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October is National ADHD Awareness Month and it’s no secret that I’ve lived a life up against this disorder.

I hate that word: disorder. The dictionary defines “disorder” as a “state of confusion.” But I do not feel confused at all. Sure, sometimes I may feel confused but I do not live in a constant state of disorder just because I have ADHD. It really frustrates me that we call ADHD a “disorder.” However, in medicine, a disturbance of normal functioning of the mind or body is considered a disorder. I suppose my mind does not function “normally,” but I am okay with that.

It’s always feels a little daunting to me when I up in a “Things I’m Afraid To Tell You” type of post. When I sit down to write these, I cannot help but think about the troll who is convinced that I have bi-polar disorder. I’m sure it’s the same person writing this message to me over and over again. Or, perhaps is coming from a few different people. I can assure you that I do not have bi-polar disorder {which by the way is very difficult to diagnose}. I have been seeing doctors and therapists my entire life. For some reason when I open up on social media about my mental illness struggles, I always get a spectator or two who is simply here to judge, poke at what may seem like my weaknesses and try to get a rise out of me.

I am here to tell you one thing: ADHD is not my weakness. It is my strength.

It really annoys the heck out of me that people have shamed others and look at people with ADHD as if we have some sort of plague. The moment I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child I was immediately pulled into a special learnings class, took tests alone in the hallway outside the classrooms, put on medication and was told I was “different.” What was I supposed to think? That this was a good thing?

When I first met Grant he was aware of what ADHD was and he thought he knew what it meant. But it wasn’t until living with me for many years for him to really understand the daily nuances and little ticks that make life with ADHD, and life living with a person who has ADHD, quite the struggle. But what I love most about Grant was that once he started to realize what those little struggles were, he started to point out all of the many strengths that also come along with having ADHD. My hyper focused brain is like superwoman on days I’m “firing” with ADHD. I’m able to get more work done in a day than most do in a full week. Grant also pointed out that I have very high energy, I’m creative and intuitive. I had been so wrapped up in the many negative traits that are associated with ADHD for so long that I failed to see the positive ones.

Luckily I have had amazing resources in my adulthood that have helped me understand ADHD and ways I cope and manage it. I have shared a lot of social posts and blog posts about how I’ve learned to live with ADHD. However, I have shared very little about the things that I really struggle with. So, in light of National ADHD Awareness Month and bringing more awareness to this disorder, I thought I would share more about my story below.

I Hate Medication

I no longer take Adderall, Ritalin, Dexedrine, Lexapro, or any other type of stimulants. I have never liked the way medication makes me feel and always knew in my gut (gotta trust that intuition) that medication was not the best route for me. Over the years, I’ve found that if I work out daily or at least move my body with a walk, that it really helps calm my mind and keep me feeling stable.

People with ADHD are “Hyper”

This one really crawls under my skin. “You have so much energy!” is something that I have heard a lot of people say to me. Honestly? I don’t have that much energy. But it really seems like when I’m excited about something or I’m working really hard on a project, that I get labeled as having “high energy” ADHD. I can actually be downright lazy when I’m not interested in something. I hate the stigmas that attach to ADHD. The minute you tell someone you have it is the minute that automatically slap you with labels of “high energy.”

No, You Do Not Have ADHD

Doesn’t it seem like everyone and their dog has ADHD? I don’t know when it became so popular to just rattle off “oh ya I have that too” when someone opens up about their neurobiological disorder. Don’t get me wrong, I love that people want to relate and make those of us with ADHD feel a bit more “normal,” but it can also feel a little undermining at times when everyone says they have ADHD.

The only way to know for sure is to see a doctor, or two, or three.

I’m Exhausted

Sometimes my hyper focused energy is so exhausting. On days, like today, I’m sitting in my pajamas at 2pm, teeth unbrushed, face unwashed and I’m feeling a little sick. I will continue to push myself to work for another hour and then maybe take a 30 minute break before dragging myself to the grocery store. What I really need is rest. I need to recharge. But my mind won’t let me. It’s a weird rush of energy I get when I’m working on something I am passionate about. So, I continue. This is probably my least favorite thing about ADHD. There are simply some days that I cannot turn it off. The only thing that helps me on these days are taking a nice, deep breath and knowing that this day will not last forever. This moment will pass. This is just a tough day.

The Things That Help Me

A lot of yoga, working out and mindfulness have been my saving grace to helping with my ADHD symptoms {click here to read more about my symptoms}. I have also been seeing my therapist for over 6 years steadily. I am constantly reading about and learning more on ADHD and try to stay up to date on new studies and findings. Incorporating my ADHD into my every day life with Grant so I’m less afraid to talk about it has also been helpful. We continue to point out moments that I’m “firing” and the frustration and/or annoyance lessens as a result.

Do you struggle with ADHD? How do you cope/manage? Leave a comment below and continue to help spread awareness this month!

 

xoxo jacey

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