try certain things anymore, well, we are asking for even more of the same and possibly even worse still.

One of the other things I talked about in “One Boy’s Struggle” was that when I was very young I started to expect disappointment and told myself the things I wanted would never happen. I prepared myself for the worst and didn’t believe in anything, eventually everything started going down the drain, even the things I had taken for granted, which had been working for me. That wasn’t ADHD; it was my natural, protective response to undiagnosed ADHD. By overtly trying to protect myself from further disappointments and failures I set myself up for even more. My advice is: don’t fall for that trap. ADHD isn’t really a gift per se, it is a very serious, often devastating neurobiological disorder. However, with that said, there are traits that come with ADHD that can be cultivated with proper treatment and those traits can become gifts to those who see and use them that way.

Each of us has a different level of difficulty with ADHD, some range from severe to moderate, but regardless of who has it worse it is possible to make things even more challenging for ourselves by what we think about our situation and ourselves. In this regard I sincerely believe parents have more to consider than just their child being late for school or unable to complete their homework. Depression and rejection, I believe, are becoming far too common with younger and younger people. I fell into depression before I hit puberty, but thankfully I had a very good friend who kept me entertained and alive. I could have easily stayed in my room and never ventured out to see the light of day. Back then we didn’t have home computers where I might find friends online who may have related to me and pulled me into deeper depression or worse. We read about that far too often now-a-days. Others will pull you down with them, if you let them and it’s not just bad, it can be dangerous, especially for the young, impressionable and confused. There’s more to life, we’ve only got one and with or without ADHD, I say, let’s try and make the most of it.

I’ve said this before and I will say it again, there may be a million people against you – why make it a million and one by adding yourself? There are those who will try to talk you into it, to try to veer you away from disappointing yourself, but are they really helping you or are they trying to pull you into their world? In my opinion negative thinking, depression and despair are far more perilous than ADHD!

Hate my ADHD?

I could hate my ADHD and in my book “One Boy’s Struggle” (read it) I have explained in explicit, painful detail why, but I have found that hating my ADHD is rather unhelpful, so thanks, but no thanks. I have learned to love my ADHD and I am better for it! I am not telling anyone to love their ADHD, or even to think of it as a gift – what I am saying is that to deprecate and inflict self punishment isn’t helpful and will likely not improve one’s situation; however, I think it’s far more common for those of us with ADHD, especially undiagnosed, to head in that direction than any other. At the same time, I will say that I don’t believe in a life without setbacks and disappointments, such bliss does not exist, but how we perceive them and use them makes all the difference – at least, it has for me.

When did our dreams shatter? When did our hopes fall apart? There was a time, when I didn’t have any hopes or dreams left, but thanks to a friend, the world became better and I eventually found my way – it is my hope and my dream to inspire and motivate others to find that something which makes tomorrow something to look forward to!