ADHD: My Superpower And My Weakness
ADHD is not just a lack of focus, or being hyperactive. It is so, so, so much more.
I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of seven. It was very clear and there were not many cases with as little doubt as mine. I was a kid that was always happy, excited and without fear. I was just a little bit too excited for most other kids and scared them away. I did not have many friends. This changed when I got my medication (Ritalin), I functioned as a ‘normal’ kid. Still, till the age of 12 I was ashamed of my ADHD and didn’t want anyone to know, I didn’t want to be different, I didn’t want to be weird. My mom told me I was not weird but unique and that that’s a good thing, because “how boring would it be if we are all the same?”. I just didn’t truly believe it until I learned that a lot of famous people, people I looked up to, also had ADHD. It was not just a disorder, it also made me ‘me’. I told the kids in my class I had ADHD and their responses were: “we don’t care” and “Why would you think we would see you as someone different that who you are”.
Ever since then, ADHD was just a part of me and nothing to be ashamed of. I had something that set me apart from the others. My brain made these weird jumps and connected dots that made me a great problem solver and designer (in the making). High school went fine, although I switched to another medication (Concerta) and increased the doses, the maximum doses. My brain made everything more interesting and I would not want to change anything.
Then I went to college, I got to study things that I found interesting. And if you have ADHD yourself, you know that passion makes you almost unstoppable when it comes to motivation and focus. My ADHD was becoming my strength. I needed the pressure and a challenge to get my motor running; how bigger the challenge, how harder I would work. If there was no challenge, I created one. Which, I might add, also created some time mangement problems here and there… But I loved it. (Kenneth Blum states that Reward deficiency syndrome (RDS) makes it nearly impossible to motive yourself to preform mundane tasks if it does not result in enough dopamine, and the ADHD brain needs a lot more dopamine to feel happy or satisfied.) If something was too easy, I just could not get myself to do it, no matter how important it was. So, making things harder then they needed to be became my strategy.
Not everything could be fixed with a strategy but I was fine with it. The chaos was okay because it was making me creative, the forgetfulness was okay because most of the time I didn’t know what I forgot and the lack of focus… it was just part of my ADHD and ADHD is, or was, my superpower.
After I got my bachelors degree in science and engineering and I went to another city, another university, to get my masters. ADHD and change don’t go that well together, but after a few months I thought I had everything under control. I had the occasional shut down when everything was just too much and my thinking was just too chaotic. I would get irritated, frustrated and wouldn’t know what to do next. So, I would do nothing. I would lie in bed, watch a lot of netflix, ignore my phone and everyone. I shut down. Most of the time this would last a day or two (maximum of a week). My mind would be clear again, my brain started to connect the dots and I started to function again.
ADHD is my superpower.
Or so I thought… My brain is been working as a superpower fuelled on the right medication.
My head is full of noise, yet so quiet. I can’t keep a single thought and I am so tired.
My farmacy decided, without consulting me or my doctor, that I could have the cheaper variant of my medication. They switched me over to something else twice. The last one made me shut down for weeks while I needed to work on my master thesis. All I am now is chaos… I am overwhelmed and have no idea of what is to come.
I started writing this blog because I wanted to clear my head about this matter. But the truth is, it just sucks. I can’t focus or concentrate. I have this fog in my head that only I could clear, but I just can’t… I really really really want to focus and work on what I love to do, but I just can’t… I know it is going to be alright, I know I am going to find myself again in my head… but for now, I am chaos. Chaos in disguise.