Find Your Passion, Embrace Who You Are

This ADHDer has learned the secret of making attention deficit work for him: shoring up his self-esteem by developing his talents.

Jeffrey Michael, pianist, composer, founder of Fireheart Records, speaks about his ADHD

I started taking Ritalin in first grade, and my behavior went from out of control to focused. My grades went from horrible to great. But I didn't feel like myself. So I struggled through the years, deciding to take medication and going off of it. My behavior has been up and down because of this.

I could focus when I played the piano. My low self-esteem improved a lot in high school after I performed in the talent show and got an ovation. I developed confidence in myself. The nice thing about playing the piano for a living is that I get to make my own rules.

I outgrew my hyperactivity, but I still have trouble with impulsiveness and focus. This has hurt my relationships. But I’m getting better. I am now able to know when I shouldn't say something. I count to five, and that usually keeps me from blurting things out.

I advise ADHD adults to find and pursue their passions. Most important, embrace your ADHD and make it work for you. Don't spend time wishing you were normal.


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This article appears in the Spring 2013 issue of ADDitude.
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TAGS: Self Esteem, ADHD Role Models

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