Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Reflections on my SPD/ADHD - Age 23

How stands my ADHD and SPD?

This blog used to be formed out of a desire to share my reflections and perceptions as a young human liveing with ADHD/SPD. I've since deviated from that topic, but I decided to bring it back and spell out how I'm doing now.

The diagnosis that used to occupy my thoughts daily when I was in college don't really affect me all that much right now. Without obligations and uninteresting tasks to attend to, meds are rendered useless. No longer do I spend hours in "Department of Special Services," taking tests and crying when a scheduled out day gets turned upside down.

I've also gotten to where I wanted to be.

Back when I was on my meds, my goal was to start to build structure into my life that would be still standing when we took the meds away. Imagine if we left up the scaffolding around a building after it has been completed. There were certain skills I focused on that I knew would be essential to carry me on around the world including time management and not being so forgetful. I've worked hard on both of those with what, for me, I consider to be success.

ADHD and SPD are not my identity and they don't define me. I think, when I was younger, I used to cling to those letters, A & D & H & S & P, a bit too much. I'm grateful for an older brother that would call me out on it (although I still sometimes want to punch him in the stomach for telling me that I had mentally conjured up everything for attention). Both conditions, used to describe the "inbalances" in my brain chemistry (we're all wired a little bit different, aren't we?), are still there and in my life, I'm just comfortable navigating the world with them.

I still have SPD meltdowns, but have better learned to fight them. I had one the other day when kneading dough. For some reason, that triggered my body to freak out and I was foolish enough to ignore it till my head got the strange itchy feeling it gets where it wants to hide and prickle into a cactus. Luckily, I knew what to do. I drank a glass of water, grabbed a coat, and headed out to the stars with my friend Hannah and was able to shake it off. I have a hard time remembering the one I had last before that because they are so few and far bewteen.

ADHD still gets me, but when nomadic, it's not really an issue. When nomadic, life is constantly changing and I get to carve out each day based on what I want to get out of it. This makes it easy to forget that I have ADHD, at times, which is how I want it.

Neither ADHD nor SPD have to be the central focus of my life. Over time, I've formed my own view (which I've also heard a few others express and share) on ADHD. I recently posted this blurb as a comment on the Bookface:

P.S. Hey world - I don't think of ADHD as a disorder. I just think it's an explanation for slightly different brain chemistry and a different way of maneuvering around the world. It's rough when the world hands you something you're not interested in and tries to make you spend hours with it and your brain can't latch onto it - but it's gold when you find something exciting and you can spend all day with it. It turns out that statistics was something my brain loved and I managed to ace that class.

That's just about all there is to it. My brain functions and focuses differently than the folks without ADHD. I have learned how to operate in the world in my brain just as any other person adapts with the body and brain that they were given. There are certain paths in life that won't really fit with the routes my brain tends to take and so I advoid those - simple as that. But I've also learned what I can cling to and focus on for hours and I run in that direction vigorously.

Nice and simple is what it sounds like, now, but it wasn't a simple process to get here. It took years of counseling, medication, thinking, writing, support from teachers, friends, and parents, and a few ounces of being determined. I feel like I'm in a good spot now. I'm grateful for where I am. I feel comfortable in my skin and I don't fear my impulses like I used to. I feel like my life was a water bottle full of glitter and the glitters has sort of settled, ready to be shaken up to shine about only when I want it to.

I wonder, though, what would happen if I put myself back in school, though...

This post was inspired by a recent discovery that a video I made four years ago has been shown at several universities/schools around the world (including University of Twente in Enschede, Holland) to psychology and nursing students. It was a video that showed a difference in my notes when I took my meds and when I had forgotten them.


  1. This is such an awesome post, that's totally how my mind goes 24 hours a day, love the video and the jelly :)

  2. I love your honesty and your sharing!


Your words make me grin.

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