I want to start off this post by saying my therapist is great. Its great when you find one you like, someone that pushes your boundaries just enough but not too far and most important of all listens. But when you go to therapy, you learn things about yourself that you never thought you would. While last year was more about learning the autistic side of things, this year is turning out to be an ADHD kind of year.
First—this is not uncommon (one google search found this article) A lot of people usually learn about one neurological difference or the other (ADHD vs Autism) and in learning about that end up discovering they are masking for the other side. They are almost sister neurotribes, to use the coined term. Let me tell you my story:
It started when I was talking with my therapist about my anxiety and autism. We were going thru my traits and I would tell her how I didn’t feel like my brain shut off, that I had never had a “clear head” in my life (usually i try thinking of water environments as that was as close as I could get… or a dark warm cave) in addition to telling her problems I had in school as a young child learning, reading, etc. Personally I thought these were all underlying anxiety issues that finally rose to the surface. That I just couldn’t calm down enough to really “calm down.” (by the way– my brain, especially now after having a kid, does not comprehend calm.) I also began to notice I talked at my therapist very rapidly a lot. I mean a lot. For the full 50 minutes. I talked so fast I could get lost in what I was saying and end up at the end “now where was I?” constantly–usually jumping from one topic to another where surprisingly my therapist managed to keep record. Now I don’t know if it was that or my discussions about transitions that eventually lead to maybe this isn’t anxiety but a mild form of ADHD.
Thoughts burst into my head when it first came up: “Wait, What? Me? ADHD? Nah– I’m not hyperactive. Am I? I have other friends who are ADHD? But I don’t act like them. (spoiler: boys present differently then girls). And I can focus. And I’m organized, Right? wait..maybe i’m not.But my planner looks pretty”
Yep, folks. Sara fell for it. Didn’t even research or attempt to understand what ADHD looks like. So I continued to follow this train of thought until I realized I had started in the wrong place. I worked off my assumptions about a very well researched neurological difference where I should have asked around to those who know. So I went to my autistic groups and one recommendation in a chat was to watch a female YouTube channel (here, watch her, she’s awesome!)who has ADHD and explains things in a simple understanding way. Also, I decided to get officially tested (yep, ADHD has tests to check your traits) which had some hiccups along but the way but finally I was able to see my results from sitting in front of a computer screen for an hour.
So anyways, it was discovered that I have ADHD. ADHD can present itself in three main ways: Impulsive, Hyperactive or a combination of both. I have the latter–i am thinking maybe 70-80% impulsive and 20-30% hyperactive. What was also nice is that I finally got some medicine that could help me focus, turn off the motor in my brain every once and a while. Here’s a great explanation on this
I am going to try and keep track of what is going on in my head with taking new meds and learning about my ADHD. Any thoughts, suggestions??-Place them in the comments. Especially if you are Autistic and ADHD. I’d love to know it feels like if your ADHD self clamming down results in your autistic self being stronger!