I’ve talked about my ADHD quite a few times now but usually I have focused on the stuff that is annoying or difficult to deal with. Like energy management, distractability, etc. I could talk about how I’ve started this post 4 times now and wandered off each time but instead I’m going to discuss the benefits to having a brain that works so differently.
It’s random but it’s predictably random. So I’m not constantly surprising myself. I have tendencies that I can compensate for, and when you get into the habit of that, there is a lot to enjoy about being like this.
I tend to cycle through things I like to do. I get ENJOYMENT from this stuff. Art is always there, though the types of art are often wildly different in how I feel at the time (draw, paint, different medims, etc). My hobbies can be short-term, always obsessive, usually randomly picked up from someone or somewhere.
I get a lot of enjoyment out of this stuff. it’s fun.
“Oh you’re very creative”. “You’re weird.” “I have no idea how you do what you do, but I’m glad you do it.” A different, out-there POV coupled with extreme pragmatism. It gets things done and it’s good to have that view point that no one else does. Everyone should not think the same. Cool stuff comes out of weirdos.
While I am easily bored, I’m also easily entertained. I can absorb myself into something that no one else gives a stuff about but which I find incredibly interesting.
One of the tests for ADHD is: what to amphetamines do to you? Do they make you go faster and burble and go all twitchy, or do you CALM DOWN and focus and chill? The second is me – ritalin chills me out and calms me down.
It’s not just stuff like that. Paracetamol is a pain killer but to me also is very much a sleeping tablets. Which means I can’t take them for pain relief unless I’m prepared to crash out and sleep. But hey, cheap and easily available sleep aids for those few odd occasions when I need that help to get over the edge!
I’ve had other really weird reactions to prescribed (and unprescribed) medications too.
This is a weird one, but bear with me. A lot of the manual testing I have done over the years (oh so much testing), tends to get quite repetitive. However. If one forgets how or what one has done yesterday/2 hours ago/2 minutes ago, one can find oneself approaching an issue in a totally different way, seeing it differently, without a per-conceived idea of how it works, because one has already forgotten whatever one has literally just done on it.
So one is more likely to be effective in destroying someone’s hard written code in multiple types of ways, and none of them are boring.
Oh the fun I had.
I also would go, and I quote here, “go down the rabbit hole” of something that I became interested in. In testing, it was something that twigged the spidey sense of “oooh this feels wrong” and I’d chase it down and come up with defects that way. Helps to be an INTJ as well as having ADHD; letting the combination of intuition, future thinking, and randomness, work for me.
Another analytical benefit:
My last work gig I did a lot of analysis – it was a pure BA non-technical project. It was unraveling/untangling a jumble of business processes and laying them all out nicely (traceability, and gap analysis). Since my entire life and every day is about taking this jumbled mass of information in my my brain and spinning stories so I can deal with things – this extrapolates very well to external and business issues. Complicated disorder does not frighten me. I’m good with it. I know how to pull the threads and get a bit more order.
I am totally unafraid of leaping into something that is utter chaos. I can reduce a very complicated and complex series of things down to a very simple series of things, and I can communicate those things well. Because I confuse myself, I’ve learned to explain things to myself in such a way that I can pick things up again quickly in the future. I store information externally to me (ie, take notes), and describe things to myself so that future me remembers what was going on. Those descriptions I can re-spin for other people easily. I never assume people know anything because I know how hard it is for ME to remember or understand things, so I have massive tolerance for that. And I insist on clear documentation.
Most of the documented processes I’ve done, I’ve done for my own benefit. That can then be rolled out to others.
Art, Music, Gardening, Renovations, all these things I can come at in a rush and complete something huge and walk away going ‘that was fun/excellent’ before collapsing into a heap of nope. It means lots of cool things can get done and I can accomplish stuff I need to. The obsessive tendencies are good for this too.
I’m currently working on my next outdoorsy project that will take me forever but I will plug away at until I’m done. Like I did on this one:
I am surrounded by other neurotypical people and I don’t mind that, in fact, it’s great. I seek them out. I am a weirdo magnet and I can spot another weirdo magnet in a crowd. We cluster. Everyone who doesn’t live in the bell curve generally has some really good things to offer, both at work and outside work.
Teaching people who don’t understand about the way my brain works is fun too.