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A Letter to People Surprised by My ADHD Diagnosis

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Dear friends and family,

If you didn’t know already, I guess the cat is out of the bag. I have ADHD. I was just diagnosed at the beginning of the year, but I realized I have unknowingly been dealing with it for quite some time (basically my whole life).

You might be surprised. I get good grades. I do not jump out of my seat randomly or have random outbursts. I can sit and watch full episodes or movies on Netflix.

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But these are not the only symptoms, and not everyone with ADHD has these symptoms. Everyone has different symptoms, and there can be differences between males and females.

My ADHD is displayed through my constant worrying and anxiety.

My tendency to constantly be on my phone, because I can change tasks often enough to satisfy my racing thought patterns.

My constant shifting in my chair, not because I am uncomfortable in the position, but because I have trouble sitting still.

My frequent typos even though I read and reread and reread what I type.

My love of exercising because it helps to relieve some of the extra energy I have so maybe I can keep my attention on an assignment for more than five minutes.

My lack of engagement in classes because reading for classes can be near impossible.

My constantly late arrivals because I try to brush my teeth, get dressed and make lunch all at the same time.

My loss of complete conversations because I could not focus on what you were saying despite my best efforts.

My last-minute assignments because the pressure of the clock is the only thing that nails me down in a seat to be productive.

My depression because sometimes I feel like I am 10 steps behind everyone else in classes and success is not possible for me.

I have been fortunate enough to have access to care that helps me. On my best days I am able to balance my time so I can complete work and decrease my anxiety. I am able to get something out of class and remember what happens after I leave. I feel like my head is in one place at a time, not five different ones.

You may not see a difference, but I cannot explain how amazing it feels to be in the moment.

As your relative or as your friend, I ask two things of you:

1. Please do not think of me differently, because I have not changed. I just now have a diagnosis for something I have always had.

2. And please do not hesitate if I bring it up. I want you to ask if you have questions. I want you to learn and understand me.

Still me

Originally published: March 17, 2017
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