A child struggles to pay attention in school and she is labeled an “ADD child.” The cynical view is that all children struggle with attention in school and ADD is a convenient catch-all for selling drugs and making a teacher’s life easier. And the view is not without merit. After all, school can be boring and all children need stimuli to stay connected and focused. But a normal child struggling to cope is a very different animal than a child living with Attention Deficit Disorder or ADHD (ADD with added hyperactivity).
And when untreated, as the child grows older, the traits of ADD become more and more engrained. The feeling of always being on the outside of things. The constant struggle with organization. The need for near-crisis in order to find the motivation to meet deadlines or unmet promises. The constant disavowal of time*. The feeling of despair around tasks that “normal people” handle without even thinking twice (paying bills). Adding layers of complexity to almost any task or project. The difficulty in finishing tasks. Even the desire for sleep when sitting down to tackle difficult work. The list goes on and on.
And understandably, the adult with ADD has learned to adapt to nearly every situation in order to stay afloat. These often brilliant adaptations are useful, and help her to avoid being “found out”. But they are exhausting. In time, the wear and tear on the mind and body of any adult living with ADD has repercussions that extend beyond the self and begin to erode the bonds with loved ones including spouses and children.
The good news is that those same brilliant adaptations can become exceptional aids in scaffolding the adult with ADD in ways that are entirely enviable to everyone in the “normal” world. And when used properly, with a degree of self-understanding and forgiveness at every turn, the adult with ADD can emerge as a whole and grounded person whose adaptations are no longer viewed as a crutch but as a super-power.
Sadly, most adults with ADD have such a harsh inner critic that they would disavow their difference and live with the frustration of never measuring up to their own expectations rather than accepting that ADD and ADHD are not just labels but real deficits. As a result, the “ADD adult” spends their life quietly experiencing their difference with a cloud of shame overhead. They are the last to admit there’s something special going on here.
By now, you’re probably beginning to understand that we know a lot about both child and adult ADD and ADHD, and have clinical expertise in treating them. We will work with you in session to learn to adapt in a self-connected way, providing tactics for improving how you navigate life, while also helping you to find compassion for yourself that will create lasting change.
Like anxiety, ADD begins with heightened sensitivity. And in time, our goal will be to show you how ADD is no badge of shame but a distinction to be proud of. So often, it accompanies intelligence and creativity, and it is time you began to regard yourself in a way where you can see it and believe it!