Is it me or my ADHD?

I’ve spent most of my life undiagnosed with ADHD combined type, until recently. I’ve displayed symptoms of ADHD throughout my entire life. There are still blurred lines of my personality vs a symptom of my ADHD.

Procrastination, impulsiveness, impatience, super emotional.

Is it me, or my ADHD?

The Procrastinator

Procrastination has been running through my veins for as long as I can remember. It’s something I just couldn’t describe to people. It was like, no matter how much I tried or how determined I was to start or complete a task, it felt like there was a stronger force holding me back. I tried everything from, establishing a routine, drinking lots of coffee and energy drinks but I couldn’t shake the procrastination off.

Procrastination had a negative impact on me during school, I’d always turn in homework at the last minute and I didn’t perform as well as I knew I could. It sucked. At work, procrastination was a large contributing factor to the stress I was under due to being up against the clock trying to complete a project in time. Not ideal.

At my final ADHD assessment, my doctor had asked me whether I’d choose to complete the easiest task or the hardest task first. I said I’d choose the easiest task, it was a no brainer! My doctor explained that procrastination is a common symptom of ADHD, I have an impaired sense of time and I also experience a sense of paralysis before getting started. ADHD’ers, try not to beat yourself up for procrastinating. Let’s conquer it one step at a time.

The Impulsive one

I was seen as a bit of a rebel at school because I kind of just did/said what I felt like at the time. I’d call out the answers to questions, I’d make suggestions to teachers on how they should teach a concept. I honestly didn’t think I was out of line at the time. No one else saw it this way. I felt misunderstood and sometimes questioned if I made the correct choices at the time.

Two career changes, short-lived friendships/relationships, moving from one idea to another; is it me or my ADHD? I’ve always been pretty sure of myself and wanted to do things on my own terms. But looking back, I realised that there has been a pattern, rash decisions with no thought of the consequences. Accepting that my impulsive nature is as a result of my ADHD and not because I’m a self-proclaimed maverick was hard to accept at first. But I’m glad that my meds are helping me tame my impulsiveness.

The Emotional Being

I feel really deeply, get worked up fairly easily and I fixate on whatever I’m feeling at the time. When I’m frustrated, it’s hard for me to look at the situation any other way I become completely absorbed in my emotions which can be very exhausting.

The other day at work I was asked an urgent question via email and I was thinking of how to respond. My anxiety levels went through the roof and I found myself rehearsing my response practically speaking gibberish trying to find the words to put it in writing. I was panicking and couldn’t think properly. This lasted for about 30mins. I eventually replied to the email but was still worked up for at least 1hr after. A bottle of Peroni couldn’t shake it! Pre-diagnosis, I didn’t think much of how deeply I felt. Everyone spoke about being stressed at some point so I thought how I reacted was pretty normal.

Do I tell them?

Do I tell them? Is the question I asked myself the day I received my ADHD diagnosis.

Do I tell them? Is the question I ask myself when my symptoms get the better of me at work or in social settings.

I told my family and close friends about my diagnosis. They have been more patient with me which has been great! I haven’t told colleagues and I’m not sure whether I will. A part of me is nervous that they’ll look at me differently or later down the line my ADHD may be used against me. Any advice?

The Learning Process

Initially, I felt like blaming my actions/behaviours on my ADHD was a bit of a cop-out. But it’s not, I have a neurodevelopmental disorder and I’m learning how to manage it, one step at a time.

The YouTube channel, ‘How to ADHD’ has been a great resource so far on my journey! Also, connecting with ADHD’ers on Twitter has made me feel seen.

Let’s talk more on Twitter, @AdultingADHD