Revelations, Emotions, and ADHD

It’s been a very uncomfortable and revealing week.

This coming Monday I will be evaluated at the Hallowell Center in Sudbury MA. For Attention Deficit Disorder, or; ADD.

I’m not afraid of the results. I already know the outcome.

The reason I want to go and get the evaluation is:

  1.  To validate my life experience.
  2.  For the help I can get and the hope that I feel for understanding how my brain works. I feel a sense of hope that once I am able to better understand the issue and the behavior/symptoms that I struggle with that I will be able to find some relief as well as a way to better regulate the fluctuating energy I constantly feel.

Until now, I’ve secretively believed somewhere deep down inside myself, that I am stupid, inadequate, incompetent. I’ve wondered about learning disabilities, chemical imbalances, and even Lyme.  I’ve struggled for so long to understand why I can’t seem to get through a day without feeling the need to go lay down.  Why sometimes I feel like I can climb to epic heights and other times I feel spacey and quite able and willing to take a nap at any given time of day.

Until this past Monday I thought I knew what ADD was- boy, was i wrong.

I’d dismissed any real possibility that the diagnosis was applicable to me in any way.  The term ADD or ADHD brought to mind hyper little boys.
I thought people with ADD were unable to focus on things, yet I’ve been able to accomplish so much- and can focus intently on projects I am passionate about.  I’d associated it with people who were unable to give their attention to things for a reasonable period of time and were terribly distracted and over the top in terms of their energy levels being erratic, and over the top. Not so.

Now that I really know what it is… and how it manifests- I am certain that this is exactly what I have struggled with.  I have never been more certain of anything actually, and so although I may sound as if I am jumping the gun in choosing the disorder de’jour, I know I’m not.

Let me back up.  It’s not like i’ve done my whole life thinking that something was *wrong* with me.  I’ve just observed that I am much different from my peers in my way of looking at the world, and structuring my life, and in my ability to retain information. The *symptoms* have been explainable- and so I have often rationalized them away, or have had others help me rationalize them away…

“You are just scattered – you take a lot on”

“Your a big thinker, not a detail person”

and then there are those comments that seem to haunt me now…

“Why can’t you just put the scissors back where you found them?”

“You need to get organized, how can you get anything done with your desk that way?”

“Are you having a blonde moment?”

“Hello! Monica, are you with us?”

The zoning out – since I was a child… off in my own world, and unable to follow along with the teacher on any given subject.  The report cards, the parent teacher meetings, the failed tests, my consistent inability to remember the details or directions.  It didn’t seem to matter how many times i was told, or how many times a task was demonstrated.

I stopped trying to remember phone numbers or to memorize multiplication tables early on,   I just could not retain them.  I also gave up on making lists because as soon as I wrote it down, I lost it.  Just yesterday I could not find my phone until minutes later I saw my makeup tin vibrating. There it was nestled up with my mascara and face cream. I never knew there was an explanation for my embarrassing faux paws or my impulsive behavior.  I’d tell myself I was just eccentric. I told myself that whatever the hell was wrong with me I’d better learn to mask it and mask it good, otherwise people would know they were dealing with a space shot.

As I listened to podcasts this week on the subject I alternately sobbed, laughed, and felt sick as memories flooded my mind of all the ways in which the words resonated with me, and the puzzle pieces began to come together.  I am text book… and yet this fact has eluded me my whole life . I’ve been to countless Dr. appointments, therapies, a library of self help books, and alternative remedies administered by experts in all fields.

 I feel like someone who has just stepped in dog shit- but who keeps going around to everyone else asking them to please check their shoes…

“do you smell that?! It smells like someone stepped in dog shit.”

*sniff **sniff*… only to finally realize that its been on my own foot the whole time.

I know that right now I am on the roller coaster ride one feels when they finally have answers to something that they’ve somehow always suspected but have never been accurately informed about.  I’m on the part in the ride right now where I feel more grief, anger and sadness than I do freedom and elation at finally finding the suspect.  I feel like I’ve been looking everywhere and it’s been as plain as the nose on my face- urrrggg.

