October 22, 2022

I am a Woman with ADHD—& That Shouldn’t Define Me or Make me Feel Less Than.

Photo by Tara Winstead on Pexels.

Growing up I always felt like I was different—like something wasn’t connecting.

I constantly felt like I missed the memo when all of the other girls clearly got it. Even now as an adult, I still sometimes wonder what it feels like to be “normal”—because, in my head, I do not fit in that category.

I was diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) when I was in high school and briefly took medication. It did improve my grades, but I didn’t really think too much about the other impacts it was having. Soon enough, I stopped taking my medication because I was a teenager and thought I knew everything. My parents would leave it out for me before school and my sister vividly remembers me “throwing it over my shoulder” in the car instead of taking it. I graduated, left high school, and forgot all about my medication…and diagnosis.

I went to college and struggled to feel like I fit in there as well. I always attributed my feelings to being an insecure person. Never in a million years did I think how I felt about myself could be connected to ADHD. Due to my negative experience and lack of confidence, I ended up leaving college after my second year there. Shortly after that, I met my fiancé and we started our family with the birth of our first son.

Fast forward eight years and a second child, and I am finally connecting the dots, partially thanks to TikTok videos. So many of the things I struggle with seem to be connected to my forgotten ADHD. I left my diagnosis in the dust with my high school memories so it never occurred to me that what made me feel different or inadequate could be from anything other than pure laziness, lack of drive, and impulse control.

I never understood why I have such a low tolerance when my kids laugh too loud, why the growing pile of laundry is so daunting (to the point where I will leave it until we have absolutely no clothes in our dressers), or even why I cannot decide for the life of me what I want to do as my long-term career because I get bored so quickly in every job.

All of these things make sense to me now, and though I am still feeling overwhelmed by it all, I feel like I finally start to understand myself better.

Certain aspects of what I struggle with have also impacted my relationship. My fiancé loves having a nice clean living space (I mean, who doesn’t?), but I am terrible—and I mean terrible—at maintaining a neat living space. This has caused tension between us because he just assumes I don’t care about keeping things tidy and that I am lazy when it comes to cleaning.

Truthfully, I get completely overwhelmed by the mess and feel almost paralyzed by it. He is definitely neater than I am and a better cleaner and it brings me back to feeling like I cannot measure up to others.

Now, the challenge is learning how to manage my ADHD so that I can live a life that feels productive and fulfilling. I have called my doctor and I have some decisions to make. Is medication right? Is practicing mindfulness and other homeopathic remedies the better option for me? I really don’t know at this time but that is okay.

At first, I thought of all of the negative connotations associated with ADHD, but I quickly realized that was no way to look at my situation. There are many things I am learning to love about myself thanks to my diagnosis.

For one, I am creative. I can always find something to talk about with others—there is never a lack of thoughts in my brain. The thing I love the most is that now I can educate myself and advocate for others in my situation.

So many women go undiagnosed and feel the way I feel. I have joined a Facebook group for women with ADHD and it’s been eye-opening to realize that there are other women that can relate to exactly how I feel after feeling so misunderstood for so long.

I have realized that I am just a woman—with ADHD—but that shouldn’t define me or make me feel less than anyone else. If you are neurodivergent and have any tips on how to balance simple daily tasks, please send me all of the tips!

Cheers to all the women navigating life, parenting, and relationships one day at a time.

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