The Gifts of ADHD

Anyone experiencing ADHD personally or through a loved one or co-worker can easily understand the challenges: organization, planning and problem solving issues, emotional sensitivity, and difficulty managing life pace and general life. It is no easy feat that deserves attention. And yet, hidden away behind the problematic behaviors and struggles of ADHD lie some incredible, strengths that neurotypical minds may not get to experience. Let’s take a look at the gifts that ADHD offers to those who are affected by it.

  1. Creativity – Individuals with ADHD possess a great deal of creativity that actually stems from both inattention and hyperactivity; while the ADHD brain often takes longer to reach the same conclusion as a neurotypcial brain, it is because it is taking unusual pathways of thinking that often lead to great innovation, unique problem-solving, and creative outcomes. This makes folks with ADHD valuable in the areas of art, business, and entrepreneurship when their organization skills are honed.
  2. Emotional sensitivity – I often speak with my clients about emotional sensitivity and the way that it is a double-edged sword. On one hand, sensitivity can lead to quick emotional burnout and overwhelm. On the better hand, emotional sensitivity means that they have a high capacity for empathy and are incredibly expressive. Expressiveness is an attractive quality and can lead to healthy emotional processing both personally and in relationship-building. Also, while lots of individuals with ADHD have problems with sensory integration and may be sensitive to sound, texture, etc., this sensitivity also increases their appreciation for music and the arts. Expressiveness also usually means more passion – for work, for relationships, for interests. A passionate life is a full life.
  3. Resilience – Can you imagine having ADHD and struggling with executive functioning skills (organization, self-regulation, attention, restlessness) and trying to make it through an often hyper-structured world full of expectations from others? Consider a child, whose rules for behavior are closely monitored and outlined during the day. When they deviate, it can be a challenge. The fact that someone with ADHD can make it through a day and maintain any semblance of healthy relationships and functioning in work and school is a great example of the resilience of the ADHD mind. This is incredibly valuable as they learn to make it through life’s challenges, knowing that they have done hard things before. Their adaptability makes them able to survive and thrive through difficult challenges.
  4. High energy – Restlessness and hyperactivity can be problematic in a structured world, and yet what a gift to have high endurance! Individuals with ADHD can push through long hours, engage with others with enthusiasm and energy because of the way their brains function. The high energy and impulsivity, normally seen as problematic, can be funneled into healthy risk-taking that leads to innovation, spontaneity, and enjoyment in life. This is the spice of life.

We can learn to love these sides of ADHD when we focus on the way that the deficits can be used as strengths. Let’s appreciate the way that God can take our deficiencies and continue to use them for His glory and to our confidence! Today, find someone with ADHD (or use yourself) and be intentional to notice the gifts that have grown from a hard thing.

-Mary Shea