Judging the “Gift” and the “Disability”

Why do some adults with ADHD insist that their ADHD is a “gift” that only serves them, while others would like to exchange their “gift” for one that works? I’ve grown a little weary of the two extremes: “I owe all my successes to this brain…I attriubte all my failures to this brain.”

If your inattention and/or your hyperactivity and impulsivity don’t cause any significant problem, then you don’t meet the criteria for a diagnosis of ADHD. And if you attribute all your failures to your ADHD brain, as if it is your only problem, then you can conveniently blame everyting on it (It causes you to run out of gas on the freeway, right?).

In our support group meeting last night, we had a rich discussion about perspective. How can we embrace our brains as they are and embrace change as well? You have a disability that doesn’t have to disable you in every way. It can serve your life’s vision whether you consider ADHD a gift or an obstacle. I believe that the problem isn’t whether we are judging ourselves positvely or negatively, exceptionally gifted or exceptionally disabled, but that we are judging ourselves…period. Judging performance is useful, but judging the self is a waste of time. 

Whatever you feel about your gift or curse, we all have to start where we are. Acceptance and willingness are more powerful than our judgmental language. 

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