Much of my adult life has been about understanding and healing the emotional trauma that occurs for so many of us who simply don't fit into the educational system. As of 2011, 11% of children in the US from the ages of 4-17 have been diagnosed with ADHD. This number continues to increase along with the intolerance, negative association, and great misunderstanding of these people.
"What is wrong with your brain?", "Why can't you just learn?", "Just focus!", "Are you retarded?", "Why can't you just do it right?", "Can you do anything the way I ask you to?" , "You ruin everything!" These are just a few of the things people like me have heard on a regular basis from either teachers, parents or other frustrated adults. By the age of 15 I had a permanent layer of shame that walked around with me everywhere I went. I fought it as best I could but more often than not it would seep into my daily thoughts and self concept.
This is becoming a huge issue in many families today. The parents and teachers are totally frustrated and the kids and teens are suffering from low self esteem, self doubt, negative self image and loss of hope. Medication has been the go to coping mechanism for this issue, but it is not working long term and in my experience it is the band aid not the cure. I took Ritalin from age 7 to 17. Sure it helped me focus the way they said I should but it also made me feel anxious and disconnected from myself and everyone else. For me, it highlighted the fact that I was different and that difference was wrong or bad. As a kid I experienced social anxiety, alienation and extreme worry about being rejected. I knew that there was something about me that was not ok and that I was always at risk of making a mistake or being left out.
The flip side is that as I started to mature I noticed that I had some really interesting insights about life and people. I noticed that not everyone shared this ability to dive deep into a subject of interest and discover new things. I started to really like this about my mind and I began to question all of these negative labels that were placed on me. I started to explore spirituality and energy since that was where my mind would often go during my daydreams. I could see how this "disorder" they said I had was perhaps a gift?
I see this in many "ADHD" kids and adults that I coach. They have a profound ability to go places with their thoughts that most people don't even dare to go. They have an innovative quality, entrepreneurs, pioneers and creatives who see things in ways that inspire me and confirm to me what I have always seen within myself. You see, the system is not interested in people who do things outside the box. The system rewards those who do it their way, the correct way, the already established way. I can't tell you how many times I would fail a math test because I found all the right answers but in the "wrong" way.
The emotional "stuff" that comes with ADHD is not innate, it is created by this feeling of not fitting in, or being wrong, not being able to please parents and teachers. When we see that they are not wrong but just different, we give these kids a chance to soar where they are meant to. When they have self doubt and confusion in our way we can't do much of anything, especially because they are ultra sensitive. I recently published an emotional workbook on Amazon. It is called spiritual fitness and it is a simple guide to process the emotions that come up that block us from our potential. As an emotional/ spiritual coach I see that 100% of all "issues" come from a misinterpretation of our own identity. When we have a negative self image, we have a negative aspect in our life.
We need to start seeing that diversity in thinking and learning is actually a benefit to our society and not a detriment. Let's start to see that attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is actually just attention dialed to a higher dimension. You can't make a difference unless you see it differently. You can't be the change if you are the same. Instead of trying to make everyone conform to one way of being, we can empower the diverse minds of our time.