How does it impact my life?
I think perhaps instead of trying to describe that it might be easier to explain what ADHD really is. And then you can probably see how that would affect a person in their everyday life.
So as you probably already know, ADHD stands for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
But it’s not that I really have a deficit of attention, it is that I have trouble regulating it. So sometimes my brain can jump from one thing to the next and other times my brain will “hyper focus” on one thing, and then I struggle to pull myself away. And this basically applies to all aspects of my life.
ADHD affects the executive function of the brain, which helps me manage things like planning, prioritizing tasks and sustained effort towards a goal. This is what makes it hard to ignore distractions and not act on impulse. ADHD also affects working memory, which is my ability to temporarily hold information in my head while I work on it. Hence why I wrote some of this down before had so I can keep on topic, but also remember my points.
The other thing with ADHD is that not everyone who has it is hyperactive. And for me, that hyperactivity is internalized. That’s the inattentive part of my diagnosis and why I wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 26.
My key struggles I think is keeping interest in something that isn’t doing it for me. I realize this is a problem for everyone, hence why we procrastinate. But for me, this can result in painful boredom, before my diagnosis this made me feel like I must be lazy or didn’t care and it comes across like this to other people as well. Since my diagnosis however I have learned better methods to cope with these aspects, and how to get the most out of myself and I get more out of my day rather than avoiding literally everything that required any sustained effort. It definitely makes working towards long-term goals and self-discipline very challenging. I don’t think many people in my life realize that I would love to “Just get on with it” but my brain literally will not let me.
The other struggle is that all these things get on top of me eventually, I run out of steam quickly and then I get easily overwhelmed. Emotionally that is draining and I’ve felt like I have failed at many things in my life even though I know I tried really hard to accomplish them.
I think the biggest challenges with adult ADHD come in 2 forms. The general publics pre-conceived ideas about what ADHD is & the other being that it’s life debilitating symptoms are not taken seriously. Usually in the form of “we are all a little ADHD sometimes” from neuro-typical people.
The problems that these misunderstandings cause is that I struggle to get recognition for how it impacts my life on a day to day basis, it is just not taken seriously. I only really got any consistent help when I got my ‘bipolar diagnosis’ (I don’t have Bipolar btw – a story for another time). Which is obviously a serious diagnosis, but the problem is that people don’t realize ADHD is just as serious. People think I just bounce around the room or talk too much. Those visible symptoms are what people notice first, and these symptoms alone can be problematic in their own ways. There is a lot of stigma to an ADHD diagnosis. It can be exhausting dealing with that, I feel constantly misunderstood.