Guten tag, everybody. This is an interesting question, to me.
Q: How important it the [ADHD] diagnosis to you?
I lived the first 40 yrs of my life:
- without knowledge of what my “problems” were/stemmed from
- surrounded by family who didn’t give positive care to mental illness, didn’t actively care much for their loved ones who had mental health issues, who saw/practiced hiding emotions other than (often feigned) effusive joy, and who often exploded due to hidden emotions
- surrounded by a family who loved me, but was unable to support me the way I needed
- being the funny and/or artistic one
- living with a perpetually growing tool belt filled with coping mechanisms
- often beneath the surface of my ocean of fear; anxious, self-loathing, terrified, emotionally thread-bare, hair-triggered to flee/hide (rarely fight, but I’ll speak to that later), rage-filled, seconds away from crying
- full of love (so, sooooo much love…usually only for others), hope (sounds hard to believe, but true), dedication, wonder at all (seriously, y’all, I would’ve been an explorer if Dora hadn’t interviewed just before me), justice, creativity, humor, compassion and kindness
- …the above are only some of the bits I could think of, and if I spent more time I might not ever complete this post…and boy-howdy, is not completing things one of my specialties!
The day I was diagnosed, I left my pysch’s office with my prescription in hand and headed straight for my pharmacy (which was between my psych’s office and my house). I got my scrip, a bottle of fizzy water, and went outside to the bus stop, anxious to get home. Next, I did - what I can imagine didn’t look sketchy at all - what I decided I couldn’t wait any longer to do: I took my first ADHD pill at the bus stop. Seven minutes later I was at my house and I started to clean, organize…I stopped and checked out my thoughts. What was happening inside my noggin was familiar and alteringly different: I had all of the same wealth of buzzing ideas which I was used to having, but they seemed lined up along a path which I was walking along, and I was able to look at them, consider them, and choose how/when to address each one. For the first time in my life I was able to DECIDE what ideas to address. There weren’t any fewer potentially-maddening ideas, there was a new ability, though, that of “focus/decision”.
My life in the last few years has been nothing short of interesting, amazing, challenging, painful, scary, and awesome. But these descriptors, and many others, have all been more easily addressed through a more therapeutically clear mind.
My diagnosis changed my life for the better, in ways I’m not sure I’ll ever fully understand. My ADHD life is still new, is not “normal”, is not anyone else’s, is not perfect, but it’s mine and it’s a canvas which I can create on in new, potentially more compassionate/healthy, ways.
Peace, hermanos. I wish you all the best.