If everyone has a superpower, is ADHD my superpower? – Boy, people in America sure don’t like to admit that there might be something wrong, or at least non-standard with themselves. No matter what you have going on in your life physically, emotionally, or mentally, there is a certain segment of society waiting to tell you that it’s all good. You are fine, always have been, always will be.
ADHD Is a Superpower
There is a scene in Top Gun (original, not Maverick) where fighter pilot and training school commander Viper tells Maverick, who was just in a plane crash that killed his copilot and best friend Goose, that he isn’t there, “to blow sunshine up your ass.” I can appreciate that. While there is never a reason to be down on someone, it’s not like there aren’t people in this world with advantages and disadvantages. Or, as Syndrome says in the Incredibles, “When everyone is super, no one is.”
If it makes you feel better to claim ADHD is my superpower, then do it. No one is stopping you. If you want an objective opinion of how ADHD affects people in this world– not how it “should”– then you need to look at both the advantages of ADHD and the disadvantages of ADHD.
The Advantages of ADHD
So, how is ADHD a superpower? It turns out that there are many advantages to ADHD, especially when you are aware of how it affects you and deal with it accordingly. The concept of super focus has been beaten into the ground by the why ADHD is a superpower side.
Super focus is an advantage, sometimes. Unfortunately, many adults with ADHD can’t direct their superfocus. That is, they can’t sit down at a desk and go, “Super focus on this task now.” That just isn’t how most ADHD brains work. If they could, there would be a lot less people out there looking for ADHD treatments and answers. When super focus aligns with your goals, or even just your free time, it is a glorious and wonderful ADHD advantage in life. Stories of ADHDers picking up a new hobby and mastering it in just days because of near constant, dedicated, focus are legendary. So are stories of ADHDers super focusing right through the date they were supposed to go on, pick up time for the kiddos, or even just bedtime.
Other ADHD advantages include the ability to process many streams of thought or data at the same time. The ability to multitask and being able to change activities instantly are all advantages. The ability to get there faster, when you can stay focused on getting there at all.
The Disadvantages of ADHD
Of course, there are plenty of ways ADHD is not a superpower. The inability to keep track of time is a big one that often goes hand and hand with that super focus superpower. Poor organization, inability to follow a conversation, blurting out words in the middle of someone speaking, and forgetting what you were told just minutes ago are all disadvantages of ADHD.
For some (me) the biggest disadvantage of ADHD is procrastination. In some ways, procrastination is the opposite of super focus. Not only are you not focusing on what you need to be, you may be unable to focus on anything. In this case, the ADHD mind rejects any one thing taking over focus for fear that there might be something, more fun, more interesting, or even just shorter than the activity you want to focus on.
Missing meetings, missing deadlines, starting, but never finishing projects are all classic ADHD disadvantages.
Why Is ADHD a Superpower?
There is a need, especially among children to ensure that the various differences between people, including themselves, do not make someone defective. The idea that someone can’t do something goes against human nature, thus it is critical that ADHD is not perceived as a limiting problem.
In many ways this concept is completely valid, but just like someone with poor eyesight may need glasses, or someone with diabetes may need to avoid certain foods, it is important to understand that just because ADHD isn’t a defect, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have to do anything about it.
Obviously, people with ADHD can and do live in society without any treatment or medication. Indeed, many adults diagnosed with ADHD were only recently diagnosed, after spending decades without any idea. Typically, however, many people find relief in knowing that there is something different about them AND that they can now take steps to manage or understand themselves better.
If you want ADHD to be your superpower, go right ahead, but don’t disregard the options that may be available to you just because of an ideal.
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