August 9, 2013

I'm ADHD and...Squirrel!

I can relate to this little sideways goat. 

I was recently diagnosed with Adult ADHD. What does it feel like? See that little goat with his head turned sideways? My thoughts have raced around at a frantic pace since I was a kid, making me feel as if I was viewing everything at a slight tilt. No neat little rows of easily accessible information for me. It's been like having the messiest filing cabinet in the world in my mind, with everything simply shoved inside in random order.

Over the years I learned tricks to help me function. I made lists at work like a mad woman, and carried a notebook with me everywhere. If I didn't write it down, it was lost forever. When I needed to remember to do something, I often left an item out so I could see it as a reminder. Getting up during boring meetings and trainings wasn't appropriate business protocol, but taking the cap off of a pen over and over and over and over was OK. So was slipping my shoes off and on, off and on, off and on under the table where no one could see. And the Internet with its online banking and automatic payments became my best friend ever. I no longer had to remember to pay any of my bills. 

I have my new husband to thank for helping me seek the help I've needed for so long. I wish I had been diagnosed so much sooner, but I've never been the typical bouncing-off-the-walls ADHD person that most people envision. I'm a daydreamer, unfocused, forgetful, fidgety, a little impulsive, hard to have a conversation with, can't follow directions, leave things partially done, and until recently was fairly good at masking and minimizing my symptoms so they didn't add up to something being "wrong" with me.

What I've come to realize is that there is nothing wrong with me, I'm just wired differently. My brain needs to be stimulated so I don't have all those symptoms that add up to ADHD. I started taking Concerta a couple of days ago and I can already feel a difference. I feel calmer, able to access information in my head easier and more quickly.

Of course, this is just the beginning of my journey. I still need to learn tools to help me live a more normal life. We'll have to figure out the right dosage of medication and I'll have to stay committed to taking it daily. But I'm looking forward to these things. I'm looking forward to never again feeling like I'm looking at the world sideways like that little goat.