Just an 18 year old girl who still has a lot to learn. I'm a soprano, I'm a bookworm, and everything else in between. Still trying to develop my voice and make my ideas heard. It's a work in progress.
These are just my thoughts. Feel free to critique it and please let me know if this is something you can relate to!
Written By: alaina_janette
April 6, 2015
It's strange to me, to think that not everyone's brain works the way mine does. My thoughts twist and tumble together with no clear organization, sometimes reducing me to stumbled speech or hasty sentences that get all the words out in time. Everything speeds by, going in one ear and out the other, with not much being retained. Any trivial stimuli can become the biggest distractor and leave me unable to focus for the next 45 minutes. I can't remember due dates for homework assignments or to turn on the oven for dinner, but I know the birthdates of my classmates and some of my old teachers right off the top of my head. I discovered I have this talent where I can hear when words come out of peoples' mouths and completely not hear a single word they say.
The frustrating thing is that I wish I was good at concentrating, but my brain doesn't understand how to filter things into specific places for specific times. I love being organized and being able to have things exactly as I want them to be, but this is rarely possible. Every moment is spent rushing from one thought to the next. My mind is constantly in overdrive with questions and abuzz with wonder and words. Sometimes I write so that the words fill the paper instead of the empty space around me that a lot of people stopped listening to a long time ago. I still struggle with the social symptoms of being occasionally oblivious to social cues or saying the wrong thing without realizing. I try not to make it obvious, but it still happens every once in awhile, unfortunately. I wish there was a way I knew how to control my words when they come out loud.
When I was younger, I was a good reader and a pretty good writer, but I was absolutely horrible at math. My teachers put me in the gifted programs anyway, and while I was able to excell in my stronger skills, I fell farther and farther behind in math and was never really able to catch up. I am constantly disorganized in my materials, which makes me disorganized in my thoughts. It takes me weeks sometimes to learn what the rest of the class learns in 3 days. I could never sit still; I always felt the need to walk around or get a drink or do anything but sit. I was jumpy, I was restless, and I was a little overactive. As I grew older, I withdrew more into myself. Instead of feeling hyper, I became impatient easily and a constant daydreamer. I could not concentrate on my work no matter how hard I tried, and it always left me feeling so incompetent and behind my other classmates when I didn't understand what we were doing in a science lab or classroom activity. All of this still happens to me pretty regularly. I'm incredibly forgetful, notoriously running late for everything, I lose my posessions weekly, I am easily bored, I'm impulsive.
When I found out at the beginning of my senior year that I really did have ADHD, it felt like a relief to finally have a name for what was different about my brain. It made me more comfortable because it was something that could be not eliminated, but fixed. I guess so far I've expected a little more change, but it's a slow process. I'll take what I can get. I know it isn't something that will magically get better in a week or a month or even a few months.
One of my least favorite things about my condition is telling people that I have it in the first place. Their reaction is always something along the lines of "Really? Are you serious? I never would have expected that from you of all people." I'll admit that I'm generally quiet and able to control it a little better now that I'm older. But just because my hyperactivity shifted from external to internal doesn't mean that there isn't anything there at all. It's still there and it's something I have to deal with every day because it's debilitating. Getting tasks done takes me longer. Processing information usually takes me a lot longer. Focusing on one thing takes longer. Snapping out of the occasional hyperfocus can take quite awhile. People like to generalize conditions like ADHD as something that everyone has a little bit of, or even as something that doesn't truly exist. It's really one of those things you don't understand unless...you understand. If you can't imagine what it feels like to live in a world where everything is brighter and louder and everything captivates your attention, you don't understand how it feels to live in my world. You don't need to pretend to, but please don't minimalize my condition because you can't understand.
I'm not stupid by any means, I know that. While it might feel that way when I compare myself to other people who happen to have a bigger attention span than I do, that doesn't make it true. I've made it nearly 18 years now with this mind, and so far it's been much more helpful to me than hurtful. I'm still learning to be patient and love myself through this process. It's been a long ride and it's only up from here. I do what I can every day to set myself up for success, and if at the end of the day I'm better than I was at the beginning, that's enough for me. No matter what state of mind I'm in, I choose to live in a positive place.