As a close relative of a person with ADHD, I know what it’s like when someone you care about struggles to fit in to the everyday world; when tasks that most people take for granted – sitting an exam, following a recipe, catching a train – can be fraught with anxiety.
Over the years, as I learned more about ADHD, I began to recognize myself in the symptoms too, and that understanding helped give me a key to my own early difficulties with concentration at school, and with motivation and time management later in life.
I’m generally a happy and productive person now. I’ve been able to develop work-arounds to keep me focused, but the support, information and advocacy offered by organisations like ADHD New Zealand would have helped me immensely when I was younger. That support, information and advocacy is certainly a huge boost to us now as we help our family member adjust to adult life and the pressures of joining the work-force.
The endless variety of the natural world is reflected in us as well. We aspire to conformity, because it makes us easier to govern, to educate and to sell things to, but really we should be celebrating the fact that no two people are made the same. We need to cherish difference. Some of the most non-conformist people are exactly the ones who might help humanity make those quantum leaps that it makes from time to time – in science, the performing arts, philosophy, literature. If we can learn to be flexible in our assumptions about people, we can begin to view difference not as a difficulty, but as a gift.
I am very honoured to have been asked to be patron of ADHD New Zealand. I’m glad to lend my voice to the tremendously important work they do.
Photo by Deboral Smith