Know What You’re Dealing With

Ever since I started talking openly about ADHD, I’ve been fortunate to receive several responses from readers who believe they are or might be struggling with many of the same issues I deal with daily. It got me thinking that perhaps there are some of you who haven’t reached out but may be wondering if you are dealing with ADHD or some other breed of crossed wires.

Now, what I’m about to say relates to far more than just ADHD, but for the sake of this conversation let’s keep it focused. If you find yourself wondering “Do I have ADHD?” do yourself a favor and find out.

It’s easy to come up with reasons not to. You tell yourself it’s not that bad or that you’ve got it under control, but in truth so much of not dealing with this kind of crap usually has more to do with embarrassment and shame than anything else. Hell, my own healthy doses of both kept me from mentioning my ADHD in anything more than a casual mention here on this site for well over a year and it was almost always at the center of what I was writing about.

There’s also a very real fear of therapy and various treatments. Once again, I can relate. My early negative experiences with Ritalin kept me from considering meds and led me to shy away from treatment for well over 15 years. But having gone back, I can tell you that things have changed a lot in that time. We also look at an initial consultation as a convicted felon looks at sentencing. It’s not. It’s going for an assessment and learning what you’re really dealing with (or possibly not dealing with). Taking a few tests to know what you’re up against does not necessarily mean you have to regularly go to therapy (although it can help) and it doesn’t mean that you have to take medication (even though it can also help). All it means is that you’ll have an actual answer to a very big question that, if you’ve read this far, is likely pulling at your attention.

This probably sounds like a PSA and to some extent it is. All I can tell you is now having gone back to therapy for my ADHD, the evaluation has gotten 100,000,000 times easier and the drugs have improved drastically. Even with all of the systems I’ve been building for myself and the progress I’d made, I feet as if I was running with weights on my legs and someone finally helped me take them off.

Since taking this new approach, my general frustration with myself and my work is down and my creative output is up. This reduction in frustration is helping me overcome my natural impulsivity and lack of focus. It’s helping me see things clearly.

I’ll leave you with this (and it’s rife with hypocrisy considering I’ve let this run rampant in my life for the last 15 years or so). If you find yourself thinking about it often, find out. If you’ve read this far, find out. This way you’ll either never have to think about it again or you can know what you’re dealing with and decide what you want to do next. It may turn out that the only treatment needed is to know what you’re dealing with. I’m pretty damn severe and I was able to mitigate a lot of it with halfway decent workflows. But if you do find out and decide you may want some help, all I can can tell you is that both talking to someone and giving medication another shot has been a good reminder of just how stubborn I was being. And I don’t wish my special breed of stubborn on anyone…

Knowing you have ADHD (or anything else for that matter) doesn’t necessarily mean a lifetime of therapy and meds, it just means that you know what you’re dealing with and can make better decisions on what to do next. So do yourself a favor and just find out already…

2 Responses to Know What You’re Dealing With

    • Love Hallowell’s writing on the subject. Funny story. When I was much younger, someone gave me a copy of Driven to Distraction. We were out and having a deep coversation, so deep that I got distracted and completely forgot the book on the chair next to me. I think that book needs to come with a tiny speaker that occasionally says, “I am here, I am here”.

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