why do i have to be “ less” ADHD?! - CHADD's Adult ADH...

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why do i have to be “ less” ADHD?!

wtfadhd profile image

employers will post jobs and say “ we dont discriminate due to gender, disabilities, etc. but thats not true. if a person has lung cancer n coughs alot its accepted, same as someone who has diabetes n has to take breaks to take insulin . etc etc etc. i could give lots of examples but you get the point. But ADHD is an invisible disability- its like all my symptoms are character flaws. i cant walk into an interview n say yea- i need flexible work hours bc i hate waking up in AM, i need everyone to talk faster n be interesting if they approach me or else i will trail off, i also cant dress up because only certain clothes feel acceptable to me, i need a computer that never breaks down bc waiting for IT causes me to be hostile, all meetings must be 20 min max and all ideas need to be relevant, also- no one can chew ice when i am nearby…. 😂😳😂 ADHD sucks bc like I said- to the outside world, It just looks like character flaws. ADHD is so misunderstood. I think being transgender or basically any other “ thing/ issue” that makes a person different would be wayyy easier. alot of info n resources for ADHD is contradictory- its like” love yourself exactly the way you are- and here are tips on organization to help you be more effective n happier. ummm do gay people get professional strategies to be heterosexual and have it be socially acceptable?!? hell no- that would not fly. sooo sick of articles on what i can do to be more socially acceptable n function like a neurotype person. where do i fit in the world being just plain me? i have resigned from my job so that i can figure this out. i know there has to be a balance- i havent struck that balance. im 47 and just spinning my wheels. i can fake it to make it… i have done that my whole life- but damn- what kind of life is that?

anyone stuck in this same type of mindset?

im not looking for well meaning “ life hacks” on how to manage my symptoms. id really like to hear how folks have mastered not having to be less ADHD in a professional work environment( im a social worker/ drug n alcohol counselor) and still thrive in their profession. thanks so very much!!!❤️

12 Replies

My perspective seems to be very different than yours. IMO, if you have disability, but you have the skills for a job and your disability doesn't prevent you from doing it, then you should be considered for the job just like anyone else. If you can't do the job, for any reason (including your disability), then you aren't really qualified to do it. If there are some reasonable accommodations that allow you to overcome your disability then you should still be considered.

Your example with homosexual individuals is not quite right. "Here are some helpful tips that will allow you to lead a homosexual life, without it interfering with your job" would be more in-line.

I hate wearing a tie. I feel like it cuts off the blood flow to my head and gives me a headache. It can literally be painful. If I apply for a job that requires me to wear a tie and I get the job, I really have no right to refuse to wear a tie or even complain about it. I can buy shirts with larger necks, I can get "collar extenders", or take any other means that are feasible to make it more comfortable to wear ties. Heck I can even take advil twice/day for the headaches. All that's on me. Not on my company. If I don't want to wear a tie, I should find a different job.

I suppose you could use pants as a similar example...

Love yourself. Sure. Also learn how to get along with other people. Which includes wearing pants outside the house. When you are home, do whatever works for you.

I don't see those statements as conflicting. In fact if I learn how to get along better with other people, I'd be happier and love myself even more for having those skills.

I want to reply but Itll take me too long - adhd!!!! I Also worked in that industry, and the rehab clients got to me. Ijusthad to start letting go of every job that was deadline driven or team driven or triggered pressure in me, accept myself and that i wanted simple jobs like even kennel assistant for $14/hr, even though i had an advertising degree - hated that team-deadline drive industry.... and evenually fell into a swirl of sort of subtitling/transcription work I can do on my own w minimal interactions w thw world, interesting enuff since its watching new netflix shows paired w living and working on a farm which couldnt be better for my mental health. It has taken 45 years to find this mix. Only after acceptance of my limitations. But remember that helping others like us is fulfilling too. I did enjoy working w addicts, teaching yoga and meditation, etc but it was only good after I realized I was an addict too. Maybe there is a way to help others w ADHD.

I loved your post! I’m an ADDer too. I’ve struggled with most of the issues you brought up. All I can say is believe in yourself, try to create your own path and never give up! God bless! 🙏

Male, 40s, just diagnosed, stable job several years, probably mild ADHD

Your experience may not match mine. But here's my take on it: ADHD affects different people in different ways, so IDK your specifics.

I've learned tons of productivity tips that helped me adapt to having ADHD loooong before I knew I even had it. And those skills have advanced my career, relationships, income and happiness. Many of those skills were hard-won. Some, I have only just started learning with CBT from a therapist (LCSW).

I got bored on my commutes. Wanted to learn stuff. Realized I had a chance to improve myself and my career by finding podcasts and books that would help me grow. Most of those were productivity podcasts. While many tips didn't SEEM to work, it gave me greater insight into how to be a mature adult. I mean that nicely, in that nobody is fully mature, it's not something you "arrive" at. 100 years old, hopefully I will still be maturing.

Over several years, I gathered some really useful advice and I could apply it consistently enough (not 100%, cause...adhd) to advance to a senior software engineer and tech lead. I had to take some hard advice from managers, like I was at the center of some negative conversations. Also, that I needed to change my attitude to "how to make this work" instead of "this won't work because."...

If you are religious, I do believe in miracles. Pray for/work for those too.

I had a good mentor teach me several skills, that turned out to be things my counselor is teaching me related to Cognitive Behavior Therapy 10 years later.

I didn't expect my skills to build overnight. It took years. I took 8 years to get a 4 year degree, dated and married later than I would have liked, and had to be patient with practicing skills. Key here was in learning to not see a failure/inconsistency as a reset, but as experience. It took me perhaps 6 years to get consistent doing dishes for my wife. I'm thankful she put up with me, but it wasn't always pretty. These days I get through it by having conversation or music or audiobooks etc.

