What its like to have ADHD
Im an adult woman with Innattentive Type ADHD. My 12 year old daughter has the same. I was only diagnosed after things were not getting cognitively better, but worse after going through aggressive medical treatment for advanced breast cancer almost 10 years ago when my daughter was 3. Im in remission from the cancer but my undiagnosed ADHD has been exacerbated in a big way! This hasnt been helped by medically induced menopause, and having no oestrogen in my body - Im not adviced to take supplements because of the risk of cancer recurrence. There have been many other stressors along the way and still today that mean I struggle to function effectively in the ways ai once could after years of trial and error trying to manage my undiagnosed AdHd and some of its it near catastrophic consequences in my life. My husband took my difficulties very personally for years before I was diagnosed. And then he just told me I had to fix it. He resisted (as did I initially)for years my daughters diagnoses of ADHD and sadly also misinterpreted her behaviour very negatively for some time (even though he loves her to bits) before he was able to eventually accept the diagnoses. But he still does not seem to be too interested to educate himself further about the understanding the symptoms of ADHD and therefore still often misinterprets them & expects certain solutions that are not applicable. when ever I have tried to suggest this to him he gets angry saying he knows too well what is like to live around aDHD (which of course not what Im asking him to seek further understanding about!) & just keeps telling me its up to me to fix things & sort things out. He gets angry at me often for my behaviour & has become constantly critical and contemptuous. I wish he could spend even a day inside my head. I wrote the following descriptions of what I feel ADHD is like to live with at times but I have not given it to him as Im not sure that he really wants to know. Im feeling a bit down & hopeless about it at the moment of writing this but Im getting support & help & have some good friends around me who do understand.
Some of these descriptions Ive come across and strongly related to, others are my own:
Sometimes its like being lost & bewildered in a huge noisy supermarket with flashing lights all over the place & lots of TVs turned on to different stations, not properly tuned & with volume up full blast.
Sometimes Its like I have an orchestra in my head that might be made up of some very skilled and talented musicians but who are trying to play a complex piece without a conductor or with a conductor who is dysfunctional. Everybody's playing at once and out of time, tune & its a cacophony!
Sometimes Its like being in a room with hundreds of people all urgently shouting at once to get my attention.
Sometimes its like being sucked into a vacuum so strongly that I lose all sense of time, perspective, whats going on around me and any idea of what else I was supposed to be doing.
Sometimes it feels like being an alien being that cannot understand the language, behaviours, rituals, expectations, priorities of the strange land I suddenly find yourself in.
Sometimes its like having too many things going on in my head at same time, not knowing what to focus on & constantly forgetting things that seemed (or were) very important at the time. Its like having all these cogs or insects whirring around incredibly fast & uncontrollably inside my skull.
Sometimes its like trying to wade through treacle that is slowly sucking me down & the harder I try the stronger it sucks me down until I feel as if I might or I am going to drown.
Sometimes its like being in a constant impenetrable fog. I cant hear, see, feel or make sense of anything around me.
Sometimes it is unbearably overwhelming and exhausting because my brain & all my bodily senses cannot filter anything out. It can be so bad it is impossible not too shut down, switch off or over react to the slightest sound, sight, physical sensation, another unwelcome thought or word etc.
Sometimes it is like having a car with a powerful engine but faulty break & steering wheel and uses to much fuel too quickly.
Sometimes the amount of concentration, energy & time it takes for me to get things done in an efficient and organised way leaves me feeling completely incapable of functioning on any level by the end of the day.
Some times my heart breaks over and over and over again when people I love consistently misinterpret & react against my symptomatic behaviour as signs of selfishness, dishonesty, manipulation, not caring & lack of love.
Sometimes it can be so distressing I feel like I want someone to hit me over the head with a mallet to stop it.
There are things I can do to take responsibility for managing my symptoms and my related behaviour. There are things I (& others in my life) can do towards better understanding and helping me to manage this stuff. But I and others need to also accept that I will never be entirely free of and will always be prone to the symptoms of my ADHD.