Just very recently I finally came to terms with the reality that is: I have Adult ADHD. I just turned thirty-one, mind you. Tonight I’m sitting here with my wife at the lake as we stare out of the bay windows and drink some wine and I asked her, “What are you thinking about?”
Her response: “That’s a lot of boats heading that way.”
Slightly irritated now she says, “Yeah?” As if to say, “So, what of it?”
That scares the shit out of me because at the very same moment I was thinking about a song from an episode of “Thrilling Adventure Hour: Sparks Nevada, Marshall on Mars,” what it was I did earlier today that upset her so, how would I get a haircut before Monday, how would I also trim my facial hair before then, “Dammit, it’s my fault I didn’t pack a razor even though Kristen packed my suitcase for this trip,” “Is that couch a foldout bed,” “What am I going to do about work Monday,” and a handful of other things that I can’t recall precisely at this moment. This is what it’s like for me all the time. It never stops; it never slows down.
This is the only way it has ever been my whole life! Now I’m struggling to understand that it isn’t like this for other people. My brain isn’t anymore special or exceptional than anyone else’s, I don’t think anyway, but is it really that calm in other peoples’ heads? Is it really possible to only be thinking about one thing at a time at any given moment? That doesn’t make a single gods damned bit of sense to me!
This line of thinking of course has only opened up completely new thoughts and questions. I am taking medication for my “condition,” which I only call it that because I think it’s jacked up to call it a disorder, or an illness, or any other word that means “abnormal,” and I know that when I’m on it I am a different person. I’m less impulsive, less animated, among other things. I’m also in therapy to help me cope with my bad decision making that has plagued me most of my life and how I can improve it. My therapist tells me that what I really need is an expert on these medications to properly adjust the dosage I am on to maximize the good it can do for me. Does this mean that if my dosage is adjusted properly and it improves my mental state even more that my mind will be as calm as Kristen’s at moments like these? Is that really a good thing, I wonder? Can I even handle that?
I don’t know, as I’m just beginning to learn that psychotropic meds have effects beyond what we can predict, not to mention that when your mental state really does change things that made complete sense to you before seem completely insane later. I don’t think I even want my mind to be that calm. It’s not that I necessarily like the chaos that’s going on up there all the time, but if my mind really is capable of a dozen thoughts a minute, is it really wise to be reducing that to one a minute rather than attempting to harness that power to do truly great things someday?
I’m also angry. I can’t say if it’s justified or not, but I’m angry that other people appear to have no conception what it’s like to be drowning in thought twenty-four seven. I’m angry that medical professionals who may or may not know this feeling are telling me and others like me what normal is and is not. I’m angry that I can’t say certain things without it sounding like I’m actually saying, “The voices in my head said…” and immediately branded a crazy person. I’m angry that at this point I probably sound that way to some people already.
I also have no outlet for this anger. My old outlet is no longer an option. Suffice it to say, this only makes me angrier. It doesn’t help that sometimes it feels like the only person who understands is my therapist, which is a phrase I had hoped I would never, ever in my life say because I feel it makes it look as though I’ve made poor decisions forever and ever. The anger gives way to pain when I start to think that no one else can help me either, especially the ones closest to me whom I want help from the most.