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Been looking for the positives…

Been looking for the positives…2012-02-29T16:01:12+00:00

The Forums Forums Emotional Journey Ups and Downs Been looking for the positives…

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    Post count: 802

    I work hard. I mean, I work REALLY hard. I left school with nothing and spent years working and studying until now, when I’m doing an MA at 40. Would I have had to work that hard if I didn’t have ADHD? Nope. Almost certainly not. Would I have felt the need to keep fighting – to keep wanting to do more and more and more? Probably not. The fight is a result of the ADHD – I may never have learnt how otherwise.

    I work with kids with special needs in mainstream schools. I get them. I mean I really do understand them and respect them and they respect me. Would I be good at my job if I didn’t have ADHD? Probably. I’d certainly be better organised in it. But would I have such a good relationship with the kids, getting the best out of them with real empathy? Maybe not. Knowing what they go through goes a long way to being able to help them.

    I don’t see things like other people do. I miss what others see as glaringly obvious but notice small things that appeal to me, like a turn of phrase or a particular expression that appeals to me. Where’s the positive in that? Well, that I have no clue what colour someone’s skin is, what their accent was like, what they were wearing, whether they had make-up on, whether they have hair or not or even if they have a facial ‘disfigurement’ maybe allows me to spend time with people without prejudgements or prejudice or expectations of what they will be like. Maybe that allows me to have relationships that I may have missed out on if I’d been noticing other things.

    I don’t (can’t) manage routine. No positive there, surely? Well, maybe there is. I have absolutely no issue with friends turning up in the middle of the night after fallign out with their partners or needing somewhere to stay after a very long journey. I can drop whatever I’m doing and go be by someone’s side if that’s what they want, without hesitation.

    And, so I can’t keep my thoughts to myself, but the upside is that people around me get to know me well and that does lead to open, honest friendships with other people who respect that about me.

    I forget everything. How can that be a positive? Well, I’ve never, ever remembered anything long enough to bear a grudge.



    Post count: 165

    From my coach’s blog and website: http://www.addcoach4u.com/positivesofadd.

    Positive Characteristics of People with Attention Deficit Disorder.

    151 Positives.

    Ability to find alternate paths to overcome obstacles

    Able to take on large situations


    Adventurous, courageous, lives outside of boundaries

    Always finding alternate routes to any given location.

    Always willing to help others

    Ambitious – you want to be everything when “you grow up”


    Attractive personality – magnetic due to high energy

    Being able to see the big picture

    Being able to see the patterns in the chaos.

    Being intuitive towards others’ difficulties

    Broad focus – can see more, notice things more

    Can create order from chaos

    Can do many projects at once

    Can make people feel they are heard

    Can see the big picture

    Can talk about several things at one time

    Can think on my feet

    Career variety

    Centre of attention

    Comfortable talking in front of groups

    Comfortable with change and chaos

    Compassion for others and for themselves

    Conceptualizes well


    Constantly evolving


    Creates connections easily


    Creative writing

    Creative – musical, artistic, “dramatic”

    Good in a crisis

    Good at customer relations



    Determined to gain more control

    Eager to make friends

    Eager to try new things

    Empathetic, sensitive



    Excellent organizers using journals and reminders (notes etc.)

    Flexible – changes as the situation requires

    Fun guy to be around


    Good at conceptualizing

    Good at motivating self and others

    Good at multitasking

    Good at problem solving

    Good at public speaking

    Good at understanding others/mind reading – empathetic

    Good conversationalist

    Good delegator and good at organizing others

    Good in emergency situations

    Good listener

    Good looking and aware of it

    Good people skills

    Good self esteem, energetic

    Great brain-stormer

    Great multitasker

    Great self-company

    Great sense of humour

    Great storyteller

    Great with kids (central figure around kids)

    Hands-on workers

    Hard worker

    Has friendly relations with their family

    Has the gift of gab


    Helps others who are also in trouble

    High energy – go, go, go

    Humour, very healthy, quick picking up ideas

    Hyper focus !!

