My name is David Sitt. I have the gift of ADHD. Some people only see the challenges that come with ADHD, saying: “It’s such a burden.” It certainly can be. However, there are many ways ADD (attention deficit disorder) and ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) can benefit and enhance one’s life, should you choose to embrace the disability. I’m glad I adopted this perspective and have grown ever since.
I initially suspected I had ADHD when I was a senior at Baruch College. I had the capacity to run 74 independent tracks of thought in my brain, all at once. At the same time, I struggled to meet my academic responsibilities. I strived to get As, but often got penalized for handing in papers late, and ended up with A-s or B+s, and even the occasional C-. It was an interesting balance to deal with the systems in place, the necessities of timeliness, organization, patience, clarity of speech, and harnessing my out-of-the-box thinking, all while sitting still in my classroom.
As a child, no one ever told me that what I was experiencing were the symptoms of ADHD. I was formally diagnosed in grad school, and threw myself into learning about it. I did a lot of research and even wrote my dissertation on adult ADHD.
The disorder is not something you turn on or off like a light switch. Rather, it’s something that you learn to control, almost like a soundboard with many knobs. You learn to adjust the dials: that much treble and this much bass. Once I accepted it as a lifelong work, ADHD became easier for me to deal with.
And the tool that has been the most effective in dealing with my ADHD has been mindfulness-based meditation. What I learned through my meditative practice is to see my mind from a distance. To observe my thoughts fluttering around, and recognize them as waves that come and go. Once I was able to see my thoughts and experiences from a distance, I was able to realize that I didn’t have to stop everything, but merely observe it in a calm manner and accept what is. This is my life with ADHD.