It occurred to me recently that Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder bears a strong resemblance to dragons.
1. When not well understood or respected they can cause devastating consequences. Conversely, when well understood, they can be a powerful ally.
Many people are unaware of their ADHD brain wiring and as such have no explanation or recourse when things seem to be falling to pieces around them. However, there are examples of people who credit their success to their ADHD. (I am one of those, even if I'm not famous... Yet!) This is, in my opinion, a result of a good understanding of the ways in which it manifests, acknowledging the challenges, and celebrating and nurturing the strengths.
2. It loves to steal all your gold.
ADHD brains are notoriously bad with money. We often need programs, techniques, partners, or other assistance to be able to effectively balance our finances.
3. It can be very difficult to study and tame it.
The frequent occurrences of sleep problems, comorbid conditions, and the wide variety of symptomology can obscure ADHD and its effects on our lives. Once knowledge has been gained, there is even more hard work to create and maintain tools for managing it day to day and year to year.
4. It loves to sleep for long periods of time.
Despite the 80% chance of a sleep issue, lots of ADHD folks love to sleep. It offers us a release from our sometimes crushing lives and refreshes us for another day.
5. There can be a hot temper involved.
Flash anger and other anger management issues are very common among ADHD individuals. Some of us mask it better than others, but it is very often there all the same.
6. Though on the outside it may appear to be tough, it is not so on the inside, and this can be the downfall.
The world can be unkind to us. This can cause us to present a tough, hardened face to the world. No matter how long this is maintained, however, it does not change the inner sensitivity.
7. Sometimes it can lay dormant for years, only to appear suddenly, without warning, laying waste to everything in sight.
New research has suggested that ADHD can manifest much later than previously thought. Or, if someone has had all their executive functioning taken care of by someone else, a spouse or personal assistant, and then suddenly that support is removed, their symptoms can flare up or become obvious for the first time in their lives, even in middle or later years.
8. It possesses an innate magic others often do not comprehend.
Not everything about ADHD is negative, despite what some would have us believe. ADHD often gives boosts to things like creativity and spontaneity. These carefree abilities may seem mystical to others.
9. There are many different kinds, each with its own unique qualities.
ADHD is currently divided into three subtypes: hyperactive (the classic, widely-known), inattentive (the dreamer), and combined-type (a combination of hyperactive and inattentive). Some experts are calling for more, as many as seven types.
10. No two examples look the same or have the same abilities and characteristics.
...and even only in the three official types, the degree and variation are such that I doubt two identical ADHD brains could be found.
11. It can be extremely self-involved and oblivious to others, crushing them under its feet.
People with ADHD are often accused of not caring about others. This is often completely untrue, but the illusion of not caring is created by the focus of the person simply being elsewhere. Our brains naturally focus on the most interesting or “stimulating” thing in our field of awareness. This does not mean everything else is unimportant, it is just how our brains are wired and it takes a colossal amount of effort to shift it to something less attention-grabbing. This is why I, and many other ADHD individuals, dislike socializing in sports bars. The TVs all around us call our attention away from where we truly want it to be.
12. Completely rubbish at paperwork.
Paperwork is ADHD’s Kryptonite. The tedium forces our brains to use up dopamine very rapidly when we already have a limited supply and/or ability to produce, store, and use it.
13. Widely misunderstood and shrouded in mystery.
The public is frustratingly inundated with misinformation about ADHD. And gaining access to the facts, while having vastly improved in recent years, is still hidden behind information about the “false” disorder.
14. Often involved in epic adventures.
Novelty is one of the best possible things to offer someone with ADHD. We live for it and the buzz it gives our brains. Spur-of-the-moment road-trip? I’m down. Last-minute camping trip across the country? Sign me up! The stranger and more exciting the better. We don’t stop to think, we just dive right in.