It’s like working on a Macbook instead of a Windows PC. Everything works so fast that it actually can become counter-productive and more confusing, putting everything slightly out of focus and making everything slightly harder to comprehend. I feel a bit like a goldfish swimming round and round the same bowl everyday. Claustrophobic, hot, anxious. It’s not like I actually know how it would feel to be a goldfish, but I think I can probably make a pretty fair guess. I’ll go with the idea that I’m a little bit like the human version of a goldfish. Perhaps it’s a tad far-fetched but I find myself quite enjoying the analogy so I’m going with it.
Now that I’ve had my diagnosis, everything that ever didn’t make sense about my life now does. Of course I still question ‘why me?’, but I now fundamentally know why I’m the way I am. I sometimes wish I could figure out how to let the ADHD characteristics go. But it’s not just the ADHD, it’s everything that comes with him; he’s like my siamese twin or an unwanted stalker: I can’t escape him. But if I could, I wouldn’t want to. He’s my safety, my net underneath the rollercoaster, waiting to catch me if I fall. My square of emergency chocolate I keep hidden underneath my knickers and socks in the drawer, comforting me from my stress by handing me a load of nervous ticks, thoughts and feelings in order to alleviate the stress. I indulge myself in these in the, on average, (far more than) twenty-times-daily events in which life all seems a bit too much. And when I do, the fog is suddenly lifted, and I can breathe again. Things are okay, until another wave of anxiety strikes.
You can tell I have ADHD from the structure of this very post, and with the confusion and lack of clarity with which I refer to the ADHD himself. I’m still trying to understand him. I’m only seventeen and my diagnosis is only a month old. We’re still getting used to the idea of each other, I think. Give us time.
He shows me life in such impeccable detail, which is only him trying to help. His intentions are good. Only he doesn’t help. He just upsets the system a little more. I love him and I hate him. When he’s trying to help, he just makes his symptoms more obvious: to me, and to the outside world, which is the very last thing I want. When I try to sleep, he keeps me going and going and going until my body physically burns out. He wants to sabotage me, to challenge me, as a twin does. And yet, he makes me feel like my very own unsung Shakespearian tragedy, giving me something that no other friend is capable of giving me. That’s my way of coping. It doesn’t make sense but if you tell yourself something enough, you don’t know what to believe anymore. My mom says I’m ‘magnificently minded’, and you know what? I’ll take that.
Nothing is ever the same for any one person with ADHD. I don’t know anyone else suffering with an ‘anti-best-friend’ like me. He’s an incredibly common and yet unwanted visitor, an unknown shadow to many-a-life. He looms over you or hides around the corner – he’s a crafty bugger who’s sudden appearances catch you off-guard, making you lose or maybe even forget who you really are. Before you know it, it’s ADHD who your friends are mates with, not you. And believe it or not, ADHD isn’t always a good friend, a good student, a good daughter or a good girlfriend. He can be, when he wants to behave, calm down and let the real you show. Because the real you is good at all of these relationships. The real you knows social boundaries and the rational from the irrational. It’s frustrating because the only person who knows what’s really going on is you – everyone else just interprets your behaviour as uncivil.
It’s incredibly common to have the devil on your shoulder, and even more common to have ADHD, or perhaps it’s even the same thing. If I did know someone suffering with ADHD, they would never experience him, their body would never interpret him, in the same way that mine does. For somebody else, ADHD may simply be a part of their brain that they are able to isolate and ignore. Perhaps they are not even aware of him. And for someone else he may be more like a pet, who occasionally demands power, control and movement, trying to lead the walk but is immediately reminded of their boss and shrinks back into their corner. Mine, unfortunately, does not have the training to be tame yet. However, I have been co-surviving with him for seventeen years, undiagnosed, so I’m used to the way he works and whilst I do have my ways and means of coping, they can never be long-term. However perhaps this blog will be. All the stuff going on inside your head can make you feel alone sometimes because it doesn’t make sense, and that’s normal (well, as normal as you can realistically get with people like us) – if you don’t take the piss out of yourself it gives others a license to, so do it first is my advice: show your strength.
I want knowledge without a label. I want freedom without social suicide. I want closure without claustrophobia. I want to be me without being it. I want to co-exist with the ADHD, rather than letting it’s selfishness consume me. Half of my brain is an untamed monster, rearing his ugly head only in those conversations in which his input is far less than welcome. This outspoken nature often comes across as rude when really its only my brain thinking too fast for my mouth, and once I’ve said something, no matter how much I (metaphorically) grabble and grasp at the air, I can’t get it back. I’m innocent really, but it’s my reality, and the unstoppable words just gush out; irreversible and unremovable, sometimes unforgivable to the ears of innocent bystanders or friends who just happened to be in my life before things got ‘out of hand’. It can cause pain, upset, annoyance and hurt to others, and to myself. I hate being the cause of anything bad, ever. I’m just a bit out of control sometimes, but really all it is is my need to get all words out of my head. Now. Right now. They can’t wait, according to my brain. It’s like a dependance, an addiction to cigarettes. I am addicted to saying and doing things which, unintentionally, provoke effect. Some people would refer to this as ‘word vomit’ which does seem rather fitting, however unpleasant. Whilst all this is going on, the poor other half of my brain however is struggling, drowning, gasping for air.
My biggest concern is that I’m just a kid. I’m not mature enough to really know how to deal with things like this, but I’m going to learn. I want to be me without being defined by it – I don’t want every tiny odd thing that I do being simply shrugged off with; ‘Oh, well she’s got ADHD that’s how it works’. But I’m not trying to drown you in a load of deep stuff just yet. I’m just trying to paint a picture for you, because having ADHD, I like pictures.
I really am a far more interesting girl than just ADHD; I love music, sleeping, arguing, family, friends, my boyfriend…okay maybe I’m not that interesting and I’m actually just a typical teenager, but hey. I won’t let ADHD define me – I will define ADHD. I know who’s in charge. It’s like there are two people living inside me, and there’s no way I’m going to let the bully take over the weaker – if that analogy works for you.
This blog is for me to just talk from the heart, giving a friendly and slightly different perspective on things and on life in general. The way that my brain is wired means that I process things differently, therefore inevitably changing my outlook on things. I’m simply going to be blogging my way through the journey that is my life. I have blogged before – just never having taken this into account, or ever really even understanding my mind. And with the help of a ridiculous amount of internet forums, I understand a little more I just thought it fitting to perhaps write a new blog, start afresh, from the point of view of a girl with ADHD. I love to write, so why not? It really isn’t all bad, and the aim of my blog will simply be to show the full and equal picture of my life from every aspect, and writing about as many different things as possible (don’t worry not only ADHD!), as often as possible – good and bad, and maybe even the ugly. What I call life, my friends.
My life may be a little different to other people’s in that mine is like a TV programme with bad signal, fuzzy at times and incredibly hard to follow. But it’s the way I am and I don’t want to change me, just tame me. There’s a huge difference.
– Ellie xo
© agirlwithadhd 2015.