I never wanted a blog about ADHD.
I never wanted to be one of “those” people. Honestly – and maybe shame on me – I get annoyed and embarrassed by so much whining and excuse-making from the ADHD community. (Not everyone, I know. No hate mail, please.)
For a very real problem, sometimes it seems like more time is spent laughing about its symptoms and feeling like a victim, than about figuring out ways to manage it.
If I never hear “Look! A squirrel!” again, it’ll be too soon.
At the same time, people who DON’T have ADHD often dismiss its existence. They chalk up its crippling symptoms to character flaws. This is damaging and frankly insulting.
For sure, ADHD-ers can seem lazy, unmotivated, disorganized and lacking in self-discipline. They might make impulsive decisions, appear scattered (or else obsessed with one thing), dream big without following through, seldom complete a project or always run late.
But I swear to you: People with ADHD are 1000X more frustrated and disappointed by all of this than anybody else. And they’re trying 1000X harder than anyone could imagine. Their fast, creative brains lure them down promising paths, and then their ADHD symptoms trip them into a giant face plant. Over and over.
How do I know this? Because I’ve been battling this defeating cycle all my life. I just didn’t know the ADHD connection until diagnosed in my late 40s.
Fast forward several years, and here we are. Since then, my entrepreneurial ADHD brain has dreamed umpteen “big ideas,” started several side hustles and abandoned more shiny new blogs than I can count. Each new thing starts and ends the same: A giant, blazing inferno – dying into a puny, gasping flicker.
But one enduring theme rules: The struggle to tame my ADHD monkeys.
An ADHD Journey
Growing up, I was lucky that school was pretty easy. I was one of those nerdy kids who actually liked school. I had a ton of energy, a million interests, and I was in dozens of activities. Teachers said I had a bright future, and I believed them. I grew up expecting to see and do big things. I couldn’t wait for that adventure.
But when I left the structure of school, everything fell apart. I realized that, while I was fantastic at performing for an “authority,” I was useless at accomplishing anything of value on my own. I was overwhelmed by big-picture details, unmotivated to follow through and always procrastinated till the last minute.
I married young and started a family, bypassing college. So I entered the work force still with that fast brain and high expectations – but without the education to achieve them as an employee. (Hindsight note: If you plan to work as an employee, get a degree.)
To fulfill my need for creativity and rewarding work, I determined to build a side-hustle I could make my own.
I fell passionately in love with one new idea after another. “Finally – THIS is it!” I’d say, completely convinced. I’d become an information vampire, learning and devouring every detail of my new obsession, until its energy was sucked dry. And then any interest would vanish, leaving behind all the books, supplies and paraphernalia I’d bought to support it.
Losing that interest was always deflating. But the thought of continuing forward without it? Excruciating and unthinkable.
This scenario. Again and again. Over. And. Over.
How many times can a person fail to follow through for herself, before she stops trusting her own word altogether? At some point, many of us stop expecting big wins. We just want to believe in ourselves again.
I never wanted a blog about ADHD. I never wanted to claim it. But as I’ve chased one shiny object after another, I realize that ADHD is the one subject that never blazes and then flickers away. It’s my constant, daily, never-ending holy grail: To simply be productive, balanced, and organized.
As my ADHD daughter-in-law said yesterday, “I just want a normal brain that doesn’t need medication to accomplish normal things.”
There are many of us out here who want something more. And we struggle so hard to get it.
They say to blog about what you know, so I guess this is it. It’s time to tame those ADHD monkeys.
Ready or not, let’s do this thing.