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"

ADHD friends with Gifts and Benefits!

Yeah, I wrote that title. Yeah, I said it! What are you going to do about it? I will tell you what you might do about it. I said might, because, it is up to you and this exercise is about choice. Exercise? …

But first… I was reading a very nice posting by Anna on our ADDer World ADHD Social Network today and she got me thinking about something. She asked: “Is there a happy ending for people with ADD/HD?” She continued and wrote:

“I thought that having a medicine and reading and learning would mean there was a cure and if I followed the yellow brick road I’d arrive where everyone else in the world already is, the city called “Normal”. I thought it meant I’d be “normal”, like everyone else and that I’d fit right in and be considered a citizen and at long last I would belong.”

I am pretty sure you have arrived, Anna! Well written and I am sure, like me, so many can and do relate. We walk together, you and me… all of us, whether we realize it or not.

The thing about it is that Anna is right. There is no cure for ADHD and it does indeed sometimes seem like we are following the yellow brick road. Medications can help, but not always, and learning specific, personal techniques to cope with our symptoms can help too and yet, we get tripped up by other things which at first might not seem obvious to you or me.

There are times that I think we get too caught up in certain terms like: Cure, Neurotransmitters, Neurobiological, Disorder, Syndrome, Nuance, Dopamine, Serotonin and Adrenalin and yes, even ADHD and more. What do all those things mean? It can be so confusing and the more I read such complex, ambiguous words, the more confused I get. I don’t really want to know about any transmitters or a dopamine level (How often have I written about them? Exactly), that’s for my doctor(s) to understand, because, no matter how much I hear about them and read about them, they still don’t mean that much to me. How much do they mean to you?

How can reading about those complex terms and their various meanings help me get from point A to point B, much less feel better about myself? So far, they haven’t. Yes, they may make up the individual bricks on the yellow brick road, but, how many times do we stop while walking and define each brick we walk on? Maybe we could dissect each brick, but, would that help us get to our destination? It will take longer to get there, I can tell you that much, at least for me.

Another thing we tend to do, and I am way too guilty of this one myself, without realizing it we too frequently hyper-focus on our challenges and the things we are doing wrong. Let me be the one to tell you, there is nothing more complex than our personal challenges and our mistakes. We should learn from them, yes, but, for heaven’s sake, we need to learn limits! You know it is true. Let me be completely honest with you, I have found myself so focused on a problem, and how disappointed I am with myself for not figuring it out, that I hardly realize when I have solved it – the hyper-focus can become so addictive that I do not understand, at the time, that I am holding onto some problems on purpose! What?! Why? So I can continue to focus on it and all the while I do not recognize how damaging it is, and that another problem is being created. It would be just one thing if the damage would be limited to ourselves, but this over focusing on problems and other negatives hurts our families, our friends and keeps us living in bygones.

Get over it and move on… sure sounds easy enough, right? Yeah, that’s what I thought. No, it is not so easy. And then again, maybe it is easier than we want to admit… I have learned…
Okay, now I come to the exercise I talked about at the beginning of this post. Let’s take a moment each and every day to put our challenges, problems and difficulties to the side. I know, I know, we are not going to abandon them… didn’t mean to startle you. No, what we are going to do is simply put those issues to the side temporarily. Challenges, problems and difficulties are a part of life, you have them, I have them, we all have them (even the so-called ‘normal’s’) and they are not going anywhere any time soon. What we need to do though, is lessen their impact and begin to replace some of them with something else. What some of us do not realize, as I pointed out, is how addictive those issues can become. We don’t need medical terms to help explain this process, you and I know, in plain English, the reality is that we get ‘jacked up’ on the issues.  There is no cure for being ‘jacked up’ from time to time. However, there is a process that can help us refocus and what’s awesome about it, is that it is simple. This process is easy to do, but, like any process which is easy to do, it is also just as easy not to do.

Everyday take ten minutes to half an hour and write things about yourself that you like. Write about things you have done well and things you have a positive feeling about. Start a journal. It can be an online blog or a notebook you carry around with you, or, it can be a bit of both. Set time aside each day to write in your journal. This journal should only be for positives with no ‘ifs’ or ‘buts’. You can write a few sentences or a few paragraphs or a few pages. That’s the exercise. It’s simple to do. It is also simple not to do. Yeah, I like to repeat myself. You know what I mean. Also, don’t use any medical terms in your journal. Well, that’s your choice; I am having a case of reading medical jargon overload – that may just be me.

Too many of us fail to realize the things we are doing well, the things we enjoy and the things that make us glow with joy. The negatives too often take precedence. Setting aside a little time each day to recognize the other side gives us a fresh perspective and reminds us that not everything we do and say is necessarily bad or wrong. Heck, we are humans too. Everyone, normal or not so normal, average, special or amazing trips from time to time, but they keep walking…. Keep walking and every now and then, stop to smell the roses, and/or, enjoy a delicious cup of coffee or tea.

Friends and neighbors, I know this post is long already, but, I am not done

ADHD friends with gifts and benefits. Remember, that’s the title of this post. The next part of this exercise is to find people who relate and are sharing their experiences in positive, beneficial ways. Those are the friends with gifts and benefits I am talking about. Communicate with those people, share your positive stories on how you are coping, making it and improving day to day. Try to stay away from naysayers and the condemners. You know the people I am talking about, the ones that will bring you down, the ones that are disrespectful of others thoughts, beliefs and feelings. Disrespect and tactlessness is not helpful and only makes the ADHD community, you and me, look bad. Try to avoid people like that. Be a role model of decency and respect and become an ADHD friend with gifts and benefits to yourself, others and our community as a whole. Respectfully challenging current dogma is okay and yet, there are those out there who are tarnishing our reputation because they believe being crass and mean is the only way. Shame on them, we, you and me, we are better than that. So are they, if they take a moment to figure that out, instead of beating others down. ’nuff said!

Bryan out!

(Special thanks to Anna for allowing me to use her wonderful analogy in this post. This post is not necessarily about Anna, like most all of my posts this is about me and if you relate, maybe it’s a little about you too, but only you can know that.)