Reply To: Confused about the ADHD brain

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Positives and negatives don’t cancel each other out. Life isn’t a zero sum game, and a person with ADHD isn’t just a list of traits.

Knowing what we’re good at is especially important in how we begin to shape our lives and our relationships in a way to help us be successful. Non-ADHD people do this too by finding their talents, their skills, their interests, and activities that they can tolerate or enjoy. For those of us with ADHD, we just have to know that there are certain things our brains are really good at and then certain things that they aren’t. For example, we might be really good at handling crisis in jobs like the medical profession or a crazy office environment, but we might suck at doing things like managing spreadsheets or keeping our bathroom clean. It’s not an all or nothing thing. We’re good at some things, we’re not good at others.

There are lots of reasons that factor into that. I don’t think it’s super necessary to understand the neurobiology of which neurotransmitters work in which ways, or which parts of the brain light up on an fMRI. I think it’s more important to know what works for you and to understand the basic tenets of care. For example, ADHD brains are underaroused, so that’s why stimulant medications work and why boring activities are boring. I’d really suggest any of the resources from Dr. Ned Hallowell or Dr. William Dodson for more information.

All in all, it’s okay to feel good about having ADHD and it’s also okay to feel bad about it. It’s important that you understand what your specific needs are, what your goals are, and what treatment or support you need to get there. Most of all, you are more than just your ADHD. You are a person, whole and wonderful, and you can be so many amazing and wonderful things because you already are. 🙂