Falling in Love with my ADHD Brain

adhd, Motherhood

For most of my life I struggled to fit in. Even though I was “successful” at a lot of different things, I was really hard on myself for not being able to stick it out any one thing. How was I ever going to be the best at anything if I eventually got bored and moved on to the next idea that sparked my interest?

I constantly told myself that I wasn’t enough. I silenced myself; therefore, it left a lot of room for miserable people in my life. I have recently met several females who were diagnosed with ADHD later in life. Even though I had a diagnosis pretty early on, I didn’t understand my brain.

Because I didn’t understand my brain, I stayed in the wrong relationships for for too long. I said yes so many times when I wanted to say no because I was scared of what other people would think of me. ADHD can be a beautiful thing. There are so many things that I am good at but often times we hyper-focus on the wrong things.

Almost 10 years ago I had a mini me who is so beautiful and smart. She’s creative. She’s kind. She’s the kind of person who puts others before herself and if we are being honest, that’s exactly what scares me the most. Being empathetic isn’t a bad thing and I wouldn’t trade the ability to feel so deeply for anything in the world. I’ve learned to look at it as a super power. But that doesn’t change the fact that sometimes empathy is extremely overwhelming.

Sometimes being overwhelmed causes us to lose sight of our vision. I can do this. I just told myself so many times that I couldn’t. I started to believe it. So I’m going to tell myself I told my daughter last night. It’s OK to stand out. It’s OK to be different. It’s OK to do things in your own way. I personally don’t think that codependency is always a bad thing. Just be careful who you depend on.

You are going to meet people who light your world on fire. There will be people who try to understand you that never can. That’s OK. Love them anyway! You inspire so many people just by being you. I know how frustrating it is to have a great idea that nobody can see but people will see it. You just have to show it to them in the right way and you’ll get there I promise. It takes all kinds of kinds.

I’ll let you be free as much as possible because I know that you were going to change the world one day. I can’t wait to see how you do it.

Job Loss and Confidence

Mental Health

I saw a video going around not too long that talked about describing who you are without any labels…without saying I’m a mom, a wife, a sister, friend, etc. Who are you without naming your occupation? Who are you without your degree or hiding behind your social circles? It hit me differently because I don’t think I know who I am without those things.

It’s easy to lose yourself in the process of giving everything you have to your family. It’s easy to define yourself by your occupation and bury yourself within your career. We grow up thinking that it’s normal to not be happy at work if the money is good. For years I worked night shift as a scientist and homeschooled my kids during the day. I had the best of both worlds…or at least that’s what I told myself.

I was proud of myself for finishing school despite having a second baby and I never wanted my girls to give up on their dreams because of a difficult situation. But was being a scientist really my dream? Was it? Maybe. Can our dreams change? Absolutely. You’re allowed to redefine yourself a hundred times over and it’s normal for your path in life to change. You are under no obligation to be who you WERE…one minute ago.

The problem with using those labels to define yourself is that sometimes life happens and those titles can be compromised in a heartbeat. I lost two jobs this year. Both times were unfair and handled poorly but when enough people say you do something it doesn’t really matter, does it? Before 2019, I’d never lost a job. I don’t even think I’d ever interviewed for a position that I didn’t receive an offer for. I went to school, got a degree, and even received a promotion at the job I thought I’d retire at. A couple weeks before I was brought into the office about my “negative influence on the workplace” and “intimidating behavior” I’d received a near perfect evaluation.

My performance review was nearly perfect and I wasn’t given much that I needed to work on. I got along with my coworkers, and I loved going to work. Despite the work environment being extremely toxic, I tried my best to make it work. I was diagnosed with PTSD and extreme anxiety after experiencing a very public trauma and I felt like my job was all I had left to hold on to. I couldn’t imagine starting over again or going through another change. After all, I’d spent years in school and given up so many hours with my children to accomplish goals that I thought would provide them (and me) a better life.

I went from being the lead of two departments as a Medical Laboratory Scientist to being unemployed. The years I’d given to that organization ended with less than a page notice that returning to work would not be best for my mental health. It was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever had to make but looking back it wasn’t really much of a decision. I didn’t have a good choice. They’d proven they’d stop at nothing to make my life miserable there and it didn’t matter how much experience I had, how well I performed my job, or how much time I’d invested outside of work just to keep things peaceful when I was present.

Leaving taught me that life goes on whether you really want it to in the moment or not. It taught me that I’m more than a scientist, but also that someone else’s disapproval of me can’t take my degree or who I am away from me. Maybe I didn’t do the smartest thing, but I did the right thing. Doing the right thing doesn’t always pay off immediately, but I know that in time I will heal. That being said, I strongly believe that time heals nothing unless you move along with it. I needed to feel it. I needed to hit rock bottom so that I could learn to pick up the pieces and stop hiding behind the image of what I thought life was supposed to be like. Something tells me that I’m not alone in that feeling.

It took me a long time to begin to recognize the difference between my intuition guiding me, and my trauma misleading me. Losing a job is a loss. I needed to take the time to grieve but I didn’t know how to do that. I didn’t have a support system. Not truly. Everyone expected me to make lemonade out of lemons like I always do but I was too exhausted. Telling pieces of my story and realizing that I’m not alone has helped. I was too ashamed to admit, *even to myself* the full story because this wasn’t supposed to happen to me.

I’ve learned that hurt people, hurt people and I don’t want to be that person. I want to heal not only for myself but for my girls and the relationships that I will make in the future. There are so many things I want to get better at. As much as I didn’t want to leave certain people behind I’ve realized that it’s hard to turn the page when you know your favorite character won’t make it into the next chapter of your life…but the story must go on. It’s not finished yet. You’re not finished yet. You repeat what you don’t repair so please make peace with your broken pieces.

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-The Zombie Mom