My ADHD Danger Tolerance Is Larger Than My Pals’
When I was about 7 years old, I read a motto on a hat that has accompanied me to this day: “Face your fears, live your dreams.” I think of it when I am about to take a leap as if I were a girl approaching in a bar or jumping out of an airplane. It’s the tickle in my stomach – that tendency to take risks for a great result or an adrenaline rush. Sometimes this ADHD trait serves me well, and sometimes I forget that it is neither universal – nor generally appreciated.
I recently tried teaching my best buddy to drive. She is super smart and has more skills than she thinks. We drove back a month and she did it amazing. It was scary, but I chose a safe, quiet area. We’d been driving around a parking lot a week earlier and their vehicle controls are tip top, so it was time to get them to drive up the aisles and navigate intersections. I pushed her out into the street to face her fears and underestimated how scared and actually really desperate, nervous and scared she was from the experience. Later she told me that if I “push” her she wouldn’t want to ride with me again.
It made me think about my behavior, such as my impulsiveness and my occasional insensitivity to the feelings or reactions of others – especially when I am fixated on doing something that I think is beyond my limits and producing something amazing. In this case, I could see that I was not only pushing my friend out of her comfort zone, but potentially putting it at risk by failing to recognize that her boundaries are stricter than mine and to anticipate that her reactions would be less positive and could be more negative.
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At the end of the day, under similarly daring circumstances, I have confidence in myself, my abilities and the mission. I want my friends to experience something special with me, so I take them by the hand and we jump together.
I never intentionally manipulated anyone, but I made people feel like they were doing something they didn’t want to do. Inadvertently I can come across as quite energetic, intense, and intimidating – I almost trap her with an “I don’t see why we can’t just try”. I see risk (whatever it is) as a means to an end and take it because I trust my own ability and assessment of the situation and I assume that feelings are universal.
But one of the big problems with ADHD is that we really have trouble instinctively reading and understanding other people’s perspectives. Because of the excitement, we sometimes assume everyone is equally excited, especially when they say they are. But when it comes down to it, they aren’t – and we often don’t see that until it’s too late. We also struggle to see long-term rewards. We think in terms of “now or never” so it doesn’t occur to us to urge a break to better prepare and build trust because it is time to get started.
That doesn’t make ADHD people really dangerous because we know we can adapt quickly, but it does mean we need other people to tell us firmly, “No.” I’m not doing this. ”Please don’t tell us,“ We’d rather not have ”or“ Maybe we could try later ”. Sounds like you have jitter and just need more security. That very little misunderstanding can ruin relationships. It can destroy trust. It can get very bad – on serious and far-reaching occasions in my life.
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For this reason, for example, I have developed unmistakable safety signals for every passenger on my motorcycle. I instruct and equip them, and I tell them to bump my helmet if they are scared. At this point I drop the gas pedal and check in with them using the microphone that I now have attached to both helmets. There is no confusion between a wind-damped “WEEEEEE! That’s great ”and“ AAAAAAH, I don’t feel so great! ”More because I made sure of it.
My buddy said she would learn to drive with me again after we talked about it and set firm rules and boundaries. She sets the agenda and her goal for what I’m supposed to teach her and I just run it through and take care of the details and logistics like planning the right place and getting there.
Little things can destroy trust, but they can also rebuild trust as long as the other person is willing and able to give you a second chance. Fear is powerful, but the clear, blunt communication between us means that I will be the most efficient teacher and will make sure she passes her exam this year rather than deterring her from driving by pushing her to do something outside of her comfort zone to do. I believe in my boyfriend She will look great.
Risk Tolerance and ADHD: The Next Steps
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Updated June 17, 2021