Adventures in ADHD: Everything’s about the kids

As an adult, tell someone you have ADHD and they’ll look at you like you’re nuts.

‘Oh, that’s just for kids.’ is the familiar refrain.

Well, I’m 47 years old and while I’m a kid at heart (love Doctor Who and have carried a Sonic Screwdriver off and on for a few years), I’m not one in body.

(Amusing tangent: I like the 11th Doctor precisely because he can flip from moody to manic to happy to sad).

And it’s actually funny because there’s very little, other than perhaps acne that Just Goes Away when you turn 18.

I’m just as easily distracted. I’ve got a limited patience for excess noise, or conflicting sound (trying to hold a conversation in a room with a TV on is impossible). Don’t expect me to work in an open plan office with people walking by all the time because it’s Just Not Going To Happen. I don’t get office etiquette, I’m prone to outbursts and just in the past week, I’ve had some particularly destructive meltdowns.

To some that makes me nuts, one of those shouty people you avoid on the street, perhaps on drugs or recently discharged from a mental institution.

But they behaviours are actually the symptoms of ADHD slipping past my over-stretched coping mechanisms. Ordinarily I’m chilled out, I’m balanced. Very little usually bothers me. I can be a bit distant, another coping mechanism, but mostly available to help, to offer advice, to listen to problems and be present.

That’s the real difference between childhood ADHD and adult. As an adult I’ve lived longer, I’ve had more time to develop ways to mask what’s going on. I can talk my way out of issues, or withdraw if I’m feeling overwhelmed. Kids can’t do that because they’re supposed to sit still and pay attention. So in some ways I’ve got advantages being an adult.

But please, don’t tell me I don’t have this condition, say you don’t believe in it, tell me it’s something else and definitely don’t say it’s “Just kids who get ADHD” (or that it’s just boys, because that’s bullshit too).

</end rant>

Some links to edumacate yourself:

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