ADHD – Encourage
/ by Ming
Hi. My name is Ming and I have ADHD. I've posted on this website several times. I’m known for my"marbles in a jar"analogy to understanding the ADHD mind. My fiancée wanted me to share something with you, but, before I share – I want you to know these are principles in living as an ADHD individual I have found most useful in my life. If you like where I am going then these principles may be helpful to you, your children, and/or your parents!
So where am I going? Let me start from the beginning: My first memory as a child was when I was bullied in a playground. From elementary school through middle school I was harassed, bullied, made-fun-of, got in fights, called-names, insulted, punched, kicked, and worse … basically every day. In my first week in high school (a school where no one knew me) I got in a fight during Physical Education class. I nearly failed my Spanish language class but I still made it and graduated from high school. I received my undergraduate education from University of California, San Diego in Bioengineering and Psychology… with a 2.85 GPA (C+ average). I’m now a Doctor of Physical Therapy. I received my doctorate with honors. I’m getting married in March.
Do you like where I’m going? There is hope! And, these are my principles:
1. Accept! My mother and I accepted that ADHD is a biological state of mind, NOT a disease. We accepted this when I was about 9 years old. We realized some people have musical minds, artistic minds, or visual minds – I simply have a mind that likes to concentrate on many things at once, rather than just one topic at a time.
2. Explore! An ADHD mind is designed to see “the big picture” and therefore we think outside the box. Forcing us to draw “inside the lines” will only slow our growth and frustrate us. And like any frustrated child, we will act-out, be angry, destructive, disobedient, and ultimately discouraged and depressed. So the solution is EXPLORE “outside the lines”! Do not be afraid to explore “abnormal” roads to success! How did I jump from a C+ college student to a Doctor with Honors? Answer: BARTENDING! Can you believe it!? I was a bartender for almost a year before I explored Rehabilitation as a possible career choice. Bartending showed me the results of alcoholism, the party-life, and a group of people who had no hope except alcohol. This was not a future I wanted to be a part of. I had to see with my own eyes to believe it. The lesson here is that it is NEVER too late for change and for success. It took be 22 years to realize what I had to do to be successful. For people with ADHD, we need to learn from life experiences. If we are denied these experiences, we will end up empty and helpless. The trick is to guide these experiences early. Teach the child that success isn’t the absence of failure but it is the presence of perseverance. My mother always kept high hopes and persevered. Look at me now!
3. Harness! A normal person’s mind is like gas power. You burn gas, it gives you power. ADHD is like nuclear power. If you let it run wild, it is like a nuclear bomb and causes mass-destruction. If you harness it, it will give you enormous power and energy! Harnessing the ADHD mind is not an easy task but it is not impossible. We need to “accept” the fact that during early school years, the child will not be able to sit still. Since that is the case, we can allow for motion while studying! During my doctoral studies, I took bundles of notes with me while I walked around campus studying. Yes. I would literally pace about the campus while I studied. Apparently it worked. I was the only student to wear cords of “Honor’s” distinction on graduation day. I also took many study breaks. Most of the time I took more breaks than I studied. But these breaks allowed me to study in many short bursts. Many short bursts added together become a LOT OF INFORMATION! However, as a young child, the parent must still persevere to ensure the child learns the information regardless of how the child performs during examinations. The key here is to be open with the child as the parent – “explore” new ways to help the child study, interact with other people, and be happy & content in life. You can see I didn’t always succeed in my studies, in my interactions with other classmates, or even in being happy in life – eventually I did.
So please… I encourage all of you! ACCEPT that ADHD is a state of mind to be EXPLORED and HARNESSED. It will be a long uphill race. But how many can say they have climbed the highest mountain? I am finally at the top of this mountain and I can tell you the view is worth the journey!