I don’t have ADHD. My husband does. My daughter does. My clients do. But I don’t. And to listen to all the ADHDers I know, you’d think I have super powers.
My husband complains about his memory, saying, “I have ADHD, so if I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it!” I suggest we should get him something so he can write things down. Then, to make sure I won’t forget to get it for him, I write it in my agenda.
My daughter complains about losing her keys. She says, “When I came in, I put them down somewhere and now I can’t find them! It’s this stupid ADHD! I always lose my keys!”
“Let me get this straight. You didn’t put your keys where they go but just dropped them somewhere, and now you can’t find them? Maybe we should put a bowl or a small basket on your dresser where you always put your keys, just like the one I have.” I write that down too.
Please don’t think I’m trivializing ADHD. As an ADHD coach, I work with people who struggle with it daily. And many of them struggle with it mightily. However, not every problem you face is unique, and not every solution needs to be rocket science! What’s more, you don’t need to beat yourself up about it.
The rest of us neuro-normals (my husband calls us “muggles”) struggle with many of the same problems. Not nearly to the same degree, but ADHDers often think they struggle with things everyone else finds easy or simple. Not true.
My husband practically has a fit if he arrives late at an appointment. I asked him, “What would you do if someone arrived 5 mintues late to see you?”
“Oh, well, it’s no big deal. What’s five minutes?” I looked at him in amazement!
“Why do you insist on higher standards for yourself than you do for the rest of the world?” I’ve seen so many ADHDers apply much stricter rules to themselves than they do to others. They refuse to accept that a simple mistake could be just that, a simple mistake, and since no one is perfect, we all have permission to make them from time to time.
I don’t have super powers. If I don’t write it down, I’ll forget it too. If I forget, it has nothing to do with ADHD. It has to do with a busy life and a preoccupied brain. Oh, and it’s not x-ray vision that prevents me from losing my keys. I always put them back in my purse and I have a place where I keep my purse so I won’t lose it.
Sometimes the most daunting problems can be resolved by allowing yourself the time to figure a way to solve it and then to go ahead and use the solution… better still, use it consistently. And sometimes it’s a simple mistake. You make them. I make them. Know what else? So does everyone else. Maybe, just maybe, you should give yourself a break.
PS: On January 2022, I was diagnosed with ADHD and anxiety, so it turns out, I’m one of you.