“Do I have ADD?” Does this question ever pop up for you? Or, has someone else suggested that you have ADD (often not very kindly…)?
If not knowing is bothering you, or if you find yourself struggling to cope, then by all means, please go meet with a psychologist or psychiatrist who is skilled in the area of ADD diagnosis, and find out! For many of us, there is HUGE relief in doing so because
1) You finally have a name for what has been ruling your life.
2) You finally have a way of understanding why life has felt so hard.
3) You can then respond more positively to having ADD (and quit giving yourself so much grief).
4) You can learn about ADD, be treated for ADD and have a much better chance of functioning more effectively in your life!
The Upside to a Diagnosis
So, if you are really struggling, it is worth finding out, as much as a diagnosis of ADD is not something that most of us are eager to embrace. ADD tends to come with a lot of judgment and misunderstanding, particularly for adults with ADD. That’s so odd because, no, you don’t outgrow it, as people used to think. The symptoms do tend to subside during adulthood, especially for those with ADHD, (when you have that extra energy that can make it hard to sit still), but ADD and ADHD do not go away. We often get better at hiding it, or we develop some coping skills that can help, but it doesn’t go away.
That’s why it’s so important to learn about it and get connected to other people who seem to be managing it OK or who have a positive attitude despite it! We need to know that we’re not alone in our challenges with ADD, no matter how old we are.
The Downside to Not Knowing
The problem with not knowing that you may have ADD is that you expect yourself to be able to cope with life like someone who doesn’t have ADD. That’s like expecting someone with Type 1 diabetes to have good blood sugar without insulin. It ain’t gonna happen! Someone with diabetes who doesn’t know they have diabetes is not going to feel very well because they don’t have the insulin their body needs to function well. Someone with ADD who doesn’t know they have ADD is not going to cope very well because they don’t have the resources or possibly medication they need to cope well. But you don’t know WHY in either case because you don’t know what’s going on!
What Do You Mean, Forgive Myself — For Screwing Up?
Once you know what’s going on, you can learn about yourself, ADD and why you respond to life’s challenges in the way that you do. You can then cope more effectively by taking advantage of the resources and treatment that are available and can help! You have probably been expecting yourself to handle certain parts of your life without the skills or resources that you need. That’s not very fair, is it? But that’s what we tend to do to ourselves (or other people do to us) because we (or they) don’t understand! You may choose to take medication, work with a therapist or work with a coach. (If you’d like to learn more about working with me as your coach, click here.) You might even decide to take advantage of a professional organizer who understands ADD and can help you create an environment that works better for you.
The next step is forgiving yourself for all that you have not handled as well as you would have liked because of your ADD! It is so important to go back and look at how ADD has affected you and to forgive yourself. You have always been doing as well as you have been able to do with the skills and resources that you have had! It is so important to give yourself the understanding and compassion that has been missing all along!
With a bit of light shed on the subject of ADD in your life, you are in a better position to move forward, to stop fighting the way you are and instead ACCEPT the way you are. As you accept those things about you, you can much more effectively begin to learn about strategies for living life a bit differently. It’s not about saying, “Gee! I’m so happy I have ADD!” But it is about saying, “Well, I have ADD. Now what?” It puts you in a much better position to respond more effectively to the challenges in your life.