I have a friend who went for years without a diagnosis.
She does not have ADHD.
She would randomly break out in acne. She would often suffer from digestive discomfort.
But here’s the tricky bit, she thought it was normal.
Everyone has acne trouble when they are in their teens, right? Well, lots of teens do, and who can say how long that lasts?
And all you need do is watch a half hour of commercial television to know that digestive problems are so commonplace that having them should not be considered abnormal.
In fact, not having acne and digestive issues would be the abnormal way of being, right?
But the digestive issues were disruptive to her lifestyle, sometimes demanding that she miss out on things or excuse herself from other things.
And the acne … it hurt. It both hurt physically, and emotionally. Who hasn’t had a zit that feels like it has claimed 40% or more of the real estate on their face? Who here hasn’t experienced the feeling that they were mostly hiding behind the growth on their nose?
After some years, a pattern seemed to evolve that made it obvious that eating certain meals caused the digestive issues, and after some more time contemplating the situation it became obvious to my friend that the common denominator was dairy products.
She experimented with not consuming dairy and her days got better and her life got sunnier as her fridge got more and more dairy free.
Some time after this revelation she realized that the few times she indulged in dairy (she never said she didn’t like it) another problem would suddenly reoccur. The acne would suddenly reappear. And at that time she realized that since she had cut out dairy from her daily life the acne had indeed gone away.
I grew up on a farm. I scared down milk at an alarming rate, encouraged by the adults because we produced more than we could consume. We gave the stuff to anyone who knocked on our door and often had milk drinking contests where each neighborhood kid would be given a quart jar of milk and someone would say, “GO!”
I never had an intolerance for dairy, still don’t. But the whole story about thinking that the way things are is normal, and likely feeling that timing and luck are unfortunate and causing all the trouble in a life, that I can relate to. Very much.
I lived it
That was how I lived my life for fifty years. Undiagnosed ADHD that I thought was just normal life with some bad luck and poor timing.
And now I know what ails me, but sadly there’s no way to fix it. ADHD like the wind, you can stand someplace that is sheltered from it for a while, but you can’t get anything done without stepping out into it, you can’t stop it from blowing, and whenever it stops blowing for a while, no matter how much you wish it or what you do to hold it back, it is going to start blowing again.
So I stay out of the ADHD wind as much as possible, and I try not to feed my friend anything with dairy in it.