Not Your Kid’s ADHD

I’ve been writing this blog for about five years now.  I write a lot about myself as a parent- my mothering triumphs and failures, frustrations and fulfillments, surprises and bits of wisdom.  However, I don’t seem to talk much about myself as just, Laura.  That’s my real name, Laura.


I am able to write about Man’s (he will remain anonymous…to most of you) ADHD with little hesitation, but I struggle to come to accept and disclose that I too have recently been diagnosed with ADHD.  Yes, this is the new fad, this finding grown women who were never diagnosed because it presents differently- yet so, so similarly.  But I’m not just jumping on some bandwagon; I’m getting answers to questions that I didn’t even realize existed.


When reading up on the disorder following Man’s diagnosis, it was undeniable that most of the characteristics felt alarmingly familiar to me.  I wasn’t just reading about Man, I was reading about myself.  Man happens to have that hallmark, “I’ve just downed six espresso shots” manner about him; however, most women with the disorder lack this quality so the other symptoms, the more important players in the ballgame, go completely unnoticed.  Well, that is, until they can no longer hide.


My most important piece as a mom blogger has been,ADHD, A Real Medical Diagnosis .  It stresses the importance of removing the stigma associated with this diagnosis, for Man’s sake, for all who carry the diagnosis.  So, why not move it along with sharing my own story?  I am in no way ashamed.  There is absolutely nothing that could have been done to prevent or change it.  The hesitation is simple- putting it out there means being seen differently.  The truth is that plain and simple.  As an adult, the same stereotypes that worry me about Man’s future are like giant barriers that stand in the way of my own day to day life.


In the end, moving forward means being willing to be seen as exactly who I am, and honestly, there is nothing wrong about that.


Me, age 11. It was inconceivable that anything could have been amiss.

When the initial diagnosis was made official, I felt a surge of empowerment.  There was a reason for some of the things that have plagued me, in one way or another, my entire life.  Yet, months later, the sheen of this shiny new diagnosis, this “answer to my problems” has worn off.  The realization of what it means has just begun to settle in.


I don’t want to preach to you about what it feels like to be me, to live in my brain.  There are people with far worse fates than my own.  Similarly, there are people with far better.  We are who we are, better to work with that then try and be something else.  I will, nonetheless, try and provide some information on how a brain like mine works.


I work from the inside out in a world that works from the outside in.


I literally have no less then four or five thoughts going on in my head at all times.  My brain is never ever quiet.  Yoga and meditation are my kryptonite.


I take in everything that’s around me in detail.  I see, hear, smell, and feel it all, the passing glance, the broken window latch, the plant in the corner, the banana peel that the guy just threw away across the room.  Nothing filters, it’s all just there.  Did you hear the bird tweet as it flew by the widow on the other wall?  Well, I did.


I have absolutely no idea how to be quiet or subtle.  Never take me to library.


Most things don’t have a designated place.  No, that’s not true; its designated place is where I last put it down.


You will never get a word in edgewise with me.  Ever.  There are many of you reading this that know, have tried, but came to the final realization that it was just not going to happen.  It’s not because I’m not interested in what you’re saying, truly, it’s not- quite the opposite, in fact.  There are just so many thoughts, and no ability to judge which should be kept and verbalized and which should just return to the small recess of my brain from which it came.  They.  All. Must. Be. Said.  Period.


I’m never doing just one thing at a time.  Yet, if I attempt to do too many things, I implode and none of them get done.


I have begun a million projects… I’m still in the middle of most of them.


Unless it’s “do or die”, making a decision is difficult.  It’s the overthinking and the thoughts again, people.  I can rationalize, re-think, get new information, hem and haw, be wishy washy, make a decision, and then immediately change my mind because of… yes, the thoughts.


It’s going to take me about a year – maybe several years – to learn your name.  However, I will remember your face, how and where we met, and likely some random factoid or two about you.  But I still won’t know your name!


I have an acute awareness of how the aforementioned characteristics make me appear to others.  This makes me anxious and sometimes sad.


On any given day, my ADHD can either be overwhelming, or not noticeable in any way.  Inconsistency is ADHD’s hidden talent, its secret weapon.  There is no way of knowing if it will be a good, highly functional day, or, an ADHD kind of day.


I am driven to complete tasks by different motivators then most.  I don’t even know how to explain this without most people thinking, my god, that is such a lame excuse, but I will try.  Scientifically, it has been shown that an ADHD brain has less dopamine, a neurotransmitter involved in motivation.  This, right here, is the bottom line in either accepting that this is a real disorder, or, dismissing it as just a convenient excuse.  There are methods, and treatments, and tips, and tools, galore.  But at the crux of it, if I’m not motivated to actually use any of them, then the challenges just remain, like mountains.


Can you see now, why I hesitate to discuss it? That list is just the tip of the ice berg, and it already makes me seem unreliable, flaky, anxious, strange, scatterbrained, and a bit of a pain in the ass.


Well, yes, at one time or another, I am all of those things.




I am also extremely creative and see things from a multifaceted perspective.


