ADHD and Inadequacy: Four Comparisons Holding You Back

The See in ADHD talk radio show highlights people of all walks of life and we discuss everything from hobbies, jobs, philosophy, to thoughts on pop culture, as well as what went through our minds at very key points in our lives. And, oh, yeah…the topic of ADHD is sprinkled in almost every conversation. Be sure to subscribe to it.

So, throughout the podcast we get to meet some of the most creative and resourceful individuals with and without ADHD and if I can persuade them to contribute even more to the cause of ADHD awareness and education then I consider it a real gift. René Brooks-Guthridge is not only a fan favorite from one of my most highly rated shows, she also writes for her own blog Black Girl Lost Keys and has generously donated such a gift.

Since we talked about the idea of ADHD people holding themselves to neurotypical standards in episode #5, ADHD Curiosity – It’s a Superpower, I asked her if she’d be willing to elaborate a bit on the subject:

ADHD and Inadequacy: Four Comparisons Holding You Back

The grass is NOT greener on the neurotypical side. Sometimes we as ADHD folks idealize what life might be without hyperfocus, time blindness, and the inability to concentrate on anything. We spend a great deal of time thinking, “If only I was ‘normal,’ things would be so much better.” These thought patterns don’t do us any good, folks. In fact, our longing and wishing that we were different can really distract us from looking at ourselves in a way that will lead to us be our best, most productive selves. Here are four fantasies about the neurotypical that might be holding us back.

1. They don’t have to write things down.

This is a big one, so I put it first. We are very quick to believe that people without ADHD have better brains than we do. Really they are just different brains. Plenty of people without ADHD have to write things down. Life is incredibly busy for many of us, and no one can remember them all. It’s ok guys, don’t beat yourself up for not being able to remember it. Write it down, and let it go.

2. They have amazing memories.

Cliches are in place for a reason. The stereotype of men forgetting their anniversary is an old one. Do we believe all those men have ADHD? We have to stop assigning perfect memories, because honestly, no one has a perfect memory that always works. Don’t compare yourself to a non-existent standard. If you forget, remember to forgive yourself, and move on (see what I did there?)

3. They are “together.”

ADHD is not the only mental disorder. We have seen alcoholism, hoarders, people with OCD, depression and etc. Plenty of people are struggling, maybe not with ADHD, but still. Don’t convince yourself that everyone else is more together than you; we all have messy areas, some may just be hidden better.

4. Theirs is a “better” way of thinking.

Would you think that if someone preferred a different color of hair than you, or ate a different style of cuisine that their preference are preferable? Of course not! Listen, ADHD is no picnic but you are creative, compassionate and cool ( well, I am – I hope you are too). Embrace your uniqueness. It’s no better or worse than anyone else’s.

Listen, I know it isn’t easy when you get the ADHD blues. It is easy to believe that everyone is doing better than you are and life is passing you by. The truth is much better: the only person you have to compare yourself to is you.

~ René Brooks

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  1. Thanks, Jennie, for sharing Rene’s wise words.

    (Sorry, Renee, I haven’t figured out how to do accents!)

    I get so frustrated when hustling non-experts try to paint people with ADHD as coming from another species! (And always for their own personal gain.)

    We don’t need more Us vs. Them in the world.

    All humans struggle.

    Yes, some people seem to float through life, on an cloud of confidence and competence. But I don’t know many of them. And really, I’ve learned never to judge what’s truly going on with a person by outer appearances.

    (The most popular, smart, athletic, and “well-balanced” girl in my high school tried to kill herself, and we were all shocked.)

    That’s not to diminish the struggles of people with ADHD. Rather, it is to build bridges of understanding.

    My husband says that, before his ADHD treatment truly kicked in, he observed all I did as some type of “magic tricks.” I just seemed to make things happen, effortlessly, he said.

    It wasn’t effortless. He just didn’t notice all the steps leading up to the accomplishments. And he had no clue how to do these things himself. So he put it in an “unfathomable” category.

    Anyway, thanks for a great piece.


    1. Gina you are magic, don’t down play it! In all seriousness, many of us just think neurotypical people float by on the ease of having tyical working brains yet they don’t. Thank you so much for reading and enjoying the piece and if you ever need the é it is ALT + 0233 from your keyboard. Lol!

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