ADHD in adults
Being over fifty and then being diagnosed with ADHD. Well, what does that do to you?
Not too long ago, someone asked me if I had ever been tested for ADHD. ADHD? Isn't that something for kids who are Very Busy Every Day? Those bouncing balls that have a hard time at school? As a child, I was quiet, shy, withdrawn, a daydreamer, had few friends, an outsider. One with lots of imagination and a short-tempered nature, that is. A messy ass: ?Just as well your rump is attached to you, otherwise you would lose that too!? and a tin pan: ?so hot and so cold again!?, a ?herb-roer-me-not?
Growing up, I often wondered why I had so much trouble finishing something. So many half jumpers and unfinished crafts, because yes, another pattern and another colour was always prettier. When painting the house, the paint was no longer available in the shop, while there was still a whole section of wall and ceiling left. I revived my own blog several times, only for it to quietly bleed to death again after a few stories. My own business keeps playing in my head.
And I really do see the point of tidying up, but I've always hated cupboards. No matter how ?neatly' I try to arrange them, something invariably falls out. I have a lot of trouble throwing things out and tidying up usually means moving them around, in a frantic attempt to keep some order.
A few years ago, I discovered that I visual thinker was, scenariodenker actually. So that's why people didn't understand me when I tried to tell them something and why my head was so crowded. I read that visual thinkers see lots of pictures at the same time and have to convert them all into information. Scenario thinkers are always a few steps ahead of others with their thoughts. My head is always full. I often feel rushed and restless, because there is still so much interesting to do and the clock of life is ticking relentlessly. But just as often I catch myself hanging out in the sofa doing nothing. Just because I don't know what to do first.
A test at work showed that I was a pioneer, someone who liked doing new things and struggled to keep up routine chores. And indeed, I struggled with long-term projects, needed deadlines, was an odd duck to policy staff, tried to avoid meetings or, with an excuse, leave early. But if there was a job I really liked, I had no problem working on it late into the night at home.
Then I became unemployed and my career coach told me I was struggling to focus, frame and prioritise. My children were growing up into adolescents and social workers caught me failing to give them structure, consistency and boundaries. I was losing control of my family, of my life. My mood swings prompted a psychological assessment and voila: diagnosis ADHD - C, (combined type).
I don't experience the diagnosis as an illness, but a lot of quarters are falling. Since the end of last year, I have been taking medication (ritalin). I feel calmer, more cheerful and my tantrums have decreased. I do not (yet) notice any effect on concentration. Last week I started a course in ADHD for Adults. What will it bring me? I have no illusions that I will ever be able to control the chaos and I know I don't want to. That chaos is part of me, structure and routine scare me. But now that I know a bit more about ADHD, I can at least do something to make the lives of those around me a bit more ?bearable?