ADHD & Impulsiveness: A double-edged sword

One of the traits I admire and admonish in myself is my impulsiveness. Being impulsive has brought me far in life; I’ve managed to jump into volunteering events, join new groups, and buy things that I love. However, it also cost me a lot of money, relationships, and self-esteem.

Impulsiveness from the outside

Impulsiveness is the most common trait of adult ADHD. We’re always on the move, always looking for something new, always running, running, running. The people around us think we’re “brave,” “inspiring,” and even “eccentric,” not seeing this ADHD symptom as a concern.

But behind closed doors, this symptom is like a rollercoaster ride from Hell. The steep incline is when our impulsive natures knock down doors of opportunity. We find new people, start a new school, or get married, and at first, everything goes great. We enthusiastically jump into new projects and everyone is impressed with us. We climb higher, higher, higher, until we reach that pause, right before the drop. And as soon as we’re accustomed to whatever we found “new,” our downfall begins.

Impulsiveness within

Our lives take a steep decline. We forget important dates, get bored of our current situation, and constantly look for something better, shinier, new. We start to grow anxious as our impulsiveness gets us in trouble with the law, friends, and family. And then, we hit rock bottom.

For many with ADHD, our minds are like a rollercoaster ride that never ends. We never get off that ride and experience the world for what it is. We lack the skills that would make us successful in the real world, skills like consistency, reliability, and focus. Despite our potential, we fail to materialize what we’re capable of, making the people around us wonder if we’re taking life seriously.

We start to hate our rollercoaster minds, and move on to greener pastures. Meet new friends, drop out of school, or find a new lover. We run and run for more stimulation, more fun, more new starts. But our track records keep up with us. We start to worry if we’ll ever settle down and succeed in one project. Or keep a job for more than six months. Or get work done without waiting till the light minute.

We start to hate how our minds are programed to work during moments of distress. We hate how our lack of focus costs us job opportunities, friendships, and chances of love. Instead of seeing our ADHD as a small issue of a lack of dopamine in the brain, we see it as a curse. A curse of forever watching ourselves crash and burn, all because of our inability to focus on the here and now.

How to end the ride

When I reached a dark place in my life, feeling like I would never make it, I realized the only solution (for me) was to take medication. Whenever I need to get homework done or spend a few hours looking for jobs, I always pop a pill and get to work. It was also important to remember that there’s nothing productive about feeling guilty about taking taking medication to function. It’s not healthy, and most people who demonize medication for mental illnesses have never dealt with one. So if you’re that person, you can keep it moving.

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