It’s funny looking back. Everyone thought I had everything together. My organization, productivity, and quality of work were seen as something to strive for. But looking at myself and how very hard I had to work to get the results, I felt less than inspiring. I struggled with a capital EVERYTHING. I had no idea why.
While everyone thought I had it all together—I was drowning deeper and deeper daily and hating myself for it. Why can’t I just BE what everyone thinks I am? This was my entire life.
From my earlier memories of being in preschool to this second writing this (I have no business writing anything!) there are glaringly obvious (now at least) signs I am living with ADHD. But it wasn’t until last fall I really noticed any of them as being anything more than my failures.
Last summer, I was at a breaking point as a mother. We had just survived yet another round of virtual learning with my kids—and I say survive because honestly, there was no thriving. I watched my middle child William struggle with things I knew he could accomplish. I watched my oldest child do great work and then NOT TURN IT IN! I hated myself as a mother. I was failing them! So we reached out for help.
If you get anything from this article, please let it be to reach out for help. Lo and behold, both my boys (and soon to be my youngest boy) were diagnosed with ADHD. We were ready to help them in any way we could, so we started medication with them, and I bawled watching them THRIVE within a day or so. I also did a lot of reading about ADHD in kids—then stumbled on some books about ADHD in adult women and had my “AHA” moment.
I was an adult living with undiagnosed and untreated ADHD. While I struggled, I certainly didn’t think it was anything more than my own inability to live up to my own expectations.
Fast forward a week or so, and I was diagnosed and started treatment. My quality of life was improved tenfold. I had no idea how good I could have it. I know I struggled with the idea of actually going to get a diagnosis for myself, and I’m so glad I did. My most commonly asked question is, “Should I bother getting a diagnosis?”
1. Access to medication
This is a touchy subject for some, and that’s okay. I’m not here to tell you what works for you—but I am here to tell you what works for us. We’re all medicated for ADHD. And quite honestly, none of us have any intention of ever stopping. Until the first dose, I had no idea I could focus on one thought at a time. I had no idea I could just get up and do the task I didn’t want to do. I didn’t have to think about it for weeks while it ate away at me. I didn’t have to be a miserable b**ch by the end of the day. Medication isn’t the answer for everyone. But I promise you, it’s worth at least looking into.
2. Ability to see joy in the little things
I’m not saying I wasn’t happy. But I definitely didn’t feel the surge of joy I should feel doing things I love. My mind was so busy worrying about all the things I was failing at, I couldn’t live in the moment. Not that I had trouble living in the moment. I literally could not. Being able to feel happiness in the moment has improved my quality of life more than I can describe.
3. Lead by example
ADHD has a genetic component, and it’s clear as day in this house! My mom is very much living with undiagnosed ADHD. It’s been so good to be able to point things out to her that she’s doing because of her ADHD and then be able to offer some tips to her.
You’re not crazy for losing things. You’re not lazy for forgetting to clean out the back of the fridge for embarrassingly long. You’re still a good mom even though you’re touched out and can’t stomach hearing the word “mommy” one more time today. This was by far the biggest benefit for me. Being able to talk to my husband and say, “Sorry—I took what you said as an attack because of my rejection sensitivity” or to be able to say to my kids, “Mommy’s big feelings need a break right now, can you come talk to me later?” and not feel GUILTY was life-changing.
You are perfect. You are you. And once you can accept yourself for who you are, you start to see how to use your ADHD as a gift. I know how cheesy that sounds, but my ability to bounce between half-done tasks as time permits helps me thrive with my home daycare, and my ability to see the power in lists, systems, etc. makes me a strong leader in my Scentsy business. You’re not wrong. You’re you.
5. Your health matters
There are parts of ADHD that affect how/what you eat, if you drink enough water, etc. If there was a medical issue causing you not to eat properly, would you seek help? It’s the same thing. Your brain is worthy of you caring for it.
My three beautiful babies. I feel so proud of myself (for one of the first times in my life!) as a mother because I can advocate for them. I now have the ability to speak out and show them that ADHD isn’t something to be silent about. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Not only that—they’re getting the support and help I never got as a child. I can’t be sure how different my life could have been, and I can’t say that I would even change a thing to get here…but I know I suffered a lot in silence. My kids don’t have to do that.
Even if you don’t go get a formal diagnosis, I hope you gain some validation from this article.
You’re not wrong or a failure. You’re struggling because we simply cannot just do things the way others can. That’s a scientific fact, and the sooner you love yourself enough to hear that—the sooner you’ll begin to heal. Xo
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Jenn Depatie of Sudbury, Ontario, Canada. You can follow her journey on Instagram, personal Facebook, business Facebook, and TikTok. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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