There are those who say, “It makes me so creative and enthusiastic and empathic that I wouldn’t change it for the world!”
There are others who insist, “It’s a curse! I can’t keep a job; I’m on my third divorce, my fifth bankruptcy; I’m an alcoholic, and my kids hate me.”
So, is ADHD a gift or a curse?
I say, “Yes.”
You see, ADHD is a paradox of incredible strengths in some situations, and monumental weaknesses in others.
I love to play with words, and I discovered something very interesting: The word “gift” is also a paradox.
In English, a “gift” is something wonderful. It’s a present, a surprise, a talent, a bonus. Something that makes life better. And, in some situations, that’s what ADHD is.
In an emergency, we’re usually the ones with the laser-focus to spot what’s wrong, and the quicksilver brain to almost instinctively know exactly what to do and the impulsivity to spring into action without hesitation.
In the world of entertainment, having ADHD is almost a pre-requisite. There’s an electricity in the air when we’re around.
In those situations, ADHD is absolutely a wonderful “gift”.
In German, “gift” means “poison”, a destroyer of life.
And “poison” is exactly what ADHD will do to your life in the wrong situation.
You’re stuck, anxious, miserable; you can’t think straight (or worse, your mind is running madly off in all directions, while you’re trying to do something important but deadly dull, like your taxes).
You keep screwing up, and others keep telling you you’re lazy or stupid or impossible to work with, and even when (by some miracle) you actually manage to do something well, you’re convinced that it was just a fluke, and any minute, someone will figure that out and expose you for the fraud you know you are.
Adults with ADHD have higher rates of obesity, Type-2 diabetes, dental problems, alcoholism, addiction, divorce, bankruptcy, job loss, sleep disorders, convictions, and even premature death (whether by illness, accident, or suicide).
You’re damn right that ADHD can be a “poison”! Or, in German, a “gift”.
Same word, but two completely opposite meanings. It all depends on the situation.
Just like ADHD.
So, yes, I’d say that ADHD is a “gift” . But whether I’m saying that word in German or English, depends on when I say it.
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Guest blogger, Patte Rosebank was diagnosed with ADD 9 years ago. She has done many things throughout her career including singing, public speaking on many topics, and of course, writing.