Remi asked where I went, and I said, “I was thinking about how I let go of friends again, the ones that haven’t been loyal, and how I can’t keep a boyfriend for long before becoming extremely bored. I just lose interest if they aren’t smart and don’t keep me laughing.” She stopped me and said, “I think you have ADHD.”
My head cocked sideways and my left eyebrow went up in the sharp arch it takes when either curious or pissed off.
Then I saw a giant light bulb turn on over her head. “I should have seen it, but you always just did the work I gave you, did it really well and we moved on,” she said.
I was confused because, at the time, I didn’t realise that ADHD presented differently in women to men.
I was confounded, overwhelmed and intrigued. With a promise not to go into hyper-research/hyperfocus on my ADHD diagnosis (i.e. lose my mind down in the various rabbit holes of the internet) and homework to mindfully observe my behavior as it relates to how my brain works, I skipped out of her office and called what was left of my friends. Then I went to the bar and had two vodka sodas to celebrate.
Since my diagnosis, I’ve embarked on a new journey of self discovery, and let me tell you, it’s been amazing. I know now that my brain is exceptional.My poor underdeveloped brain helped me have a 20 year career in marketing and communications. I hyper process information so well that I am considered a high level negotiator, mediator and coalition builder. I can get anyone to do almost anything. I’d be Jim Jones if I were a psychopath. I am an empathetic leader who can do the work of three people while managing as many as 20 others at the same time.
My brain has also allowed me to navigate emergencies and crises better than an average soul. I do not flinch when people die, bones break or buildings fall. Finally, I raised a well-adjusted, mature and level headed son because of my hyperfocus and dedication to his mental, physical and emotional well being. Every person who meets him absolutely adores him and tries to win his affection.
“Over the past six months, my new purpose has begun to reveal itself. I want to help people understand that different thinking isn’t a disability. That living life outside of social and cultural norms is not deviant or abnormal. It’s just different.”
My purpose now is to break open beliefs, thoughts and ideas about what is right or wrong or unusual to make room for individual norms. I want to be a voice for people who are both neuro-atypical or neurotypical who have felt shamed or judged for their decisions, their lifestyle, their being.
To be clear, I do not advocate for accommodations. Instead I advocate for letting people be exactly who they are and suggest that we attempt to focus on individual strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses or what may be considered “different.” I’m talking about open minded, open-hearted, out loud living. No apologies, no guilt, no shame.