Is ADHD A Super Power?
Some where along the line in my journey with ADHD, I heard someone refer to it as their super power. And for me, personally, when I heard that it felt empowering. And so I have been using that statement fairly often ever since.
Recently someone approached me, quite upset, and told me that ADHD is NOT a super power, it’s a curse, and I shouldn’t be spreading misinformation. Because I find it empowering to look at it that way, I invited the person to tell me why they felt so strongly that it is not a super power. In a nutshell, they felt like I romanticized ADHD and it just did not resonate with them. That’s totally fair!
So I started paying attention in the community to who uses phrasing the likens ADHD to super powers and who doesn’t, and what the general opinions are. Language is important so I love to learn about it. Let me tell you a little bit about what I learned.
Yes ADHD Is a Super Power
For I love viewing it as a super power, and I often try to help younger people frame some of their symptoms in this way. People with ADHD are rejected by their peers and told that they are too much and too loud so much more than their neurotypical counterparts. This leads to a lot of shame and guilt as I mentioned in another blog about ADHD Shame HERE.
People with ADHD, especially starting in childhood, have the negative pieces of their ADHD pointed out over and over again. Our parents, teachers, and other caregivers point out when we don’t follow directions, are late, unorganized, and talk too much. Eventually we often get labeled lazy, unmotivated, and defiant. And We Believe It.
When I can help a person shift and change some of that negative thing and ditch the shame by pointing out a way to look at some common qualities as super powers, that seemed like a good plan. Many ADHD folks have at least some of these amazing qualities:
- Out of the box thinkers
- Skilled Problem Solvers
- Ability to get a lot done when hyper focused.
- In depth knowledge of special interests
- High Sense of Justice and Fairness
No – ADHD Is NOT a Super Power
Reading all of the above, you might be wondering why anyone would think it a negative thing to reframe it as a super powers. That was my thought as well. And yet, the person who confronted me was not the only one who feels that way.
While researching, I found quite a few people who feel very strongly about not calling ADHD a super power. In face, some have stated that calling ADHD a super power not only romanticizes it, but it contributes to toxic positivity. In their opinion, calling the thing they struggle with a super power negates and reduces their very real lived experiences. That’s fair and I can respect that!
Managing ADHD symptoms, misconceptions, and struggles is not easy, and some folks believe by calling ADHD a super power we are not acknowledging the struggle. Forgetfulness, impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, rejection sensitivity, are certainly *not* super powers. Not every person with ADHD are creative, or resilient, and that by saying these are super powers, we are excluding people even if we don’t mean it.
The judgment and stigma we face is not easy. Finding treatment and medication and/or therapies that work for us take time and persistence and can make you feel pretty awful while finding the right combination. Even when you do find the right meds, we may have unpleasant side effects to deal with. It’s not something that is romantic, or easy, or empowering.
For some people, nothing about their ADHD – or their kids’ ADHD seems like a super power.
What Do You Think?
Is ADHD a super power? What do you think? I honestly see both sides of this one.
I think I am going to continue to use it for myself, because I DO find it empowering. But I will be mindful that it is not something that resonates with everyone, every where.
I also believe in a world where both things can exist, in the power of “and.” For me, ADHD is a challenge and something I struggle with AND there are things about it that make me feel empowered. I’d love to know what you think – leave me a comment or toss me an email!
🌻 Don’t Delay Joy 🌻
Kat Sweeney, MCLC
PS – If you would like to partner with me to uncover your personal strengths and identify YOUR super powers – please book a free 20 minute discovery session today.