I had my birthday last week. 47.
A few weeks before that, I had an experience that forced me to confront the fact that my attention issues really were a thing. There was a job vacancy that I thought I would be perfect for, and I wasn’t asked to apply. There may be other reasons too, but the brain squirrels weren’t helping.
That neurotypical people don’t develop post office phobias. That neurotypical people can live their lives without losing something every single day. They can break down a task (like writing an essay, or going to the post office) into logical steps, and then tick them off a mental list as they are achieved. They can complete higher education. They can maintain relationships with people they care about, and if those relationships end, they understand why. They can keep a stable, boring job. They can stay awake through a powerpoint presentation.
That neurotypical people don’t have squirrels in their brains. And the squirrels aren’t on party drugs.
The day after my birthday I forced myself to go to the GP and talk about my symptoms. My mouth opened, and it all came out at once. Before I had barely begun to explain, the GP swivelled on her chair and started to write the referral to a psychiatrist.
A week later almost to the hour, I was in the office of a psychiatrist who has a special interest in adult ADHD. I filled out the screening test paper, and was told that in the spectrum of ADHD symptoms, from mild to “holy shit, I can’t believe you survived to adulthood”, he said that I have been “suffering under a heavy burden of symptoms”.
Here is a pretty clear description of the inattentive subtype of ADHD. This is what I have, not the better known variety with hyperactivity.
Yesterday, I started medication. It’s going to take a while before we will get the correct dosage and medication, and find the right combination of long acting and short acting meds, but I am hopeful that within a few months, life will stop being so hard. And maybe I’ll be able to get to the post office to send you that baby vest I knit when your three year old was a newborn.