THOUGHTS ON ADHD
Some days (or weeks, or months) my mind feels like a pinball machine. I can almost hear the bells and clatter and feel the vibration. I love to play pinball, but having thoughts and ideas and “things I need to do” bouncing off the inside of my skull and off of each other is confusing, to say the least. Producing anxiety and depression typically.
I’m writing this, thinking I may not hit publish, partly because I’m not sure where it’s going. Maybe this is just for me and maybe others can relate.
Okay. So I am ADD/ADHD (if a person can be a diagnosis, this fits).
ADHD is a highly genetic, brain-based syndrome that has to do with the regulation of a particular set of brain functions and related behaviors.
Like any syndrome, this exhibits differently in different brains. But, a variety of symptoms have shaped my life for the last almost 70 years. The ADHD brain diverges from the “typical” brain and thought patterns in its Executive Functions. This is where the pinball action is intense.
I did manage to “get by” and conform enough to get and keep jobs, usually for a couple of years at a time before boredom and anxiety made it untenable to stay. My intelligence, ability to learn and react quickly, and ability to grasp the “big picture” was my saving grace for employers.
I was diagnosed a few months ago after dealing with mental health issues for a dozen years. It was a relief at the time because it explained a life that has been kind of all over the place. Marriages, bankruptcies, jobs, and various scraps of “livingness” scattered behind me. I suddenly knew that my crazy had a reason and it was a relief.
But with knowledge comes responsibility. It’s like being thrown into a big, new, important career after living on the streets for a long time. Fear and self-doubt run rampant.
So, I'm taking the meds and learning the effects that ADHD has on my particular life (the Executive Functions are affected differently in each of us). And, I’m finding myself double-thinking most of my actions/impulses and thoughts/distractions.
Knowing that I was/am neurodivergent explains much of my life, my stresses, my inability to follow the regular path and why I dug so many holes to fall into. It’s not that I “regret” my past since I can’t even imagine what I would have missed, or done differently. There are powers to ADHD also, that I won’t trade.
Before I was diagnosed with this, I struggled for most of my life with panic attacks, anxiety, depression, etc. all of which are comorbid or simultaneous with ADHD. I didn’t recognize these for a long time. But, fear and risk were driving factors of my first 50+ years, and, in ways, they still are. PTSD is also a factor in ADHD.
My challenge now is not to be “normal”, as that is what has led to many of my difficulties. My challenge is to move beyond and use my powers of intelligence, understanding, creativity, empathy, and resilience to build anew.
This rumination has taken two days to write and it seems very mundane to me. It has led to new viewpoints of my situation though. I do have talents that may or may not “save” me if I apply them. Other people with this have been very successful, so there is hope.
I will write more soon.