Project Share Day 17: ADHD & being in my head
Growing up I had a difficult time with homework. It could take me three hours to do one page. I struggled. My focus was short and patience low when I didn’t understand something. On the flip side, if a project captured my attention I could sit there for hours!
The image in my mind has me around 7 years old. I’m sitting in my room, dark blue carpet, white desk and clothes are all over the room. My mind is non-stop chatter and my heart is racing and as I sit at my desk my gaze is all over the room. I pick up items one at a time to tidy them up or put them away. The more I clear the physical clutter the more my mind clears and my mental status is calm. I can focus on the task at hand. It feels good. (The homework is still an issue, and thankfully my parents and brother are amazing at helping me understand my studies.) And if I never said thank you, I’m saying a HUGE thank you now.
* side note: I’ll talk about clearing the physical clutter to bring clarity and calm to my mental/emotional clutter in another share *
At 10, they send me for testing. The specialists don’t know what to do with me, so I keep with extra homework help and move me to the front of the room. I change schools for 6th grade, high school, and it’s the same struggle. My 3 years younger brother is helping me with my English homework in high school. At times, it feels weird and at times it’s great as he loves reading/writing. College = photography, so my vision changes form for most of my interactions.
At 27, while working full time at MCA Records, I enroll at Pepperdine in a Master program for psychology. It’s time to add more meaning to my life (interesting pun) and something deeper than the entertainment industry. Working with kids continues to be an interest.
Juggling full-time work and full-time school is challenging and exciting; luckily the drive between the two is close. With all my activity, it’s now time to confront a diagnosis of ADHD.
My Mom sends me the paperwork from earlier in my childhood, and I see a psychiatrist. I don’t remember the specifics of the test, yet I remember feeling at ease and it’s quite fun. The paperwork proves to be most helpful and at 28 it’s official: ADHD. This helps with my grad school studies and creates a space to learn more about ADHD with a purpose. I finish school and I’m super excited; I graduate with honors!
I move back home (NJ) in 2005 and find a job working with students after school. I’m a therapist who works with ADHD students. We perform activities to align the left-side motor skills which works with the right side of their brain (mostly to improve their focus). I can relate. It’s fascinating. They also have time with a teacher for homework help.
Having a diagnose of ADHD is a blessing and a curse. It makes sense for me to understand how I was being & acting during my childhood through college. It’s also a gift really. I get to experience a different way of thinking. I’m very productive. I have new discoveries every day. It’s all in how I choose to see it and act in it. I’m more aware now than ever before & yes I still have breakdowns… I have more ways to handle them.