Over the last few weeks, we’ve been talking about your brain and ADHD. The importance of knowing what turns your ADHD brain switch on and off so you can live easier with ADHD. (If you missed these articles, you can find the links below.)
Before we dive into what causes ADHD and how you can minimize the negative impact, let’s talk about the realities of ADHD success, shall we?
The Realities of ADHD
Reality #1 Blame ADHD on Your Brain
To make peace with your ADHD, you need to understand that ADHD is brain-based. That means it comes from how your brain works. The problem isn’t you. You aren’t a failure. ADHD is a brain chemistry thing. The reality is you have a brain that works differently than other people‘s brains.
In fact, using the analogy of the light switch again, in people with ADHD, that switch isn’t broken. It’s just that the default setting of the brain switch is off. So instead of waking up and having your brain automatically turned on, you need to manually adjust the setting.
Now what does accepting the reality that ADHD is brain-based look like? It’s the difference between: I am a lazy slob and My brain needs the right motivation and environment to get things done.
It’s the difference between: I’m so stupid I can’t remember anything and My brain has a hard time remembering details so I need reminders and prompts to remember stuff.
It’s the difference between: I have the focus of a gnat and My brain is drawn to shiny, interesting things so I need to learn to corral distractions as much as I can.
You are not your brain.
ADHD oozes into many aspects of your life. It may look like you are the problem, but it’s really your brain.
I believe that shifting your mindset from “I’m a personal failure” to “my brain needs this to succeed” or “this is my ADHD and here’s what I need to do about it” makes all the difference.
Does that mean you don’t have an important role to play in helping your brain? No!! You do!!! That’s what this is all about – showing you the role you play in helping your brain.
Reality #2 – ADHD Is Consistently Inconsistent
Here’s the deal: ADHD is a condition of inconsistency. Some days we do what we need to do and some we don’t. Some days our brain works well and some days it doesn’t. You have probably experienced this your whole life. It can be very frustrating not knowing what brain you’ll wake up to each morning.
Here’s an ADHD reality check: As an ADHD adult you are never going to do things 100% consistently. You won’t be perfect. And the expectation that you will be, sets you up for frustration and shame.
Even if you are a perfectionist, which many people with ADHD are, your life will be easier if you learn to work on building consistency instead of trying to do things perfectly.
Why do I say you will be consistently inconsistent? Because I’ve got this ADHD thing handled pretty well and the reality is I can’t get to 100% consistency. Most days now, I’m focused and on target. Some days my brain flits from distraction to distraction like a butterfly. I have to use all my tools and force myself to get started, stay with something, to focus.
So, there is no way you can expect to do what you need to do 100% of the time. What we’re after is to increase your consistency over time. Reduce the pain points. So gradually you become more and more consistent using the tools.
Reality #3 – Your Symptoms Are Your Friends
Really? My symptoms are my friends? But aren’t they the problem? Without my symptoms, I wouldn’t have ADHD!
We can’t make your ADHD go away. We can make it easier to live with.
A reality of living with your ADHD is that you can’t ignore controlling your ADHD symptoms.
Instead of being frustrated, use your symptoms as clues. Like a trail of breadcrumbs that your ADHD is out of control. Clues of what to work on. I want you to look at your symptoms head on. To learn to follow the chaos.
As we’ve said, ADHD is NOT a failure of will. It’s a brain-based condition. You must pay attention to giving your brain the care it needs. Ignore caring for your brain and your ADHD symptoms will be worse.
That’s why I want you to become very aware of your symptoms and what makes them worse. And what makes them better.
Here’s the cool part. Something happens when you start paying attention to what ignites your ADHD symptoms. Your symptoms become a handy road map guiding you on how to take care of your brain. And where to focus your efforts so you can succeed with ADHD.
The other cool thing? Get your ADHD symptoms under control and it gets easier and easier to do the other ADHD life skills.
This is why we start early with ADHD symptom control. If your brain isn’t working, you’re not working!
What do you think about these ADHD realities? Do you agree? Disagree? Let’s talk – hit reply or post in the comments.
As promised, here are the links to the other blogs about living easier with ADHD (and a bonus podcast):
- Blog: Living with ADHD Doesn’t Have to Be So Hard
- Blog: A New Look at Focusing (ADHD Brain Switch)
- Kick Some ADHD podcast: Ep. 37: ADHD’s War with Reality