Back on the Duromine I was able to start processing the prospect of the diagnosis, I spent many hours mentally running through my life events and reflecting on all the ways ADHD impacted the course of it. I feel like I went through a period of grief while processing all of this, I felt immense sadness for the life that could have been for me had I been diagnosed as a child.
For me the main ‘symptom’ of ADHD that I feel impacted my life in a significant way is the feeling of not fitting in.
It is hard for me to remember a time when I did not feel out of place in this world, even when surrounded by my closest friends, (and especially within my family) there was still that voice that told me I was not enough, that there was something not quite right and soon enough they would all figure it out.
I now realise I tried to maintain friendships by overcompensating – I gave lots of gifts, went above and beyond to help, offered massages, planned elaborate surprises for friends. While being kind and generous are lovely traits to have in a friend (and are still traits that I believe I hold), it was definitely fuelled by fear rather than just being inherently good.
I always felt like I had to give extra to every relationship to make up for some deficit I felt I had. But no matter what I did or how hard I worked on any relationship I never felt it was enough, I always lived with that fear that they were going to figure it out, that I was not worth their time.
I intentionally limited my time with people, at high school I made sure I had multiple groups of friends that I could rotate around so that none of them would figure out they actually didn’t like me (or I would just hide in the toilet and eat alone if I was feeling particularly out of place that day). This carried through into adulthood, I gave myself friendship safety nets and when I got too close to certain people I went about destroying the relationship to protect myself from what I felt was an inevitable ending. I am incredibly lucky that I do still have some amazing friends that survived my big red [MUST DESTROY RELATIONSHIP] button.
There are other ADHD quirks like the interrupting and impulse issues that definitely had a negative impact on my relationships, but not as significantly as above. I feel like I almost used my impulsive nature as a weapon when destroying relationships, it was not a conscious decision but after the fact it always felt like it was purposeful. These events were then catalogued and added to the giant guilt filled filing cabinet that I carry on my back every day. Oh the fun time I have had mentally going through that a million times over!
It is exhausting just thinking about the toll that it has taken on my life, my mental health and my relationships. No matter how happy I am with my life now, with who I am as a person now, I will always wonder who I could have been.