Living with ADHD in lockdown...
Disclaimer: I love lots of things about my ADHD, but today, I need to vent.
These last few weeks I have found that I have talked a lot about my ADHD which can sometimes feel uncomfortable because I absolutely hate to feel like it is my get out of jail card. I had a big cry in the bath last night because at times I feel so overwhelmed by it and at the same time I feel ashamed to admit how much I genuinely struggle with it.
As a woman, I have lived most of my existence believing that I am just a hysterical, hormonal monster and the life impairing daily difficulties were a result of anxiety and depression. And so, I have spent many years emotionally berating and beating myself up for not being able to do seemingly simple tasks such as putting something back where it belongs or generally remembering anything that is said to me. I often hear people say that they too are ADHD because the list of "symptoms" are familiar sporadic everyday occurrences for them (side note: they might well be, it is often misdiagnosed). But as an adult with diagnosed ADHD, it is an impairing everyday occurrence. I feel crippled by my forgetfulness, impatience, franticness, distractibility, and continual loss of motivation by things I was intensely interested in five minutes ago. I am living on a rollercoaster without a safety buckle and the concept of calm is outlandish to me. Take now, for instance, I just want to write a blog post, but the dog barking outside seeps so deeply into my brain, that I can feel the dangerous levels of cortisol shoot through my veins (dramatic eh!). I feel like Stretch Armstrong and a hedgehog rolled into one. Trying to regulate with ADHD is like playing a game of pinball. Don't put me in the bin yet though, as I use so many techniques and strategies for my pesky brain, but during lockdown...well, it has been a bit of a shit show to be brutally honest.
Around 9 pm every night, the impact of predominately sedentary behaviors starts to emerge. Impulsive renditions of made-up songs, dancing around, and generally winding up my husband and dogs (think Elmyra in the Loony Tunes) with bursts of annoying energy. I have always understood this in young children to be the result of them containing all that nervous energy for a full day at school and then they get home and they are finally free to break out of the normality prison. But this also happens to me as an adult. I now only work in jobs for instance where I don't have to be in the same space all day because my difficulties become terrifyingly obvious. My appraisal target for six years running in a previous job was to "look as though you are interested" during meetings. "Working from home" has sadly been a difficulty in its own right because ADHD doesn't allow me to switch off or recognise boundaries. This is due to time blindness and general issues with executive function. I have only now realised that commuting, noise-canceling headphones, and space escaping were forms of self-regulation and that human interactions actually moderated the effects of pent up energy. Humans in computer screens are about the worst ever invention for an ADHD brain.
As I enter another month in semi-lockdown, I am beginning to recognise that ADHD is quite a lonely experience because I think it is massively misunderstood particularly in women. Today I got into my bed at 2 pm and I could not lift my head off the pillow nor could I sleep. And I feel utterly beaten by it. Moments like this one where I can write about it are rare because hyperfocus and attention are just not reliable buddies. As my to-do list grows, deadlines pass and notifications ping, I am giving myself a weekend off to recharge my battery. And I'll try again next week...
I suppose I was spurred to write this blog because I think it has to be okay for this stuff to be shared. As a SEND specialist, to know children and adults are living with this without understanding or diagnosis must be bloody hard. As I said at the beginning, ADHD is also full of wonders but those difficult days, wow, they really knock you sideways.
Any fellow ADHD'ers, let's cry our procrastination tears together !!!