I have ADHD and my brain is like a supercomputer. I process everything at a million miles an hour and just taking the time to slow down can be intensely hard. Just writing the word ‘intense’ makes me think about how intense I am as a person – I have ADHD and I don’t do things in shades of grey. My mind is like an explosion in a paint factory: it’s colourful, exciting and messy. Right now, I am thinking of mice – a thousand mice – who are running amok in the spilt paint; their little paws are spreading coloured chaos everywhere.
Now, I am not always chaotic! Knowing me, you probably are struggling to believe this as I am able to change the context of a conversation in a millisecond. However, before I start Googling the etymology of the word millisecond, I will continue my train of thought (now I’m thinking of trains) and explain to you about the interest-driven nervous system which controls every neuron of my galaxy brain. The next part will be more focussed, I promise! 😂
I am incredibly adept at focussing – please refrain from laughing! If I enjoy something, I may fall into such a deep state of hyper-focus that I will ignore every other stimulus which comes my way. A war between the sun and the moon could create a worldwide apocalypse, but I would likely not notice as I would be in such deep focus. Once upon a time (I see a fairytale coming on here), some school subjects led me into hyper-focus. At one stage, I was OBSESSED with science and I also became OBSESSED with the teacher who taught this subject. My galaxy brain span like a supermassive wormhole when I listened to them talk about chemical reactions and outer space – I swallowed (and still do) facts like a black hole gulps light!
My ADHD was missed in school. However, anxiety eroded my confidence and I battled with a mild eating disorder as I navigated social rules I didn’t understand and ran headfirst into situations which overwhelmed me. I was the odd child, the alien, an anomaly in space and time which couldn’t be explained. Somehow the teachers who wrote ‘Annabel does not listen to instructions,’ ‘Annabel struggles with other children’ or ‘Annabel struggles with group work,’ didn’t know much about ADHD in girls! My natural intellect and impressive memory for facts got me through school – well, the academic side – and even though I felt like an alien from the day I blew out the candles of double figures, I somehow coped in the education system.
Interjection: I appear to have gone off on another tangent. I would love to unravel the knitting of my mind, but I fear the thrill of the capture is nowhere near as exciting as the chase – I think us ADHDers live for the buzz of that chase!
Everything I experience is in HD – this really is the only good thing about the name ADHD! I hate the word ‘deficit’ and I also loathe the word ‘disorder’, but I do think the ‘HD’ (if meant to refer to ‘high-definition’) is pretty accurate. We experience the world in extremes and nothing is ever grey. If I am happy, I am euphoric and if I am sad, I am inconsolable. I am easily overwhelmed and I am also easy to upset. Moreover, I can experience sudden changes in emotion if triggered by something and this can be both enlightening and devastating.
Yet, in spite of all of this, I have built a successful business and I cope well (most of the time). Even though everyone thinks I am totally bonkers, I embrace my lightning speed processor – which takes me into a room to fetch a cup and leaves me Googling the history of ceramics (with no cup) – and I have used the power of my brain to build something amazing. Tomorrow, we are re-opening our hands-on classroom and I can’t wait to meet more amazing galaxy brains! Those mice in that paint factory of my mind are chaotic, but who said chaos is wrong? Organised chaos is oxymoronic, but it is also horrendously fun! Separating my mind from chaos is like separating the colours in a rainbow – you’ll still have beauty, but you won’t have a rainbow!
Final thought: rainbows really are awesome and they come out after rain; maybe it will be time for ADHDers to really make our mark when this latest storm (COVID-19) passes!
ADHD is my operating system and WE ARE NOT A DISORDER (even though we are a little disordered 😂)!