Imagine going through life thinking that you are different and do not belong. Everything you do seems different from everyone else. People telling you that you cannot perform tasks that way. In childhood, many people with ADHD went unnoticed because their signs and symptoms of ADHD were not disruptive. However, when they enter the work environment, they struggle and are judged for their behaviours. ADHD is not a moral failing – the condition requires different methods and systems to succeed.
André Brisson shares a lifetime of being penalized and ostracized at school and work. He describes his struggles as an employee and his professional failings – real or perceived. As an individual that was diagnosed with ADHD later in life after many years of living in chaos, André shares his feelings on a lifetime of struggles as an employee on a path of discovery toward diagnosis.
He struggled as an employee because his employer and colleagues did not understand or appreciate his intensity when he got interested in a new opportunity. They did not understand his intense focus for hours and days on a project. He would make decisions to change items in a project and procrastinate on other projects leading to chaos.
Adults with ADHD are often dismissed because they are misunderstood. They do not fit the mould. When André started doing tasks as his bosses directed, he started to fail, and tasks took longer to complete and execute. He had a hard time communicating with others. He was criticized for thinking differently and felt like an outsider. He wondered if he was working the right way, and often felt misunderstood.
André’s story is of one of the many stories that individuals with ADHD have. They struggle with acceptance and worry about the misconceptions that people have of them. Quite quickly, people develop a fear and feel constantly on high alert, which creates continual anxiety and self-doubt. Some individuals want to speak out, but they stop themselves because they do not want to embarrass themselves or the people around them. André describes this struggle as an internal battle and calls it the silent suffering. People want to be accepted.
Managing ADHD at work varies greatly between individuals because everyone experiences different levels and symptoms that depend on the job and their own stress. There is no magic cure or solution for those experiencing difficulties in the workplace. It takes time to assess impairments, implement strategies and ask for accommodation when appropriate.
By working together to advocate and educate we can all succeed.
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