Ummm so the more I read up about #ADD/#ADHD the more familiar everything sounds: Forgetfulness, lack of organization, unrealistic sense of time, fluctuating between no concentration and hyper-concentration, even the sensitivity to perceived rejection. Getting a diagnosis as a 40-year-old mother in Korea may not be realistic, but just proceeding on that hypothesis puts my, like, entire life in a whole new light lmao
My parents, every teacher I ever had, everyone who knew me in my life commented on how scatterbrained and forgetful I was. When I was younger it was passed off as a charming expression of my brilliant scholarly mind and became a part of my identity, even a badge of pride. And then when I grew up and had more responsibilities I was expected to outgrow these tendencies, and my failure to do so was treated as a moral failing.
I (over)compensated by becoming a fanatic about organization, productivity, and lifehacks. I take notes at all meetings because it helps me pay attention and I don't trust my memory. I am the person others turn to for that thing that came up at that one meeting.
So I'm success story right? Not really. No amount of vigilance can catch my attention at the moment it slips, missing some detail. No system can help when I fall off the wagon, as I do at unpredictable times.
Rejection sensitivity & abuse
And that's not even getting into rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD) and how I went from crying uncontrollably at the slightest rebuke to being a desperate people-pleaser, to the extent I didn't even know what I wanted anymore other than to never, ever incur displeasure. Growing up in an emotionally abusive home did NOT help, with my RSD exacerbated by the real beratings and belittlings I was subjected to.
Rejection sensitivity & abuse
So in one sense my dad is validated--he's right that I am extraordinarily sensitive. Of course it wasn't something I could just shake off by toughening up, like he insisted I do. Also fridge horror: he's admitting he KNEW I was unusually sensitive to criticism and perceived rejection, and still chose to do and say whatever the fuck he wanted, fuck the long-term consequences on me. What a fucking asshole.
Rejection sensitivity & parenting
And while it's way too soon to say anything for sure about Tater Tot, he does show signs of being hypersensitive to criticism. He shows clear distress at being forbidden from things and we're very careful about what we say to him. "No" is the nuclear option for opening unsecured windows or touching knives, and once he's heard it once he doesn't have to be told again. Being sensitive to a child's individual needs is entirely doable, who'da thunk?
This is me (except I’m working toward getting tested.). It’s incredibly liberating to know that this isn’t a moral failing.
@suetanvil The amount of shame and self-blame we have lived with... is it any wonder ADD/ADHD people are so often diagnosed with depression and anxiety?
ADHD in history, sad
One of my kids has the diagnosis and I take her to a counselor a few times a month to work on coping strategies.
My saddest thought is that in my generation and especially in my parents' generation, her lack of focus would have been met with verbal and physical abuse. I'm horrified at the thought that the worst victims of spankings and condemnation were born that way. "If I just hit her harder, she'll sit still." 😭 😡
ADHD in history, sad
@mike The intersection between ableism and abuse is something I've been thinking about for a long time, with neurodiversity/mental illness being used to excuse abuse and the abuse exacerbating the maladaptation in the child. Sure, she might sit still... out of terror and trauma, while the underlying condition isn't helped at all and gains additional complications. I can see that in my own past, and the same must be true of countless others.
@bb010g Thank you so much for the link! The sort of comments by psychiatrists in that article are exactly what I'm afraid of. I have a professional degree and a doctorate, who's going to take me seriously when I say my brain won't let me concentrate? I also got chills at one point reading because the "slipperiness" of attention is the exact metaphor I have been thinking of for many, many years. Holy shit.
This is something I'm figuring out too. It's so nice to finally have an idea what's going on and what I can do about it.
It did the same for me when I was 26.
@lj_writes lmao BIG MOOD. I got a diagnosis at 26 after telling my parents multiple times “I promise this is my best, I think there’s something wrong with me.” Their response was basically “lol just try harder.” Imperfection is weakness and/or a moral failing, don’t you know! The rejection sensitivity is a killer, but luckily my depression meds really smooth it out for me.
@annathecrow @lj_writes yeah a lot of “how to get motivated” advice is very neurotypical. Oh, just put your alarm clock in the bathroom to force yourself to get out of bed??? Why didn’t I think of that earlier?? Oh right it’s because I will block out my alarm for an hour rather than getting up. Oh, just “make a list”? Groundbreaking, give this blogger a Pulitzer. Forcing myself to do things does not work lol
Neurodiversity thoughts, self-help articles
@annathecrow @alpine_thistle Thank you! Ugh yeah the bootstrap. I've come amazingly far with it and I really commend myself for that, but I'm done wasting time and energy banging my head against an unpassable wall. All that effort and wasted potential just to deny that I might have a differently wired brain? No more.
@annathecrow @lj_writes it was a relief. It was easier to forgive myself for my imperfections, and it gave me a roadmap for coping skills/lifestyle changes. Instead of “why don’t I have any motivation, I’m such a lazy piece of shit” it was “aha, this is the sneaky ADHD brain doing annoying things, let’s take a minute to relax and come up with a different strategy.” It was really nice to have the validation of “it’s not your fault, and there are ways around it.”
@annathecrow @alpine_thistle @lj_writes Even after getting an official diagnosis I still get into those self-proof loops. Like what if I'm part of an overdiagnosis epidemic and I deliberately sought out a corrupt psych who would go along with my bullshit excuses.
Having access to meds is pretty great though.
@mcmoots @annathecrow @lj_writes lol I do also fall into that sometimes. “What if I made it all up?? What if ADHD is actually fake and my psych can’t tell I’m faking it??” I don’t actually take any stimulant meds because my antidepressants + lifestyle changes + coffee routine is working pretty well, but I’m still like “what if I’m a textbook successful white drug seeker???”
The brain is a dick, meds are good if they work for you, Society is full of shit
@annathecrow @alpine_thistle In my case I'm telling myself it's a game of pretend, as in let's *pretend* I have ADD (possibly combined type) and see if the glove fits and if it helps me cope better. I did this before with autism, and ultimately decided that wasn't it on learning more. So far the ADD hypothesis is working out and I'm going with it unless and until the evidence says otherwise. It's the scientific method!
@alpine_thistle Ugh the number of times I was told I'm just too smart to be thinking of mundane things/not trying hard enough/a bad person... Because you can essentially walk off your own neurological configuration I guess. Why is it so difficult for people to accept that different brains might have different shapes?? I'm really happy the meds do double duty for you ❤️