How a Meme Changed My Life: Embracing My ADHD Quirks

Memes are just lighthearted entertainment people create and share to be funny, right?! Well no, they can be much more than that: they can empower you and even change the way you view yourself and your neurodivergence! This happened to me one night in March 2021.

Ilona T.

3 min read

It was 10 PM and there I sat, alone at the kitchen table in the dormitory, munching on a late-night snack and mindlessly doomscrolling on IG, desperately trying to numb the sharp pang of guilt that was gnawing at my gut. I was on a work trip, staying over in a student dormitory, and supposed to host and facilitate a workshop the next morning.

As usual, I hadn't prepared for the workshop other than a rough agenda I had sent to the participants. And as usual, I felt like a failure for not having prepared for the workshop well in advance. It was true that I had been incredibly busy, but perhaps I should have prioritized this task over other things that had consumed my time in the past few weeks.

Like countless times before, I blaimed myself for being such a slob and found myself thinking that next time I'd prepare well in advance while knowing deep down that it's a promise I've never been able to keep - and I just kept on scrolling like I was paralyzed except for my thumb…

… when a meme appeared on my IG feed (praised be the Algorithm!) and hit me like a bolt of lightning!
It was a picture of the superhero dad from The Incredibles putting on his superhero mask and saying "It's showtime!" and the text above said: "When you've waited until the night before a project is due so you can guarantee a hyperfocus".

It hit so hard, I could barely breath. Like, now that you say it, that's exactly what I had been doing all along! Before I knew I had ADHD, I used to jokingly claim that the last-minute panic was my ultimate source of motivation. I love being in hyperfocus, and the adrenaline induced by the pressing deadline - often combined with the ADHD night owl energy of early AM hours - is a sure way to get in the hyperfocused state.

And yet I nearly always managed to do at least an okay job, often the results were even stellar. (Or should I say extragalactic? Haha! Just like submitting my PhD thesis on extragalactic radio sources, also known as quasars, at 3 AM when it was due the next morning...)

So what I thought was my kryptonite was actually my superpower! This change in perspective was monumental and made me feel sooo much better about myself!

With renewed determination, I gathered my snack, retreated to my room, and had the three-day workshop prepared by 1 AM. The workshop turned out to be incredibly productive, and I received a lot of positive feedback.

This epiphany, sparked by a single meme, led me to reevaluate every ADHD trait I had from a fresh perspective: How could I stop feeling guilty about them and instead reframe them as superpowers?

I took this newfound insight with me to therapy, and my therapist and I made it the focal point of our sessions. Together, we devised simple strategies to maximize the potential of these superpowers and enhance my overall success.

The Life-Changing Meme by The ADHD Mommy

Now, I want to share this revelation with every neurodivergent person on the planet:

Life becomes remarkably easier when you embrace your natural flow instead of fighting against the current, striving to meet standards that are not even that relevant.

It doesn't matter whether you prepare something well in advance or the night before; what truly matters is that you get the job done.

Navigating through this world with an ADHD brain is challenging enough, so it's important to grant yourself grace and start approaching tasks in a way that feels natural to you.

Don't give a duck's quack about what the neurotypical standards dictate!

Embracing my ADHD quirks - How a meme changed my life
Embracing my ADHD quirks - How a meme changed my life

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