Even in the middle of my assessment I still didn’t quite believe I had ADHD. I still felt like an imposter. Then Edward, my psychologist, told me I’d scored eight out of nine on the inattentive measures. I finally started to believe it.
By the end I was choking up, struggling to put anything into words. Was I relieved? Was I upset? Was I angry? Was I nervous? I just couldn’t tell.
That video call, unlike the many I have during a work week, was life changing. It was the culmination of two years of learning about ADHD and what it is, understanding how it impacts lives and listening to the lived experiences of those who also deal with it every day.
Before being diagnosed I believed myself to be lazy. I beat myself up for failing to reach the potential I felt I had but couldn’t seem to grasp. At times I would be furious at myself for being an idiot (in my eyes) or at inanimate objects and the laws of physics for just doing what they do (or don’t).
Other people would infuriate me (okay, some still do…) because I couldn’t understand why they didn’t understand something that seemed so simple to me, or why they took so fucking long to do or work something out.
Finally I know. My brain works differently to most.
It’s like a Formula One car zooming around a track but almost precariously so – the risk of a small event leading to a big crash being very real. In that cockpit you’re super focused – ignoring everything but the wheel in your hands and the apex you’re aiming for. At the same time, if you’re not in the right frame of mind when you get in that fast car, it’s not going to be your best. You might even stall and get absolutely nowhere.
Now, however, I know that my ability to super-focus to the point of having a mouth like the Sahara and a bladder the size of the Pacific is ADHD. It’s the same reason my parents would often have to shout at me to get my attention even in the same room. We were all wrong to get my hearing tested!
When I can’t stop thinking about all the interesting things I want to do but seem completely unable to even peel myself out of bed or off the sofa I know it’s ADHD, not laziness.
If the tiniest little inconvenience manages to make me feel like shit and ruin my day and hope the earth opens up and swallows me I know it’s because I’m just overwhelmed and my brain needs a break.
Now I’m being kinder to myself. Now I’m more understanding with those around me. Or I’m trying, at least.
Now I know I can reach that potential – I just needed to know myself better and have help figuring this whole thing out.
If you have any suspicion, however small, that you may have ADHD get an assessment. Now. Either way, it could change your life.