Unexpected Side Effect: How Adult ADHD Gave Me An Identity Crisis
At 23, I was diagnosed with ADHD. This diagnosis helped me to understand, for the first time in my life, why I am more hyperactive, have less focus and behave extra impulsively, compared to "normal" people.
Besides undergoing coaching and group sessions, I also received a prescription.
After the diagnosis, my quality of life quickly improved.
Adderall gave me a sense of responsibility, and a psychologist told me how to plan and organize my life with tips and tricks.
But most importantly, I was determined to finally reach my fullest potential.
ADHD is often associated with kids in the classroom. When you suffer as an adult, it's hard for people to and understand, especially when you are expected to perform at your job every day.
Now, most of that "extra" energy I was born with simply goes to waste.
I was managing my own life better, so that gave me more time and energy to get ahead. I moved forward, stopped acting out and was incredibly proud of myself.
However, in the face of taking my medication and getting my life on track, I never expected to lose sight of who I was. All of a sudden, I found myself with an identity crisis. I had already come to believe I knew who I was, and now I was transitioning into a completely different person.
Starting ADHD medication was a strange process.
For the first time in my life, the clouds in my head cleared up. I was no longer stuck with a zillion random thoughts, my responses to various situations were more rational and I found the patience to properly fulfill my responsibilities.
The pills helped me a lot, but in the end, it was still me who had to change my perspective on life. It took me a while to come to this realization.
As if this all wasn't already tough enough for me to understand, the men I dated would repeatedly ask me the same question: “Did I meet the real you, or the you on medication?”
I didn’t have the answer yet. I didn’t know.
I hadn't figured out where the pills stopped and where I started.
This inner battle went on for a year, until I found my acceptance. I have and always will be "me," no matter what changes I go through.
Life is continuously changing, and so are people. We work, play, laugh, pray and just simply try to be the best we can in a world that is way too complex to understand.
It might be easy to put someone in a little box in order to create the illusion of control. But, it's not that simple.
I stopped trying to pin myself down to gain more insight into who I am.
I am me.
Sometimes I'm happy, sometimes I'm sad and sometimes I talk excessively. All of that will never change.
Humans are complex and unique.
Two years later, I've come to a realization about myself. I see the ADHD medication as a wheelchair for my brain. I'm a healthy, young and bright woman.
Sometimes I need some help, but don't we all?
It doesn’t mean I'm hiding behind my medication, and it doesn’t mean I'm cheating in life.
I can't explain who I am. The only thing I can do is show you who I am, if you're willing to experience the ride.