🏃♂️ Get Out Your Seat and Jump Around...
This week I was officially diagnosed with ADHD. Like most adult ADHD-ers, we figured it out when one of my children was diagnosed a few years ago, because he's "just like his father". Then I started watching Jessica McCabe's How to ADHD channel on YouTube--which I heartily recommend to anyone with a child or loved one dealing with it--and while I initially tuned in to try to help understand my son better, what I was seeing instead was a series of eerily-accurate descriptions of my own life and my own brain. So in that way, diagnosis was just a formality; I've known for a while now.
I'd never been evaluated at all as a child, even though I constantly fidgeted, because I got good grades. I'm smart and really good at taking tests. And while I was hyper, I was a a fairly palatable flavor of hyper. I forgot things and lost things and got turned around in conversations and all of the usual tells, but I had enough of a support network at home this wasn't an impediment. In many ways I was supremely lucky. And even after I'd figured it out, there was no imperative to actually see a doctor about it. After all, I'd been managing for decades, largely by over-indulging in caffeine and alcohol. But whatever, it was working. Or it had been. And then some changing situations at work, as well as COVID lockdown, made it no longer possible for me to cope. So for roughly the past year I've been trying to see a psychiatrist to get a diagnosis and open up avenues for actual treatment.
Why did it take a year? Because I live in America, and lots of people--including people in my immediate family--are committed to making sure our health care stays broken in this country because something something taxes are too high or some very important shit like that.
Sorry, where was I?
To be clear, nothing about me has changed. The idiosyncrasies that make it very obvious that I am not neurotypical have been there my entire life. I'm well known for going to the fridge to find napkins or tapping my leg incessantly. These are long-running inside-jokes in my family, when really they were just symptoms of my brain and body being somewhat out of sync with each other. But looking back, it's obvious, and it's still obvious today, and let me go ahead and use the word "obvious" one more time to emphasize it. For example, over the weekend I met and hung out with some people that I'd only ever interacted with online before, and this exchange happened when the topic of neurodivergence came up:
Me: "I actually have an appointment Wednesday. We're pretty sure I have ADHD."
Other guy: "I've been talking to you for a couple of hours and I'm pretty sure you have ADHD."
As I posted in another venue, this should come to most people as whatever the opposite of a surprise is.
In many ways, I feel incredibly fortunate. I've always known that I process the world differently from most people, but it's nice to be able to point to a concrete reason why. And I'll be perfectly honest, I like my brain. I get to think about things in non-obvious ways. I live in a world where I can soak up information about whatever's interesting to me. My head is full of ideas that I get to turn into fun creative projects like this one or this one. And I have family and friends who are willing to accommodate me where necessary. For example, while we get medicines sorted out (and possibly even after we get medicines sorted out), I need to be off alcohol. And none of my friends or family are going to give me any trouble at all for that. I've been very lucky.
So now we start down the long road of figuring out how to manage this. It'll be a journey, and it's one I've put off taking, but now it's time.