Back in … Late May? Early June? My doctor sent out an email saying they were starting to do this in-office test thing, to test for ADHD. I didn’t really think anything of it, but for some reason I also didn’t delete the email. I mean, other than the “things only people with ADHD will understand” memes, I don’t really know that much about ADHD.
Heck, when I learned about it, it was still called ADD, Attention Deficit Disorder. I didn’t really pay too much attention to it but thought I heard you could take some kind of uppers and that would “fix” you. And good lord, I’m already so fucking jumpy all the time, the last thing I need are uppers! I kind of vaguely thought it meant that you were prone to not paying attention to things, which might have meant that you seemed lazy even though you weren’t. And that you might be prone to acting out in class, out of boredom or inattention.
So that certainly wasn’t me, because while sure, there were many times I was bored in class, I paid attention to EVERYTHING. EVERYWHERE. Home or school. Too much attention. I was always trying to judge a room, always trying to remember everything I had to do, always trying to stay on top of things. I had to pay attention to EVERYTHING ALL THE TIME. But still. Damn, do I really relate to all those “things only people with ADHD will understand” memes.
Uhm… Like, really relate. And I have a few friends who have been diagnosed with ADHD, later in life, and when they tell me about what life was like for them before diagnosis, their lives sound a lot like how my life is now.
What are some of the symptoms of ADHD? You know what….? I’m going to touch on the symptoms in another post, one that will compare and contrast the similar symptoms of ADHD, Anxiety Disorder, Grief, Peri/menopause, and PTSD. Cause y’all. Y’ALL. They are like ingredients that go together to make the perfect Shit Cupcake. Every single one of them has at least one thing in common with one of the other ones, if not all of them together. So they can easily be misdiagnosed because they’re all so fucking similar, present in similar ways, and can be confused for each other!
Anyway! Recently, I wrote this:
I’ve always been forgetful, had a hard time concentrating, had a hard time starting on things if I thought I might not be able to do them perfectly, yet at the same time starting about a dozen different things but flitting between them like a butterfly in an all-you-can-pollinate flower garden. And losing things? NOTORIOUS for losing things. Yes, keys/wallet/phone… but also losing my coffee in the microwave because I put it there to reheat because I forgot about it, but then wondering what that beeping noise was every minute for about an hour until I remembered it was the microwave trying to remind me that it had reheated my coffee? I’m terrible with remembering when things are due, how long it takes me to get places, how to budget my time so I’m not always late, how long it will take me to do a thing, if I paid a bill, if I forgot to pay a bill, if I did pay a bill but forgot I paid it and paid it again…. This is why my bills are all in my calendar now, and are repeating tasks in my online to-do list.
How many of my NeuroSpicy friends read this and were like “GURL”?!
Like I said, I didn’t delete the email from my doctor’s office. I’d go back and look at it every couple of weeks, and wonder… should I? Should I take the test? I mean… it’s my money. I don’t have to ask anyone’s permission. But will people laugh at me if I talk about it? Will they tell me I’m just jumping on the ADHD bandwagon? Will they tell me there’s nothing wrong with me, there’s no sense in me taking the test, I’m just under stress, and as soon as I relax everything will be better? What if take the test and I do have ADHD? What if I don’t?
…I have to tell myself that if people would laugh at me, well, fuck ‘em.
…I have be willing, instead of swallowing my embarrassment, to turn it around on other people and ask them, is it? Is it jumping on a bandwagon? Or is it growing up poor, in the 70s, without reliable access to regular health care, with a set of parents very wrapped up in their own issues? Is it more that I compensated so well back then, and shrank myself so much so that I wouldn’t be noticed by my Stepmonster, that nobody had the chance to see that something about me needed attention?
…I have to be brave enough that if people tell me there’s nothing wrong with me and they don’t see the sense in me taking the test, that I can raise an eyebrow and ask them to please, no, really, explain my lived experience to me. Is it their money I’m spending on the test? Is it their time I’m using to take the test? Does taking the test somehow threaten them or diminish them in any way? Because get on outta here with that bullshit. This test doesn’t have anything to do with them. It has to do with me, and figuring out what I do or don’t have.
Maybe I have something, maybe I don’t. Maybe it’s mental, maybe it’s chemical, maybe it’s learned – that part doesn’t matter. What matters is figuring out what it is so that I can learn the best way to deal with it. Because what I’m doing now isn’t working.
Yes, I am under stress. And grief. And probably some PTSD from everything with Tim and the hospitals. But you know what…? I started to think… what if I do take the test. It’s not like I’m going to be branded and put into Facebook jail if I take the test. And if I do have ADHD? Wouldn’t I like to know so that I can get the correct medication and learn some better skills for living with it? And if I don’t have ADHD, if it is still just grief and stress and PTSD, well, then I’ll know that and can more forcefully work with that.
Have you seen the movie, Dante’s Peak? You know the scene where they’re all in the school gym and everything starts to fall apart around them? So everyone runs to the doors and it’s chaos and people are crushed and people fall down and other people run right over them and it’s absolutely insane? That’s what my thoughts are like. Three hundred thoughts trying to get through a door that fits two, max, at one time. So thoughts are getting crushed by other thoughts. Thoughts are falling down and getting stepped on by other thoughts. Some thoughts are running through the building looking for another door, or even a chair near a window. Probably a couple of thoughts are just tharn in the middle of the room, looking at the collapsing ceiling like, well, this is it, then. I bet there’s even a thought that’s been forgotten about, stuck back in the bathroom, afraid to open the door and see what all the noise is about.
It’s exhausting, yo.
And I’m tired of being exhausted all the time. I’m tired of forgetting everything that I don’t take care of within about ten seconds of someone asking me to do it. I’m tired of trying to remember for thirty seconds to write something down, just to forget what it was when I open my dayplanner and have the pen in my hand. I’m tired of walking out into the studio from the office and seeing that oh! I was working on soap in here about an hour ago! And also I was glazing some bisque that I meant to come right back to, but now the brush has dried out and I need to add more water to the glaze and shit, what coat was I on, even? I’m tired of getting up to let the dogs in or out, and then walking around in a fog for fifteen minutes, trying to remember what I was doing before I got up to open a door which took, what, thirty seconds, max? I’m kind of tired of using my Tile to endlessly find my wallet, but I’m awfully glad I have it (and am thinking about getting some of the smaller stick-on ones for things like my TV remote control).
So I emailed my doctor and said that I’d like to sign up for the test. The test itself is called the Creyos Test and you can read a little bit about it here (https://creyos.com/). It takes about an hour, you have to use their computer, and that’s about all I know about it other than it comes highly recommended and isn’t some kind of kooky fly-by-night kind of three-question Internet test.
Maybe it is ADHD. Maybe it isn’t. Maybe it’s Anxiety. Maybe it’s Grief. Maybe it’s Anxiety and Grief masking itself as ADHD since they have so many symptoms in common. Maybe it’s a little from every column. I’m actually kind of excited to find out either what it is, or what it is NOT, so I can start figuring a path forward. I’m just so tired of being so tired all the time.
Part 3 of ….? Stay tuned for Part 4.