Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Lost and Found: A Story of ADHD Strengths and Weaknesses

by Kirsten Milliken, PhD

This morning began with a search for my tax documents.

During a snow day last week, I had gotten organized. I went through my box full of receipts and tax documents and pulled out the ones I needed for both my personal and professional taxes. I separated them and clipped each pile together. I put them in an envelope. I was so proud of myself for being so organized and on time getting this done! The envelope was put on the counter so I would see it and send it to the CPA.

My house cleaner was coming the next day, so I had to pick up and make sure all surfaces were clear of stuff (so SHE could clean). I picked up in a hurry because I had to get to work. The next two days flew by with long hours of driving and working.

Today is my day to work on my stuff. That included my taxes. So first thing this morning, off I went to find the tax documents so I could send them out.

I swore they should be in the pile that had accumulated on the counter. But they weren’t there. Then I figured they were in the other pile on the floor in my bedroom. Nope! I looked on my desk, figuring if they were there, they would have to be on top. No luck. This continued for another half an hour, without any success.

So much for my organization and memory skills! These are my weaknesses.

I have strengths, too. But I was in a rut, focusing on my weaknesses. My motivation and interest in getting my taxes done was waning. Finally, I stopped and did something else for a few minutes. Then I used my awesome ADHD superpower of visual memory! I had put the documents in a manila envelope. All I had to do was look for something that size and color.

The first one I found was not it. Then I went back to my desk and scanned among the piles and saw an envelope buried halfway down one pile. Success!

While I may not get a refund on my corporate taxes, my personal documents were in there, too. Thank goodness for my superpowers!

Can you identify? Got a story to share? Start or join a conversation on Attention connection, your social network for all things ADHD!

Kirsten Milliken, PhD, is a licensed clinical psychologist, a certified ADHD coach, and the founder of PlayDHD. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her two amazing children and two really freaky dogs. Dr. Milliken is passionate about helping those with ADHD communicate about the ways that ADHD affects them and coaches them to develop skill sets that build on their strengths in order to manage the day-to-day challenges of ADHD. She created PLAYDHD to create a specific awareness of the connection between ADHD and the value of play. Her website,, is dedicated to the art of using play in managing symptoms of ADHD, achieving goals, and enjoying life. She is an active member in the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO), CHADD, Attention Deficit Disorder Association (ADDA), International Coaches Federation (ICF), and a graduate of the ADD Coaches Academy (ADDCA). She regularly presents at ADHD conferences on the subject of play. She also hosts the PlayDHD podcast, is a frequent guest and former co-host on Attention Talk Radio, and contributes to various other websites serving the ADHD community.

1 comment:

  1. I can relate however not in such a positive way. Im constantly organizing my house only to start looking for something and it all goes back to the heap of mess it was before i organized. Its a never ending battle.