Working on Us Week #19: ADHD

I feel like I should contribute something to Beckie from Beckie’s Mental Mess’s Working On Us Prompt for Week #19. The prompt is ADHD, after all. It’s kind of what my blog is fundamentally about, right?

Except writing something on command seems like so much pressure. Maybe I’ll do it later when I’m not still half living out of boxes this weekend. It’s a week-long prompt. I have a week to write it in. Except, if I let myself put it off once, I’ll most likely never write it at all. I’ll forget. Or I’ll let myself keep fearcrastinatinating forever. I should really write something… 

But, what if I try to describe ADHD, and I do so so poorly that people end up doubting that I have it at all? Or, what if they decide that it isn’t really that different from normal anxiety? What if they don’t see what the big deal is and I reinforce all those stereotypes that we’re all “a little bit ADHD?” What if I somehow manage to make it worse? I’m tired and not really focused on this project right now. I’ve used up all my spoons at work. I should wait to write anything until I can order all of the random snippets of ideas floating around in my brain into one at least vaguely tangential “stream of thought” flowing in a vaguely recognizable direction.

If I don’t write something immediately, I’ll either forget or wait until the last minute. If I manage to remember, it’ll be a coin flip between whether I produce last-minute brilliance infinitely better than anything I can come up with while trying to force my brain to behave, or complete bullshit. The neurotypical thing to do would be to write the first draft now and steadily revise it tomorrow and Saturday before posting it that night.

It’s too bad, then, that I have no idea how neurotypicals ever manage to actually “outline,” “draft” and then “revise” anything. I can only ever write – and then completely re-write over and over again when my brain can’t get back to the same “stream of thought” that led to the first version. It’s kind of a classic all-or-none conundrum. Either I write the entire post now, while I’m thinking about it, or just assume I never will. And, since I don’t have the time to re-write forever, what I write first is what I will write. This is why I can only ever manage writing once a week. Doing the entire writing process all at once is so easy on a train, and so impossible on command. Doing anything at a time someone else chooses is so impossible on command…

Still, I should write something. It is kind of a thing I seriously care about. I’ve been saying I want to be more of an advocate and to shut the bully-in-my-brain up and silence the voices of my past that saw my ADHD only as a “flaw.” I do want to promote the idea that, just because we benefit from accommodations for neurodiversity, it doesn’t mean someone who is neurodiverse is “lesser.” And, I think it’s important to remind people that ADHD is a real and equal type of neurodiversity. It has always been under the neurodiversity umbrella, even though it doesn’t always get taken as seriously or talked about – and there isn’t as much of a burgeoning self-advocacy movement for it – as there are for other types of neurodiversity. It’s probably even more important that I remind people of that, or they might think that the recent suggestion that I’m multiple kinds of neurodiverse means that the ADHD somehow doesn’t “matter” anymore. 

No, it still matters. I probably am multiple kinds of neurodiverse, but the lightning rode nature of my being visibly hyperactive ADHD has probably been the most impactful of all of my (many) expressions of non-normality non-neurotypicality. 

ADHD is real, and it not a punch line (even for a semi-comedienne with a semi-humorous blog). 

It’s just that being rejected is the most painful thing in the world for a girl with ADHD. (Speaking of that, I should probably go find an article on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria and emotional dysregulation in ADHD. Except, if I do that, I’ll spend hours trying to find the perfect article to perfectly capture what I don’t think I’ve actually captured in this ramble. In the process, I’ll have to re-read half the literature, and it’ll end up late and I’ll have forgotten to eat. Also, I still won’t have ended up posting anything. And, by that point, I won’t be sure anymore whether I just genuinely ran out of time to write anything after hyperfocusing down the rabbit hole or whether I was using looking up an article in the first place as an excuse to avoid writing something that might be rejected….)

Wait, I know! I’ll do what I always do when I actually really care about something, but I’m afraid to admit just how much I really care about something because people always act like there’s something wrong with me when I try to talk to others about how people with ADHD also have special interests.

I’ll “try”, but not really try. I’ll just ironically try. That way, if what I write doesn’t end up being very good, I can always say I wasn’t really trying anyway. It hurts so much less to deliberately self-sabotage and to leave open the possibility that I might have been able to write something better, if I’d actually “tried,” then to admit that I did actually try and I ended up out of phase with everyone else like always…

Yes, it’s definitely better to have people think I just didn’t “apply” myself than to realize how much more work it took to write even this not-a-post compared to how much work it takes for everyone else. If “lazy,” “selfish” and/or “stupid” are going to be my only choices for why I never seem to “get” those unspoken rules for interacting, then I will choose “lazy” for myself rather than let someone else choose either of the other two for me. I will never be called “stupid” or “selfish” again. Never. I’ll “ironically” not-write something on my own terms. Because that’s better than unironically reminding people how not like them I actually am. 

Oh, wait, even better! I know! I’ll post a doodle that I drew randomly while feeling overwhelmed during our recent move. I didn’t draw it for Beckie’s prompt. Thus, if people don’t like it, it’s fine. It’s not like I specifically tried to describe (by word or picture) the most defining lightning-rod feature of my personhood for which I was bullied my entire life and which contributed to an unfortunate amount of my childhood trauma and only came up with this, right? (Also, apparently, last week’s prompt was C-PTSD. Eh, well, I legitimately missed that one. And, that’s kind of a relief. Then I’d have had to figure out how to mention that neurodiversity too often leads to trauma exposure, and – assuming I managed to do that – what would be left to write this week?!)

