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ADHD is my superpower

It’s not like that for everyone, but for me it definitely is!

I think the term ADHD (Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) should be changed to ARD: Attention Regulation Disorder. Deficit implies a lack. We don’t lack the ability to pay attention or to focus. We actually have a superpower: hyperfocus.

A tweet about ADHD by me.

My life took a 180º turn when I was officially diagnosed with inattentive ADHD in my late 40’s. That was the day I stopped trying to be what people expected of me. I changed the rules. I ceased all efforts to be that perfect fitting glove for the customer, draining myself by keeping up the game of appearing as “Mrs. cool chick who has everything under control all the time.” Because all the time I was doing that, I was suffering deeply. No one saw the constant panic attacks,  the attacks of insomnia, walking on the edge of burnout, while my brain was acting like Pac-Man on steroids. And still I managed to get loads of work done.

How this affects my business

Nowadays, I communicate differently with existing and especially with new customers. When all goes well, they understand that they get the best of me when they allow me to be as I am. That they get the finest of my skill set and talents if they manage to challenge me in a way that makes me go into hyperfocus. Which I basically consider to be one of the superpowers of ADHD. If an aspiring customer clearly does not understand that, I happily forward them to a colleague in the business.

In 2021, I gave a talk called Successfully Running a Creative Business with ADHD as Your Super Power at WordFest Live.

Customers get the best of me because I do what I love

Working as an accessibility advocate and educator is what I love to do. It’s never the same, always challenging, and as such it is never boring.

What you need to know about ADHD and boredom

Maybe it is because I am Dutch (we’re known for being direct) and maybe it’s just one of my character traits: I like to call issues by their name. I could have used a synonym, like “under stimulating” or “underwhelming”. But boredom describes the naked truth.

Boring is an enemy of my physical wellbeing. “Boring” does not raise my dopamine levels. When those levels go down too steep, I’m literally paralyzed in my capacity of setting things in motion. Boring jobs lead to a very uncomfortable physical reaction. In the worst case, it leads to panic attacks and dysfunctionality. This is not the same as being lazy, although it is oft interpreted as such by people who do not really know, nor research, what ADHD is.