The manifestation of ADHD is very personal and situational. There is a common adage in the field;
If you meet one person with ADHD, well... you have met one person with ADHD!
However, there are some common challenges:
Physical Restlessness: Do you fidget? Is it hard to be still? Is it easier to focus if you are in motion? Does exercise or physical movement recharge your brain? Hyperactivity isn't necessarily a trait that you will experience. But if it is, it can be physical or mental, and experienced by both adults and children.
Mental Restlessness: Do you experience a continual bombardment of thoughts? Is each new idea better than the last? Is it hard to stay "on track"? Do you begin projects with great enthusiasm, and then move on to the next idea before finishing the one that you just started? Those are the signs of a hyperactive mind. Those minds can lead to great innovation and success once you learn to manage your distractibility.
Poor performance under pressure: Does your brain "freeze" when under pressure? A deadline can sometimes provide you with the dopamine that you need to "get it done". However, too much stress or pressure can cause temporary paralysis and force your brain to shut down. When this happens, performance declines regardless of how hard you try!
Overwhelm: Is it hard to make decisions? Does the idea of prioritizing throw you into a tailspin? When faced with competing tasks and projects, is it difficult to know where to begin? This will typically result in anxiety and overwhelm.
Rumination: Does your brain ever get trapped in a tape loop that is impossible to shift out of? Do these thoughts immobilize you for hours and sometimes days! Do you wish that you could find the shut-off valve?
Procrastination: Is it hard to take that first step? Taking action can be daunting when organizing, decision making, and prioritizing are NOT your skill set.
Impulsivity: Impulsivity is the inability to manage or modulate emotions and reactions. Frequently there is a lack of reflection time between the impulse to act and the action itself. Do you think about what you are saying, AFTER you have said it? Does your temper feel like a flash fire... It comes on unexpectedly and recedes quickly. Have you ever put your job in jeopardy because you lost your "cool"? Or lashed out at your partner, pushing your relationship to the brink?
Weak Follow Through : Are you much better at starting a project than finishing? Due to a preponderance of creative ideas, it is often easier to move onto the next stroke of genius than plod through the obstacles of the one that you started yesterday.
Time Insensitivity: Are you often late? Do you find that everything takes twice as much time as you allotted? ADHDers often have an undeveloped sense of time. There is NOW and NOT NOW. Do you get trapped in hyperfocus when you are doing what you love? Find it hard to transition out of a truly compelling activity? Lack of time management skills can easily lead to major frustration and stress.
Black and White Thinking: Are black and white your favorite colors? It's all or nothing? Right or wrong? Perfectionism is another result of polarized thinking. Less than a perfect job can feel like failure and consequently, perceived as a waste of time. "Why should I even try if it won't be perfect?'
Hyper-Responsiveness and Sensitivity: Do you "feel" things more intensely than those around you? Are you empathic? Do the tags in your shirt drive you crazy? People with ADHD have intense sensations and emotions. They experience events and feelings with much more intensity than most others. Environmental sensitivities exist as well; extreme sensitivity to textures, temperatures, lights, colors, sounds, vibrations and smells. These distractions can contribute to an inability to focus or function.
Low Self-Awareness: Are you sometimes surprised by the reactions of others? Those of us with ADHD spend a great deal of time distracted by their own thoughts. They may not even recognize patterns of their own behavior. Self-absorption can sometimes lead to missed social cues, especially when you find yourself in a highly stimulating or distracting environment.
Low Self-esteem: Do you anticipate failure before you have even tried? Do you fear that people will discover that you don't know what they think you know? Because of a history of frustration and perceived failure, many ADDers experience a mixture of confusion and shame that has led to a precarious self-image.
If you have gotten this far, I hope that you are feeling some self-compassion and relief. But you many also be feeling a little overwhelmed and depressed. While it's easy to focus on the challenges that ADHD presents, it's important to consider the positive characteristics that it offers as well. You probably don't display ALL of these traits, but it is likely that you possess many of them!
Adventurous * Charismatic * Collaborative * Continual Learner * Courageous * Creative * Curious * Dramatic * Driven * Emotive * Empathetic * Energetic * Entrepreneurial * Enthusiastic * Ethical * Fair * Good Problem Solver * Hard Working * Helpful * Highly Productive in areas of Interest * Honest * Idea Generator * Imaginative * Inquisitive * Intelligent * Intuitive * Inventive * Kind * Loves Learning * Non-linear Thinker * Passionate * Performs well in a crisis * Playful * Resourceful * Risk Taker * Sense of Humor * Sensitive * Skilled with Language * Strategic thinker * Storyteller * Sustained focus when interested * Tenacious * Thinks outside the box * Unconventional and a Visionary
My professional training is through the ADD Coach Academy. ADDCA is the only ICF and PAAC certified coaching program dedicated exclusively to training ADHD coaches. Working with me you will gain clarity and focus, reaching your most ambitious goals faster than you can alone.
If you're committed to creating a more fulfilling life, contact me today for a FREE CONSULTATION.