I may have mentioned this before, I have ADHD. And though I’ve only known that for six years (I was diagnosed five years ago), I’ve had it most of my life.
I have an interesting view of my life, yet not a terribly unique one (there are many people my age just finding out about their ADHD). My view of my life is one where I have memories of life as a confused person thinking I was just like everyone else.
Now, as I look back, I see the effects of ADHD and the intricate ways in which I rationalized, ignored and denied those effects.
Some title, eh? And I hear this in different ways. There’s the old dismissive standard: “ADHD is just an excuse for ! (fill in the blank)” And then there’s: “Every time you do that, you blame your ADHD!” And one of my all time favorites: “Instead of talking about your ADHD, why don’t you do something about it?”
It’s nice that there is so much help out there, isn’t it? And the great thing is that any one of these remarks immediately makes me retreat into myself, disengage from the person who says them, and re-establish my relationship with the cracks I’d thought I had patched in my shattered self esteem.
I seem to have a problem that would almost be the opposite of ADHD, except, it’s not. My ADHD mind is usually a whirl of thoughts and ideas. It’s a rare occasion when I am unable to come up with an idea for … well, for anything.
In fact, standard operating procedure for me is to have too many ideas and to little patience on the part of whoever is listening to my ideas. That’s life in the fast lane for this brain … most of the time.
Today and Friday I’ll be discussing systems used to deliver ADHD stimulant medications. Did you know that you and your health care practitioner have a choice in how your medication is delivered?
To the best of my knowledge, there are three delivery systems for ADHD stimulant medications. They range from “chancy at best,” to “pretty damned good.”
And in between those two extremes, they make a stop off at “should work … most of the time.”
Diagnosed or not, many of us self-medicate. And we often do it with things that can be dangerous.
Marijuana comes to mind quickly whenever I talk about self-medication. But alcohol is also a common one, and of course the heavier drugs that are available don’t get left out.
And since stimulation is the thing that most of us find to be useful in combating ADHD symptoms, anything that provides that reaction will do. So dangerous behaviors or risk taking activities are big things.
Before my diagnosis, I was easily distracted. Now, I’m … easily distracted. Before my diagnosis I would sometimes say inappropriate things. I still do that.
Before my diagnosis I would get bored with long, drawn out, mind numbing presentations and slip off into my own world. I would spend long periods of time staring out the window and living in my head. I would misunderstand people who were speaking to me in my native tongue, English. I would falter and fumble when I was in social situations where I wasn’t sure of myself.
Recent events in my life have caused me to compare ADHD to other mental health issues. There hasn’t been a lot of insight to be gained from that, and yet I needed to do this comparison for personal reasons.
In my greater community of neighbours, I live in a smaller community of friends. And in that smaller community of friends I’ve discovered that many of them have ADHD. Those that don’t, by and large, have other mental health issues. Some of my friends are vocal about those issues, a few have confided in me, and some are keeping their own counsel … possibly from themselves as well as friends and the public.
But the majority of my friends have issues ranging from excessive stress in their lives through clinical problems that are diagnosed, right up to a select lucky few who have hit the jackpot and can claim a smorgasbord of multiple alphabet soup syndromes and issues with names like ADHD, OCD, ODD, BP … you get the picture.
Last year, I suggested we extend Halloween to Halloweek. I was going to get right to work on that, but of course, I procrastinated. So yesterday was all that there was to Halloween. Sorry.
You see, last year I suggested that Halloween was the perfect time to be an ADHDer. With everyone doing strange and weird things that would be considered inappropriate any other day of the year, I calculated that we would fit right in.
I figured that if we extended it to a week, we would get a great rest from the stress of policing our own actions.
Instead, today we’re stuck talking about the day after, and sorting through the haul. But there is a subject I’d like to address today, one that goes hand in hand with the day after Halloween, Let’s unwrap a couple of mini chocolate bars, pull up a fake coffin, sit down and have a chat.
I know I have ADHD. But when someone asks me what that’s like, I’m usually stumped. I don’t have a prepared speech. You see, ADHD is a group of symptoms that everyone has, literally every single person on the planet. But not every person has ADHD.
So first you have to start with the symptoms. List them one after the other. And that’s confusing too, because it isn’t clear which of these things are symptoms and which are indicators or results of symptoms.
I’m not you. I try to remember that all the time. My life is mine. Your life is yours. We are not a group of identical people with identical lives and identical problems.
But we are a group who recognizes that we are a group. And every so often, something will come up that reminds me that many of us have a lot of things in common.
The question, “Is that a thing?,” has started popping up in conversations with other people I know, who have ADHD.
One day recently, on a Facebook based ADHD page I belong to, one of my friends posted a note about becoming overly involved in online friendships too quickly, like, you know, before there is a friendship.