It has come to my attention that there is a persistent idea that ADHD is not a valid mental health issue.
It’s perceived kind of like the new father’s mixed up son from a previous marriage that stay’s mostly with his mother but every now and then you have to put up with him visiting.
Or like those e-bikes out on the street that aren’t cars or trucks, but they’re not really bicycles and they sure aren’t motorcycles.
And the reason for that may well be in the newness of the awareness of this disorder. Yes, it has been documented for over a hundred years, but it has gone by several different names and suffered some … shall we say, identity crisis?
Another reason may be that many people with ADHD, through sheer will, have done reasonably well for themselves. I might be considered to be one of those.
And I’ll admit that I have it reasonably easy, at least on the surface. I own my own home, true it was my late wife who took the initiative on that. She decided that was the route to take, she made all the appointments to see houses, she arranged the financing and she negotiated the closing. I inherited.
It’s true that many, if not most of us work. We aren’t unemployable, we’re just employed by people who get what is happening in our heads, or we’re looking for another job.
Yes, I often have work to do, mostly I truck things around for people, but I have had some years experience off and on at contracting and I am handy at what I do … so long as the job is the kind of thing I’m familiar with and is not something that will require long hours or days of focus.
If those first two requirements aren’t met than there is the third option of me being supervised, which is why I often recommend that people hire my boss, the guy I sometimes work for.
Is there more?
Here’s another issue, we often go for years without diagnosis. Now you’re asking yourself, or maybe you’re asking me, “How can that be?” I know right? How could we not know that something was wrong. Well, we only have wrong for experience.
You see, you don’t develop ADHD. In fact, ADHD actually is that you don’t develop. So as someone with ADHD, when I was 49, I never knew anything different.
I do distinctly remember many times when I told myself that it was just bad luck, that I never caught any breaks, that things would turn around for me, pretty soon it was going to be my turn to succeed.
Now I’ve been told …
The things that someone without ADHD might find to be annoying, are the things that happen relentlessly to people with ADHD.
I know that those who have not experienced life from inside my head or one like it have experienced everything that is ADHD. But the thing about having ADHD is that those things are like drops of water on your head.
Drip, and you say, “Oops, look out for that next time.” And you do. For me, it’s Drip, and I say, “Oops, look out for that next time. Wait a minute, why can’t I move my head?” Drip. “Dammit. Again?” Drip! “Arrrgggghhh!!!” DRIP! DRIP! DRIP!
It looks normal, fine, maybe funny to the outsider, but it is relentless, constant, daily … it is my life.
In short, I’ve spent over 55 years learning how to appear like I’m just like everyone else. And I am damned well good at it. I rock at this!
But inside this head, every day, I deal with things you will never know, feelings you will never feel, a life you can never understand.
Drip … drip … drip … drip … drip.