I just read something online about the month of October being ADHD awareness month. I couldn’t find any information about whether this applied in Canada and to be honest, I can’t be bothered to remember all the “awareness” months or the ridiculous, second-tier holidays that seem to be all the rage these days. National Donut Day? Give me a fuckin’ break… Who the hell is that even for? I think I just proved my point… I started this post several times and am still on the first paragraph but as the reader, you thankfully won’t know that. But really, why the fuck is there an ADHD awareness month? Someone with ADHD won’t even be aware of this month or give a shit. But once again, I digress…
I thirteen years old when my brother passed away from heart failure at the age of 18. Because a young person’s death is obviously a traumatic event to all those who remain behind, I was brought to a therapist who “chatted” with me, and by chatted with me, I mean that he assessed me for further treatment. Because of certain things I said and my inability to sit still and focus on the topic at hand, I was referred to a psychiatrist who, after several tests and arguments, diagnosed me with ADHD. Given that my brother had just died, my family attributed things to that and didn’t take stock in the diagnosis. Whatever. What was I saying…? Oh, yeah…
I’m making light of things because it’s how I’ve come to cope with it. But my ADHD symptoms never really went away. So let’s start with the basics, as I always do. What the fuck IS ADHD, anyway? Well, ADHD is a mental disorder that according to an article posted by The American Psychiatry Association, “Symptoms of ADHD include inattention (not being able to keep focus), hyperactivity (excess movement that is not fitting to the setting) and impulsivity (hasty acts that occur in the moment without thought). ADHD is considered a chronic and debilitating disorder and is known to impact the individual in many aspects of their life including academic and professional achievements, interpersonal relationships, and daily functioning […]. ADHD can lead to poor self-esteem and social function in children when not appropriately treated […]. Adults with ADHD may experience poor self-worth, sensitivity towards criticism, and increased self-criticism possibly stemming from higher levels of criticism throughout life […]. Of note, ADHD presentation and assessment in adults differs;”
I have to say that I don’t entirely agree with the last couple of sentences where they refer to adult ADHD. I STILL match almost all of these symptoms, making sitting still, focusing and getting proper sleep a severe challenge in my adult life. This is something people generally don’t recognize or understand. In fact, if any people who know me personally read this, they may actually be a bit surprised by the revelation. Besides my wife and a couple of closely chosen individuals, I’ve never really shared the fact that I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. It’s never held me back, although it HAS made certain things hard throughout my life, both as a child and into adulthood.
In school, my grades were above average but I was considered sub-par. This was mostly because I couldn’t pay attention in class to save my life. I used to use my pencil case and it’s contents to build small forts on my desk that would allow me to hide my face and nap during class. My teachers would get pissed but at the end of the day I would pass everything, so what could they really do? It wasn’t my fault they were boring as fuck and all I could focus on was the movie I watched the previous evening or the karate class I would attend that evening. Somehow, I would always pass every class with flying colours.
Continuing to experience the symptoms of ADHD can easily carry on into adulthood, contrary to what some less-than-knowledgable colleagues have told me over the years. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental health disorder that includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity and impulsive behavior. Adult ADHD can lead to unstable relationships, poor work or school performance, low self-esteem, and other problems. Though it’s called adult ADHD, symptoms start in early childhood and continue into adulthood. In some cases, ADHD is not recognized or diagnosed until the person is an adult. Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as clear as ADHD symptoms in children. In adults, hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness and difficulty paying attention may continue.”
Anyway, I didn’t even know this month was a thing, far from thinking it should garner this kind of attention. Most sources will say that ADHD is treated with psychiatric consultations and treatments as well as medications. I’ve been lucky enough that I never had to go on medications. I also don’t like how that often to seems to be to go-to, although I understand that it’s necessary in some cases. This is actually near and dear to me, despite my cavalier writing, since we’re trying to figure out if my oldest is also afflicted with ADHD. Once way or another, if you have a friend or colleague who seems to have a hard time sitting still or paying attention, don’t question it. Just be aware that they may not be able to physically help it. That is all. ☯️