Last year I sent out a mass email explaining why I was putting my passion project on hold right while it’s success was peaking. I chose to use the term “Neurological Disorder’ to make it sound posh, because what I have is called ADHD and no one takes that seriously.
Probably because it’s known as that thing annoying little boys have, gives you too much energy, a stinky attitude and it’s irritating to no end. To be honest, that is a pretty accurate description of me on some days so I shouldn’t joke too much but you could have knocked me over with a feather the day I realised this is what had plagued my life in silence for all these years: Combined Type Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
I’ll never forget the face of the therapist on Zoom when she asked “How old are you again?” with a sigh and a little shake of the head. “32” I sobbed. I think she felt sorry for me…I’ve never had anyone look at me like that, and I won’t pretend I hated it. It felt nice to finally be understood.
My symptoms are quite severe, but nobody noticed anything out of the ordinary it seems. Either I managed to keep them well hidden, or people just thought I was forgetful, fun, and a bit odd, I edge towards believing the latter (and I don’t mind that, fun is fun!!) lol.
Truth is, I was drowning and I felt like I’d been waving at a boat nearby for years but the passengers were too busy complementing me on my (very obviously poor) swimming skills to notice that I was about to go under.
It’s a common way for women to find out they’ve got adhd; later in life and as quite a surprise. Understanding of the disorder and how it affects adult women is limited to what often feels like a select few, the majority of which are people who share similar diagnoses.
Even those of us who do have it struggle to fully understand what the hell is going on a lot of the time.
I read a meme, that I related to so hard I ended up lost in google for a few days resulting in my immediate call to a private psychiatrist to book an assessment. Irony is, I’ve lost that meme and can’t remember a word of what it said! Ha!
So with Simone Byles bringing awareness to the disorder at the Olympics, and no doubt the world having a few questions as to ‘how does that even affect her ability to do a sport?!’ I thought sharing some of my own experiences with people outside of my friends and family, might help other adults identify the difference between mental health and neurological issues, a little about how the two can interact with each other (for me personally) and resources that I’ve found useful, in the hope that help can be sourced if needed.
I haven’t quite figured out how I’ll be doing that yet, but it’ll most likely be here, so come back another day and there may be more!
In the meantime, this article is reasonably accurate, but please note it is not a comprehensive list of symptoms and the ‘disorder’ presents in many different ways..
If you think you or someone you know may be in need of assistance or have questions about a diagnosis, please seek professional medical advice.