Do you wake up each morning full of ambition and determination that today is the day that you are going to tackle that To-Do list?
Do you go to bed each night feeling like a failure, resolving to try harder tomorrow?
That’s how I used to feel – until I started seriously looking into current research and available help and advice sources to actually take control of my ADHD, instead of letting it control my life.
I couldn’t believe how many people struggled with the same problems that I did, and I had no idea that it was my ADHD that was behind these issues.
All I knew about ADHD was that it affected concentration and focus, and was probably behind some of my more impulsive actions as I was growing up. Can you believe that I went home one day when I was 18 and told my parents that I was moving in with my boyfriend who lived 100 miles away, and that I was leaving at the weekend? I was so excited about it that it never crossed my mind that it might have been a bit of a shock to them, and that maybe I should slow down a bit.
I always assumed that everyone thought the same way, when I was studying I thought I was just too lazy to write my assignments, always leaving them until the very last minute and then pulling an all-nighter to get them written. One night, when I was finishing my degree at The Open University, I actually drove 60 miles in the pitch black darkness to put my assignment through the front door of my tutor because it was the actual day of the deadline. Cutting it fine? Definitely! – but it was the only way I could get things done! I got my degree in the end, that’s me in my graduation robes up there. My graduation ceremony was in 2004, and I was already a mother to two children by then. I may have taken a bit of extra time, and had a few course direction changes along the way, but I made it!
The biggest revelation I had was that the constant negative self-talk that I had in my head, that voice that just said “Wow, you really are useless”, was part of my ADHD. The Doctor hadn’t mentioned that when I was diagnosed; he just explained that my general lack of ability to keep the house clean was due to my brain finding it too dull to bother with. I mean, seriously, isn’t that most of us?
I was given some pills back in 2012, you can read about that here, and for a while they made a difference, but although I gained some energy and focus, it was another three or four years before I finally realised that medication wasn’t the magic answer that would transform my life and make me into a ‘normal’ person.
When I started to seek out more information, when I took an interest in what it means to have ADHD, I realised that I had just been trying to ‘fix’ myself. I was ignoring the fact that my creativity, sense of humour, intelligence and hyperfocus could actually be a great thing. That the good bits are worth celebrating!
I had been beating myself up about my failings, letting my self-talk grind me down, leaving me feeling that it was pointless to even keep trying. Now I have accepted and even embraced my ADHD and I want to share that with others out there who may be stuck where I was, who need to be pulled up, brushed off and shown that there are worse things you can do than forgetting to brush your teeth, or pulling into the driveway only to remember that you were supposed to pick up milk on the way home.
If you feel that your ADHD is a disability, if you feel that it makes you worthless, if you are frustrated by your constant battle to get through each day, then you have come to the right place. I have learned to embrace my ADHD, and you can too!