When my psychiatrist at Mothers and Babies asked me what I wanted to get out of their system, and I said, “I want to be able to do housework,” her response of, “have you ever considered you might have ADHD,” came so out of the blue I was stunned.
Me, a bouncing off the walls troublesome boy? I was that naive about ADHD.
As months passed I tried to get my head around the idea. Eventually I tried stimulant meds. They worked. It was amazing. I could think straighter. I could function better. But I lost a lot of weight and in the end felt ill all the time. It was the same achy gut I had when I had morning sickness, but this time it wasn’t going to produce a baby, and this time it was never-ending.
We discussed an alternative (non-stimulant) and we gave it a shot. Its effects aren’t so dramatic: it’s more subtle and doesn’t wear off all of a sudden. I’ve been on it for 18months now, and it’s going great.
My analogy, goes a little something like this (it changes somewhat every time I tell it): It’s like my brain is a plastic box with bouncing balls inside ricocheting of its walls (here’s the bouncing off the walls, hyperactive part of me)–the bouncing balls are thoughts. Off meds there are tons of balls, they’re slippery, and their velocity means I can’t grasp one for more than a moment before I lose it, either distracted by the next ball, or left striving to catch another one. On stimulant meds there’s only a couple of balls, and they move much slower: easier to keep track of and focus on. On non-stimulant meds, there are a dozen balls, not too slippery, but fairly fast. Because of the side effects of stimulant meds, non-stimulants are a good balance.
I’ve done a lot of research on adult ADHD since I was diagnosed. The Executive Functions are particularly interesting, and help me understand my constant difficulties. I can stop beating myself up for never remembering things at an appropriate time, and for not having a good relationship with time, amongst other issues.
I’ve given up resenting my parents for not picking it up; my mother is absorbed by her own issues, and I’m sure my father has ADHD too (it is hereditary). I’m focused on being the best mum I can be, ensuring Jake doesn’t have to deal with issues I dealt with (or am still dealing with). I’m also finding I can go back and finish projects now, perhaps because I can accept that I didn’t drop them because I’m useless or a failure. For now I’m not starting anything new until I have a lot of things crossed off, especially knitting projects. I’m also trying to de-clutter my home. It’s hard! There’s a lot of unlearning to do regarding collecting things, saving things ‘just in case’, and keeping things for sentimental value.
I’m still trying to come up with strategies for functioning better, getting housework done, and not hyper-focusing to the extent that it damages me or those around me. Timers are awesome, it’s just a matter of remembering to use them. I bought a Flylady calendar which has been actively used for 8 months; definitely a record for me! I keep it on the fridge and it’s colour coded to keep things simple and to make it bright and colourful.
I’m hoping to get a copy of Ari Tuckman’s “Understand Your Brain, Get More Done” to help with more strategies to make life more liveable, but I’m stuck waiting for the company I ordered it off. The chapter I’ve looked at, from adultadhdbook.com, is really interesting. It’s focus is on Working Memory (one of the executive functions). There’s also a chapter from his other book, “More Attention, Less Deficit” on executive functions which explains them in a really accessible way, and his podcasts are awesome.
I haven’t received much support in person for my ADHD. I’ve been given no information, the psychiatrist told me to “Google it”, and none of my therapy has focussed on it (my current therapy is focussed on my bi-polar as I’m part of a study), so I often feel quite isolated. But online there is heaps of support and information, which is far better than nothing.
Learning about my ADHD and working out to live with it is hugely life changing. I’m not ADHD, I just have ADHD.
Keep Smiling Everyone 😀