Recently I have seen a lot of discussion from people in the ADHD community about ADHD not being a "superpower."
Of course, my ADHD brain is like, "Well duh... nobody has superpowers but there is definitely something magical in this little brain of mine so why not call it a superpower?! That's literally what it feels like!!" But, then I get the other point that is being made.
Calling ADHD a superpower is seen as toxic positivity and I want to take a moment to address this part of the conversation because I get it! There is a lot of good, bad and ugly that comes with everything, and ADHD is not an exception to that rule.
The reality is that ADHD can be extremely debilitating.
There are some people with ADHD who don’t experience the highs along with the very low, lows. It can feel like an incredible burden. To see people with ADHD celebrating it, or people without ADHD not even believing it is a real issue... That can feel like a punch in the face and minimize the very real struggle that ADHD can cause.
I am incredibly lucky to be 20+ years from my initial diagnosis.
The knowledge alone that there was a real explanation for my struggles growing up (and now) has been extremely helpful in getting me through those hard times and seeing the brighter side of my ADHD! I also had so many people in my corner, fostering my strengths which definitely shaped where I am today.
There is a lot of good in my life, but I also struggled through a massive amount of hardships-- many of which were avoidable had I received the help I needed to deal with my ADHD.
Sooo… this week, some semi-coherent thoughts finally came to me that I want to share. My hope is to help those who have ADHD and those that don't have ADHD, to understand the very real issues that come with ADHD and what my “superpower” feeling is like when it happens.
This is all from my personal experience and 100% does not reflect everyone's experience with ADHD.
Are you ready? It's STORYTIME!!
With my ADHD, I feel a constant urge to be productive. My brain is either thinking of new creative ideas, problem-solving for whatever issues I am dealing with in life, problem-solving my friends' and families' issues, coming up with new things I want to learn about, and so on, and soo on, AND SOOO ON! My brain is constantly going from one millisecond to the next, and never really takes a break. This happens each and every day without fail!
At the same time, my brain likes to avoid all stop signs and bounce from one idea to the next without warning. Completing a thought before moving on to the next rarely happens. A lot of the time it feels like I never actually accomplish anything, though I am almost always being "productive" in one way or another. Very rarely is my brain engaged in the way it's “supposed” to be at any given time. The list of ideas, thoughts and tasks I've started grows and grows, but the "accomplished" list barely budges.
This right here is just one small part of the negative side of ADHD that I feel on a daily basis. It’s exhausting to have so many fleeting thoughts. It’s distracting and intrusive when they come up during times when I am supposed to be focused on something else. It’s paralyzing to have so much noise in your head and never enough energy or time to deal with it all!
But every so often... like a force of magic... something shifts... What I am actually doing at the moment aligns with my brain's hyperdrive to be productive and sparks start flying!
At that moment, it feels like I could do anything! I get so much done in those short bursts of hyperfocus and it feels incredible!!
The moment where everything clicks and the friction is gone feels so supercharged-- it's like a real-life superpower! Since the rest of the time ADHD can make me feel so low, I always try to hang onto and celebrate the bright and colorful moments while they last.
So, does sharing that positivity, when it happens, make it toxic?! Should we stop sharing the positive sides of ADHD? Absolutely not!
BUT I do see how the greater conversation unfolds and how it may harm some when just the positivity is taken out of context. Balance is definitely important -- says the lady that has very little of it in her life. ;P
Word choices are also very important when it comes to discussing and advocating for people with disabilities. Language can be weaponized (intentional or not) against those who need protection and assistance. So it would be nice if we all agreed to share the full picture, instead of just the positive sides of things that have just as many if not more negative sides.
I often wonder if what feels like a superpower to me is probably just how neurotypical people function on a daily basis. I guess I'll never know though considering I am stuck with the brain I was dealt.
Well, that's my thought for the day… I hope you got something out of it! It definitely helped my brain to get it out of my head since I have been fixating on this idea for a few months now (thanks ADHD!!).
If you struggle with these same feelings, just know that you are not alone! There is a very big community that knows exactly how you feel and support is out there. Look up #ADHDlife or something similar on social and you will find others that get you.
Thanks for reading! Do you have any superpower experiences? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!
Have a creative & charming day people!!
SHOP UPDATE (COME ON... switch topics quickly with me now!)
I am still working on opening my shop Atypically Artistic. It is coming soon, I promise! I am just not putting the pressure of an open date on myself right now.
The past 2 months have been filled with super draining ADHD brain moments, silly avoidable injuries, as well as a lot of other crazy life things. Until this week my “superpowers” haven’t kicked in recently, but the past few days have been feeling a bit brighter so I am going to ride this wave while it lasts!
I am working out the nitty-gritty, not-so-fun, business side details of opening the shop and it feels like it is taking absolutely forever! It is definitely not my favorite part of the process, but it is getting done piece by piece. Not as fast as I would like, of course…. But it is getting done!
More updates coming soon!
Like what you read today?! You can show your support with a tip on my Kofi page: ko-fi.com/misstheraart
Also, a big thank you to those who have supported my shop launch on Kofi already! We are at 83% of the launch goal!!