I wonder why it took so long to realize I have ADHD? Now that I am aware of it so many things are coming together for me. Memories flooding my head, a million instances where I knew I was different from everyone else, but I didn’t know why. Distracted. A word to characterize my life. I feel like it has robbed me of so much.
I am distracted right now, searching for the words I had just a moment ago, almost angry with myself for losing them before I had a chance to open this page. Indeed, I will most likely get up and do many other things before I actually finish this piece.Typing at an inhumane speed in an attempt to write them down before they all scatter, again, always. I am truly convinced that I could have solved all the world’s problems and written a masterpiece if only….
Yeah, if only. There is only reality however, and this reality says that it’s too late. Your broken. Brilliant, but broken. You don’t belong, and never will.
I always felt out of step. Like there was a secret that everyone else knew, but for some reason I was not privy to it. Everyone always seemed to have it all together and here was I, perpetually late, hair slightly mussed, sweater off one shoulder, no make-up, and mad dashing everywhere. I never sit still. I never even tried to because if I did I would drive myself crazy trying. “Do you have ants in your pants?” A question asked of the childhood me far too often and always said with a mild note of harassed displeasure.
Chewing my nails, staring out the window, and shaking one foot incessantly, off somewhere else. “She would be at the top of her class if she would only pay attention” It was on every report card, I swear. Classmates, relatives, and even strangers mentioning how your shaking the table or bench, disturbing them, disrupting. Not one of them knew that it feels better to do it. None of them knew that If I stop, even for a moment, then I focus TOO MUCH on something. Ahh, but isn’t that a good thing for someone with ADHD you might ask? Well, no, because to stop means that I will become hopelessly mired.
I become obsessed at the smallest details and can’t seem to focus on the bigger picture. Right…most of the time I am too spaced out to even think to look for one, and if I do manage to clue in somewhat then I’ll be the one talking over you in an excited hurry because if I don’t then what I have in my head, swirling around, just dying to get out, will be lost forever, and then I will sit there in utter silence trying to recover the impossible – – then you will give up and talk to someone else instead of that rude girl who only thinks of herself.
I am not going to turn this into a pity me plea, believe me. I am not going into details about how or where I’ve been hurt when others simply didn’t know what my limitations are. That’s not what this is about. It’s about understanding. Understanding me for a change instead of just tolerating me.
I am not a total loser ok? I have a lot of coping skills that I have picked up over the years. Like, for instance, I always have a list going. Always. It keeps me grounded. Also, I absolutely NEED to be distracted in order to focus. It seems contradictory, but there it is. That means having music in the background, tapping my foot, or even getting up and walking around when I should be sitting because in order for my mind to slow down long enough to make the connection to my mouth to speak or my hands to write I have to be focusing on more than one thing at a time. Heck, the more the merrier. I will be talking to you on the phone, feeding the baby, mentally making a shopping list, and wander the kitchen doing the dishes all at once. I am simply not happy unless I have three or more things to focus on. I have a photographic memory (that helps tremendously), and when all else fails, and there is absolutely nothing to distract me, I can play an entire song in my head. Words, music, all of it. Start to finish like your on YouTube.
Even worse than than being fidgety and distracted is my inability to take background noise. Everyday noise that you hardly notice and would never think twice about. A bunch of kids playing outside, ads on TV, the constant dripping of the tap, and oh Gosh, the mall is utter TORTURE! You know how it feels when someone startles you really bad and your heart jumps, your blood races through your veins, and your nerve endings are jumping in anticipation of danger? Yeah, that’s how it is for me to be in a crowd. Anyone who knows me knows I’ll frequently disappear in a small crowd of family, and even worse, I’ll totally lose it and freak out in the mall or in a crowded restaurant. I’m not a bitch and I’m not a Prima Donna. I’m overstimulated and I can’t help it. It takes hours to calm down afterwards and if I was two years old people would say I need a nap.
I guess what I am trying to accomplish here is to build a bridge. A bit of communication, a bit of understanding. I guess I am hoping someone would like to see my side of the story. What it’s like for me. So the next time I am shaking my leg and and tapping a pen don’t comment. Just know your lucky to have all your marbles in the same bag and try to ignore it. Please.