    Hypersensitive – very empathetic and good at non-verbal communications

    Idea generator


    Impulsive (in a good way) not afraid to act




    It’s ok to not finish everything

    Learning as much as I can to help children and others with adhd

    Less sleep is good (midnight to 6 am)

    Like to talk a lot

    Likes learning new things

    Look at multidimensional sides to a situation

    Lots of interests

    Loves to cook and be creative


    Master idea generator

    Mentoring others/helpful

    Mentoring people with low self esteem


    Move on fast – never hold a grudge

    Multitasks well

    Never bored and rarely boring

    Never intimidated to try new things

    Non-linear, multi-dimensional/edge of chaos

    Not afraid to speak mind

    Not contained by boundaries.

    On stage and ready






    Holistic thinking



    Problem solver


    Quick thinking

    Quick witted

    Relates to people easily



    Saves money in the short term by forgetting to file tax returns

    See and remember details – recount them later

    Sees the big picture

    Socially adaptive and flexible.


    Stabilizer during difficult situations



    Takes initiative



    Think outside the box

    Thinks 2 meters ahead of the world

    Thinks big, dreams big




    Unlimited energy



    Very creative, able to generate a lot of ideas

    Very hard working to compensate – workaholic

    Very intuitive

    Very resourceful

    Very successful


    Visual learner

    Willing to explore

    Willing to take risks

    Willingness to help others


    Won’t tolerate boredom

    Works well under pressure



    Post count: 169

    I agree with you, Tiddler. I see little positive coming out of the ADHD symptoms.

    The impulsivity, especially the emotional impulsivity has cost me friends and jobs over the years.

    The inability to self motivate for any sustained period of time (or once the hyperfocus has departed) means that rarely is any skill mastered or anything completed. I am not good at networking because I cannot sustain the interest or motivation. The exception is video games as I only play for set time periods, they remember where I was, and I can take months or years to complete it with no penalty.

    The fidgety/restlessness is fairly neutral. I just get up a lot. To compensate, I have become very good at chunking and prioritizing items. This doesn’t mean that I work better than others, just I have to go about it in a more regimented fashion and account for the wasted time.

    Hyperfocusing or perseveration, call it whatever you want, is great when it is on something I am supposed to be doing. The problem is that I have little control. I often get fixated on something, not in a ritual way like OCD. I just can’t break away from a tangent. This can last for seconds or be reoccurring over days. When it pairs with my impulsivity, it results in fixation on purchasing an item that I may rationally know is not a good investment or wasting time, including something irrelevant in a report that serves no purpose, etc.

    I do work fast, but I don’t think this is a symptom as much as a compensation for a deficit. My attention span is like an hourglass, with a set amount of sand. Knowing this, I work very, very fast to compensate as the task will not be completed if the hourglass runs out of sand before I am finished. Also, I try and complete tasks right away as I know anything pushed to the horizon will either be forgotten or never completed.

    I do not buy in to the increase in “creativity” that others espouse about their ADHD. Sure, I think thoughts quickly, blurt them out, love to solve problems, but I cannot compare what is going on in my head with that of another given they may be thinking just as fast, but not expressing it like I feel compelled to do. I am not artistic. I have a good ear for music, but have never been able to master a musical instrument, having tried with different instruments repeatedly over the years. I am great a jerry-rigging IT solutions, but I am not sure I classify that as creative, more good at solving a problem with a quick solution that may not be the best in the long-term.

    I am not trying to wallow or blame the ADHD. It is who I am after all. I just wanted to point out that the downside of the symptoms outweighs the odd positive and that the latter are often compensation skills and not the symptoms itself. I was diagnosed very young so this is not a new world for me. This is something I have consciously been fighting against for many years. I know that Ned Hallowell has said that he wouldn’t give it up if given the choice, but I am pretty sure that I would as I think it would improve my quality of life. Treatment has helped. Writing about it is cathartic as long as I don’t wallow in self pity.

