Soft Skills from ADHD that Are Often Forgotten

October is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) awareness month, and I want to share some soft skills ADHD has helped me develop. I know that for many people having ADHD is everything but a superpower and a gift. Because ADHD is a spectrum disorder, it affects everyone differently and to varying degrees. Some people would trade their ADHD in a heartbeat for something less debilitating or frustrating, and some relish in all the things ADHD enables them to do. This post isn’t another one of those toxic positivity posts, but more of another perspective—the side we may not always see, but may later come (or not) to appreciate in all its subtleties.

Personally, ADHD is just another facet of who I am, much like being a mother and a kettle corn lover. And as my knowledge about my brains’ preferences has grown, so has my acceptance of the disorder.

With that being said, in lieu of ADHD awareness month, I’d like to shed some light on aspects of my ADHD that I’ve grown to appreciate, whether it be a direct result of my ADHD or a by-product of it.

5 Soft Skills ADHD Has Helped Me Develop

  1. I’m empathetic—Being empathetic is one of my greatest strengths. Perhaps being misunderstood for so long has led me down the lifelong path of seeking to understand others. I care deeply about others. And because I know pain, I work hard to see that I don’t intentionally cause it.
  2. I adapt really well—Routines are stressful for me to adhere to, so since I seldom plan or organize my days, weeks, months, and life in general—I adapt pretty well to shifting circumstances. This serves me well when situations go awry (like when I was 20 minutes late to my wedding), but it mostly benefits me working in a trauma hospital that’s fast-paced, stressful, and often requires quick thinking.
  3. I’m also creative—It’s cliché and a common theme you’ll see from ADHDer’s, but I do believe it holds some truth. I can solve problems in ways people haven’t considered. I think outside the box, and I chalk this up mainly to my brain’s desire to use as little brain energy as possible. To avoid wasting my already-limited brain energy, I’ll find the quickest, most efficient way to get things done. Some may view this as a shortcut. I call it working smarter.
  4. I can hyperfocus (on things I like)—I can tell you all there is to know about relationship psychology and a book I read once when I was 10. If I find a subject interesting, I’m deeply embedded in it. This hasn’t landed me any remarkable gigs, but it did get me through college because I was genuinely intrigued by everything psychology-related.
  5. I see the grey area of things—Whether this is a result of my ADHD or not, I haven’t yet decided. But I’m pretty good at seeing things from all sides, and I don’t limit myself to black-or-white thinking. This could be from my refusal to be shoved into boxes or labels, but this trait has served my interpersonal relationships well. Perhaps it’s my ability to think abstractly, or maybe it’s my sensitivity to various stimuli, but it helps me view things objectively.

How Does ADHD Serve You?

By sharing how ADHD adds to my soft skills, I hope you can uncover some hidden strengths within yourself.

Are you someone who sees the best in people when they can’t see it in themselves? Can you hyperfocus when you’re drawing or creating music? Whatever it may be, understand that if you aren’t in a place where ADHD feels like a strength to you, you aren’t alone. Your feelings about that are valid and welcome here. Feel free to share your perspective in the comments down below.

On the flip side, if you recognize areas of your life where having ADHD has worked in your favor, share that with us in the comments down below too.

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