This isn’t something I admit lightly. I spent most of my natural born life trying to prove to everyone that I was normal. There is a deep insecurity in acknowledging that your brain doesn’t work in a way that is expected.
“I haven’t had a diagnosis for ADHD, and I don’t plan on getting one.”
My life has been a chaotic rollercoaster of twists and turns; don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything inherently special about my rollercoaster, just that it exists. We’re all on rollercoasters of highs and lows, it’s about how we navigate those twists and turns that determines the real “cost” of this ride. Hehe, My metaphor game is on point today.
It wasn’t until April of 2016 that I seriously considered something might be”wrong” with me. I lived in blissful ignorance/denial for many years, embracing myself as a “beautiful snowflake.”
In april I had started working full time, and out of an office no less. (compared to working from home, which was my reality before the office.) The demands of working a 9-5 at an office quickly wore on me, my inability to focus, sit still and be productive for 8 hours a day readily became apparent. I talked to my family, my friends, and a girl I knew for all of 5 minutes before divulging my deepest insecurities.
I swallowed my pride and called up my family doctor. As I sat on the cold table he informed me that he has ADHD. After hearing my symptoms he thought I likely have ADHD as well. The doctor calmly told me that just because you have ADHD it doesn’t mean it has to be medicated, he told me about his struggles, about how he learned to understand his own limits.
A few simple modifications made from a place of understanding can turn ADHD from a weakness into a strength. Within no time I was whisked out of the office with a paper full of medical tests and bloodwork I had to get done, in addition to a psychiatric evaluation before there would be a diagnosis.
I certainly felt better. Doctors have this strange way of calming you down, even if that involves two fingers and a pair of gloves. I had about 60% motivation to get the tests done, but an impending trip to Ireland for 3 weeks quickly put a stop to me getting any tests. I came back from Ireland with a mental breakdown under my belt and an existential life crisis. Ireland was a traumatic experience for me, it changed me forever.
In light of my new troubles, the issue of whether or not I had ADHD fell to the bottom of my priority list. After a few weeks of recuperation from Ireland I made some major life decisions. I took active steps to improve my quality of life, I chose happiness over societal norms. I took a risk, I stepped off a metaphorical ledge and did something most people didn’t agree with. My mother cursed my name, my grandma was disappointed in me. Only my closest friends and family understood when I said that magical phrase: “I chose happiness.”
“I was done with university. 5 classes short of graduating I wasn’t going back.”
I chose soccer. I chose the gym. I chose late nights with the girlfriend. I chose crazy roadtrips and soccer induced exhaustion. I chose happiness.
Life started sorting itself out. My days and night were packed. I never had enough sleep. My body had forgotten what being well rested and not sore was. I was living in a perpetual land of physical and mental exhaustion. I was thriving. The days passed into weeks, weeks into months and before I knew it was I was celebrating a 6 month anniversary with Mira. Ireland became a distant memory and the future felt like it was under my control for the first time in a long time. Now I work salary, I play on 3 soccer teams, I do what I want and can afford my hobbies. It’s coming up all roses on paper.
Some days are a struggle though. A deep, intense, psychological struggle; often combated with excessive amounts of caffeine. Motivation isn’t always something that comes easy to me. For months I’ve actually thrived at my job, my ADHD nature has allowed me to multitask at a furious pace. In a space of 5 minutes I’ll answer 2 emails, send 3 text messages & a snapchat, change the song I’m listening to and read an article on a website. I have a 3 monitor setup at the office, and with my cellphone it’s realistically 4. Information bombards me from all angles and I flawlessly switch between screens, each one serving a purpose, enhancing my workflow.
One moment I’ll be on the phone with a client, the next I’m editing a photo in photoshop and all while managing group pages on facebook and participating in group chats. Sometimes people ask me if I do any work during the day. Oh I do, I do for sure, but I’m like a crazy crack addled kid in a candy store, I’m bouncing between 5 different things at any given time. It makes me strong, it helps me navigate my constantly fluctuating and demanding job.
As much as ADHD helps, sometimes it can really really suck. Some mornings trying to get my mind to get motivated feels like the most impossible task in the world. There are 20 other things I’d rather do and trust me I’m actively thinking about all of those things. When things just aren’t working that’s when I have to negotiate, I give my brain something creative to do. It runs wild and parses ideas with lighting fast speed. Gratification seeps across my psyche as the manifestation of my creativity comes to fruition. It could be a new photo, a blog post, a video, even a clever snap chat. Once I get that creative satisfaction my brain is ready to work. I’ve given it pleasure and now I can make it work. Every day is a constant negotiation with my own motivation. Very rarely does any of it come easy.
“The days are long and the struggle endures, but I’d never stop.”
I chose this path, the future is in my hands, and now that i’ve written this blog post I can go back to work. 😛