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It’s All About Finding A Different Way

January 14, 2012

path 2In my work with adults with ADHD, there is one consistent challenge I see with almost every client – acceptance.  For us ADHDers, acceptance has many levels.  To start, we have to accept that ADHD is real and that we have it.  This is the first hurdle.  This is seeing the mountain in front of us and acknowledging that it’s there.

Then we have to accept that ADHD impacts our lives in many different ways.  This hurdle is often even bigger.  This is where the “shoulds” beat the hell out of us.  I should be able to manage my finances like everyone else does.  I should be able to remember things the way everyone else does.  I should be able to be on time for work like everyone else is.  We spend alot of time and energy trying to be “like everyone else” because if we aren’t “like everyone else” and we can’t do things the way “everyone else can”, there is something wrong with us.

Many adults with ADHD get stuck here.  They see the mountain but they are so focused on how everyone else is moving their own mountains – which by they way looks so easy from a distance – that they never realize that they can’t move their mountain the way other people can.  Not because they aren’t capable.  Not because they aren’t trying hard enough.  Not because they are a bad person or undeserving or flawed in some fundamental way.  They can’t simply because they have a different set of tools and their mountain is made of a different kind of rock.

This part of acceptance often leads to despair because the key to moving past it is to truly admit that we cannot do things the way other people can AND that we won’t ever be able to.  For many ADHDers, this realization is like hitting rock bottom.  It can leave us feeling like giving up.  It can leave us questioning why we even try.

But as the song says when you hit rock bottom you have two ways to go, straight up or sideways.  Many adults with ADHD hit that bottom and see only sideways.

To me, this is the magic moment.  This is the point at which real change can actually happen because until they stop trying to do things “like everyone else”, they aren’t open to finding a different way.  And for ADHDers, the path to progress is all about finding a different way.

Turning Leaf Life Coaching offers coaching for ADHD and Life Transitions over the phone and in person throughout NH, ME, MA, and VT.  For more information, go to

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