Mental health has been a topic that has been getting a lot of attention lately and for good reason. Of course it has always been an issue, but with the COVID-19 pandemic of the seemingly last 20 years it’s really come to the foreground. A lot of good has been said on the matter to help anyone suffering from depression, anxiety, etc. But today, I want to take a moment to talk to a specific group who is at a greater risk for this kind of suffering.
People with ADHD.
People like me.
ADHD is a neurological “disorder,” though I say that in quotation marks because I prefer to think of my brain as wired in a way that is less compatible with the priorities of our society than others and not disordered. But semantics aside, people with ADHD, especially those who go undiagnosed or are undertreated, are at a greater risk than “normal” people for depression and/or anxiety due to low self-esteem and frustration. Who wouldn’t be depressed if they frequently heard that he or she was “lazy” or not “living up to their potential?”
I cringe to think of all the times I’ve told my own little ADHD-er that he just needs to focus, as if he weren’t already trying his best.
There are plenty of times that I truly enjoy being inside my own head. I’m rarely bored as I bounce from one idea to the next! Sometimes I’ll blurt something out and my husband will give me a weird look and ask where that came from. I’ll just laugh and explain that he said a word that reminded me of a lyric in a song which reminded me of that one time when that one person said that thing, but she really meant to say…
But there are plenty of other times when I would rather be anywhere else than inside my head. Like all the times in high school when everyone knew me as a “smart kid” but my grades weren’t good enough to get on the Distinguished Honor Roll. Or the countless times I’ve been late because I just can’t seem to get my act together. Or the time that I discovered that I had somehow managed to miss several weeks of lectures and completely missed an important detail my professor had announced, which resulted in an extra hour of work and anxiety that nearly ruined a weekend away with my husband.
That was two weeks ago.
At 31, I am way more organized than I was ten years ago. I’m usually on time to appointments and I don’t miss assignments. People call me organized, but the truth is I am obsessive about getting dates on my phone calendar so that I don’t double book myself. I am a planner out of sheer necessity. It has required a lifetime of hard work and trial and error to get to this point of “togetherness” and I’m proud of how far I’ve come, but it’s exhausting!
I had the idea to write an ADHD post for this blog a week or so ago. In my head, it was going to be a kind of “how to do grad school with ADHD,” but I decided that it would be best to put it on the back burner for now. After all, I really should be reading an article at the moment.
If there’s anyone out there reading this struggling with ADHD, know that you aren’t alone. You aren’t weird.
Unless, of course, you wear that label as a badge of honor!