I’ve been writing a blog for about five years now. I write a lot about myself as a parent — my mothering triumphs and failures, frustrations and fulfillments, surprises and bits of wisdom. However, I don’t seem to talk much about myself as just Laura. That’s my real name, Laura.
I’ve been able to write about my son’s ADHD with little hesitation, but it’s been difficult for me to come to accept and disclose that I, too, have recently been diagnosed with ADHD.
When reading up on the disorder following my son’s diagnosis, it was undeniable that most of the characteristics felt alarmingly familiar to me. I wasn’t just reading about him, I was also reading about myself.
My most important piece as a blogger has been, “ADHD, a Real Medical Diagnosis.” It stresses the importance of removing the stigma associated with this diagnosis for my child’s sake and for all who carry the diagnosis. So why not move it along by sharing my own story? I am in no way ashamed. There is absolutely nothing that could have been done to prevent or change it. The hesitation is simple — putting it out there means being seen differently. The truth is that transparent. As an adult, the same stereotypes that worry me about my kid’s future are like giant barriers that stand in the way of my own day-to-day life.
I guess, in the end, moving forward means being willing to be seen as exactly who I am, and honestly, there is nothing wrong about that.
When the initial diagnosis was made official, I felt a surge of empowerment. There was a reason for some of the things that have plagued me, in one way or another, my entire life. Yet, months later, the sheen of this shiny new diagnosis, this “answer to my problems” has worn off. The realization of what it means has just begun to settle in.
I don’t want to preach to you about what it feels like to be me — to live in my brain. There are people with far worse fates than my own. Similarly, there are people with far better. We are who we are, better to work with that than try and be something else. I will, nonetheless, try and provide some information on how a brain like mine works.
I work from the inside out in a world that works from the outside in.
I literally have no less then four or five thoughts going on in my head at all times. My brain is never ever quiet. Yoga and meditation are my kryptonite.
I take in everything that’s around me in detail. I see, hear, smell and feel it all — the passing glance, the broken window latch, the plant in the corner, the banana peel that the guy just threw away across the room. Nothing filters, it’s all just there. Did you hear the bird tweet as it flew by the widow on the other wall? Well, I did.
I have absolutely no idea how to be quiet or subtle. Never take me to library.
Most things don’t have a designated place. No, that’s not true; its designated place is where I last put it down.
You will never get a word in edgewise with me. Ever. It’s not because I’m not interested in what you’re saying — it’s quite the opposite, in fact. There are just so many thoughts, and I don’t have the ability to judge which should be kept and verbalized and which should just return to the small recess of my brain from which it came. They. All. Must. Be. Said. Period.
I’m never doing just one thing at a time. Yet, if I attempt to do too many things, I implode and none of them get done.
I have begun a million projects — I’m still in the middle of most of them.
Unless it’s “do or die,” making a decision is difficult. It’s the overthinking and the thoughts again, people. I can rationalize, rethink, get new information, hem and haw, be wishy-washy, make a decision and then immediately change my mind because of — yes, the thoughts.
It’s going to take me about a year — maybe several years — to learn your name. However, I will remember your face, how and where we met and likely some random factoid or two about you. But I still won’t know your name!
I have an acute awareness of how the aforementioned characteristics make me appear to others. This makes me anxious and sometimes sad.
On any given day, my ADHD can either be overwhelming or not noticeable in any way. Inconsistency is ADHD’s hidden talent — its secret weapon. There is no way of knowing if it will be a good, highly functional day or an ADHD kind of day.
Can you see now why I hesitate to discuss it? That list is just the tip of the iceberg, and it already makes me seem unreliable, flaky, anxious, strange, scatterbrained and a bit of a pain in the ass.
Well, yes, at one time or another, I am all of those things.
I am also extremely creative and see things from a multifaceted perspective.
I blossom under pressure. While you’re still asking yourself if that’s the fire alarm ringing, I have cleared the room of all living souls and am halfway down the street with them. (True story: On a layover in London’s Heathrow airport, a man had a heart attack in line in front of me, and I was the first person to begin administering CPR.)
I have learned to understand and embrace others’ limitations, as I have to live with my own every day.
I am an “empath.” I can sense your feelings and emotional state just by seeing your face. I know, I know, it sounds like I’m trying to tell you that I am the star of “Long Island Medium.” No, I don’t talk to dead people, I don’t read palms and I can’t read your aura. However, because I do take in every detail of what’s around me, it means I’m taking in the details of your facial expression, body language, word choice, etc. I can tell if someone is pretending to be happy but truly hurting inside. I can feel your pain, happiness, fear, excitement, anger and boredom right along with you.
I love challenges. If I’m not challenged, I’m bored to tears.
I’m quick on my feet. Having a bevy of thoughts at the forefront of your brain often comes in handy. One or more of my random musings are usually at the ready for any situation that may arise.
Taking in information all at once often means I can see a problem before it becomes a problem.
So why did I just take to the time share the inner workings of my brain? The simple reason? Because I don’t think enough people truly understand the depths of this disorder and why in permeates our lives in the way it does. But on a larger note, I want to highlight that we are all different, none of us an exact clone of another.
This is not only incredible, but vital in continuing to make this world thrive. Our very success as the human race has risen from our differences, not our similarities. All of our brains play a role in this world. Personally, I am equally enamored with the brilliant brains that tackle today’s problems, as I am with the brilliant brains that created the Cronut and other such delicious foods and sweets.
A version of this post originally appeared on Man Vs Mommy.
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