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I'm No Longer Apologizing for Excessive Talking With ADHD

I’ve always been the talkative type. Growing up, I was jokingly referred to as a “chatty Kathy” and for years, I was convinced I was an extreme extrovert when really, I’m not. What was happening, though, was really a trait of my (at the time, undiagnosed) attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), commonly referred to as “excessive talking.”

While some may indeed find my talkativeness, well, excessive, I hesitate to agree. We all have our different ways in which we communicate and this is just how my brain happens to work. Yes, it’s a symptom of my diagnosis, but that diagnosis is a description of the way my brain works.

Over the years, I’ve learned to mask this excessive talking more and more, but it still comes out when I’m excited about something or when I’m explaining something that I’m passionate about. I’ll start speaking faster, louder, I’ll move my hands a lot more, my thinking will become more scattered (which is then reflected in my speech), and I become more prone to interrupting others. Often, when this happens, the person I’m talking to will say something to tell me to slow down, take a breath, put my hands down or lower my volume. Because of this, I frequently apologize preemptively when I notice those same patterns popping back up.

Recently, however, I’ve had a different response to my “excessive talking” and overall excitement. Instead of being told that I need to stop, my boyfriend often responds with something along the lines of, “it’s cute when you get excited.” It’s a simple remark, but one that leaves a significant impact, making me feel so seen and accepted in a way I didn’t even realize was possible. This has led to the realization that while, yes, this is a part of my ADHD, my ADHD is also a part of me — and I can’t accept myself without accepting that, too. Likewise, when I want acceptance from those around me, that includes acceptance of the way my brain works, which includes my excessive talking.

Continuing to apologize for what is ultimately a part of who I am doesn’t help anyone in the long run. It makes me feel rejected and misunderstood, while the other person fails to recognize that this is part of how my brain operates, likely leading to frustration when it inevitably happens again. So while I’m done apologizing for my talkative nature, I’m also going to make an effort to explain it when someone makes a remark about it — not to apologize, but to let them know that this is part of who I am, and that needs to be OK.

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