Jan 18, 2011
I have no idea where to begin or how to articulate in a way that will make everyone understand how huge this moment was in my life. Forgive the writing, my first day of medication has worn off and I am a bit scattered right now.
I have pretty much always known that I might have A.D.D. The older I became the more positive I was. But until recently, when I had my daughter brought in and she was diagnosed with A.D.H.D, it never crossed my mind to check. Nobody else in my family has tried to be diagnosed besides my older brother, who was diagnosed when he was a little boy. (He still has A.D.D) I can remember the moment that I first noticed a difference. I was in 3rd grade and I was awesome at spelling. I loved it, we were raising our hands to try and spell one of our spelling words. I was picked and I spelled it wrong. I had spelled them wrong before, but this time, was the first time that I felt slow. There was a difference and I didn't know why it took me so much longer to think about the problem. My grades fell consistantly from then on. I was distracted easily, if I was doing dishes and I thought about the laundry I had to go do the laundry and so on, I guess I flitted around from need to need. I missed social queues that most would get, because I was unable to take in the whole picture. I said things that I later regretted. Things that I never would have said if I been able to take a moment, if I had better impulse control. I was looked at to be a spoiled brat who sort of fell apart when things weren't going my way. I could not handle a lot of change, and I thought that I must not be a people person because I couldn't cope around a bunch of people. I hated any change. I was young and set in my ways way more than i should have been.
The best way to describe an A.D.D. brain, is this... Imagine a large room full of people. That large room is your brain. The people are the information that you receive every moment of every day. If you don't have A.D.D your brain uses its natural filters and puts those people in neat little groups in the areas of your brain that needs that information. If you DO have A.D.D your filter is a very holey one or you just lack one completely. Your large room of people is nothing but chaos, everyone is talking over one another and walking all over the place. Your brain can't take the silly and unnecessary information and get rid of it, so the pieces that you DO need may be absorbed but its absorbed in pieces and those pieces may not be where they belong. Therefore making you have to search a whole heck of a lot harder for a bit of information that should have been right on the tip of your tongue. No, I am not a Dr. and this is not me telling you that 100% your going to be like this. This is just my A.D.D brain, this is what i felt like.
Now moving on to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I can guess what images and thoughts just flashed through that mind of yours. Because it flashed through mine as well. I thought counting, and having to say something a certain amount of times, or to tap a door frame. And it is, but it can also be the exact opposite. Every single person on this planet is obsessive compulsive just a teeeeeeny tiny bit about something. Everyone. The disorder part isn't added until it affects your daily life. Since the image of OCD ,in my mind,was as previously described, I thought it meant being late for work because you have to finish your rituals. Its true, it can be. It can also mean, that if you come home and freak out because the dishwasher has yet to be emptied, or you get emotional because something is not the way you need it to be, then you could be Obsessive. If you find that you hold on to things, like that game that has been in the top of your closet for the last 2 years, or any other item, because you MAY be able to use it. Well that can be called hoarding. Not to the extent of the hoarding on TV. Just the tendency. That is also a sign of being Obsessive. The definition of affecting your daily life can be as simple as this. If you lash out and hurt someones feelings, if your "quirks" strain a relationship, if you get upset to the point where it changes a part of your day for something that is out of place, for being out of routine and other things along that line then yes it is having an effect on your daily life. Your saying, no it's not, someone reading this is in denial, but i can now tell you, as of today, that its true and you won't know it, until you know different. I can't explain that part better because that was my experience. I can't speak for others.
I went to the Dr's today and was diagnosed with A.D.D and O.C.D. I don't have rituals, I don't count. I had no idea OCD could be so simple. All he did was ask my husband some questions. The Dr. already knew I had A.D.D from some previous conversations, that diagnosis didn't take long. He asked Matt if I had a hard time in new situations, if he ever saw me struggle to not be rude or upset or overwhelmed. Matt said that he had seen it. He asked if I tended to hoard. Which, honestly, i was offended by, until he told me that it didn't have to mean i have a house full of old newspapers. I just have a hard time letting go of things on the small scale. So yes i keep things but my house is free and clear lol. And you know what, I believed that I had A.D.D and that I might have Obsessive Compulsive tendencies. But i was in complete denial about having an actual disorder. The Dr. prescribed me some Adderall and he told me that if I do have OCD or Obsessive Compulsive tendencies that i might notice some relief because Adderall is an amphetamine. Basically the information was squirreled away into my hazy brain and out I went to fill my script.
My expectations didn't touch what I was about to experience. LOL. Oh gosh, I was so lost before and I had no idea. I thought that the meds would help me focus so that i could work on being a better mother. So i could have more patience and stop being the slob who had trouble cleaning her house. (Not filthy just not super clean...chaotic). I thought it would help me focus on not being a coward. You see I thought I was a coward because I am 26 with a permit. And I thought I was a loser because I had trouble staying at a Job before I was a stay at home mom. And I thought I was mean and nasty because when family would come to visit I had to use every ounce of my willpower not to just ask them to leave because i was so overwhelmed. That left me acting very sassy, grumpy and very rude.
Then I took the Adderall and the Dr. was not kidding when he said I would have the full benefit within the hour. I have heard it described as someone going from night to day. For me, it was like seeing my first sunrise. I realized literally with the first pill, within the first 3 hours, that I am not a coward, I have O.C.D, I wasn't scared of the responsibility, I wasn't scared of the driving, I was overwhelmed totally and completely at the thought of a stranger sitting in my car and judging my skills. That is huge situation to confront when i hadn't even been able to cope with my own family in my own house. I am not mean and nasty and selfish, I just could not handle the situation, the people, and for me, the lack of calm that comes with being around other people. I was not an O.C.D neat freak, I was an O.C.D calm freak. I am a great worker, people trust me quickly, but i always quit a few months in, once again because i couldn't cope with the people and the lack of consistent routine. And wow, holy cow, I can think and i feel smart. For the first time in my life I can think about talking with someone after they have hurt my feelings and feel as if I am completely in control. I feel solid and alive and amazingly clear headed and all these things that I thought i was gonna have to work on have vanished. I have been given the gift of treatment for things I thought had nothing to do with A.D.D. or even O.C.D. I am able to accept responsibility for past mistakes, I don't freak out over a loud noise that startles me. I am a completely different person. So the most amazing moment, the before and after moment in my life, is this............
That little voice of reason in the back of my head that i wished would stick around, that sweet wonderful person I always wished I could be like, that incredibly strong and confident woman I see walking down the street, and that amazingly kind, patient, and compassionate mother I envied, has always been me. I was actually missing a part me that I didn't know existed. But not anymore. Today my life finally begins. Today I get to say something that not many people get the chance to say. I get to introduce myself to my family. I get to introduce the person that has always been there and I am finally proud.
So please, if you have the smallest suspicion that you might have A.D.D. don't hesitate to make an appointment, it would take an hour of your life, an hour that you would spend answering questions. The life you are living right now is YOUR normal life. Its all you know. Haven't you wondered even a little bit? What if your right? Take my advice and check. You will find that you didn't know what life was like at all. And every moment after that? Another glorious and freeing breath of fresh air. Another moment of your life where, from now on, you'll know EXACTLY who you are.