WE HEAR YOU: WOMEN LIVING WITH ADHD
or teacher to tell us any more;
their words have become our
own. I’m so stupid, I thought.
I’m so dumb. Why can’t I be
more organized? Why can’t I remember things like everyone else? The
knowledge that I suffer from a neurological condition doesn’t help. Society
has expectations for adult women, and
often, I don’t fulfill them.
Those expectations extend into the
social realm as well. People expect adult
women to act a certain way. When you
say you’re going to a friend’s poetry
reading, they expect you to be there.
But you have an anxiety attack, because
I’m Not Rude—Really!
you can’t figure out how to fit it into
your day, and you stay home. You are
missed, and no one understands why
you didn’t make it. You’re a flake. Your
word can’t be trusted. You know your
friends are thinking this, and yet you
couldn’t get to that reading. The
negative self-talk starts again.
ADHD also creates trouble with
face-to-face interaction. I often seem
rude, because I play on my phone
while another person talks. I’m
listening, but I look like a rude
Millennial. Sometimes I get so excited
about something that I have to voice it,
no matter what’s going on in the
conversation, or whose turn it is to
talk. I seem rude again—as if I’m not
paying attention to the other person’s
contribution, as if I don’t care what
they have to say. I do. I just have to talk
about what I have to talk about, and I
have to do it now. Right. Freaking.
Now. Later, I realize what I’ve done; I
feel rude and stupid. I worry that the
other person won’t want to be friends
with me. Sadly, sometimes I’m right.
It’s difficult to be an adult woman
whose brain, by its very nature, doesn’t
want to “adult.” Of course, medication
helps. But when you can’t meet the
basic expectations of adulthood, it’s
hard to respect yourself, let alone earn
respect from others. The best we can
do is to stop the negative self-talk,
realize that we have a neurological
condition, and forgive ourselves for its
manifestations. After all, none of this
is our fault. A
ELIZABETH BROADBEN T writes the ADDitude
blog, All Together ADHD, as well as book reviews.
Broadbent, her husband, and two of her three
children have ADHD.
We’ve been berated
so often, in fact, that
we’ve internalized it.