By Jeff Emmerson
As adults with ADHD, we’re usually very hard on ourselves. We’re passionate about life, and we’ve got a ton of potential when it comes to being the creative leaders who think outside the box. On the other side of that coin lies the “wolf,” or the symptoms that we adults with ADHD face on a daily basis – every-single-day like a never-ending reminder that we’re not the most stable, reliable, “normal” people around. That’s where our self-esteem takes an ass-kicking over time, and we become more and more obsessed with focusing on our failures as opposed to all the ways we’ve done well in our lives. There’s got to be a way to be nicer to ourselves while looking at improving our focus and perspective, right?
Absolutely – as I’m going to say over and over again throughout this blog, it’s up to each of us to a) get to know ourselves intimately, b) seek the help we need to learn tools for minimizing the self-torture of endlessly focusing on our mistakes, and c) have an open mind toward new ways of looking at life!
Again – no B.S., just reality. I know it works because I’m a living, breathing example of it. I came from a tortured past of self-loathing and beating myself up for damaging my life through symptoms that adults with ADHD know only too well. Hyperfocus, not controlling my anger, making sudden, spontaneous decisions I’d later regret….these were just a few of the ways I sabotaged my own progress over the years. I accept what happened, I’ve gotten on with my life, and this blog (as well as my up-coming memoir) is part of my true calling at this point in my journey – helping others to know they aren’t alone in these thoughts, actions and lessons! Not one of us are perfect, including the world’s most successful people (and I mean the truly successful ones, not the millionaires hooked on drugs and other issues).
I threw a decade of my life away while focusing on the criminal record I had all that time, the 30-second mistake I made when I threatened someone over the phone one afternoon in 1999. Jesus, I’ve held myself hostage to that brief moment in time for too damn long! The great thing is that when adults with ADHD open their eyes to their behavior patterns and accept what’s happened in the past (even if it was as recent as yesterday), we’ve got the ability to be stubborn in moving forward, focused on solutions to the challenge we’re facing, one day at a time. Heck – one hour at a time if necessary.
I realize very clearly that a lot of people are in desperate need of help, and they are having a hard time even coping, let alone learning new tools like changing the way they look at life. Heck – I work in a mental health setting, so I see it every day. The great news is that professionally trained staff like nurses, doctors and counselors help millions of people each week to get stable, take baby steps to recovery, and get to the “place” inside where a blog post like this will remind them that there IS hope, and that “this guy Jeff Emmerson changed his life around. Maybe I can do it, too!”
As with anything in life, your attitude determines your success and sense of fulfillment. None of us can run from that fact. Believe me – I tried.