It was recently told to me in an anonymous email message, “Tom, you are not ADHD. You would never be able to maintain two websites and respond to so many people if you were, and you damn sure would not have been able to write a book in six days.” The person went on and on about the difficulties he was having believing I was truly ADHD. Being he was anonymous, I could not respond. This man is not alone in this type of thinking. A while back, I was reading a thread in my favorite Facebook group. A man was in there saying to some of our members, “There is no way, anyone with ADHD, could ever graduate from college”. I hope I don’t sound overly decisive, but this line of thinking, is complete and total bullshit.
It is typical for me to be at work, while knowing my room at home is a mess. Every day I will think about, plan on and even get excited about going home and getting my room clean, but when I get home, my excitement is gone. I will just walk into the mess, look around and say aloud, “Piss on this”. Even though I was excited about doing it, the sight of it took my interest and my motivation away, and the loss of interest and motivation, makes things unimportant.
There is a belief by many ADHD People, that there are things they just cannot do and in some cases, they are correct. However, it has nothing to do with being ADHD, at least not directly. What I mean is, sure, I could have physically cleaned my room but I had no interest or motivation to do so. No one does anything without something motivating them. Therefore, my room remained a shit-pit for yet another day. As it happens, I woke up just this morning with a mind to clean it, yet here I am writing this story. This story is more important to me than all the shit on the floor of my room upstairs.
In response to the man, I mentioned earlier who emailed me. Many people who know me, and have known me for years, were shocked at hearing I wrote a book; not the least of which was me. I was on my vacation. I awoke the first morning and began rewriting the first three chapters that I had written weeks prior. I wrote every day for 12 to 18 hours until it was time for bed. I did this for six days, and at the end of day six, it was finished.
Also in response to the man who doubted any college graduate could be ADHD, there are many ADHD People with college degrees. There are even doctors in the field of psychiatry who specialize in ADHD, and yes, believe it or not, they are ADHD themselves. They did not find their degree in the bottom of a cereal box, nor did they have it handed to them as a gift. They went to college for four years and then went to medical school for four years.
How is this possible? How was I able stay on task, for this long period of time? It is for the same reason I was able to play Skyrim every day for twelve to eighteen hours each day on my previous vacation. I do plenty of things every day of my life. I do the things I enjoy doing and the things I want to do. Often this involves playing my Xbox, my guitar or watching TV, but in the case of writing my book, it just happened, I wanted to write my book. I woke up every day excited to begin, and I stayed at it all day until 2:00am, and getting up at 8:00am to start a new day. I was interested in what I was doing. I was enjoying what I was doing, and nobody has a problem doing things they enjoy doing, or the things they want to do. I imagine the motivation to do eight years of college is not much different. Maybe it is just simply wanting to do it and enjoying the experience. ADHD or not people do the things they want to by default. A football fan does not have to be encouraged to turn on the game, nor does an asshole need to be encouraged to pull out in front of me on the road. The short version is People want to do what people want to do.
So how do you the things for which you have no interest or motivation. Uhhhhh, I don’t know. I think this is the wrong question. The right question is who gives a shit about doing things for which you have no interest. I don’t. I accept what I am, and have no ambition or desire to do or be anything other than what I want to be. For me the possibility of a reward must be equal to or greater than the cost.
I hate having to hold a job, but the cost is worth the reward of seeing my family is provided for. This is where my interests and my motivations come. Without them, I know, my life would not be near as enjoyable as it is. This is how I am able to many things for which I hate or don’t wish to do.
At the risk of sounding like motivational, double-talking, twelve stepping asshole speaker, I will end by saying this to you. You are ADHD, and if this is a problem for you, then I am sorry. You have two choices.
One: You can be a slave to it and beat yourself silly worrying about the people you have disappointed, the things you failed to do and the challenges you were not able to meet. You can wonder if and when life will ever be easier.
Or two: Embrace your ADHD. For some of us this is a war. If you want to win this war then you must pick your battles. Now, I am not saying you need to go Ike Turner on it, but just realize there are things for which you will have a tough time with. There are things you will not do with the ease many others do. You have your own strengths. Start there.
One thing is true for almost everyone; if you know your “why”, you will find your “how”.
I am Tom Nardone, and you are welcome.
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