So today I came across this little book I purchased from paperchase years ago called ‘The Little Book of Happiness’ I think it was on sale and I thought it might be cute to write some of my achievements down in, as well as my hopes and dreams.
Well, as most of you will probably know us ADHDers aren’t one for starting what we mean to finish so the book has remained mostly empty except for 4 things on the ‘my happy to do list’ page and 4 diary style detailed days on the ‘my happy day pages’.
“Goals for people with ADHD can be frustrating, overwhelming and in some cases unworkable.”ADHD Girl
On my happy to do list, the four things I wrote were finish my debut novel (check!), do a murder mystery night (yes, I’m a geek-check!), get a mortgage (check!) and get more organised (double check!). I wrote that list probably 5 years ago now and I can guarantee that when I wrote it that wasn’t the time window, I had in mind for completing them.
The whole thing got me thinking of the pressure that is not only put on others to achieve, but on ourselves. Don’t get me wrong, I do think having a goal to work towards is healthy, but how disappointed or impatient do we feel if we don’t hit the deadline for it.
“Society is extremely goal orientated, but most life goals are not accommodating for people with ADHD.”ADHD Girl
The processing speeds for ADHD tends to mean that we don’t usually hit conventional targets at the expected developmental time, for example in a school environment. It’s not that we’re not clever or we can’t do it, it’s that we’ll do it in our time and our own way.
Society seems to take great offence to this as it constantly reminds us that there are milestones that we must hit by a certain time period otherwise we are failures as human beings. Having sex for example, getting married or even finding that career you’re going to have for life.
Humans are logical and social thinkers, that means we like to understand things and we want them to fit in their own box with a perfect little bow on top. The problem with having ADHD is we’re not a box; we’re probably a circle or hexagon, which means those milestones that you have for us just don’t make sense.
Everybody’s journey is completely different, it’s just that for ADHDers, our journey is that far out there that even though we know our destination, we are not 100% sure how we’re going to get there. All we know is that the journey everybody else is taking looks alien, uncomfortable and in some ways quite boring.
“You are doing more than ok, just by trying and accepting support.”ADHD Girl
My point is that so what if I took a good four or five years to achieve those goals, I set out t do? The most important thing is I reached them, in my own way and own time. For that very reason, they probably mean a whole lot more to me than someone who could have got them instantly.
So, I guess the real secret to being happy, especially for people with ADHD, is this; stop comparing yourself to everybody else, as long as you are doing your best, accepting support from the right places, and enjoying the journey, then you are doing more than ok.
So stop beating yourself up for being on a different wavelength, Life is for living not just achieveing milestones set by someone who doesn’t understand how we operate.