Owning my ADHD anger.

This is going to be a weird post, so buckle up. On the upside, I’m not sure anybody reads this after I switch platforms. So perhaps I’m just yelling into the void.

I had a very interesting session with a younger client today. She’s a rising senior at a very prestigious university. One that I did not get into, I might add. She’s at somewhat of a crossroads in terms of trying to figure out what she wants to do with her life. In order to protect your privacy I won’t go into details. But I’ll say that she was planning to go into a certain profession. And I’m recently sure she’d be good at that profession. But I’m not sure she could survive all of the school necessary to get to the end result of being in that profession.

the reason I bring this up is that it touched on a nerve for me. I don’t want to sound self-important or egotistical. But I have several rounds of neuropsych testing to prove how smart I am. And I’m considerably smarter than the average bear. But what does smart mean, if school is really hard? What does it mean if sitting still is not what you’re good at? What does it mean to understand things at a high level if you can’t produce the amount of work that’s expected of intellectually advanced students? What good is it to get a political science degree if you don’t want to sit behind a desk? Coincidentally, that last question is part of why I freaked out when I was at UMass many moons ago. And that’s also why I ended up pursuing culinary arts. Not that there’s anything wrong with pursuing that. And one could argue it was right for me at the time.

And I’m reasonably okay with where I ended up in life. But I’m also angry. Less so than I used to be. But I wouldn’t be being authentic if I didn’t admit to the fact that I’m angry at school was so hard. I’m angry that I couldn’t make it through traditional liberal arts college. I’m angry that I didn’t get into the prestigious college my dad went to even though I’m just as smart. I’m angry that my grades never reflected my intellectual ability. I’m angry that life has been harder than I think it should have been. I’m angry that I’ve had to make difficult choices about how to allocate my resources because my resources are fewer than neurotypical person. I’m angry that I had to take my sciences during the summer cuz I couldn’t take a full load in high school. I’m angry that I had to choose between taking honors math and science and honors humanities because I just didn’t have the capacity to do both.

I’m angry that I’m behind in saving for my kids college and for retirement because I spent 10 years as a cook or a sous chef not making any money, knowing that I had more to offer but not knowing how to do it without a college degree. I’m angry that I still have to make hard decisions about managing my time because I only have so many medicated hours in the day and so much bandwidth. From the outside it seems like I do a lot. And I probably do. But I’m angry that I can’t do more. It feels like my number of medicated hours in the day and my bandwidth and my processing speed are limiting factors. I’ve always wanted to affect change. I’ve always wanted to be involved in politics, even if it’s at the local level. It wasn’t that long ago that had a fantasy of running for school committee. But how could I possibly have the time, attention, bandwidth for that.

to be completely human, I’m dictating this post into my phone right now with a glass of white wine sitting in my garden. Pretty much everybody who walks by compliments me on my garden and is super impressed by it. And when I take a step back, I’m also impressed by it. (It’s huge and prolific.) But I want more. I’ve always wanted more. And I feel like I’ve always had to settle.

this isn’t intended to be a post to garner sympathy. My life is not horrible. Eventually I managed to carve out a career that I find fulfilling and pays the bills. The ADHD American dream. I’m hoping to accomplish two things with this post. I want all of you who may actually read this to know that you are not alone. We have to make compromises. I don’t know. Maybe that’s a human thing. But it feels pretty acutely ADHD to me. Life is certainly better when we own the fact that we have limited resources and let go things that aren’t feasible. But I also want you to know that it’s okay to be angry. We don’t have to be controlled by that anger. But it’s inauthentic to ignore it.

and if you’re an ADHD person who’s still trying to find your place in this world, know that that’s okay. It can take a while to figure out what you’re good at, passionate about, and fits into how your wired. One of the first lessons my dad ever taught me was that life is not fair. Perhaps that’s why I’ve been able to accept my anger and accept the compromises I’ve had to make in my life. I learned that lesson very well and early.

And, as I sit here in my garden, talking about my anger, it lessens as I speak. I’m not totally sure why. But to name something, own it, and be open about it might just make it better. I feel like I should have some sort of words of wisdom to end this. I don’t think I do. So I guess I’ll end with, own your reality and make the best of it. It’s the only chance you’ll get. Enjoy it.

Standard disclaimer: I promised myself when I started this blog that I would post regularly, hopefully weekly. In order to achieve this goal, I have to fight against my own perfectionists. That means I edit very little if at all. I’m focusing on content not on detail. So please forgive any mypellings grammatical / punctuation mishaps, and anything Strange like weird capitalizations due to my using voice recognition.