I recently hit an age milestone that makes you think a lot about your life. Some of you may recall I had a heart attack. That also gets you thinking.
I was diagnosed with ADHD as a child and again in my late 20s / early 30s. I thought I had it pretty under control and that it was just a mild case. I guess I forgot my entire childhood.
And recently I’ve discovered that my “mild” ADHD is actually on the severe side.
There’s a lot to unpack about the ADHD part and I’ll be getting into that on a new project I’m working on.
But I’m facing one of the bigger problems in ADHD and that’s basically not knowing what to do. Because I can do almost anything I want to I have no idea which path to take. And when I do decide, self doubt creeps in and tells me anyone could do this and everyone’s ideas are all great and if I can think if it then anyone could.
And I know, I’m supposed to remind myself that this is normal. It’ll pass. Remember all the times you’ve succeeded. All the projects you completed, all the customers you helped.
I know I’m supposed to break my tasks into itty bitty pieces that I can manage. I know I’m supposed to block time and take breaks.
I also know being over structured like that is it’s own type of hell. One of my particular issues is I don’t really like being told what to do or when to do it. I’m grown enough to figure that out. I know deadlines are necessary, but they are usually arbitrary and if my mind knows that – sorry.
The thing is, everyone does some of this. But with ADHD people we dwell on it. It eats at us. We spiral for hours or even days on some of these things. And we can get locked up. Then we feel guilty that we aren’t doing what we are supposed to and then we can’t do anything because that wouldn’t be right. We are supposed to be doing the important thing.
I realize now that my heart attack was a super stressful event. Obviously. But I didn’t know what that meant for my mental health. I’ve always had strong willpower! I can push through anything. But that’s not how trauma works. I definitely had PTSD. I actually never had high blood pressure before the heart attack. Only after. I’m pretty sure it’s because it kicked my ADHD into high gear and ADHD causes stress which causes high blood pressure and heart rates. I’m sure the heart attack itself didn’t help either.
I do feel much better but I still don’t know what to do. I feel lost. I’ve already done a lot in the programming realm. I’m not the best but I’ve done some things I’m proud of. But there’s more creative things I want to do but then the doubt creeps in. More than that, I’m not that young anymore. I only have so many years left to be productive and create the things I want to create. I’m not 20 or 30 or even 40 anymore. I’m 50. Every choice I make is cutting off something else because there’s just no time to do everything I want to do.
And I feel like ADHD has robbed me of so much time in my life. Caused so much strife and mental anguish. Stress.
I think I need to be on social media less. I need to focus on my mental health. I want to focus more on creating and less on consuming. And I want to conquer the goals I have set out before me and figure out what I want to do next with the precious time I have left.
Today was a really hard day. I nearly broke down in my office. I almost had to leave. I’m not posting for sympathy but to show what living with ADHD is like sometimes.
I know we like to joke that it’s a super power but I’d give it up in a second to be neurotypical.
And look, I’m ok. Or I will be. I have a great support system around me and I’m under medical care.
Which brings me to my final point: I need to figure out what I really want to do next. I want to do all the things, like anyone creative. ADHD is making it hard to pick, sure. But it’s also age and free time and many other factors. So I’m taking a short step back to figure things out a bit and do a little more work to get my ADHD in check. I don’t know what this means but I can tell you one thing: I won’t be doing nothing. I just don’t have that in me.
If you’ve had a bad ADHD day lately, remember you are not alone. It doesn’t matter if you just got into tech or have been here 30 years like me, ADHD doesn’t care one bit.