Recent studies suggest that memories, especially ones about ourselves, are likely suspect. That’s not to say that they are false, but they may have details that have been manufactured, and they may have left things out.
It’s also suggested that some of your memories might not be real at all.
And this is important to people with ADHD. Very important.
It won’t make any difference to how you behave, how your mind works. But it can make a great deal of difference in how we live, a great deal of difference to the stigma we experience at our own hands.
Yes! Auto-stigmatization! It happens. And I’m very much against stigma. Of any kind.
When first diagnosed with ADHD, people often experience the same transitions they would when undergoing grief. In fact, that is exactly what they are often doing, experiencing grief. They are grieving the loss of their hope of being neuro-typical, normal.
The problem is that the trauma of finding out you have diagnosable ADHD never goes away, because the ADHD never goes away.
And as you recall things from your past, take them out of the treasure-chest of your memory and examine them under the light of your diagnosis, you see them differently. Your recalling them is not just through the eyes of someone who now has ADHD, but also through the eyes of someone who realizes that you, the main character in your memories, had ADHD back then.
And memories aren’t reliable
Suddenly, your memories change, you realize why you did certain things, did them a certain way, and why you didn’t do others. You can suddenly explain things better, easier.
And you suddenly get a very different picture of yourself as a person.
The good and the bad
You start to pull out memories that you had repressed, because you want to be fair in your self assessment. And some of them are easier to understand now.
You may forgive yourself some of what went before in your life. But you may also have to now own things you had been in denial of.
Remember the grief?
And each step, each reassessment, each renewed memory reminds you of your diagnosis. And each reminder brings back the grief you felt when you were diagnosed.
It’s true that it brings back the relief and the understanding as well, but the thing that gets driven home more often is that this is your life now.
And, unknown to you before, it has always been your life, you were just in the dark.
But what about that faulty memory?
Ah yes. As I said earlier, memories, in recent studies, have become suspect. It is becoming more and more apparent that much of what we remember is only marginally true to the experiences at best.
And even if it’s just little things like word choice or inflection that we are remembering incorrectly, and especially if it is larger things like whether something did or did not happen, these memories are the things that haunt us when we are reviewing our lives in light of an ADHD diagnosis.
The gossamer layers of memory deceive …
So while I’m not asking you to accept total denial of your memories, I am asking you to consider the old adage, “It’s never as bad as you think it is.”
Because, it really isn’t as bad as you think. You are your own worst critic. So take it easier on yourself.
Try to remember this advice, okay? For your own sake.