If you or your loved one is struggling to cope with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and low self-esteem, finding activities you enjoy -- and sticking with them -- can help!
by Ben T.
Over the years, as a child with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD) and now as an adult, I've tried my hand at numerous activities. Some of my more neglected hobbies include beer brewing, playing guitar, skiing, golf, fishing, bicycling, and poker. Don't get me wrong -- I fully intended to make my way back to these past love affairs and I still dabble from time to time, but I can only focus on so many things at one time, right? It has been an expensive journey, but I have settled into a few hobbies that seem to be keeping my interest, one of which, you guessed it, is writing. Because my girlfriend is from Spain, I have also been keeping a slow and steady pace at studying Spanish.
If a person with ADD/ADHD is able to find something she enjoys, she can use hyperfocus -- the ADDer's unique ability to focus long and hard on an activity and see it through to completion (what a great accomplishment!) -- to become really good at it. I have a friend who has ADD/ADHD and makes soap. Her soap is awesome, and she is able to sell a little bit on the side to make extra cash. In fact, from this point forward I will go dirty and shower not, unless I have her soap in my hand. That is how good it is.
Because ADDers tend to have low self-esteem, having a hobby to excel at can be a great self-confidence booster. In high school I was not popular at all. People knew who I was because I went to a relatively small high school, but I did not have a lot of friends. I found an outlet in the three sports that I played: baseball, cross-country running, and wrestling. I was decent at baseball and cross-country, but I was really good at wrestling. I felt respected for my talent in wrestling and it made me feel good about myself. Sometimes I would psych myself out before a wrestling match, but I still won almost all of my matches. And because of that I had something to fall back on to boost my self-esteem when my social life got me down. Being a part of a team also helped me develop friendships that I otherwise wouldn’t have made.
Having a hobby could even help you manage ADD/ADHD symptoms. Since starting this blog, I have been using my hyperfocus, which I consider to be a superpower, for writing. As I type these words, I am focusing to near superhuman levels; there could be someone talking to me right now and I wouldn’t even know it! Something you may not know about me (if you haven’t read my author bio yet) is that I'm in the Navy. I have been overseas on deployment since I started writing for ADDitudeMag.com. Writing has become a way for me to escape the confines of this floating metal box the Navy calls a warship. On top of being a self-confidence enhancer, writing is a way to vent frustrations. To be honest, I had no idea I could really write until now. I hope my story just goes to show that everyone has a hidden talent; you just have to go out and find it!
Before wrapping this up, I would like to warn you of a small trap that you could fall into when searching for a hobby: It is the money trap, and it is a trap I have learned about the hard way. When finding a hobby, if the potential hobby is expensive (i.e., beer brewing, playing guitar, skiing, golf, fishing, bicycling, and poker), then you should really make sure it is something you know will keep your interest. Collecting hobbies is an expensive hobby. It is always a safe bet to go with an activity that is relatively cheap to start.
So go out there (carefully) and rule the world of hobbies, you ADDers!