I was never really a “hyperactive” kid….on the outside. But I was never really able to express the circus/Broadway production/rush hour traffic happening in my head 24/7. My mind seemed to always move a mile a minute to the point where…nothing could really come out. Was I smart? (I guess I should rephrase that…Am I smart?) Of course! But I have lived my life so overwhelmed that I have really never had the energy to meet that potential.
After I got off the phone with the Psychiatrist (who has a striking resemblance to my mother-in-law) she told me the good news. I SCORED A 100% ON THE ADHD EXAM!!! (Please hold your applause. You are too kind.) Then came the “treatment”. You want me to take how many pills? Adderall?! Excuse me ma’am but are we just going to skip all the gateway drugs? Does this mean I do…drugs? I can’t live on the streets! Noooo, I like my teeth! Clearly, I had no clue how to feel.
On one hand, yes, we finally knew why I never felt “normal” (or as they like to call it, Neuro-typical). On the other hand though, if I had known about this earlier could my life have been different? Could I have been successful? Could I have been happy?
This is where that age old question of medicine vs counseling comes into play. It wasn’t one that “fixed” me (I am no where closed to fixed btw). It was a combination…a team effort if you will. Does the medication make me feel like a normal person on a very sadly level? Yes! But counseling has showed me I am silly for thinking my life could have been any better. Can I be happier? I mean…I am already disgustingly happy. I now appreciate the person that I am. I wouldn’t be the Quirky, awkward, funny Ashley if my brain were never this way. The girl who has crippling social anxiety and can’t make friends but give her an audience and a stage and she will shine. ( I am sure some stories of me being a Skipper on the World Famous Jungle Cruise will come up).
I will always remember the time my husband told me, when I was feeling really low about the “diagnosis” that I was the most unique person he had ever met. It all clicked then. He was right. I am weird (sooo weird), and my brain is wired different than most people. But isn’t that what makes us great? Not necessarily all the accomplishments we can achieve, but the personalities we develop. I watch my kids, and fall in love with their personalities daily. Then I realize these kids are me. I beat myself up day I and day out for he things I didn’t accomplish when what I did is so much more!
Moral of the story folks is your story is never over. And if your story isn’t some grand fairytale, it doesn’t mean it isn’t great for you. I fell in love when I was 29, got pregnant with my first child at 28, and started my career at 31. I have finally realized that doesn’t make me less, I just had more to overcome…and I did!!