Negativism vs Pessimism

I t is a common mistake to conflate “being negative” with “being pessimistic.” To me, being negative means being realistic, it means being faithful to the lived experience, it means acknowledging what should be obvious to all. If “being negative” becomes the sole purpose of one’s life, now you are moving into the realm of pessimism. But to acknowledge that the ADHD life is a set of struggles and triumphs is to acknowledge the reality of life. Almost all of my output on my blog is meant to be an acknowledgment and externalization of the struggles of the ADHD life so that it does not turn into pessimism. Interestingly, I find that “being negative” does not take a lot of energy. It is liberating. It acknowledges the struggles and allows for a creative outlet for those struggles so that they don’t eat me up inside. It allows me and others to laugh at those struggles so that we can then go on and do those other things in life that we enjoy.

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  • Anonymous

    Jeff, yes “struggles” is the right word, and that’s how is goes when somone has ADHD. I can remember saying things like: “I am learning to face the reality that I have ADHD.” many times after I was diagnosed. But now that sounds weird to me because the fact was I had been living with that “reality” all my life. I just didn’t what it was called. So, the knowing “what and why” and being able to have a place like Jeffsaddmind has been many times an “outlet” for myself and many others.

    So, yes, “being negative” is “liberating”. When we can do that with others that accept reality and laugh about and at it sometimes. And many times we learn from each other some things that have worked good for us or not so good sometimes in our personal ways of dealing with those struggles.

    I’ve been thinking a good way for me to deal with ADHD is to just go ahead and buy that Island in pacific, hire just enough people to make my meals and so on, then leave me alone until I ring for em…. Oh well f*** that idea…Reality just reminded me that I have ADHD and I’m not rich and famous. ;) Good post Jeff! 

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      We’re in complete agreement…including the island in the Pacific!! Too often we forget that life itself is a series of struggles/challenges. For us ADHDers, we just have a few more added to our list. (Okay…a LOT more!)

  • Augie Weiss

    I’ve always been accused of negativism. I think of it a Devil Advocacy/ism. Not that I want to tell you your idea or work project is crap but for the positive reason of finding weaknesses to make improvements. Nobody is more critical of me than me. If I have to say don’t take it personally one more time……

    Oh, well can’t please everyone all the time. Oh, and I got fired from my last job for doing it. I created a hostile environment by belittling the people working for me by pointing out better ways to do things. Or maybe it was my tone of voice.   

    If I wasn’t positive why would I want to fix everything and everyone around me. I know it / they can be better.

    Like they say no good deed goes unpunished. Was that negativism or pessimism? 

    Scott, I’ll go in with you on that island as soon as I make my next billion. 

    How about we rent one. Just stay on your side. LOL

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      I think people who intellectualize things, think things through, are probably more often accused of being negative.

  • Katy R.

    I call it “dealing in reality”. And it’s always more comfortable to me than the alternative. Was I bummed about my ADHD diagnosis? Hell no…I was relieved. I like dealing in reality. 

    • Jeffs ADD Mind

      We’re in complete agreement. I rather know the truth of what I am dealing with than to live a lie.

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