Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD

beyond-adhdAdults with ADHD often refer to themselves as “ADHD Adults,” as if ADHD is something that you are instead of something you have. I’ve never been comfortable with that idea, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on the reason until…

Last weekend, I met a woman whose child has a severe handicap. She explained that for years she had felt doomed to caring for a handicapped child for the rest of his life, or at least the rest of her life. She defined him by his disabilities instead of seeing the child behind the label.

However, she had a personal breakthrough when she began to see her son as a child with a handicap rather than as a handicapped child. When she began to notice and concentrate on his strengths, his qualities, his abilities and his persistence, well, so did her son, and before long, miracles began to happen. Her son began to develop physically and intellectually beyond anyone’s expectations.

Though it may sound like trivial wordplay, seeing yourself as an adult with ADHD instead of as an ADHD adult changes your perspective, and it allows you to see the whole person that you are with your talents, dreams, abilities and all your other gifts. Yes, you still recognize that ADHD may make some things more difficult, but it doesn’t make them impossible, and hey, it might even make some things easier. This new point of view lets you see new opportunities, bringing what’s possible into focus instead of holding your attention only on the impossible.

When you see past the “disability” to focus on your gifts, you begin to unleash your creative genius. Yes, you have ADHD, but it doesn’t have you.

How Can You Use This Tip Today?

If you’ve been defining yourself or someone you know as an ADHDer, adult or child, change the language you use. This simple change provides a new perspective and allows you to see the person in a completely new light.

Next, begin to notice your talents, strengths, dreams and hopes and concentrate on those while acknowledging and seeking help to manage any obstacles your ADHD creates. You’ll be amazed at the miracles that become possible.

3 thoughts on “Being ADHD vs. Having ADHD”

  1. I appreciate your insight and I wish somuch to be able to meet you one day. I am working hard at changing my career from a literacy specialist and teacher to a Wellness Coach who helps people make smarter choices by giving them enough information to desire to change their lifelong habit of mindless shopping for what TV commercials have brainwashed them to think is safe.
    I plan to make enough money by next year so that I can afford to get a coach to help me with my ADD…Thank you for sharing our wisdom until then. Blessings, Donna Hanley, MSEd.

  2. Donna, great article and very aligned with my approach. I should like to add a point. If a diagnoses defines who you are you end up stuck in it at an identity level. Another way to look at it is that you are currently doing ADHD, you don’t have to be ADHD. In fact most people can recognise that when they are very busy, with thousands of thoughts flying around, they can do ADHD too. This applies to other learning issues too.

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