I Wish I had Known Sooner

**Fair warning this my first blog post. I just wanted to write a bit of my story and I plan to write more. Hopefully its easy to follow and understand!**

 

Growing up I was always being told I was a “smart kid who just needed to apply himself!” Teachers would always talk about all my behavior problems on one hand while mentioning how much potential I had. My mother decided to get me tested and low and behold i was diagnosed with ADHD. I’m not sure how old i was maybe 7 or 8, but i was a smart kid, when they broke down the acronym of my diagnosis i knew what those words meant. “So I have problems paying attention?” This diagnosis never sat with me. I felt i could pay attention just fine. They started me out on Ritalin but I never liked taking pills i felt it meant something was wrong with me and i felt fine. When we finished the bottle mom asked if i wanted to stay on and I simply replied no.

As i grew up i always felt i had been misdiagnosed. I had heard the rhetoric about them over diagnosing kids in the 90’s. I laughed it off as something i could say happened to me as well. Despite my cavalier attitude I was still struggling in school. Not able to stay seated, teachers would change my seat every other week but it didn’t matter i could talk to anyone! I coasted through school. I would get F’s and D’d my first two semesters then with the fear of repeating a grade I would ace the last two with A’s and B’s. This may sound familiar to you guys. I was a classic case, never remembered if i had homework, If i did remember I would lose it before i got to class. My backpack was a disorganized mess of crumpled papers and books. I had so much difficulty with small things but i was bright! I could soak up information through lecture and ace a test without ever studying. I was reading on the 10th grade level in 3rd grade. I could cover my shortcomings to an extent. I’d stay up late to complete writing assignments the day before they were due because i forgot. I was a mess. I even got on and off the ADHD meds a couple times in high school but i didn’t feel they really helped that much so i was sure i didn’t really have it but i was willing to try anything.

I’ve always felt like an outsider. I had to work harder than my peers to make friends. I was generally not well received. Kids always told me i was annoying. I could never figure out why? I worked so hard to figure out what i wasn’t doing correctly.They said i talked to much but i would watch them talk to their friends for long periods no problem! I felt like an alien. Through all this struggle the ADHD label never really felt applicable to me.

Flash forward to my late twenties I find my self burn’t out from the cycles of success and failure. I start trying to find out whats wrong with me. I decided to revisit the whole ADHD thing. A quick google search (and a hyper-focus powered google deep dive) I was stunned. I had no idea the full scope of how ADHD effects the individual. Time blindness, memory problems, talking to much/too fast, coming across as rude, being a freaking night owl for heavens sake! Reading peoples stories and experiences and feeling as if I had wrote them my self. At this point in my life i was battling crippling depression and anxiety. I felt hopeless and here was the reason why i was struggling. Something that i had taken the name of at face value and dismissed had been plaguing me my whole life. Suddenly my whole life just shifts into a new perspective. Strangely I find my self almost angry. I thought back to the brutal whoopings I’d receive from my father because teachers would report i would just randomly be standing in class. He’d ask me why I kept standing and i would weakly reply I didn’t know, and i truly didn’t. I remember after one of these beatings I vowed i would stay seated. I got to class and just focused on not doing it. The minute my focus drifted i found my self being yelled at by the teacher for standing. I had no idea i was even doing it. I was being punished for the my symptoms. I found my self a little angry at the world at large. I was made to believe there was something wrong with me. All my life as i tried to explain why i was struggling with whatever every one told me it was an excuse, I wasn’t trying hard enough. I felt vindicated, the enemy had a name.

I wish I had looked into it earlier. I had been trying to explain why I do the things i do for years to people and they would either not understand what i was talking about or blow it off as an excuse. I had been trying to be like every one else. I was making my self small to fit in other peoples spaces. Now I am armed with this answer the real battle starts as I try to find ways to break 31 years of habits formed from fighting against my beast rather than working with it. I hope that you will follow me on this journey as I write more on my experiences and the things i am trying. I hope you will find a mirror to see parts of your self in and see that you are not alone. I hope that I don’t put off writing more and this will be only the beginning.

 

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