10 June 2010

Coming out as impulsive. An ADHD perspective

I'm impulsive. Yes, I realise this may come as a shock to some of you but there it is. I've said it. Impulsiveness is a big part of ADHD and I have landed myself in trouble because of it many times. So, I decided to make a Good/Bad list of things I do due to impulsiveness.

In fact, I might actually write a series of totally self-indulgent blogs about ADHD, what it does and why I (and many other with ADHD) are generally weird, nasty, rude, friendly, enthusiastic, impulsive people.
Just to help me understand why I do things. And maybe, if you read this, it helps you understand me too.

Saying things before thinking them through: the most obvious ADHD thing.

Quite often I will get a thought in the middle of a conversation and I immediately voice that thought. It can be a creative idea or an opinion or a sudden understanding (or presumption of understanding) about parts of the conversation.

Most people are able to wait for the other person to finish talking before they voice their ideas. I frequently am not. Most people are able to think a thought through before voicing it. I frequently am not. Most people are able to wait to hear the full story before blurting out a solution. I frequently am not.

It is not because I am rude, don't care about other people's opinions or like the sound of my own voice. It is genuine enthusiasm, a willingness to offer solutions, a desire to help.

So, what are the good and bad sides of this?

- My ideas are usually not held back by second thoughts such as: is this possible, should we be doing this, what will others think. It is a good thing because a lot of ideas are killed before they are voiced because we run thought them in our head and dismiss them before having them out in the open. With me, I blurt out the idea and then everyone starts thinking about it. A lot of the time it turns out it is a silly idea. But other times, people think: That's a wacky idea but actually quite good.

- It can cut conversation time short when I say the correct thing. Saves time :-)

- It shows I am eager to participate

- It shows I care about the subject and/or the person I am talking to

- Most importantly, I can come across as deliberately rude (as opposed to accidentally) due to interrupting people or saying inappropriate things when other people think I should bite my tongue; offering a solution to EVERYTHING even when I should just be listening without speaking.

- It can make me look rather weird and far too eager when immediately latching on to someone else's idea and running with it.

- People might think I am far too enthusiastic about stuff they only mentioned half-heartedly as my mind starts racing with ideas they are not ready for yet. Or they have some un-finished ideas and I take them and run with their ideas, not always realising I am just supposed to say: great idea, let me know when you are ready to discuss it further.

- It can be confusing for people when I say something and then say: no, that's not quite what I meant and then I re-word my previous idea/statement and basically let the thoughts form AS THEY COME OUT OF MY MOUTH instead of thinking them through, making sure I say exactly what I want to say. So it may take me 3 or for repeated attempts to finally say what I really wanted to say. And how do you then convince people that they should ignore those things you said before?
Extreme example:
1) "That is one ugly dress you are wearing".
2) "Actually, I don't mean that. I don't like it at all but that doesn't mean it IS awful"
3) "No, I mean to say: it is not my style but I have to admit it looks good on you. Please ignore that I said it was ugly and awful at first. It's not so bad when I look at it a bit longer..."

And so on and so on. No malice meant and, to be honest, the same thoughts that go through everyone else's mind before they open their mouth. Just that I have these thoughts in real time.

So which one wins? Good or bad?

With people who are already my friends, people who understand and trust me, the good side most certainly wins. But with people I don't know so well yet, or with people who are insecure themselves, it is most definitely a bad thing.

Solution: surround myself with confident people who are not upset hen I blurt out something stupid. Or get my friends to say: Do you want to think about that one again and then maybe repeat your idea once it has formed properly in your mind?

1 comment:

  1. I love this style of speech hence why I really enjoyed the time at Wychwood with you!:) I studied few languages and linguistics and I cam to conclusion that I am tired of how people interpret what I say or mean - I just say things - they will do with it what they want. Actually, they always interpret it int he best for them way:P