I blossom under pressure.  While you’re still asking yourself if that’s the fire alarm ringing, I have cleared the room of all living souls and am halfway down the street with them.  (True story- on a layover in London’s Heathrow airport, a man had a heart attack in line in front of me; I was the first person to begin administering CPR.)


I have learned to understand and embrace other’s limitations, as I have to live with my own every day.


I am an “empath”.  I can sense your feelings and emotional state just by seeing your face.  I know, I know, it sounds like I’m trying to tell you that I am the Long Island Medium.  No, I don’t talk to dead people, I don’t read palms, and I can’t read your aura.  However, because I do take in every detail of what’s around me, it means I’m taking in the details of your facial expression, body language, word choice, etc.  I can tell if someone is pretending to be happy, but truly hurting inside.  I can feel your pain, happiness, fear, excitement, anger, boredom, etc. right along with you.


I love challenges.  If I’m not challenged, I’m bored to tears.


I have a very low tolerance for bullshit.  I’m like the “goon” on the hockey team, not afraid to just call a spade a spade and eliminate the problem.


I’m quick on my feet.  Having a bevy of thoughts at the forefront of your brain often comes in handy.  One or more of my random musings are usually at the ready for any situation that may arise.


Taking in information all at once often means I can see a problem before it becomes a problem.


So why did I just take to the time share the inner workings of my brain?  The simple reason, because I don’t think enough people truly understand the depths of this disorder and why in permeates our lives in the way it does. But on a larger note, I want to highlight that we are all different, none of us an exact clone of another.  This is not only incredible, but vital in continuing to make this world thrive.  Our very success as the human race has risen from our differences, not our similarities.  All of our brains play a role in this world.  Personally, I am equally enamored with the brilliant brains that tackle today’s problems, as I am with the brilliant brains that created the Cronut and other such delicious foods and sweets.

13 thoughts on “Not Your Kid’s ADHD

  1. You are one of the most charismatic and engaging of women. Your family is lucky to have such a fun & lively, if not a wee bit challenging Mum and wife. Perhaps there is a novel in your future. Man and Lady are blessed to have a Mum who”gets” them in an intuitive way which only another soulmate can.

  2. Please join my group on facebook- creative and confused: life, marriage, and parenting with ADHD. I’m a mom with ADHD trying to encourage others. I was diagnosed as a kid but was never taught about it. I only recently discovered what it really is and that it is the culprit of my self loathing for the past five years. Now I created a group where we can share stories, ask questions and encourage.

    • A thought you might want to entertain and research a bit: that your childhood pain might have caused the ADHD, which might have caused the self-loathing. There is a good body of supportive science now. There is freedom and peace that can be reclaimed by reaching back as the “adult you” and giving yourself the compassion that you’ve always wanted. Maybe it’s been a long time since you have been able to trust the real you inside, and you deserve to get it back. Or…maybe I’m saying something that you already know! 😉

  3. Thank you for capturing all of these thoughts on paper! As I read this I keep saying in my head (because I have 5 thoughts at once too), YES, exactly, me too!!, that’s ME!! Thank you… It’s nice to not feel so alone!

  4. I came across your story on facebook. I have a son with ADHD and Aspergers, so I have spent a long time researching… and it wasn’t til recently that I realized – “oh, hey, THAT is something I do”… I haven’t got a real diagnosis, mostly because I do not think that Dr.’s understand. so I don’t want to waste my time. but I have come to understand that for women, ADD is different, and it is what has made me feel “different” my whole life. Thanks for sharing.

  5. This is spot on. I’m so glad you are talking about it and people are responding. I have my own personal crusade to advocate for understanding of ADHD since my whole family was diagnosed. It’s real, people, and the stigma has to fade.
    I love the idea of a FB support group that was mentioned by a mom above and would love to be a part of that.

  6. Hi Laura, I am so glad you posted this!!! I’m guessing that you are getting a flood of “me too” responses. I am yet one more late-in-life female diagnosed with ADHD (inattentive). It was uncovered about 8 years ago, and I am now 62. I have often been called eclectic. 🙂 If you stop by my blog, you’ll begin to see why. I am currently on a mission to see if there is a strong correlation between early childhood emotional neglect and the plethora of stress-induced, genetic-expression issues including mental health, MTHFR (folate methylation disorder), and…the ADHD/ADD cluster. I think we (science + culture) is inching closer to a viable preventative. Amazingly, it appears (in my humble opinion) related to parent/child bonding and attunement to children’s emotions–including the importance of acknowledging their them and both soothing them and teaching them how to self-sooth as they become more independent. I’d love to know what other’s think and if any of this resonates with you.

  7. My heart goes out to you. No one should have to endure this. Have you found/established a support network? I’m plugged in with a small group of women. We’ve been through an online class together and are continuing with some book studies on our own. They are my lifeline! We seem to be keeping each other above water–most of us post on a daily basis, because we want to! BTW, I don’t think I will ever overcome to the point of not benefiting from my meds–my body was too long in the programming stage. Educating myself to the point of forgiving parents, doctors, myself–the whole package–as well as good support is making life live-able. Pretty great, actually. Let me know if you want to continue the conversation.

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