All that said, I am a software engineer, in a job that doesn't expect suuuper specific hours (though within reason--gotta be there by 9 and work full time). Not all software jobs are like that--I am decidedly against working in the banking industry.

Well, droning on. ADHD doesn't define me, though I deal with it. And there's no cookie cutter mold for an ADHD'er (though many correlations and variations by degree). So hopefully something here is helpful, if not to the OP than to someone else. Shrug.

BTV65 profile image
BTV65 in reply to 99centss

"I needed to change my attitude to "how to make this work" instead of "this won't work because."..."

Huh... Never realized that might be an ADHD thing. I think of myself as a good planner/problem solver. Part of my "strength" is seeing flaws in designs. How something can cause problems or make a process not work. So I definitely approach design meetings by trying to shoot holes in things. "Why this won't work" - Of course once you see a problem, then you can work on a solution to it. If you don't notice the problem, then you put all this effort into building a product only to have it fail. Then you have to go back, redesign, rebuild, retest... I think it's much better to have people around to poke holes in designs at the start so that you can come up with a better design to start with.

99cents profile image
99cents in reply to BTV65

I'm speaking more about people organization and institutional issues. It's one thing to problem solve an area of responsibility in a constructive way, another to complain and advise other teams of incompetence or malign them.

These days I point out an issue, with suggestions or solutions, but once a decision has been made I support it and try to make it work.

BTV65 profile image
BTV65 in reply to 99cents


Yeah... totally different thing. If you need to use the word "malign" to describe it, then it's safe to say it's not a good thing.

I am 45, and I am a mail carrier. I have my own route. I’m newly diagnosed with adhd and also high functioning autism.

I have lost several jobs due to “lacks time management and focus” and “cannot follow instructions,” and yet I’m THRIVING and excelling as a mail carrier.

My adhd challenge is my morning office organizational time. With the other people and carriers there, conversations distract me and sometimes I bounce around to distract other people. (REALLY working on that!!!)

When I’m on the street delivering, I work distraction free mostly. I “play” my job like a video game. Me clearing levels (neighborhoods) avoiding obstacles (& chatty people), using extreme accuracy ninja skills, all before the clock runs out! And I go home when I’m done.

All of my quirks and skills are a perfect match. I never get bored and get in trouble (well…aside from being awkward and distracting in the office…boss says “headphones!” so I don’t get distracted). I get to work most of my day alone and outside with a clock ticking (helps the procrastination tendency).

So I would say my “disability” helps make the job more interesting, and lets me be my goofy nervous social-spazz self. I can hyper focus on matching names and addresses. I am not distracted most of the day (unless flowers or cute bugs or dogs and wildlife….one customer sat in his driveway where I couldn’t see him, and I’m quietly watching a spider stalking a fly on the mailbox for a couple long moments…and I’m talking to the mailbox…and I see the man out of the corner of my eye and blurt out “there’s a spider stalking a fly!” And then I get anxious and awkward and quickly drive away….”). The emotion that is the most bothersome for me is anxiety. I’m working on it. My coworkers are supportive when I need to be “talked off the ledge” on tough days.

Maybe this insight will help. It’s tough and exhausting pretending or finding stuff to do at a job to kill time. Uuuuuggggghhhhh….. I’m happy I found a match that lets me be me finally. (& we could use more help!) *wink wink*

There are so many reasons people can struggle with adhd symptoms.

The struggle is real!

Stigma is real.

Shame is real bad.

We have good days and bad days.

People are quick to blame stuff on adhd.

If you go to your employer and tell them you have adhd -some will amplify everything and treat you inappropriately. Every mistake you might make will be labeled adhd ( potentially).

Be very good to yourself always, but don't expect employers to understand your adhd. Potentially they will hold it against you.

Divulge very cautiously if at all. Maybe they don't need to know.

Thank you for all the replies n opinions n perspectives. Im considering all that was said❤️

Zimmy Zimmy hit the nail on the head. When I was in my 20's and early 30's I was a wildland firefighter, and for those who know something about this line of work, a Hotshot for 4 of those years. It was the perfect job for someone with ADHD....lots of physically demanding work, a harsh fitness routine that rivaled Olympic athletic training (we burned 10,000 to 12,000 calories a day when on wildfires) lots of adrenaline, lots of changing situations so little boredom, and it was something I was really into, so there was so much to learn. It suited me well. As a woman however, even in my early 30's, it was getting harder to maintain my high level of fitness---I was already starting to lose muscle. So I left the job favorably, and took an office job. HOLY CRAP, that was hard, Luckily, the company I worked for had a founder and CEO who was an avid outdoorsy person, and it was deemed 'OK' to workout at lunch and just throw on your work clothes back on after and go back to work. So that's what I did to keep my ADHD in check and it mostly worked, but....they boredom and the repetition drove me nuts. Nothing about it was too engaging, after the initial learning curve. I also had a job as a manager of a nonprofit, and that was a lot of hands on, field going work, working my butt off. It was a good match, but the stress from helping underprivileged young adults with so much trauma, the fights and threat of violence caused me toxic stress, so I had to leave that job. My point is: Find a job and/or employer that suits you better, as this job does not seem like it does, but only you know that. If you are good with tech and need less structure, try working for Google.

yep- did the hot shot route in AZ when i was a young 20… fun stuff for sure!! . it was a great fit. i was single- no kids n undiagnosed. ahh the good ol days! lol

the emotional dysregulation, and sensory thing is my now my big issue n late 40’s . addy n my amish upbringing help the organizational piece… still struggling.

thx for input. i totally get your perspective!! ❤️

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