Inside every person with ADHD is a mass of conflicts that those on the outside are barely aware of.
It’s like looking into a gorge and seeing the active, roiling water churning on the top of the river, and thinking you’re seeing the river.
As active and wild as that looks, as much as you think you’d like to either dive in to that or kayak on it, or possibly just stay clear of it because of the obvious danger you perceive, you’re still just seeing the surface.
Grab your life preserver, my friend
My partner is always intrigued by my saying that I’m really an introvert. The truth is that she freely admits that one of the benefits of being in a relationship with me is that she can just stand back and let me draw all the attention so she doesn’t have to interact.
I get that. And I’m not so unobservant that I don’t realize I draw attention. I am aware that I am constantly interacting with people, spontaneously interacting with them, impulsively opening my mouth, or gesturing.
And yet …
I am afraid. I’m not afraid that I might say the wrong thing or do the wrong thing. I’m afraid because I know I will. I know it’s coming. I know I’m going to open my mouth, stick both my feet in there and have them come out wearing different shoes. (!!??!?)
Yeah, I’m not sure what I meant by that either, but it does illuminate how things happen in my world.
And I wish I could just be quiet, wish I could just shut up and not always have to be interacting.
And I tell myself I will. I will do that, I will stop … right after I tell everyone this other thing that I cannot keep in any longer and then, I’m done.
The oddity is that I’ve found that I can be an introvert and be myself all at the same time.
I’ve discovered that the safest place to hide is in plain sight. I find myself most comfortable when I’m on stage performing.
And I don’t need a physical stage. Ask anyone who knows me. I come prepared with my own imaginary folding stage. Here, just give me a minute and I’ll set it up. Also, I can do schtick while I’m getting ready.
My partner gets it
I am not an unlucky man. My partner is one of those people who wants to understand. She cares enough that she wants to know why I am the way I am.
And I care enough that it has become important to me that she understands me. Important enough for me to work hard to explain it to her.
And oddly enough
She does understand. She sees how I can be a wild and boiling river on the surface and yet the real me is hiding on the bottom, clinging to a rock and hoping the current doesn’t tear me away yet again and toss me, thrashing and flailing, into a whole new situation.
So I take over conversations, and try to control them, but try also to make them valid so no one notices. I need them to be under my control so that I can hide there.
And she understands that. She understands how I am the one that draws the fire in social situations, and yet I really am the introvert I say I am.
And the other day she said, “You should write about that …”