I wonder why I’d never really given the idea much thought… yet my friends and family have been kind of saying it in so many ways for years.  It’s not as if I was purposely ignoring their comments- but I’d just lumped them into the dumb blonde category vs. the “hey – they might be on to something here” one.  My own ignorance on the subject is what kept me from applying it to my own life experience.

I don’t tell you this because I feel sorry for myself.  I tell you to be transparent about what’s going on for me right now.  I’m “in it” as they say, and feel completely overwhelmed by it.  This is the revelation project after all so I may as well reveal what is being revealed.
I do believe that what gets revealed, can heal.

m4s0n501

Comments

  1. says

    Monica I have it too. The day I realized it, after getting over the sadness of not knowing for so long, was one of the most relieving days of my life. It was so reassuring to finally understand why I have struggled in some areas and even more reassuring to read up on all the positive aspects of having it. It really set me free. We can talk about if more if you feel like it.

    I kind of knew there was something twin’ish about us :)
    love you as always,
    Louise

  2. says

    Oh Lou Lou…. you have it too? wow. It’s been a really weird week. I spoke with my childhood friend today about it. We reconnected about a month ago after losing each other for 25 years… she has it too and just assumed I was already diagnosed because she always knew I was ADD from when I was a kid… all the signs were there. I’d love to talk about it sometime. It’s been a very overwhelming discovery. XO

  3. says

    Hey – did you know that I have ADD? I don’t think of it in any way as a problem – just the way my brain works. I don’t think anyone would ever call my hyper… but I’m totally ADD. Daydreaming? Check. Losing things? Check. Forgetting things? Check. Walking around the house five times because I don’t remember why I got up, but know I wanted to do something? Check.

    You know how you can hyperfocus? You know me pretty well – ever see me lock onto a project for 8 hours without stepping away? Happens to me frequently. Reading a book – suddenly 4 hours have gone by and I’ve finished the book… Writing a paper or an article or a chapter… Easy – except when it’s not, and then not the force of nature or threat of financial disaster can move me to write.

    I can wide scan and decipher extremely complex problems that others can’t. I can see patterns in things that others can’t see until I point them out in exhausting detail. I can do things others can’t do. Even if I can’t seem to get all the basics that others don’t seem to struggle with. It’s a job being ADD – you just need to figure out how to compensate.

    For me – it’s all about keeping certain things organized so that I don’t drop balls. I have to keep everything on my calendar. I have to be religious about being on time for things – and always checking my calendar. I have to keep my keys, phone, wallet, etc… always in the same place or I will forget them. Coping skills for the areas I don’t have because of the areas of strength I do have. At least so I keep telling myself.

    • says

      Eric-

      Now that you tell me I remember that about you clearly. I too – the hyper focus is what kept me from ever thinking i was because I mistakenly believed add meant unable to focus. I too get locked in – through the hurricane – I became locked into making beads? weird- all hell was breaking loose around me- electricity off etc… but I kept on making them with clay- it was like a trance. 8 hours strait- sometimes longer. Then… nothing… can’t even think… need to go to bed… sleep, nap… smoke, have a cup of coffee a candybar- something to WAKE my brain. It’s so maddening- and yet I never knew what it was. Thank you for reading and commenting. love you. XO M

  4. Lisa Olaynack says

    Monica,
    I too have recently ben diagnosed with ADHD….like you I am try to make sense of it..not excuse…seek treatment..medication….Thanks for revealing! You were able to put into words my emotions, fear, etc.
    Lisa O

  5. says

    I know the digging
    The broken fingernails
    The frantic scratching
    Hard earth, sharp stones
    Can’t stop you
    Knowing you’re almost there
    Where the answer will lie like a glowing light
    Buried and hidden from sight

    You’ll go all the way to China
    And back
    You will break your back
    Break your shovels
    Break some hearts
    Before you will ever find
    The broken part of you.

