If you know me then you may or may not know that I have ADHD. It’s not something I have ever hidden, but also, it’s not something I have felt the need to speak about either. The likelihood is that if it’s ever come up in conversation then I have mentioned it, but to be honest it’s never really impacted my life. Until now that is.
A late diagnosis
I was diagnosed with ADHD at the end of the first year of uni. I was 19 and going through my first round of exams. For some reason I was really struggling with my attention span and the little issues I had staying focused during my GCSE’s and A levels seemed so much worse at university.
After a series of trips to the GP, I was diagnosed with ADHD and referred for CBT. I have to say my experience was a positive one. We identified a series of mechanisms that I put in place to help me focus. And for the past 20 years, they have worked. They helped me stay focused and over time I became so used to it, that I stopped noticing them.
What ADHD looks like for me
If you have ever met me then chances are you will have seen me do these things a thousand times. They are just the little Vicki-isms that make me…..me!
The paper diary I keep to not only tell me where I need to be when but also to help me stay focused and save the moments I want to keep in my mind.
The obsession with taking photographs which help me stay in the moment.
The note taking in meetings that helps to stop my mind from wandering.
Even this blog which was created to help capture the ordinary moments which make life extraordinary as well as helping me to process events and situations by getting them out of my mind and onto paper.
Without these aids, my memory and attention span struggle to keep me in the moment and hold on to some of the little things I want to remember.
You will have also seen a few of the behaviours it causes.
Losing things on regular basis. Forgetting to message or call you back. Taking 15 detours in a conversation and forgetting the point I was trying to make. Speaking at 100mph while jumping between topics. Booking impromptu holidays and weekends away. Getting a random phone call telling you I’m just passing and would you like a brew.
The half-written blog posts still sat in drafts and 1001 creative projects sat in a half-done state. Impulsive eating, impulsive shopping and overthinking EVERYTHING …. usually after I’ve already impulsively done something! Assuming I’ve done something wrong and getting impatient with people or situations. Talking A LOT. Butting into your story with one of my own to show empathy but, I have no doubt that it’s just annoying (I’m sorry for that!)
None of these are bad things though (except maybe that last one). They’re just little things that makes up the world of me.
What has changed?
In short, Covid. Or more specifically lockdown.
The coping mechanisms that help with my memory and attention span were so ingrained in my behaviours that they just became a part of who I am. I didn’t even see them as something I needed to do anymore. So much so that it’s easy for even me to forget why I started doing it in the first place.
Fast forward to 2020 and the world shut down and I stopped needing to do many of these things. My purse no longer lived in the pot by the front door because – well, I didn’t need to use my purse anymore.
It means those little things I struggled with as a teenager, have now reappeared. I am forgetful, frustrated and often unfocused which is at complete odds with my personality which likes to be organised.
With that little combination, you can imagine how fun it is inside my head sometimes!
ADHD gives me so many great things too though.
Passion for things I love and energy to jump into things with both feet. I’m spontaneous and can find joy in the smallest of moments. I see beauty through my camera lens which allows me to see the world in such a wonderful way. I am creative and can often step back and see things a little differently from other people. On the flip side of my lack of focus, I can have bursts of being hyper focused which allows me to get lost in the things I love and am passionate about. Yes, I may have a bad temper that my daughter has inherited, but I am also loyal to a fault and when I make connections to people, I keep them for life.
Why am I publishing this post?
To be honest, I don’t know. I guess I am reflecting on the knock-on effect of Covid and how lockdown has affected us all in different ways. I guess I’m also giving everyone the heads up that I’m probably going back to basics in this space and using it as one of the many habits I need to reinstate and make time for.
I also wanted to share where I am right now in case anyone else is feeling the same and working hard to reinstate habits that make their lives easier.
The quirks that come with having ADHD is as much a part of me as my blue eyes and brown hair and I guess I’m just coming to realise that myself, having not had to actively do anything to manage it for a VERY long time.
For me, at the moment I’m working on rebuilding my habits and routines so that I can just bloody stop tearing the house upside down trying to find my purse before I leave the house and get my to do lists back working for me again!