I love analogies. They are one of my favourite tools. Every time I close my eyes, I see in pictures and my imagination runs wild. It’s almost as if my mind is programmed to naturally see life, thoughts and ideas in images. According to many studies, some people perceive things in visuals while others see in words. They certainly hit the nail on the head on that one as I prove to be someone who perceives in images.
Someone asked me a few weeks ago,
“What is your ADHD like to you?”
To them, it seemed like my mind and body had frozen in time in response. Although it didn’t appear that way on the surface, my mind was racing through a whirlwind of imagination, processing thought after thought to answer this question right to the point. However, putting all of my thoughts into words seemed too hard at that moment and so I answered… “I’m not sure, but I’ll get back to you on that”.
What I replied with was always my go-to response whenever I needed to process my visual thoughts and articulate an answer. However, this question in particular got me started on a new path of discovery. I took the quest very seriously and started asking others the same. The answers I got in return were surprising! No two people had the same answer and each one was unique. People with ADHD have many things in common but, at the same time, each person sees, perceives and experiences the world very differently. Read on to see some of the responses I received!
I needed some time to fully consider the matter. My creative imagination was running wild in my brain. I wrote down keywords and then burst out in excitement:
“My ADHD is like a constant roller-coaster ride with many ups and downs. The battles of ups and downs are quick, intense and relentless. It’s as though something is controlling this roller-coaster ride that is your life! But without those downs, there would never be the ups!!”
When I spoke to Isaac, he looked like he went into a daze and teleported to another place but, I knew he was only lost in contemplation. He was unmistakably a visual thinker. It was obvious! His eyes sparkled as he responded:
“My ADHD is like a never-ending dream that also happens to be a nightmare. One moment it feels like I am on cloud nine and the next, there’s darkness lurking in the shadows. I still haven’t figured out how to wake up!”
Izzy knew her answer to the question right away. Her body language and facial expression conveyed the passion and enthusiasm she felt about her response. Her words shot out of her like a rocket shooting into the sky. She was unquestionably a verbal thinker! She squealed:
“My ADHD is like a never-ending car race. Constantly accelerating, always attempting to catch up with everyone else. There is never a moment of calm and there were many unexpected bumps and twists along the way. I hope to win the race one day!”
You may be thinking, why exactly is this question so important? Well, after a diagnosis, it’s hard to navigate your thoughts around what ADHD means in your own life despite the criteria that diagnose you. Coming up with your analogy can offer you clarity and help to make sense of what ADHD means in your life. Aside from that, it can be a lot of fun!
Here are my top I’s for coming up with your ADHD analogy:
Instead of focusing on the diagnosis, look around you: Look around and see how your ADHD presents itself in your world rather than dwelling too much on what a report says!
Consider how your ADHD feels: Emotions and sensitives can be challenges but if channelled right, they can also be strengths. Put them to good use by letting yourself experience those emotions that come with ADHD and analyse how it impacts your life.
Draw and write down keywords: Get it out of your head and onto paper. If we keep all of our thoughts bottled up within our brains, it can become hard to explain our views. Whether it’s through pictures, words, phrases, or creative collages, try letting it all out in a way that works for you!
Pose the same question to others: Gather ideas and be curious about how ADHD presents itself in the lives of others. It’s fascinating, believe me!
Once you’ve understood it, put it to use: Make a poster, write it down or memorise it. Knowing how ADHD manifests in your life can be insightful for someone else who is entirely new to the world. Rather than relying on the dictionary definition, tracing back to a personal experience with ADHD can help you view it in a different light. This can also help others feel more at ease with what ADHD entails.
So, as a last thought, why not look into the answer yourself?