I have always been proud of being a sort of nonconformist. I never tried to be popular. I followed enough of the rules to be generally respectful, but do not allow others to change who I am. I am a control freak, but only as it applies to my own life.
When my grandson was born I started weaning myself off of my ADHD medication. My psychiatrist was fairly liberal with dosage, so I was on an extended release Adderall along with an additional short acting pill in case I still had to accomplish something later in the day.
Being medicated for my ADHD did a lot to help me focus, and allowed be to get by as a freelance writer. Not every day was productive, but enough of the days were that I usually felt pretty decent about what I was doing. However, the meds did make me extra irritable, and sometimes the rage would overtake me in a way that frightened me. I did not want to feel that way with an infant grandchild. Rage is a scary emotion, and your own rage can be the most frightening of all, especially when you don’t understand it.
Revelations My ADHD Diagnosis Brought About Life and Writing
Although it was right around my 42nd birthday that I was diagnosed with ADHD , I had a feeling for most of my life that my brain did not work quite the same as most people’s. Injustice upset me, and I wanted things to be fair even as I knew that was unlikely. I took it for granted that one way or another life was going to hand me the short end of the stick, and I just needed to make the best of it.
I wrote from an early age, made up stories where characters would suffer worse fates than mine. I felt less unfortunate, and like I had something within me that could set me free eventually. At age 50 I am still waiting for this.
Anger is Not Wrong, It Just Needs the Right Direction
One truth I keep going back to is that if I am in a position to help someone, I will do it. I will turn my life completely upside down without a second thought. This is just what I did for my daughter and grandson. I have no regrets, but it has taken its toll. I turned all the anger that I felt about the world, and my situation, and my deteriorating physical and mental health and I breathed it in as guilt. I lost my functionality. I lost days at a time to tears and anguish. I decided I couldn’t keep living like that. I had to reclaim my life, and that was probably going to mean reclaiming my own anger in a healthy way.
Despite my difficulties, I have rights as a human being, and as an adult, and I deserve basic respect. I deserve to interject my personality into the air and not have it barreled over as if it does not matter. When I denied this to myself, I had regular serious breakdowns. I was not giving myself the right to be angry, nor express those feelings. Lately, journaling has helped a lot in that respect. Doing things as simple as choosing the background music playing in the house, rather than letting one person dictate it has helped. Headphones have helped, for listening to podcasts and audiobooks that reinforce by own beliefs and give me an opportunity to grow have helped, even when they might not be something I want to share with everyone.
The sadder and more broken I am, the harder it is to form original ideas and have creative thoughts, which is pretty important as a writer. The pandemic has heightened many of the challenges I already faced, with Social Anxiety and Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria (RSD).
RSD is a common byproduct of ADHD that leads to grand adverse reactions to rejections that others see as minimal or trivial. In some this shows itself as breakdowns with excessive crying and depressive symptoms. In others this may show itself in fits of rage, that can lead to verbal attacks and perhaps even physical attacks or property destruction. It is also sometimes referred to emotional dysregulation.
I have had RSD episodes periodically throughout my life, sometimes with greater spaces between them. It seems that crying would be safer, but I have come to wonder if it always is. Internalizing pain just allows it to recycle within you. It amplifies your own doubts about yourself and makes you more vulnerable to the next attack. Things like focusing, being productive, or even being a decent example fall by the wayside, and you spiral with guilt. Only forgiveness can really free you, because everywhere you go, there you are.
If you are a child or an adult with ADHD, or some other condition, or probably just anyone alive the Universe has likely wronged you somewhere along the way. If you are brave you can stand before the external demons, look them in the eye and say. I deserve better. I am rarely so brave. Forgiving yourself is an act that needs to be set on an autoloop, and it means at least attempting to find little bits of olive branches, whether anyone else grabs onto them or not.