If you’re a woman with ADHD, an excellent resource is the website Kaleidoscope Society. So I was honored when, yesterday, my Facebook post about my blog entry from earlier this week was shared on the Kaleidoscope Society Facebook page.
But my delight at the honor was tempered a little by the following (abbreviated) comment:
I disagree with the author’s wish to no longer have ADHD. I used to be like that: hating the whole thing and wishing nothing more than getting rid off it. But in all honesty, that doesn’t help at all. Having an internal fight against something that you cannot change will simply cause anxiety and stress. As soon as you start accepting and even embracing ADHD and its perks (yes there are many), then you will notice a shift. Especially in your mindset. I don’t mean to discredit the fact that obviously everyone deals differently with this and ADHD being often trivialised and it being invisible makes it a lot harder to be taken seriously by people who don’t have it or with a general ignorance towards mental health.
Reading this comment made me realize something: The time has come for me to address my personal ADHD experience, i.e., that it has been an overwhelmingly negative one.
So here goes.
I want to love my ADHD. I’m a pretty upbeat person; I think the fact that I’m a die-hard feminist but didn’t permanently take to my bed after Hillary Clinton lost the 2016 presidential race proves that. However, try as I might, I just can’t develop a positive attitude about my ADHD.
It’s not that I don’t want to. When life gives you lemons, you definitely should try to make lemonade; but the fact of the matter is that sometimes, the lemons you get are just too rotten. That’s how it is for me. Simply put, my ADHD is too severe for me to think of it as an asset, rather than a burden. I’m aware that many people have learned how to harness their ADHD, using their out-of-the-box thinking, etc., to their advantage.When life gives you lemons, you definitely should try to make lemonade; but the fact of the matter is that sometimes, the lemons you get are just too rotten. That's how it is for me. Click To Tweet
I don’t have that kind of ADHD. The ADHD I have renders me unable even to brush my teeth without immense effort; has me sitting with my mouth hanging open staring off into space ad infinitum regardless of what I’m supposed to do at the time. It has prevented me from working in a traditional office environment or full-time. As a result, I’m 28 and living with my parents indefinitely.
My ADHD symptoms have been so severe my entire life — even after I was diagnosed and started taking medication — that I didn’t start forming lasting friendships until high school, from which I almost didn’t graduate because my disability rendered me incapable of understanding the finer points of Algebra II.
Sometimes I feel as though I’m totally and completely alone in this. But logically speaking, I can’t be the only one with this kind of ADHD, so pronounced, it’s actually debilitating. And yet I’ve never read anything in the ADHD literature about it. It’s almost like because it doesn’t fit the ‘overcoming obstacles’ narrative, it has been erased from the conversation.
But as I implied in my last post, nothing is ever going to change for ADHD women unless we start speaking up about our disorder and all the trials associated with it. I see now that merely keeping quiet about just how bad my ADHD experience is, well, that won’t help me or anyone else with ADHD. It’s time for me to inject real honesty into this blog about my personal experience.
And I promise that I will.