One of the more disappointing characteristics of ADHD is our tendency to overlook our own strengths and our failure to celebrate our successes properly. I admit that I am guilty of this more times than I like to admit. After all, success is a perfect excuse to have fun! (Not that I need an excuse). Too often once we reach an important milestone or finish a big project we are already looking forward to what we are going to do next (if we have not started already). We minimize the importance of having reached a goal. Rather than recognizing what we have accomplished, we are more likely to re-hash where we fell short.
Learning to pause, take it all in, and celebrate our success is a way to acknowledge, to ourselves and others, what we are great at. Even if the success comes easy, take note of it. This is likely an area of strength, where your superpower lies. Don’t overlook it. Notice it, make a big deal about it, and use it for good. Your accomplishments don’t have to be newsworthy for you and people around you to make a big deal about them. If you are a parent, think about how many times you have had a special celebration for your child for something such as losing a tooth, creating a beautiful picture, learning to ride a bike. You wanted to mark the occasion for them, Reinforce and celebrate their perseverance, skills, or character strengths. The next project will still be there if you take the time to celebrate and mark the event.
It has twice been pointed out to me since the release of my book, PlayDHD, that there is an absence of women with ADHD in the timeline of celebrities in our tribe. I am mortified! I’m not throwing anyone under the bus, but my original notes included many women who are either diagnosed or hypothesized to have characteristics of ADHD, and they have contributed to the world as we know it in big ways.
What ever gender, sexual orientation, or bathroom you claim, if you have ADHD you are in good company! You are part of a strong and vital tribe! People with ADHD are creators, inventors, explorers, and visionaries. We propelled progress by taking risks, thinking outside the box, and daring to dream big. If you are looking for a role model with ADHD, you won’t have to look far. Many of the inventions, amazing feats, and mind-blowing concepts from these famous people past and present are the result of their love of play in all its various forms. They reflect the gamut of play personalities you can read about in my book, Playdhd: Permission to Play… A Prescription for Adults with ADHD.
“When adults with ADHD realize they’re blessed and gifted, they’re going to be unstoppable.” —Alexis Hernandez, chef and reality TV star
- 1919-2009 Edith “jackie” Ronne- Adventurer, Explorer, Author, Teacher: First woman to finish expeditions to both Arctic, and Antarctica (1948).
- 1946- Patty Duke, actress. Patty Duke show ran from 1963-1966
- 1954 Tasmanian Devil- With such poor impulse control one can’t help but diagnose hyperactivity. First appeared in cartoon “Devil May Hare” with Bugs Bunny.
- 1962-Diane Swonk, a world-renowned economist, author of The Passionate Economist: Finding the Power and Humanity Behind the Numbers (2003), and, until recently, the chief economist at Bank One in Chicago.
“I chose to do something that was perfect for the way my brain works.”
—Katherine Ellison, Pulitzer Prize winner and author
- 1966- Cookie Monster- no self-regulation when it comes to cookies. Created by Jim Henson.
- 1968- Tigger (Winnie the Pooh)- His love of “fun, fun, fun, fun, fun” is true of many ADHD’rs, whose minds are driven by dopamine.
- 1971- Cammi Granato scored more goals than any other player in the history of U.S. women’s hockey. She led her team to a gold medal at the 1998 Winter Olympics in Nagano and a silver at the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City. She even skated her way onto the cover of the Wheaties cereal box.
- 1985-1995- Calvin from “Calvin and Hobbes.” created by Bill Watterson
- 1994- Bex Taylor-Klaus- play roles on the hit TV shows Arrow,The Killing 2013), and House of Lies. Daughter of two fabulous parents- David and Elaine Taylor_Klaus.
- Lisa Ling – Renowned journalist Lisa Ling got a sneaking suspicion that she might have ADHD during the filming of ADHD–themed episode of “Our America With Lisa Ling.” Her reporting on the disorder compelled her to get an evaluation, and at age 40, she was diagnosed with adult ADHD.
- Karina Smirnoff of Dancing with the Stars has lived with ADHD her entire life, but wasn’t properly diagnosed until adulthood.. As a professional dancer, Smirnoff channels her ADHD energy into her work.
“Obviously, the kind of person who joins the Army is not the random person in America. They’re patriotic and adventurous and maybe a little more aggressive,”
~Val Willingham, CNN
The Men and Women in our Military- Studies suggest that there is a significantly higher rate of ADHD among soldiers in the military than the civilian population. One such study indicated that the prevalence of ADHD among our military personnel may be more than double that of adults outside of the military. “It is worth noting that ADHD neurology has been called ‘a warrior’s brain’. What the algebra teacher calls distractible in the classroom turns out to be vigilance on the battlefield. We always tell kids with ADHD that they have awesome brains: just not the “pay attention” kind but the “notice everything” kind! This is an asset in the high adrenaline environment of battle.” (from: http://www.focus-md.com/adhd-a-warriors-brain/) These men and women, indeed, deserve to be celebrated.
*Note: If you bought the book and put it back on the shelf as soon as you realized that the only woman with ADHD mentioned in the book was me, please accept my apologies. Feel free to cut and paste this post into a document that you can duct tape into the pages of the book. But do that after you celebrate your own strengths, and successes.
- ADDitude magazine and ADDitudeMag.com
- Book notes from Author Kirsten Milliken – PlayDHD: Permission to Play… A Prescription for Adults with ADHD.