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3 Things I’ve Learned Since My ADHD Diagnosis

My ADHD brain didn’t come with operating instructions and I spent the better part of my first 28 years trying to mimic the functioning minds all around me. What I didn’t realize until after my diagnosis: Different is not broken, and my attention is not a deficit.

1. There is nothing wrong with me

I hate to stay in one place for too long, I can’t tolerate mundane tasks, and I struggle with being on time or knowing how long tasks will take me. Does this make me lazy or stupid?

I used to think so.

I felt judged because skills I struggled with seemed to come effortlessly to everyone else. Before I knew about attention deficit disorder (ADHD or ADD), I wondered quite often what was “wrong” with me. I disproportionally focused on the things I wasn’t good at.

The question I should have asked myself: “What makes me different? Special? Brilliant?”

[Read This: What Undiagnosed ADHD Feels Like]

2. Being different is rare — and powerful

It genuinely is. I’m not saying that it isn’t hard sometimes, because we live in a world run by “normal” people who don’t always appreciate “different.” But learning about ADHD has helped me start to accept some of the things that I struggle with. It’s also shown me so many advantages to being different:

  • I have fresh and creative ideas when others run out of inspiration
  • I am extremely empathetic, which helps me get the best out of people whom others would have written off

Everyone has different areas of strength. Now that I’m comfortable with my differences, I’m learning to embrace mine.

3. My attention isn’t a deficit

I am very attentive; I just can’t pay attention to anything that I don’t think is teaching me something new or challenging my assumptions.

When I first started taking medication for ADHD, I set some goals for myself — things I wanted to achieve in the short term. One of these was to read a whole book, every single page, and ideally from start to finish.

Anyway, last week I decided that this is no longer my key aspiration.

Why? I realized that, subconsciously, I’d decided on this goal with the intention of trying to make myself more like other people, with no real benefit to myself. So I’ve set myself a new goal – work toward making my life revolve around the things I love.

[Your Free Guide to All the Best Parts of ADHD]

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  1. I discovered at the age of 65 that I have ADD. It was a wonderful gift! It explained so much about my life, my mistakes, my failings, my successes. It would have been so much better if this had been discovered when I was six years old but life was different then, so it wasn’t. It gives me security now to know more about who I am.

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