ADHD Adults and Trees
Our attention deficit disorder has bent some of our branches into unusual patterns.
They are embarrassingly naked, the trees that surround my house. Cool temperatures and autumn winds have finally stripped even the most stubborn leaves from their dark branches.
During the summer, I tend to see the deciduous trees as one unit, a broad bank of shade. Now the structure of each tree is exposed, every flaw visible. There’s a tree trunk that has twisted sideways, perhaps the result of a passing hurricane. I can see a few broken branches and limbs poking out at odd angles. High in a tree are a couple of abandoned nests — probably left by squirrels or a red — shouldered hawk.
I am struck by the absolute honesty of these barren trees. There is not a “perfect tree” among them. Yet, divested of their leafy summer clothing, they stand proud. They reveal their battle scars unashamed. They have girded themselves for the winter chill and will face the ice and snow with stoic beauty.
And make no mistake, they are beautiful. These intricate, stark sculptures that grow in my yard are magnificent, awe-inspiring.
I realize that I hold an ADHD hammer, so almost anything can look like an ADHD nail. But when I see those craggy branches and knot holes, I think of the parallels to ADHD adults. We, too, have quirks at our core. Our attention deficit disorder has bent some of our branches into unusual patterns. Sometimes we list to one side or grow in a wide arc instead of a straight line.
Many of us came to believe we needed to hide our flaws. We grew thick layers of protective clothing to obscure our true ADHD nature. We tried to blend in with the crowd. We hoped beyond hope that no one would catch a glimpse of our crooked branches, our procrastination or tardiness.
In our hearts, we knew we were living an illusion. The deception is especially difficult because ADD folks tend to be fiercely authentic, with high integrity. The illusion erodes our self-esteem and disheartens the strongest among us.
But with courage and tenacity, we can strip away those layers of leaves to reveal the bare structure of Who We Are. When we do, we’ll discover that there are no perfect ADHD beings among us. Instead, we’ll find bent branches, angled limbs, and crooked trunks in every possible combination and permutation. Each of them unique. Each of them without pretense. Each of them absolutely beautiful. Especially yours.
Thank you for reading ADDitude. To support our mission of providing ADHD education and support, please consider subscribing. Your readership and support help make our content and outreach possible. Thank you.