Let’s Reframe ADHD

If you had a button to get rid of your ADHD or someone else’s, would you press it? 

For a long time, the answer for me was YES. 

It didn’t help that everyone viewed it as a disability. The perception society has around Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder is pretty negative. You would find it hard to believe there are benefits to something that has three unfavorable words as part of its name: Deficit, Hyperactivity, and Disorder. Believe it or not, the past names for ADHD included Clumsy Child Syndrome and Morbid Defect of Moral Control. Fun, right?

Honestly, I despise the ADHD name. I would rename it in a heartbeat if I could. In our book, ADHD Is Awesome, we talk about alternate names we could use. Until then, we need to reframe ADHD.

The Four Rs

Those of us with ADHD have amazing imaginations. Most of the time that imagination is a real asset.  But when things go wrong, we imagine everyone shaking their heads and wondering why we are so weird.  We’re really bad with negative self-talk, and often put ourselves down for our shortcomings. Even when Kim retells a story to someone that has something to do with the less desirable side of ADHD, I squirm.  

This is where reframing ADHD is helpful. I also use The Four Rs of Reframing:

  • I recalibrate my thinking (Was what I did really that bad? Hint: it never is.)
  • I remember I am not alone (I’ve learned that. Millions of you are with me.)
  • I remind myself it’s my ADHD (Longer parentheses here: It’s important to remind myself that mistakes are often ADHD symptoms, which are involuntary.  It explains ADHD, but I do not believe it is an excuse for acting like that for the rest of my life.  Later, when the sting of making a mistake has lessened, I will commit to finding ways to improve.) 
  • I reward myself for being gentle on myself (“Good job, me!” We love rewards,)

Would You Press The Button?

On this week’s podcast, Kim and I talk about reframing ADHD along with some things we reframe about the traits of ADHD itself. (For example, reframing the word hyper as energetic! Did you know that fidgeting can burn up to 350 calories per day?) 

Listen to the show, and when you are done,  let us know: If you had a button to get rid of your ADHD or someone else’s, would you press it? After all I’ve learned in writing this book, I know now that I wouldn’t.  My ADHD is a big part of who I am.