I am 26 years old.
The first week of 2018 was a big one for me. My doctor tested and diagnosed me with ADD. It’s really surreal to sit there with yourself and think, I have had this thing living inside me for 26 years and I never knew. I’ve always known I was different, and eventually throughout my teenage years I was diagnosed will depression, anxiety and OCD. With those came a bit of relief. Okay, this is why I’m different, at least I had an explanation and it appeased me until recently. The last 3 or so years I’ve seen articles pop up on my Facebook feed about Women with ADD/ADHD and how it manifests differently in them. They sort of jumped out at me and, intrigued, I started reading a few. I recognized myself in these articles. Maybe not 100%, but so many things started clicking in my head.
I had SO much trouble in school. I’m not dumb, but I had a really hard time and no one knew how to help me or what to do. I cried every day from 1st grade on, until literally the day I told me mother I could not go back.
I’m an artist. An artist that has had trouble finishing art projects my entire life. I love to make art, and I have so many ideas but finishing the product is really hard for me.
I have hundreds of tabs open at one time. Hundreds. On my phone, my computer, my iPad. I am so interested in everything but there’s also only so much time to read all these things.
I forget where I put everything. Again, my whole life I’ve done this. My poor mother had to find my things for me so many times because I forgot where I put them. She still helps me finds things I forget, to be honest. The remote and my phone are the absolute worst for me. I literally forget where I put them every time I use them. Grocery lists, I make them, get to the store and I’ve left it at home. Appointments, I religiously add to my phone any appointment I make while I’m making it otherwise I would never remember it.
There’s so many more things and I will for sure be talking about them in more posts, but today I wanted to try to get the sadness I am feeling out. With my diagnosis I felt immense relief. It was my number one emotion. I then went into a state where everything just sort of felt a bit odd. Maybe a bit of shock had set in. I waited to start taking the meds I was prescribed. I was a bit nervous as I didn’t have much of an idea of what to expect. Would I be this totally different person? Would that be good? Would that be bad? It was fear of the unknown of course. Then one morning I took one and I could feel a difference very quickly. I had more energy, and I could focus on things and actually get them done. With ADD, time can pass really fast because your brain just keeps jumping from one thing to the next and all of a sudden it’s an hour later and you’ve literally accomplished nothing because you’ve been living in your head planning birthday parties that are 8 months away or what you would do if you moved to New Zealand, you know just little things. I could feel the difference, but it also didn’t seem huge. I was myself still, but instead of thinking of 8 things at once I could cut it down to 2. When I realize I’m at 2 I can even concentrate enough to cut it down to 1. I felt the same, but less intense. Calmer. I’m not hyperactive but my brain is always going. The only problem with the meds I was prescribed is I couldn’t sleep. I probably slept about 6-8 hours over the course of two nights. By the third day, I was so tired that I didn’t take my pill the next morning. I needed to be able to sleep that night, so I wanted a break. The difference in that day was huge. I felt like I had felt every day before I started taking the pills, but now that I had another way of living, I realized how awful every single day had been before that.
This has lead me to a mourning of sorts, a mourning of a life I never had. Maybe that is selfish, maybe it’s not, but it’s where I’m at right now. I thought back to how awful my school life was, how much anxiety, crying, pain, I went through. Had someone known I had ADD, maybe I would have been put on meds then and I could have finished school. Could have been with my friends. I could have finished my art projects, stuck to my plans and goals. Maybe I could have went to college or university. None of these things have been possible for me so far in life, and although I know I’m considered “young”, I now have a family of my own. So the schooling aspect of my life is more complicated than just going back to finish.
I let myself mourn. I let myself feel sad. I let myself think of all the really hard days I’ve had just trying to do things that are so simple for everyone else. I let myself imagine what my life would be like now, had everything been different. I allowed myself to grieve. Now, it’s time to let that shit go. There’s no way to turn back time and get my diagnosis at age 6, and so it’s time to move on and live the rest of my life the best I can. And, because of my diagnosis and medication, I can do exactly want I want every single day. Maybe I’ll even remember where I put my remote.
So here’s to all my fellow ADDers. I see you. You are working so hard and you should always be proud of yourself for that.
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