Overwhelmed and exhausted no matter how well you sleep? Maybe it’s time to look further
ADHD — Attention Deficit Hyper Active Disorder. Or known in my world, Heather can’t get her shit together.
For years I have suspected that I have ADHD. In conversations with friends within the last year, when I have missed an appointment, a detail to a meeting, or felt like I don’t even know where to begin on a project, I have laughingly said, “I have self-diagnosed ADHD.” I was kind of kidding, but not. I’dI’d laugh about it on the outside, but I was worried on the inside.
Just saying it aloud helped to process that maybe I did have ADHD. But I’m an 80s kid, and we didn’t diagnose ADHD, especially in girls. So when I became a teacher and saw my students diagnosed with ADHD, I thought back to a family member. All the times he locked his keys in the house and left for school without his backpack. The time he used my mom’s favorite towels and took them to the pool and promptly lost them. Growing up, he used to say his favorite drink was Cherry Coke because it calmed him down, and he liked the taste. Of course, we all scoffed at him and said that was ridiculous because Cherry Coke had caffeine, and everyone knows that caffeine makes kids more hyper, not less. Right?
But as I worked with my fourth graders and, later, my middle schoolers, I realized that maybe my family member was ADHD, and he was right; his drink of choice did calm his brain.
But me? No way. There is no way I have ADHD. I am a planner. I live by my lists. I use alarms. I set timers to help me get out of the house. My brain is always working towards the next thing. I am a planner, a doer, and always motivated to accomplish something. I always received good grades. And I read a lot, so that means I can focus. Right?
Here were the signs
Forget the time I sat at my bedroom desk in middle school crying because I couldn’t figure out how to do an assignment for history class and spun my wheels for hours trying to do one step in the project.
Forget that I am easily overwhelmed by simple tasks.
Forget that my dishes never get washed until right before bed, and I have a stack of…