    The point is to stay positive about your life, even with ADHD. Recognize that your path will be different and keep going forward as best we can.


    Post count: 169


    So many of those are generalizations or could be applied to non-ADHD people as well. Some make no sense at all. For example, we are in no way “STABLE,” quite the antithesis actually.


    Post count: 165


    List was intended to show there are possibilities for positives; of course it is a general list and not all apply to all people. Many don’t apply to me for example, but maybe to others.


    Post count: 802

    My list was intended to be an example of how I’ve found positives in the difficulties I encounter. I think that’s the most important part of my journey towards understanding myself so far. ADD makes things harder for me but sometimes things that don’t come easy are the things of most value.


    Post count: 169

    I didn’t mean to detract from what you perceive as positive, just to impart my own interpretation of my symptoms’ effects. I think too often we associate our personality traits or skills/gifts as stemming from the symptoms, when they may be separate, as you indicated once above, Tiddler, or originate with the coping mechanism.

    What I got from your statements is that you have found ways to work within your skill sets and abilities that allow the ADHD symptoms to be minimized or in some cases beneficial.


    Post count: 802

    Bibliophile, thanks for your response. I don’t think there is any positive trait that comes from having ADHD. It’s a disorder and I’m okay with that. But every one of us has strengths and what I’m finding now is that some of my strengths have undoubtedly come from learning to cope with the symptoms.

    This is a really good thing. I have a lot of positive qualities that for a few months I simply could no longer see, because all I could see was what was holding me back – my ADHD. But now I’m turning a corner and seeing not only that the ADHD has held me back but that, in some ways, it has enabled some of my strengths to be tested and developed.

    This is true of any hardship. I’m stronger for having dealt with some pretty crappy things that life has thrown at me. Sink or swim. I’m glad I’m swimming – for the most part!


    Post count: 14413

    Funny, it’s hard to imagine we have the same thing going on….really hard….. it’s confusing! I hear you Biblio & Tid …….I do…..that’s what is so odd about all of this…..isn’t it?? How people can be diagnosed identically and yet are as different as cornflakes and tractor tires….(and don’t start telling me the similarities hahaha)……I’m amazed… truly amazed.

    I do relate to the list and relate in a large way…….could it be it nurture , circumstance, chemistry differences….I don’t know…..or maybe we just differ……as do all of the non-ADD people of the world?? I guess you could pick any demographic or segment or culture and find people whose life seems to align with them, and they are pleased as punch….. then, just a easily find the converse and maybe more in that demographic???? I do know there folks are non-ADD folks, who struggle as well……and struggle painfully, in all walks of life. I’m not trying to minimize anybody’s life or the adversity they face or have overcome…….I just…wonder at it all.

    I don’t know where I’m going with this……I guess it just shows the struggle the Medical Profession must be having……trying to wrap their arms around this ADD thing. When one thinks that really this site is populated by and large by those who struggle (not always) but by and large….does that mean there is (some %) out there that reap a so-called benefit……..how would we know…. they don’t come here looking for support or assistance…….. sooooooo……I continue to wonder about us all.



    Post count: 802

    This is really interesting. I feel as if, for the moment, I’ve fallen right into the middle of the ‘gift’/’curse’ camps. This is a disorder and I don’t believe any of the symptoms are positive, so to that end I’m in the ‘curse’ camp. However, I also know that adversity forces people to work harder somehow – whether it’s fighting for our lives or dealing with grief or trying to make ends meet with very little money, or maybe dealing with a disorder or illness.

    And everyone has strengths – including all of us. Although some people feel these strengths come with their ADHD, I don’t see it that way. They’re just a part of me, like the ADHD is. The strengths, the faults, the good, the bad, the joys and the sorrows – all just me.

