(alternative title: “Mate, do not punch yourself in the face just to get in first, it’s not a good strategy.”)
(why yes, I did have some trouble with the title, why do you ask)
At this point, I’ve read a good deal about ADHD (naturally; I am who I am). I’ve been reading the descriptions and explanations and therapeutic recommendations. I’ve been reading the experiences of other people, particularly other adult women, since that’s a very particular subset of ADHD folks.
A very common message in these sorts of books is one of acceptance: accept that ADHD is neurobiological. It’s a part of you, and it’s not a moral problem, and it’s not shameful. It does come with strengths as well as the more obvious difficulties. There’s emotional dysregulation, but there’s also a tendency towards passionate interest and dedication. There’s forgetfulness and chaos, but there’s also a strong correlation with creative problem-solving. There’s a noisy, distracted brain that freaks out and can’t concentrate, but there’s also a vast sea of ideas.
Mainly, though, we tend to focus on the challenges and the difficulties. Forgetting things all the time. Losing your train of thought. Losing your keys. Endless lists and post-it notes, endless calendars and diaries you forget to check. The inability to perceive time passing, a world that exists only in now and not now. Difficulty deciding to do things. Difficulty deciding anything. Fatigue and brain fog. An inability to manage and organise life in ways that seem very, very simple to neurotypical people.
Then there’s the shame. Why is it so hard to stay tidy? Why is it so hard to be organised? Why lose things? Why don’t you just concentrate? Why don’t you just try harder? You’re so sensitive. You’re so defensive. You’re so exhausting.
Most ADHD people (if not all) hear this litany at some point throughout their lives. It’s cruel and it’s miserable; it comes from a very human and understandable place – if you don’t have any form of executive dysfunction, it’s almost impossible to imagine what it’s like and why can’t you just do it for god’s sake…