This morning, at age 40, I was diagnosed with ADHD.
Three years ago – four years after my son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS – I sat back and asked myself if I was autistic. After careful consideration, I determined I was not. Not being aware of any other ways to label my particular constellation of atypical traits, I concluded I was just weird.
When Ryan was recently diagnosed with ADHD, I started reading about it for the first time. About two weeks ago my dad forwarded me this article about how ADHD presents in females, and suddenly I started to suspect ADHD might be the root of every problem I’ve ever had.
I spent the last week basically replaying my entire life through the lens of ADHD, and suddenly everything clicks. Everything.
This is why I scored consistently lower on tests in school than my teachers felt I should.
This is why I can’t stop myself from saying stuff that gets me in trouble.
This is why I can’t remember what groceries to buy even if I have a list with me (I don’t remember to look at the list, or I read it wrong, or I freaking lose the list in the middle of the supermarket).
This is why I find being self-employed so much more difficult than working for someone who just hands me a schedule.
This is why as soon as I go to tell someone about a story I just read all the details fly out the window.
This is why I find is so difficult to manage normal everyday things like paying bills before they’re due or making Ryan breakfast without taking unnecessary detours to empty the dishwasher and look up that actor’s name on IMDB.
This is why I find it so difficult to maintain eye contact during a conversation: I can’t concentrate on listening to someone while being bombarded by all the information being projected by their face.
This is why I’m constantly fidgeting or playing with my hair, why I prefer using my computer at a standing desk, why I have sensory integration problems.
This is why I always click Publish on blog posts and then go back in to fix the typos, rather than proofreading first and publishing second.
I have spent the better part of 40 years hating myself because I felt incompetent, forgetful, careless, disorganized, flighty, generally not good enough. I’ve battled depression, an eating disorder, and general self-loathing because I didn’t know my brain is wired atypically; I thought I was just an idiot.
I feel the strangest type of relief now that I can put a name on what I’ve been experiencing forever. Like, I finally found permission to treat myself with a little more care and less anger. Someone out there understands how my brain works and has written lists of tips for how I can manage daily life in the neurotypical world. And when my insurance company finally approves my doctor’s prescription, there are meds available to help me find a sort of focus I’ve truly never had.
I think things are about to get a lot easier.