    So, if my ADHD was stolen from me in the night I’d do a merry dance of joy. but given that it’s here, what have I gained from fighting it? And that’s what I’ve written above. The ADHD didn’t give me those strengths – it just made me use them, maybe?


    Post count: 802

    I often wonder at that too, toofat. That maybe there are ADDers out there who don’t come here because they don’t need it – they’re merrily plodding along being impulsive and erratic and forgetful and innattentive and it’s all tickety boo for them. Maybe even to the point where they enjoy the surrounding chaos and can thrive on it.

    If so, I’d like to be them. :)


    Post count: 845

    Perhaps the success of someone with ADHD lies in identifying negative characteristics and learning how to capitalize on them in a positive and creative way. The constant struggle to do so helps to develop our creativity and ability to find alternative solutions to problems.

    Go back and read the 151 Positives as 151 Coping mechanisms that must be developed by the ADHD person in order to succeed and see if, in that context, the list makes more sense.

    So you “Can do many projects at once” because you can’t focus or maintain attention sufficiently long to complete even one.



    Post count: 227

    I too have struggled with this issue and have come to the realization that I can’t take all my “bad” parts, label them as ADHD and get rid of them. I am a package deal. You get all of me or none of me. The issue is identifying the obstacles in my way and dealing with them one by one. I am highly creative and highly intelligent, but early on I could see that less intelligent people were a lot more successful than I was. The ADHD diagnosis opened up new possibilities for me, but it didn’t change who or what I am. ADHD medication has not turned me into an overnight success.

    What I have decided to do is ignore my ADHD diagnosis. It was a useful way to find medication that actually helps me, and it has sensitized me to tasks and situations where I tend to fail, but beyond that, it has no practical use. My family, business and personal situations bring out useful and not so useful parts of me. That’s what I need to deal with, not this theoretical group of symptoms called ADHD.


    Post count: 165

    OK visualization time: for me it’s like running across a pond, jumping from lily pad to lily pad before each one sinks, while wearing kaleidoscope glasses in bright sunlight. Onlookers on shore shout “you’re not going to make it” among other lines.

    So as all of you say, & knowing my weaker points now, I’ll embrace the rush of making it across the pond while trying to enjoy it. The onlookers with negative stuff (you’re not applying yourself) can take a hike, I’m busy enjoying the excitement of the dash across the pond.

    The occasional wet foot is inevitable, but hey, it’s way more fun than being “normal”.



    Post count: 14413

    Tid I do believe that is a distinct possibility…….I do, but I see those folks maybe absent for different reasons!! Funny as I read your post “they’re merrily plodding along being impulsive and erratic and forgetful and innattentive and it’s all tickety boo for them.”……..I went back a number of times…it made me think…….really think. See the fact is ( tell if I’m off here)….your vision tells you those labels are negatives……and those traits cause you heartache and concern…..yes??? Fair enough.

    See, I don’t have those traits ( I don’t think ) not to any real detriment, and I think there are others out there like me, and they too fall mainly on the list posted by JimC. See….that list is almost all I see….a lot of that is my life!!!! I guess, there are no behavioral descriptors that go along with your erratic, forgetful etc comments …….sooooo……..really, it’s hard to get a handle on, I can’t be sure even about the degree of what we are speaking. The point is here I am…..I am ADD….and vastly different from the Linears yet…..quite different here too………..what the hell???

    What comes to mind is……this is a woefully inadequate way to communicate….but we try. “We endeavor to persevere” ( Chief Dan George ). I would really think from time to time, I would enjoy face time with folks from here but…..$$$ and time…and and and…ya I know …..wishful thinking.

    By the way…..I hope this is not taken as being dismissive….or……off-handed………in any way… there is no way to really communicate feelings…or ….or any emotion or empathy. I know and understand what your describing ( I have a bit of that )….ah hell, I’ll leave it there.


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