WE HEAR YOU: WOMEN LIVING WITH ADHD
BY ELIZABETH BROADBENT
ADHD Is Not My Fault,
But No One Believes Me
“I’m so stupid, I’m so dumb,” I tell myself far too often.
ILEFT MY BRAND-NEW ATM CARD IN the machine while I was activating it. It just happened. I didn’t realize it
until I told my husband I activated the
card. Then I morphed into total
freakout mode, ransacked my purse,
ransacked the car, and burst into tears
at what an idiot I was.
“It’s a mistake, Baby,” he said. “The
ATM will eat the card.” I cried for a half
hour, and, based on my ranting, my
seven-year-old drew me a card that
read: “Mama, your are not an ideot.”
The next morning, while stopped at
a red light, I found my ATM card
turned upside down under three pairs
of sunglasses on the center console
of my car. I’d looked there at least twice.
I would have cried again if I weren’t
ADHD and Emotions
They’re upsetting, incidents like these.
No matter how often people remind
you that ADHD is a disorder, that it’s
not your fault, ADHD affects every
aspect of your life—and every one of
your emotions. You lose things, you
forget things, and you feel guilty. If you
can’t read contempt on other people’s
faces, you imagine it. You are the
“wifty” one, the flighty one, the one
who can’t be trusted to arrive on time.
Your impulsivity and awkwardness
make it difficult to interact with others,
and your social skills are like those of a
middle-schooler. It’s hard. Yet this is
the reality we ADHD women live with
every day, especially those of us with
the inattentive variety of the disorder.
I felt guilty again this week, when
I forgot an important appointment.
The spiral of negative self-talk began,
the kind that had my seven-year-old
drawing me pictures. This is usual with
ADHD women, especially those
diagnosed late. We’ve spent a lifetime
being berated: about our disorganiza-
tion, our lack of common sense, our
in-and-out memory. We’ve been
berated so often, in fact, that we’ve
internalized it. We don’t need a parent
All that remained: Return in 48-72
hours to have a nurse look at my arm.
But days passed, the TB test drifted
out of my mind, and I had other things
to do. I woke bolt-upright from a nap
at 6 p.m., weeping, because I couldn’t
manage the basic skills of “adulting.”