    You have found the wrong question
    And can’t put it away
    Turning it over and over in your hand
    A shiny coin, an illusion
    That you’re mind can’t let go of
    Watching it turning, turning
    Hypnotized to the soft seductive message
    Etched on the metal
    “What’s wrong with me?”
    It’s a fool’s gold
    You chase

    Monica,
    I know the search
    I love your journey
    You will find some answers
    But not this truth…
    You’re perfect
    Just the way you’re supposed to be
    (I never thought for a second there was anything “wrong with you”)

    Why can’t that be enough
    Why can’t you, any of us, come to a place of peace
    A place of rest
    In that.
    You’re perfect, just the way you are
    And there’s no one else like you.

    • says

      I’m not sure how you do that /this- but it’s truly beautiful. The whole act of it… reading a post and writing from some place in your prose poetry. Yes.. I am perfect just as I am.. and, I most certainly have ADD. I love you so much. XO

      • says

        Thank you, Monica
        Yes, Monica, you have / are…
        Isn’t this a Fill In The Blank?
        And we’ve all been ‘schooled’ by someone, someplace, some event to have those answers.
        You have blonde hair, you are a woman, you have two children, you are …
        I just wanted you to know, Monica, it doesn’t matter to me what what your answers are. As it goes in The Little Prince… ‘it is only with the heart we see most clearly’.
        And that’s where I see you from. And I am moved.
        To tears and to elation.

        So what do most of us see with?

        Maybe everyone IS… ADD.
        Who wouldn’t be? The high and constant level of visual, audial, mental stimuli… the ever present ambient light, the pressures and uncertainties in work, life, love, finance are unprecedented. Just as we poison are bodies with what we eat, (or are poisoned by the quality of water, food, air, etc that is made available0, so too are our minds poisoned by this modern life.

        In the end, and there really is an end, we can all go crazy like the Mad Hatters did working with Mercury but it will be our hearts – hardened or compassionate – that answer to a higher place the “who am I”.

        Just want you to know I don’t believe you have anything to worry about…
        Love, love, love

    • says

      Thank you Lines of Beauty…
      Great way to start a day, especially I am not immune from the suffering Monica (everyone?) faces.
      Acknowledgement is Healing.
      And who are you that has you following TRP and so understanding of what I was saying?
      I would love to hear more, so write…

  6. says

    Yes, I am perfect, you are perfect, WE are perfect… uniquely, undeniably. You two should meet. Lou- Meet my brother, my mentor, my cheer leader. Jim, meet Lou- a wildly awake and brilliant woman who knows the journey so well. Loving you both so much.

    • says

      Jim it’s nice to meet you. I think I have read more of your wonderful writing on the blog some time back. I know Monica because I heard about TRP through a friend when Monica first started it. I came and took part in it and have loved her ever since. It’s so easy to do.

      Keep up your beautiful writing.

      It resonates. it sings. like the sun.

      • says

        Thank you, Lou.
        “Wildly awake” that’s a phrase that comes visually alive in all kinds of ways
        What an accolade!

        Have we met?
        If not, I hope our paths cross sometime.
        Why not? Monica’s the intersection…
        Traffic cop to some!

  7. says

    Love the conversation… Monica you are a gifter of connection, expression and revelation. And I truly believe that it is because of who you are and how you are, in all of your complexity and simply your heart… we receive your greatness. From one ADHDer to all, we are creative, intuitive, unpredictable, daring, funny, lovable, sometimes twisted, passionate, and seekers, AND I wouldn’t trade this wild ride for all of the predictable, make sense, organized hoopla in the world. Initially the diagnosis can feel like a curse, but it truly is a disguised gift once we settle in to its larger than life invitation to dance like there is no tomorrow… boogie on down a road less traveled. I love all that you are. xoxo