Focus Among Chaos: Living as an Adult with ADHD

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Life as a Mom With ADHD

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time looking through Pinterest boards for inspiration on how to get organized.  I’ve devoted hours to this particular topic, without really doing much work or seeing much change around me.  And just when I am knee-deep in an article I am convinced is going to motivate me to start the daunting task of decluttering, a shiny banner comes across my screen urging me to open it, and next thing I know, I’m buying another jade roller for my face. 

The struggle is real and all too familiar, right?  I’ve talked about this phenomenon with other women and moms and find that most of us have these moments of distraction quite often.  We’ve got a lot going on, so forgetting things and leaving projects unfinished is completely normal, yes?  Well, what about when it’s not? You see, I have ADHD.  That Pinterest scenario?  It applies to a lot more than Pinterest for me.  

Finding a Diagnosis

It wasn’t easy to get this diagnosis.  I lived through the majority of my adult life (15 years?) carrying around the incorrect label of Bipolar Disorder II.  I endured mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and countless other pharmaceutical approaches to help me sleep better and function in a more reasonable manner.   I was ashamed of the diagnosis, and felt judged any time I shared it with anyone. I would see eyebrows raise when I gave my health history during doctor visits, and was often not taken seriously about symptoms I had because someone read my list of medications or noticed I checked that mental illness box.

The diagnosis of ADHD was given to me after I tried prescription stimulant prescribed by my doctor to jumpstart my metabolism.  Instead of finding energy and losing weight, the medication made me calm and a little sleepy when I would take it.  Yep, that’s not normal.  A little more digging and a few questionnaires revealed I actually have ADHD.  Not what I expected at all.  And certainly not what I had been medicating myself for most of my adult life. 

Looking Forward

Fast forward 5 years, and I am still learning strategies to live with ADHD.  But I have also learned to see it as a gift.  My mental illness allows me to see the world differently, and come up with some pretty creative ways to solve problems.  I can actually multi-task, and often get more done when there is chaos around me.  I recognize now that ADHD is something I have had my whole life, causing moments of sheer brilliance as well as times of utter embarrassment.  

Let me be clear, I don’t blame my psychiatrists for the misdiagnosis. ADHD shares numerous symptoms with anxiety and depressive disorders.  And 15 years ago, ADHD just wasn’t on the radar for young women the way it is now.  My journey has led me to be the person I am today, and I am thankful for every step I’ve had taken to get here, right, wrong, or otherwise. 

 

October is ADHD Awareness Month, and you can find more information on the Attention Deficit Disorder Association website: https://add.org/adhd-awareness/

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Nicole is a working mom of two boys, and has been married to her husband, Jim, since 2006. She and her family, along with their two rescue dogs, live in a Metro East suburb about 15 minutes from downtown St. Louis. When not encouraging her boys from the sidelines, Nicole can be found trying new fitness trends or helping others to reach their health and wellness goals. Nicole believes in the healing power of humor and can generally find a reason to laugh. Her hobbies include reading, Netflix binging, and dancing like no one is watching. You can follow Nicole on Instagram @befittinglyfit and in the Facebook group Befittingly Fit for reviews of area fitness classes and musings about life with boys.