I never saw it coming. Never suspected anything was wrong. I’d always thought I was just the weird kid that nobody talked to. Nobody liked me. My only friends were those with special needs. I questioned everything growing up. My purpose, my sexuality, my ambitions, my future. Parents thought I just didn’t care and was a bad student. What was I doing here? Why did I exist? And for the love of God, where did I put my keys?
I Never Saw That Coming
As a teenager, I was bullied constantly, mentally and physically. My mother was a bipolar alcoholic, my father worked too hard to really slow down and run things the way he wanted to. I was forced to grow up much faster than someone like me should’ve. I took a stand at 13 years old and joined a karate dojo. At 16, I had my black belt. My first real achievement and one where I finally started to think that I COULD do something right. Still, I was weighed down by a video game addiction that only got worse over the years (and eventually led to compulsive gambling and self-destruction), constant family struggles, and lack of romantic interests. And don’t even get me started on my sex drive. I’m probably one of the most hyposexual ADHD people in the world.
Fast forward 30+ years, I’m diagnosed with Adult ADHD – Combined type. Well, damn, there it is. I’m not special, I’m different. But I’m superpowered. I got into a field that was perfect for me. Firefighter at age 18, Paramedic at 30 and now nursing. I can run a critical emergency call faster than anyone around me, blink and I have a treatment plan set up. Medical field is my niche, my home, where I’m at the most peace with myself and my condition.
There’s Good and There’s Bad
Things aren’t always great though, as I also suffer from emotional dysregulation and RSD. My anger can appear in an instant, and I hate that about myself. I really do. I carry a lot of guilt, toxic shame, and regrets. I absolutely hate being insulted and teased even as a grown adult. People have called me a man-child for a long time, a moniker I refuse to believe. Depression and anxiety appear from time to time.
Sounds like fun, huh? Sometimes it actually is. Others, not so much.
What a Wonderful Ride!
This is not going away. I struggle to deal with it even a year after being diagnosed. I don’t know where to start. Even after reading books, seeing therapists, trying support groups and such, the follow through disappears and I get accused of not caring enough. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I do care about people, I care about how my actions affect others, but damn if ADHD doesn’t rear its ugly head at the worst times.
One thing I am not, however, is a quitter. I’ll never quit. I will keep exploring ways to improve, keep trying to be better, and not lose track of progress and goals. I won’t stop. Ever. I’m a nurse now. My first full-time nursing job started this week. Finally, my life is taking shape after an incredibly late start. How much I’ve missed being wrapped up in my own head…wow. But Neurodivergent isn’t evil. It’s different. Misunderstood. And successful. All things considered, what a wonderful ride this is.