I Have ADHD!

If you follow me on social media you'll likely have already seen this, and you also may have just guessed because it is pretty damn obvious, but I wanted to write a little post anyway because this is something huge that's happened in my life. I have ADHD! As this goes up I am a little over a month on from my official diagnosis, and on my 6th day of taking Vyvanse to start managing things properly. This diagnosis, for me, is 150% an absolutely positive thing. I have had ADHD my entire life, as is generally the case - from my understanding it's not something you just wake up with one day. I was tested as a child, but my grades were fine and it was assumed I'd grow out of it so nothing was done. Huge spoiler: I did not grow out of it, and it was not even raised as a possibility again at any point despite it being very, very, very obvious that throughout my high school and university years I was displaying a wide array of textbook symptoms. I didn't even realise it may have been an option until I was 23. Yep. It took well over a decade from my first set of tests for the possibility to even enter the arena again, and even then it was just a case of a thought popping into my head one day, followed by some quick googling, upon doing which I immediately found a long list of symptoms and traits that perfectly described every area of my life.

From 23 to 27 I was pretty certain this was the explanation for my complete inability to concentrate (look back on how many posts I've written over the years based on basic things like tricking yourself into working and GOING TO SLEEP - turns out my lifelong sleep issues were ALSO ADHD who knew) but there was so much going on in my life that I never got around to actually scheduling an appointment with a psychiatrist until early this year. Six weeks later that appointment rolled around and I was told upon arrival that it would likely take a few sessions to fully determine whether or not a diagnosis needed to be made. 65 minutes and multiple literal chuckles from the psychiatrist re: just how blindingly obvious the answer was later, I walked out with a full diagnosis and a long overdue answer as to why it is that my brain just never seems to cooperate when I need it to. I literally said "oh thank god" out loud and felt the tension immediately leave my body because my biggest fear was that I'd somehow made it all up.

Having ADHD, especially undiagnosed, can be enormously discouraging. For my entire life I assumed my brain worked exactly the same as everyone else's, but I was just lazy or incapable of following through on things. That my procrastination was due to a lack of willpower or discipline. I thought everyone had random unpredictable mental energy spikes and crashes and that the reason I couldn't just sit down and start working on something no matter HOW badly I wanted to was that I was a perfectionist with a fear of failure, or I just couldn't be bothered. Those things are all still true (the last one more so some times than others), but the overpowering root of the problem they were not. I'm not going to list all the ways ADHD affects my life because we'd be here for a week, but suffice to say the revelation that things I'd taken for granted as completely normal were NOT actually things all the people around me experienced was life changing. Having an actual professional confirm that there were significant obstacles between me and the basic things I wanted to get done was the biggest weight off my shoulders I have ever felt.

If that weren't enough, as soon as that medication hit my brain for the first time I. was. floored. There was silence and calm and I just opened a document and started working. Never in my life has it been that easy. There were no draining mental wrestles with myself or unexpected crashes or little voices in my head shouting unrelated ideas and when I woke up the next morning I just got up. That doesn't sound like a lot, but normally when I wake up it feels like I'm being physically dragged back to sleep for at least the first hour and it has, for my entire life, been one of the biggest struggles of my day. Turns out that was ADHD. I can now stop to answer a question or check my phone or get up and do something else and then just go right back to whatever I was working on, without having to force myself to refocus for 20 hellish minutes any time I switch tasks. Experiencing what a non-ADHD brain feels like has made me realise how much unnecessary crap I've been wrestling with every single day of my life, and although I could choose to be pissed I wasn't diagnosed sooner, all I really feel is excitement. I'm going to be able to achieve so much more now with so much less resistance, and I'm massively proud of the fact I've managed to achieve everything I have (slash anything at all) despite being completely untreated.

Treatment is still very new to me and I'm adjusting as I go. I'm not pushing myself and I'm learning to stay on top of the side effects and creating a new routine. There isn't much more to say for now, but this isn't new information to me, it's just progress. Finally. It also isn't something I feel any negativity about. I'm not embarrassed or resentful or annoyed that this is something I have to deal with, because the coping techniques and creative organisational strategies I've come up with out of necessity are invaluable, and it's also not a weird, scary, foreign concept to me, it's just how my brain has always worked. And sometimes I'm sure it's worked in my favour. This is something I wanted to share because it's not really talked about a lot, and since I've been posting about it on my instragram stories I've been getting a lot of messages from other people who are happy to have someone to relate to. It's also a very prominent part of me and how I am, whether I'm on my brain drugz or not, and I have zero problem with that. It would have been nice to have had the option to function a bit sooner, yes, but some of my best ideas have come from manic spells I would not have had if my brain weren't a little uNiQue, and I have no interest in the idea of what my basic personality would or would not be like without it. In the words of Mitchie Torres, this is real, this is me, and now that I have access to a controlled substance that helps me to calm down a bit I will likely be a world leader by June.