Then, in a couple of days, I’ll finally figure out what I truly want to explain to neurotypicals about why everything that is supposed to just be normal adulting feels so overwhelming to me all the time. And, when I’ve finally gotten it right, I’ll post it. I totally will. This weekend. When it’s finally good enough, and I can just force myself to sit down and prove I am good enough even though I sometimes need some accommodations. 

In the meantime, an ironic doodle is a good-enough placeholder until I finally can focus all these thoughts about what I want to say into something coherent, right? 

ADHD_Easily_Overwhelmed - Copy

Also, if I contribute this week, that’s not setting the expectation that I’ll contribute every week going forward, right? That would be entirely too much pressure for a girl who needs three reminder alarms to remember to eat meals at work or she’ll accidentally starve but spent her lunch hour not-writing a post that she will totally not-post until this weekend…if she ever does…

10 thoughts on “Working on Us Week #19: ADHD

  1. Hello, Lavender. I am so pleased that you participated in this week #19, of “Working on Us”. Personally speaking, by posting this entry you have given us all a sincere/real account of what it is like to have ADHD. (again, I don’t have ADHD), but it sounds as if it’s a constant battle inside your mind. Yet, you pull through it with such determination even if it takes a while.
    I was really moved by this post. You bring up the rejection and the bullying aspect of having ADHD, and I can only imagine the trauma it caused you. Hell, even so-called, “Normal People/Children) go through it. The pain it must have caused you, is undeniably heartwrenching to think about.
    I want to thank you again for posting this entry and showing us who are not familiar with ADHD, what it is truly like to live in your shoes.
    Thank you and God Bless YOU! 💚

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think you aptly describe what ADHD is for you. And I get how hard it is to do outlines and drafts and, grr, just let me spit it out in writing, then I can go over it..or not. If my thinking were ordered enough to do outlines and such, my life would be a lot easier.

    I’ve had two psych docs diagnose and medicate me for A.D.D (no hyperactivity), they called it comorbid with my bipolar diagnosis. And even though the many successors after them decided I was not in need of treatment for that (and insurance won’t pay for them and the generics are too expensive to pay out of pocket)…Focalin truly put me on a clear mental track where I got things done and didn’t just start and stop ten different things then get frustrated and overwhelmed with my own mental chaos and inertia…It feels cruel and unusual to find a medication that enhances the quality of my life and eases my symptoms yet either not have a doctor who will prescribe it or be able to pay for it.

    Which is the current battle I am having with Spook and her insurance. The month that they covered her Concerta, she became calmer, less emotional,more focused, her self esteem improved…Like a whole different child. Then they switched to the cheaper meta-date, and that didn’t help much. Now they have her on Focalin and it does nothing, she won’t take it because she says it makes her feel even more hyper and angry. So here I am doing battle with the doctor’s office to advocate for her needing the pricier drug simply because it is the only one that works, and insurance refusing to cover it even though we have met their lwn trial and error policy…

    ADHD in children and adults is a topic that does need to be discussed more thoroughly, openly, and if nothing else, people need to be educated that while yeah, big pharma and the schools and pediatricians got on board this ‘hyper kid, medicate ;em’ train…For many kids and adults, it’s necessary to improve our functionality. Spook went from a B student on Concerta to being a D student because the other drugs do not help.

    So whatever spotlight you and Beckie can shine on the topic and your experiences…Bring it on. It’s important and while I know you said you fear you won’t adequately describe it and will be doubted…it is important to remember that symptoms are very individualized even in these criterion based disorders. Your ADHD is not my kid’s ADHD, etc. Speak your experience and educate others best you can. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this! My grandson has ADHD comorbid with Autism. He’s very limited verbally so he’s not able to express all the thoughts and emotions you’ve shared in this post. I do understand its different for each person, but any firsthand experience information is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some great neurodiverse-positive groups on Facebook where autistic individuals who are less verbal or non-verbal in the “conventional” sense can share ways they found to communicate in an NT world that isn’t accommodating. I could share some things we found for my brother, but it’s better to hear it straight from those who have found ways to communicate. Nobody, especially in my 9th Circle of Hell, from a conventional NT background ever thought my brother would be able to be as verbal as he is. But, we found ways, and assistive communication devices have gotten better and understanding has grown even more in places that, well, aren’t the 9th Circle of Hell. I absorbed a lot of the toxic abusive self-talk about my own neurodiversity that I’m trying hard to shed, but for your grandson I hope you both can find a neurodiverse-positive ASD/ADHD support group where he can find autistic/ADHD role models to avoid that legacy for him – and share some neurodiverse self-generated ways to get his thoughts across, even if that isn’t verbally. I hope this generation of neurodiverse kids can grow up actually *believing* their neurodiverse expressions are part of a valid identity and find accommodations that work for them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I could see myself writing such a post…. it was interesting to read this style from someone else (not really sure how to define the style I mean, the jumping, rambling, fun, bits, going back).
    Sending sunshine and sparkles
    Love, light and glitter

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okay, I can’t stop laughing – and really just smiling. Way too many of these to comment on…. I appreciated reading through an adult adhd questionnaire once for it made me realise that maybe I’m not socially clueless (for example the interrupting others before I’ve realised they’re in the middle of a private conversation). I’m grateful for my sister who finds my things for me.
        I really enjoyed reading this… you may he right about anxiety going together with adhd. Sometimes I think they’re confused with each other. Sometimes I don’t know which it is myself… thanks for sharing it!!
        Love, light and glitter

        Liked by 1 person

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