Thursday, October 29, 2009

ADHD: The Agony and the Ecstacy

Last week I participated in a panel discussion on ADHD. Four of us presented at the monthly chapter meeting of the National Association of Professional Organizers - Oregon Chapter (NAPO Oregon). There was a physician who treats ADHD patients and three Certified Professional Organizers® (CPOs) - one was an ADHD coach, another was the parent of an ADHD child (me), and the third had an ADHD spouse.
The meeting got a perfect score from the attendees (a rare NAPO Oregon success!),and as a panelist, I gave it a perfect score, too; because I learned so much.

Three themes that all four panelists agreed upon:

The Agony - with ADHD comes pain. And the pain is shared with many: he who has ADHD, his family, his coworkers, his teachers, and more. There is self-hatred, frustration, irritation and misunderstanding. Even when treated, ADHD can wreck havoc on a life. As one panelist put it: "The one consistency of ADHD is the consistent inconsistency" - which can result in hopelessness for all involved.

The Ecstasy - despite the hardships, ADHD is a wonderful gift. To spend time with someone who has ADHD is to buzz in their energy, their creativity, their multi-interests, and their new ideas. When properly treated, ADHD can become a person's major asset. Their leadership skills, inventive ideas and extraordinary intelligence can lead to a lifetime of success. I, for one, have sat in awe of my ADHD child. I wouldn't trade his gifts for anything.

It's Pervasive - meaning it impacts every aspect of your life. This is important, because ADHD is still much misunderstood, and everyone thinks they have it. One way to differentiate it from similar symptoms is by its pervasiveness. ADHD rears its head at home, at school, at work, in relationships, on weekends and weekdays. It impacts reading, communicating and understanding. Those who have ADHD live with it every day, all day long.

Those who attended the NAPO Oregon meeting seemed truly interested in this interesting diagnosis. They had non-stop questions, particularly of our physician panelist. Proof positive that even though only a fraction of people have the diagnosis, seemingly everyone is impacted by ADHD.

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