Self Discovery: An ADHD Journey

The Identity Crisis

When you are 34 and discover after all these years you have been struggling with two severe mental health disorders, it can be an extremely jarring reality check. It’s difficult to struggle with all the times something went wrong and not knowing why it happened. People would call you lazy when there was so much effort. Relationships would fall apart for no reason. It’s a confusing and demoralizing experience. A newly diagnosed person’s whole identity is rocked to its core and you end up going on a long journey of self discovery.

For a lot of people, the year 2020 was a very intense and difficult period. It’s hard to even see positives from such a difficult year, but for me there were a couple. I got diagnosed ADHD a month before my 34th birthday, and I was put on the path towards something I truly love. While having ADHD can be extremely difficult, not knowing you have ADHD is like going through life studying all the wrong material you’re being tested on. Getting that diagnosis was a beacon towards understanding everything.

Up until that point I had been struggling with maintaining a job, a relationship, and my finances. I felt like a failure at life. My mental health was at an all time low. I had no direction on what I wanted to do going forward. I didn’t want to give up on myself. Determined, I started to research the things I was struggling with on a daily basis. After some googling, I discovered many of my symptoms pointed towards ADHD and dug deeper. After realizing this is what it was, I joined a peer support group on Facebook and found my validation. I went to therapy for the first time in 10+ years. When I got my assessment and diagnosis a sense of relief washed over me. I wasn’t broken.

The Choice to Move Forward

It was then that I made the choice that I wanted to help other people struggling with their mental health. To become better, I school to become a Peer Support Specialist to gain more training, and educated myself on everything I could about ADHD. With my knowledge I began helping the people around me as best I could. As my knowledge grew, I decided to expand myself to social media and began educating people on Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram. As my presence grew and people found my knowledge beneficial, I decided to take my skills to the next level and create a coaching service. Soon, I will be open to providing ADHD coaching to anyone who needs help. I am incredibly grateful how everything has lined up for me. It has been hard, but I stayed strong and overcome. Follow me as I go deeper into my journey of self discovery, and work to change the stigma of mental health.

A Person Asks “Are You Scared?”

Relationships Are Difficult

Someone with ADHD can inadvertently cause harm to those around them without realizing what they are doing. This does not excuse the behaviors, nor should they be allowed to happen because of someone’s mental health. However, having open and honest communication can help alleviate any misunderstanding and potential harm to those we love. We get excited, invested and lose ourselves a bit when we find something new that is interesting. This includes people. Our tendency is to love bomb that person and go all in right away, which can look like narcissistic behaviors.

For someone with NPD, this is called the idealization phase of the abuse cycle. They become invested in the person, put them up on a pedestal, and pretend to be interested in the persons hobbies. They are only doing this to gather information about the person, to later use it against them during the devaluation phase of the cycle. This is extremely harmful behavior, and is something to watch out for in a partner. It can be easy to get sucked into this cycle, especially for ADHD people as we tend to act in a similar way and mistake the behavior for being understood.

For someone with ADHD, we do want to be genuine and are interested in our partners. We want to share things with them and connect with them on different levels. One of the best ways for us to do that is to share hobbies with the person and enjoy their company. It can be overwhelming for someone who isn’t used to this kind of attention, and appear to be clingy in a way. It’s our job to try and communicate with our partners, and maintain any boundaries that are set by them.

The biggest thing to remember is that no matter the excuse, abusive behavior is abusive behavior. If there is no accountability, empathy, and action to change, the person does not deserve your time or energy.

A Step Forward

For many ADHD people, life can be very difficult. It’s a mental health disorder that not many people truly understand, and when it’s the people around them that don’t, it can be feel extremely lonely. Even though ADHD is classified as a disability, it is one that can’t be seen, and so many people only think we are making excuses or lazy. They don’t see what is going on inside our heads. They don’t feel the overwhelm of thoughts, emotions, fear, doubt, shame, guilt, constantly buzzing in our minds telling us that we should be better. That other people can do these simple things, why can’t I?

It can be even worse for those of us who went undiagnosed for most of our lives. We struggled against things we didn’t even know we were fighting. We failed over and over again, and the frustration of those failures built up inside, because we tried so hard to succeed. Getting fired from jobs. Losing interest in things we know we love. Failed relationships and friendships without understanding what went wrong. Plus being told things like, “you just need to focus” when we tried to focus but still couldn’t. Instead, we were fighting an invisible enemy. Ourselves.

ADHD is much more than just a “hyperactive” disorder. It affects our emotions, the way we think and process information, our ability to do basic tasks like doing the dishes or taking out the trash, our perception of time, social skills, and much more. Then you have to deal with all the potential comorbid disorders as well like, depression, anxiety, CPTSD, dyslexia, BPD, and more. ADHD is much more than just a disorder to us, it is who we are as a person. It affects every aspect of our lives, and while some of us can function without much help and often excel in life, there are many who are disabled by ADHD. I am one of those people who struggles everyday with it, and if I did not have my medication I would not be functioning at all right now. I still struggle though. Medication is not a fix or cure, but a tool to help us be better.

I hope that through this blog and other social media outlets, I can bring awareness to something that affects an estimated 4.4% of adults in the United States alone. We’re not lazy. We’re not failures. We’re not making excuses. We are ADHD people, and we only want to be understood in this world.

An Introduction

When you go through life undiagnosed, the world around you seems to be in hard mode but you don’t understand why. You try to do what you see everyone else doing, but you struggle to even do half of what is considered normal. You are told things like “you just need to focus” or “you’re just being lazy” and start to build an internal dialogue that you are somehow wrong. Going years with this internal voice can cause a lot of issues later in adulthood. It can manifest into an internalized trauma that makes you fear success, have anxiety, depression, and many other symptoms that can be very difficult to overcome. 

These are the things we will be exploring through this blog and podcast releasing on August 4th. Living a life of an undiagnosed neurodivergent is tricky, and we want to share our story. On the podcast, we will discuss the various aspects of ADHD we struggle with the most, anecdotes to help people relate, and go down various conversational rabbit holes we tend to go down. The blog will be here to help expand on topics we discuss, share more personal stories, and provide resources for those that are interested. 

So if you haven’t checked out who we are yet check out the About Us section. We are happy to have you here and share this journey with us. Be sure to follow us on Twitter too to join in on conversations and be kept up to date!