Your ADHD Symptoms May Include, with Steve Gregos – Heartifacts 2020

Heartifacts is a Code & Supply conference that encourages intimate discussions about mental health, community building, career management, and other topics software professionals need to talk about more.

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The story we’re told is that someone suffering from ADHD is scattered, forgetful, inattentive. They interrupt people, are more likely to be fired from jobs, can’t complete work on time, and absolutely cannot stop talking. Ever.

We’re told that people with ADHD flounder to function in the world around them due to these symptoms. But if we take that story at face value, why are there so many people with ADHD who are able to not only function, but flourish?

I viewed my symptoms as an added obstacle. One day, I committed to changing this viewpoint – I wanted to know why ADHD was viewed and described the way that it was. The viewpoints I had internalized came from studies done in the early 90s. In 2018, two studies showed ADHD in a different light.

Rather than scattered thoughts, we now describe cognitive dynamism: having so many thoughts running through your head that you become energized. Rather than inattentive, we now describe hyper-focus: the ability to become so focused on a task that you disassociate with the world around you. Rather than distractible, we now describe divergent thinking: the ability to generate creative ideas by exploring many different possible solutions.

Let’s start a conversation about the positive, impactful side of ADHD. The side that helps us be better at our jobs and in our communities. If you don’t have ADHD, you will be asked to have an honest conversation with yourself about what kind of preconceived ideas you bring when talking to someone with or about a mental health condition. Together let’s look at changing the story for those with ADHD.

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