Always out of time
Every day I feel like I'm running out of time, struggling to complete basic tasks I need to do, leave on time and take care of myself. It should be easy; just think of what to do and start doing it. However, there's some resistance, even in something I enjoy doing to just go and do it. I bargain with myself and set little alarms in my mind, which leads to thoughts such as “I'll start in five minutes, at noon.” Then when that time comes, I acknowledge it’s time to start and my brain hits snooze, immediately carried off on a completely unrelated thought.
Over and over again this happens, neither accomplishing what I need to do nor what I would like to do. I feel like I've failed in some way; that a weakness in my character allowed this to happen, and if I were just a little stronger, more disciplined, I could perform like anyone else. I try to remind myself that it's not my fault, but I know it’s my responsibility to do what is expected of me regardless. I try again.
I've been diagnosed with ADHD for many years and am well acquainted with the effects it has on my life. I’ve tried several medications, each with side effects too disruptive to continue using them. I've continued my life without treatment for my ADHD. Even after receiving a diagnosis, my teachers and family asserted that my difficulties with focus and executive function were because of a lazy or defiant effect, and that I fail to accomplish what I could because I donn’t want to do the work expected of me. I began to believe them and internalize the ableism in their words. I’ve been able to push through it before, so why can’t I just do that all the time?
ADHD is a condition that has been rising in diagnostic prevalence over the last few decades, is often overlooked and not properly treated even when diagnosed. According to data provided by the CDC, about 23% of children with ADHD go without any kind of treatment, with 38% of children with ADHD taking no medication as treatment. The Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder organization (CHADD) explains in-depth about how ADHD can affect anyone, even adults, saying on their website, “Many [adults] have inconsistent performance at work or in their careers; have difficulties with day-to-day responsibilities; experience relationship problems; and may have chronic feelings of frustration, guilt or blame.”
ADHD can be significantly disruptive and lead to huge amounts of stress and fatigue, with deadlines ever-looming and things always needing to be done alongside expectations and promises to fulfill. Causing difficulties with focus and motivation, ADHD often makes life significantly more difficult for those that struggle with it, with the disorder being recognized federally as a disability, and protections afforded to individuals with disruptive ADHD through the Americans with Disabilities Act. The accommodations provided by this law and the institutions around us are there to be utilized.
It’s hard to come to terms with having an unseen disability, and harder still to accept that I need help. Sometimes I feel the need to remind myself to do what I need to do and that it’s okay to struggle in accomplishing those goals. I’ll personally also try to remind myself that it’s okay to be honest with my struggles and seek assistance. Anyone who is also struggling is encouraged to seek assistance in any way they can. There are resources available, both on and off-campus to provide help such as Health Services and CHADD.