October is attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) awareness month, and I want to share some soft skills ADHD has helped me develop. I know that for many people having ADHD is everything but a superpower and a gift. Because ADHD is a spectrum disorder, it affects everyone differently and to varying degrees. Some people would trade their ADHD in a heartbeat for something less debilitating or frustrating, and some relish in all the things ADHD enables them to do. This post isn't another one of those toxic positivity posts, but more of another perspective—the side we may not always see, but may later come (or not) to appreciate in all its subtleties.
Women with ADHD
How do you know if sharing too much information is a problem attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) causes for you? Do you ever find yourself during a conversation anxiously waiting for the person to finish their sentence so you can get your thoughts out before you forget? Do you have word vomit, fixate over the things you wish you would've said, or do you go off on tangents when you speak? Even worse, have you been told or noticed that you share too much information? Then you're in good company.
After receiving a clinical diagnosis for "mild inattentive attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)," something strange happened. What I thought would be liberation turned into weeks, if not months of self-loathing and debility. Instead of learning how to coexist with my ADHD, I became it.
The struggles of motherhood when living with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) can leave you debilitated. Picture this: it's the crack of dawn, and the sun has yet to rise. You awaken from your slumber because, according to the youngest child, "It's wake up time." The kids are ready to watch a slew of morning cartoons, argue about who got the most cereal, and then leave the same bowl of soggy half-eaten Frosted Flakes on the table next to a trail of milk. Kid number one can't find the Legos they hid from kid number two, so a meltdown erupts--and it's only 6:55 a.m. The rest of the morning goes something like, "Mom, don't forget to pack my lunch," and a whiny, "Mom, I want fruit snacks, too," so the monster mother I told myself I wasn't going to be today emerges. Quickly, my little reserve of patience begins waning. Now I'm yelling, overwhelmed, and to add to the stress, late dropping kid number one off at school--as always.
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS) are a tough combination. Many women with ADHD also suffer from PMS, which can be severe enough to resemble premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), an extreme form of PMS. PMS impacts women's mental health and I find that my ADHD symptoms worsen right before my period. There is actually a scientific reason for this as hormones play a major role in ADHD.
Being a woman has many advantages. We can have long hair; we can have short hair. We can wear heels; we can wear tennis shoes. We can have cats; we can have dogs. We can have Adult ADHD; we can not have Adult ADHD. I'd really like to talk about the benefits of having cats versus dogs (I'm a cat person big time), but let's talk about the last one. It makes sense, right? This is a blog about Adult ADHD after all ... let's talk about being a woman with Adult ADHD.