Saturday, September 20, 2014

Focusing on me...

My Love and Hate Relationship with ADHD

I am Miss Stetson and I am diagnosed with ADHD. If you have the pleasure of knowing me personally you are laughing right now. If you do not know me personally please take a moment and read why I love having ADHD and why I hate having ADHD.

Growing up I was always the child who was sitting on her feet, upside down, backwards in her seat. I will always remember how much I did not like my 2nd grade teacher, because she was mean to me and wouldn’t let me sit how I was comfortable.  Fast forward to my fourth grade state testing. I became bored and drew Christmas trees on the scantron and I was placed in remedial courses for a trimester of school. In Middle School and High School I would try desperately to maintain planners and every time I would “forget” to fill it in, only to start a new one with better intentions to maintain. I never felt anything was wrong. Everyone around me would just say that’s just Britney.

I was in my 2nd year of college when I started to notice that I could not accomplish what I wanted. I would always start a project with passion and walk away to get something and forget about it, and then finish it quickly because it was due.  I was never the student I knew that I could be in college and it was beginning to drive me crazy.  All of my closest friends were straight A student’s and I could barely make a C.

I took a break from college for a year when I was 21 to try to be an adult. I did ok with it for the most part. I worked full time and was paying my rent. Life happens and everything changed one day in May.  It was a decision that was a difficult one, but I knew it was the only way I could finally be free. I found myself back at my parent’s home and working out what will be my next step.  What did I really want to be when I grew up?

Someone at the time told me that I should have followed the dream I always had to become a teacher. I explained to them that a person growing up, a person that I cared for, told me that I was “too ADHD to be a teacher” and I would not be any good at it. I don’t know how someone convinced me but I decided to give it a try.

I finished community college and enrolled into the college close to home. I had to bring a few grades up in order to be accepted into the program. I did it and boy it was tough. Once again life happened. I found myself in a place that no one should find himself or herself in. I found myself in a destructive relationship. I use this term because I don’t know where or how it began but it happened. This someone convinced me that I was “crazy” and I needed to get help.

So being the girl who was tired mentally from school, relationship, and life I did just that. I made an appointment with embarrassment. I always suspected that I something was different with my brain.  I always knew that I could not stop thinking. Thinking about anything and everything.  As I sat there with the psychiatrist, he asked me so many questions.  Questions I was really embarrassed to answer to a stranger.  He wrote the whole time. He finally gave me a survey. I struggled through it knowing I needed to answer honestly if I was going to get help.  I wanted to cry.

He finally looked up after reading what I had written and told me that I have ADHD. I have heard the term many times before and did not want that label. He offered to place me on medication that I accepted. I knew I would not take it and I would find other ways to manage it. That night I began to research what is Adult ADHD. I discovered it was I. I know if you read enough medical journals you can convince yourself it is you. I was trying to do the opposite. In my mind I knew someone once told me I was “too ADHD to be a teacher.” That nagged my brain to a point of no return.

I decided a few days later to give the medication a try.  I noticed almost immediately that my mind was quiet. In 24 years at the time my mind has never been quiet. For once I could focus on what needed to be completed. I found myself finishing tasks and thinking clearly. In that clear thinking I decided to end the destructive relationship I was in.  I was finally free. I was free from thought and unhappiness. I will always be grateful for this person who told me I should teach. 

When I entered freedom I thought it was best to learn to maintain my ADHD without taking medication unless I needed to. I was taking a day-to-day prescription and did not want to rely on it for a lifetime. I met my “soon to be husband” around the same time I was toying with the idea. At the time I was what I told him “ organized in a chaotic way.”  I am in my mind and we feel in love.

Why do I love my ADHD?
This is my 3rd year in my own classroom. I graduated college and did a great job in the education program. My GPA is not where I want it to be because of my first 2 years in college. I love I have students in my room who struggle as I did in elementary. I love that I can be that teacher that does not force them to sit or make them feel different. I love I can move from one thing to another with ease. I always have ideas of how to make my classroom better.

At home, I garden, can veggies, clean, and do gymnastics keeping a Golden Retriever off my cabinets. I always laugh at home and constantly attempting to make things run smoothly and efficiently. I wear many hats at home with my ADHD. I am called many names for all the projects I start. I love self-teaching myself how to be self-sufficient.

Why I hate my ADHD?

I am often times misunderstood. Often times I say things I did not think about saying. I often say what is on my mind right then and there. I have piles of unfinished projects that consume my basement and extra bedroom. I get overwhelmed by cleaning up the messes I make when starting a project and often walk away from the mess. I remember 4 days later what I was suppose to do. I often forget times, dates, and deadlines if I do not write them in 3 places. I forget if I have fed the dog, I forget sometimes to eat, I forget to take clothes out of the washer. The list can go on.

I hate that nothing I do is intentional and is often seen that I do it on purpose. I laugh at myself when I “speak my own language” but I never mean to do it.  I confuse my friends and family on a daily basis and it drives me crazy.

Why I am going back on my medication?

The past 3 years I chose to maintain my ADHD naturally. Caffeine has always been my drug of choice. I choose caffeine not to wake me up but to mellow me. It calms my brain. In the mornings I do not have caffeine I feel off. I may have a small addiction, but I cannot stay focused without it.

I recently switched grade levels and I am planning a wedding. Both of these things require a ton of attention. I tried for 2 months to maintain both of them, while still working part time at my summer job, maintaining my home, and just being human. I could not do it. Recently I have left my car running over night, left the car on, left the oven on, left doors open, forgotten to the feed the dog, and so on. I was driving myself crazy.

I do not support nor do I encourage medication. I know for this time I needed to be placed back on it. It does make me feel funny. I feel funny because I can focus on one thought instead of 75 tidbits.  Often time’s parents will take their kids off the medication because it makes them feel weird. I understand completely. This is still not my permanent fix. This is still my temporary fix to get through this year and not burn my house down by mistake.

I often do not share my personal life like this. My closest friends and family members have lived with me throughout my journey. If you suspect that you have Adult ADHD just ask. There are so many great resources out there to help you maintain it through exercise, vitamins, and medication. I was ashamed and now I embrace it. I find that some of the most awesome and creative people I know have it.

Love who you are, and never let anyone tell you differently. I let someone try in my life and I regret not being comfortable with the diagnosis I have. Little did someone know you have to be a little hyper to teach elementary. =)

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this, Britney. I've self diagnosed as of today. I had a headache the other day and couldn't find the Tylenol in my purse. I found them in the fridge today! I totally embrace my memory loss, unfinished projects, and my organized chaos.



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