Self-Awareness Leads to Self-Advocacy
Knowledge is power, and it is even more powerful when it is self-knowledge. One of the best things you can do to manage ADHD and improve your life is to know yourself better. Self-exploration is something everyone should do, regardless of whether they have ADHD or not. When you know yourself and your needs, you are better able to articulate what you need from others. This takes time, but it is well worth it.
Start by learning about ADHD. This will explain some of your quirks and why you struggle in certain areas. There are many resources out there on ADHD, some more reliable than others. To find reliable sources explore this website as well as organizations like CHADD and ADDA. Next, move onto exploring your areas of strength. A free test to assist with this can be found here. Furthermore, study your personality. Take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator test, and learn about your personality type. Look into the four temperaments and take tests to learn your dominant and secondary temperaments. There are several temperament tests out there on the internet, but I have yet to find one I really like. Also, study up on the five love languages. The man who came up with this theory has a website where you can take a test to determine your love langue(s). Studying ADHD, as well as your strengths and personality, will help you know yourself better. This will allow you to make more efficacious changes in your life and will improve the quality of your life.
ADHD Management Improvement
When you learn more about ADHD and how it affects you specifically, you have a greater power to overcome the challenges it presents in your life. For instance, if ADHD causes you to forget to set the garbage bin out on Monday mornings, you can recognize this struggle without judging yourself and create reminder systems to help you remember. Knowing how ADHD affects your brain allows you to recognize areas where you struggle without tearing yourself down. Instead of beating yourself up, you are empowered to make the right changes to improve your ADHD management strategies. We are all unique, and the combinations of interventions and strategies we use to manage ADHD will differ because we all experience ADHD differently.
A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with someone. Let's call him Ted. He was telling me that his girlfriend (Let's call her Nadia) had been pressuring him to get married, but Ted was not quite ready yet. As I was listening to him describe their relationship, a few things stuck out to me. Nadia nags Ted about playing video games, but he does not play video games because he is lazy. Ted gets chores done around the house, and it does not affect his work life either. He just needs that time to recharge, but Nadia wants him to take her out and do things. In short, Ted is an introvert, and Nadia is an extrovert. He told me that, when his dad mentioned at a family get-together that Ted is an introvert, Nadia said, "Oh, that'll change." No, it won't. Ted will always be an introvert, and Nadia will always be an extrovert. That does not mean their relationship will not work, but it does mean that, if they want it to work, they will have to learn how to respect each other's personality types. I encouraged Ted to take the MBTI test and learn what his personality type is. Also, I encouraged him to take the love languages test. I told Ted to take his results to his girlfriend to explain his behavior, and I told him that Nadia's response to that will tell him a lot about whether or not he should marry her.
When you know about yourself, you can better articulate with your loved ones about what you need from them and how they can love you in the way that you most appreciate it. I have made it a priority to have conversations about ADHD, personality types, and love languages with my girlfriend and others in my life. These have helped us understand each other better and have provided some unique and meaningful discussions about our various quirks.