For those that don’t know, I have ADHDAnd sometimes, it freaking great! It’s how I can hyper-focus and grind on my blacksmithing in SkyrimIt’s how, when I get a fantastic project at work, what I thought was only 10 minutes later, is actually 3 hours laterIt’s how I can finish 800-page books in a day or even when I become that hyperactive squirrel everyone is used to seeing at Networking eventsAt one job interview, the manager asked if I always have so much energyBut all those things aren’t how one goes about their everydayIn fact, all those things are actually the opposite of what should be productive.

The thing is when I am not hyper-focused, I can’t focusI try, I really doI say to myself, “Shepard, you are going to do this one thing, and you are going to get it done!!” 5minutes into that task, something will pop into my head or a notification goes off and then BOOM, I’m off down a rabbit hole doing something completely differentTrying to clean looks like a toddler ran through the house and dumped everything they could get their hands onI find random things in random placesMy life is just me looking for things that I picked up to put away and got distracted along the wayOr I start daydreaming through a task and realize that I have been sitting in one spot for 30 minutes living inside my headHaving conversations with people is the hardest thing everI have to constantly remind myself to listen to their words and not let my mind driftPeople tell me information and less than a minute later it’s gone.

Listening to lectures is almost impossibleDuring long talks, I usually pull my phone out to play SodukuAnd it’s not because I am not paying attention, it actually helpsOtherwise, I get this deep sensation in me that requires me to moveIt is overpowering if I sit still too long without something to doI bounce my leg, I fidget, I pick at random things, and literally feel like my insides will come out of me if I can’t just move or scream or something!

Before my therapist thought of treating me for ADHD, I always just thought I was brokenThe synapses in my brain just didn’t work like everyone else’s and there was nothing I could do about itIt sucked, but it also was great in some ways, as I processed information fast, it helped me think of ways things were connected differently than othersAnd in my high-stress jobs, being able to focus and multitask made me feel like a conductor of a symphonyI was unstoppable and amazing, and I loved it.

But in the career field, that initial excitement, then eventual boredom isn’t greatYou get a new job, and you are excited about the new challenges it offers, new software to learn, and even the new people you meetYou impress all with your ability to learn, adapt and take on projectsBut soon, that gets old, and you start taking shortcuts, or not caringYou may even think you need a bigger workload, and take on so much, there is no way to keep upThen, you hit that tipping point, and either quit in a rage or get fired for not completing things on time. 

Here’s the other thing about ADHD that no one knowsAnd why it takes a long time for some people to get a diagnosisADHD looks like depression and anxiety and they are often a comorbidity of it.  So imagine, trying to learn something new, not being able, and every time getting pulled into a depressing cycle? It destroys you in every way and you always feel like a failureEvery job change, every unfinished project, even failed relationshipsIt all points to you being lazy or not being dependable. 

So, what is the fix?

First off, getting a therapist or a meds provider to recognize your ADHD and medicate, at least for me, was the biggest helpMeds aren’t the 100% answer eitherOnce I knew HOW my brain worked, I was able to start learning how to work with it instead of against itHere is how you do that. 

  • When you start to feel bored, talk to your managerAsk if there is a way to switch up your job a bit(DO NOT TELL THEM YOU HAVE ADHD!!!) Say that you are wanting to try something new to help the companyJust a little change in your day-to-day at work could be all you need.
  • Do not just ask for more workThis will lead to burnout. 
  • Consider what career field actually suits youThis one is hard because it could mean retraining, more school, or there could just not be any opportunities around youIt is useful to think about and consider thoughOnce you know what direction you want to go in life, you can at least take small steps to get there.
  • Have a creative outlet you can do on breaks or in your spare timeIf you aren’t creating at work or at home, it is easy to hit that ADHD wall of BORED.

And finally

  • Know you aren’t alone and you aren’t brokenAll of us with ADHD feel like this and have the same strugglesThere are whole online communities of us sharing our experiencesIt can just help to know that there are others like you out there. 

For those in management, even though your employee is not required to tell you their mental health diagnosis, remembering that ALL people get bored and keeping an eye out for your employees makes you a star managerIf you notice a change or an employee that is struggling, ask them what you can do to help them and be willing to work with themYou will be surprised how much this means to that individual and what a difference it can make in their performance. 

ADHD is a very real and hard-to-live-with mental diagnosisFor more about it, you can go to https://www.additudemag.com/ for more informationOr follow my favorite Youtuber, https://www.youtube.com/@HowtoADHD for her funny, but useful insights on having ADHD. 

Shepard

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