I’ve heard ADHD described many different ways, but this is my favorite: my brain is a Bugatti with tricycle breaks. It’s scarily accurate, my mind goes a million miles a minute, but the second I’m forced to switch gears, the whole thing collapses. ADHD is a huuge pain in the dick, but it’s also a goddamn superpower. On the one hand, I spent 8 hours making spec banner ads for the Economist, and they were (for the most part) pretty good. There’s always that other hand though, the one where I forget to hand in the homework I spent all night working on, the one where I’m 10 minutes late to everything, the one where I forget to eat all day. Well, you win some, you lose some.
My battle with ADHD, and it is a battle, started when I was in 3rd grade, at the ripe age of 9. This was before doctors started handing out Adderal prescriptions like Oprah hands out cars on Christmas, so I had to go to Children’s Hospital in Boston, undergo 3 hours of testing to make sure I wasn’t just stupid. After being told that I absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt, had ADHD, things started to improve a little. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you’re prescribed medicinal amphetamines. From that point on, I knew my battle with ADHD would be trench-fucking-warfare, but Adderal would be the tank that stormed the front lines.
ADHD’s a fickle mistress, but she does let you fuck her sometimes. My brain doesn’t work right, so I think of things normal people don’t, and while most of those things are ridiculously stupid and should never be spoken out loud, some of those ideas are brilliant. ADHD has also made it possible for me to consume vast amounts of information in a short period of time. This is generally called “hyper-focus”: a fun little mental quirk that is responsible for railroading whatever gets in it’s way. Hyper-focus is why ADHD is a superpower. I once procrastinated for an entire semester of English, and ended up having to write 16 papers in one day, which I did. Not a single one got less than a B. Superpower.
The problem with having superpowers is you eventually have to fight super villains. My brain, while being an almost-endless source of entertainment, is also a jumbled mess of words and memories. Trying to pick a certain memory or idea out is kind of like Googling a generic word, and trying to find a specific article that uses it once. In addition to my memory problems, I struggle to listen to people sometimes, which makes talking to people very interesting. I’ll be trying to process what the person said, trying to think of a response to that, while trying not to say something stupid, but then I get an idea for a movie that derails the whole train of thought and I’m back to nothing. This has lead me to just say the first thing that comes into my head which, 90% of the time, is not something related to the original topic. On top of that whole basket of fun, I don’t take criticism as well as I could, not because I care what other people think, but because I’ll take that criticism and look at it objectively and overthink the problem until it either goes away, or gets much worse. In the end, I don’t have any choice but to learn as much about ADHD as I can, and to be the best me I can be.
If you get to this part: thank you. Another fun side effect is the inability to control my rambling, and failure to stick to one central point. If this resonated with you, you probably either read the whole thing in 2 minutes, skipped to the end to see what was there, or just completely skimmed it and have no idea what was said. I’ve done all three, there’s no shame in it, do what you can. You’ll be fine, just keep doing what you’re doing and try to be better today than yesterday. You’ll be OK.