Tyler Dorsey is an ADHDer turned ADHD life coach. She is excited to be able to share all things ADHD with our readers through the lens of her personal and professional experience.
By Tyler Dorsey
We have all heard the theory that ADHD is a childhood disorder and we will grow out of it. While we know ADHD can be a part of our entire lives, I tend to believe that ADHD is something we grow into.
There are three steps I believe we must take to grow into our ADHD:
- Understand exactly how ADHD is uniquely impacting us
- Become intentional about what we are choosing to do with our lives
- Take complete ownership
Understand How ADHD Is Uniquely Impacting Us
While we are all diagnosed with ADHD inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive or combined type, it presents differently for each of us.
ADHD is my superpower. But for the longest time, it acted as my kryptonite. I was diagnosed when I was in the 5th grade. And growing up, I had poor grades, missing assignments at school, and a messy room. Home was like a war zone. I was constantly at battle with anyone and everyone who crossed my path.
Years passed and before I knew it, I was 18 years old and failing out of college. From when I was a little girl to 18, nothing ever changed. We tried medication, tutors, therapy, rewards, family interventions and constant grounding. None of it worked.
When I received the letter from my college informing me I would be kicked out if I didn’t improve my grade point average the following semester, I realized that it was me who needed to change — no one else. I had spent years blaming everyone else and not once looking in the mirror. At 18 years old, I was faced with a choice. I could drop out of school and get a job or figure it out and stay in school.
This was the moment I realized it didn’t matter which I would choose, ADHD was going to impact me either way. Motivated by playing volleyball, I committed to staying in school and figuring it out.
At this point I knew that I needed to work on managing my ADHD but didn’t know how. Until, one day, I was sitting in my freshman psychology class and for the first time heard the definition of ADHD.
Everything clicked. I knew I had been diagnosed with ADHD but I didn’t know what ADHD really was aside from inattention. At that moment, I knew that what I needed to do to start managing my ADHD instead of letting it manage me was to understand my ADHD. So, I did.
I spent the following years learning about my brain, observing how others functioned, asking for help and maintaining discipline. Before I knew it, I was thriving with ADHD. Fast forward to present day Tyler and I am 30 years old — pulling my clean clothes off the table in my laundry room, yet thriving with ADHD.
You see, we are always going to struggle due to our ADHD. However, as we grow into our ADHD, we will learn what we can just let go of. For me it is folding and putting away laundry. And we learn what we can use as our superpower — for me, my resilience and hyperfocus. I would not know any of this if I hadn’t taken the time to learn every aspect of my ADHD and how it was impacting me.
Become Intentional About What We Are Choosing To Do With Our Lives
Having started my journey to thriving with ADHD over 10 years ago, I have come to learn a key to growing into my ADHD and turning it into a superpower is being intentional with my life. Those of us with ADHD can accomplish anything when we are interested. But we tend to fly by the seat of our pants and hope it will work out.
When we take that approach, we are constantly looking for a life raft to help us stay afloat. But we are frequently feeling as if we will go under water any minute.
We have to be intentional about how we live each aspect of our lives. And I’ll mention the laundry example again.
Laundry is a small task in the grand scheme of life but it is one that needs to be done. How it is done is up to the individual. I personally do not care if I am pulling clean laundry out of a basket or from a drawer in my closet. If it is clean, I put it on my body the same way regardless of where it came from.
Would it be nice to pull my clothes out of a nice and organized closet? Sure. But, I really don’t care enough to make it happen. I have other things in my life I choose to prioritize over laundry. However, after a while, the pile will become so big that it stresses me out when I am trying to get going in the morning. This stress creeps into the rest of my day. Therefore, it is actually important to me to fold and put away my laundry when it gets to a certain point.
When laundry starts to overwhelm me, other ADHD tendencies of mine start to come back into play. These typically include task avoidance, more frequent distractions and lack of motivation. This directly impacts my money, relationships and confidence.
When I am living an intentional life, I am directly relating my laundry being done to my money, relationships and confidence. Now, I want to remind you that I can handle my laundry being in a basket for me to pull from. But when it gets to a certain point, I know it’s time to fold.
These are the small details that, when intentional about them, will add up to massive changes in your life.
TAKE COMPLETE OWNERSHIP
Here is what I want to leave you with: ADHD is a part of our lives and is not going anywhere. But, we can grow into our ADHD and turn it from our “kryptonite” to our “superpower.” The number one thing that is required to make this happen is taking ownership of ourselves and our ADHD.
We are quick to blame our ADHD on other people or our circumstances. When we take complete ownership for ourselves and our lives and stop blaming external factors, we start to live the lives we have dreamed of.
As professor, author and lecturer Brené Brown said, “If you own this story you get to write the ending.”