“This little girl has ADHD and no one knows it…not even she does.
She knows she’s different, she knows her brain works a little harder than it appears her friends’ brains do, and she knows she scares off other small children because she’s too loud and excited.
That dress she’s wearing is a product of hyperfixation. It never belonged to her. It was donated by somebody else to the childcare center she attends, and you could say she fell in love at first sight. She wanted nothing more than to wear it all day, she didn’t share it with other children, and when her parents picked her up from childcare daily, it was an emotional ordeal to let go of the dress. Until one day, the childcare teachers just allowed her to take it home because she loved it endlessly.
The bruises on her legs are an indication of how clumsy she is. She falls over her own feet and trips over ‘invisible objects.’ It’s what she tells herself to feel better about how silly it might make her look. But that’s just her imagination…did you know research has established individuals with ADHD are exceptionally good at creative thinking?
She often experiences rejection, she forgets where her toys are, she can’t focus on more than one thing at a time, which would affect her school reports in the future.
‘Isabella has potential…but is easily distracted.’
‘Isabella would benefit from focusing more and applying her skills.’
‘Isabella is very skilled and creative, but often finds herself talking to other students too often in the classroom.’
How about, ‘Isabella has a medical condition that affects the way her brain develops and retains information, and she lacks attention’?!
My parents weren’t to blame: there was only one of me and two of them. When my traits begin to grow, two adults can manage one child together. Having an only child meant there was also nothing to compare off of. I was also born in 1997, which is only 7 years after psychiatric medical scientists declared ADHD a life-long condition (and not something that children grow out of) and 2 years after it was first sub-categorized into inattentive, hyperactive, and combination.
But when I look at this photo, all I see is a small angel of a being who needed someone to nurture her mind and the way it works in a unique way, something no one around her knew how to do.
Representation matters. Growing up I had no one to look at and feel validated by…so I looked in the mirror.
I looked so hard I began to dissect who I am so deeply it began to make me feel broken.
I am too loud.
I am too bossy.
I am too childlike.
I am too confident.
I am too excited.
I am too much.
I am not enough.
Until recently, I hadn’t met anyone else like me before. While I, obviously, knew I wasn’t the only person in the world with ADHD, I never really, truly felt seen by another person who lives their life the exact same way I do. And this is the sort of image this little girl needed…all the way up until she was 23 a few weeks ago when she received her official diagnosis.
I’m learning to deconstruct the idea that ADHD makes me less of a human being, makes me annoying, makes me hard to manage, makes me difficult, makes me stupid. I am not stupid, I am not stupid, I am not stupid!!!
I am neurodivergent. This is neurodiversity.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Izzy. You can follow her journey on Instagram. 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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