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Been thinking about #ADHD ADHD a lot lately, cuz I have it, and thinking about (a lot of) things (at once) is just what I do. (thread)

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is really a bad name for it. We have no deficits of attention. We have a surplus of it. 1/
...so much that we have to use up the extra, "floating attention" (yes, that's what it's called) with some other kind of stimulation so we can focus on what we have to focus on. That's why some kids concentrate on homework better in front of the telly or listening to music. 2/
Rather than a deficit, what we have is the inability to regulate our attention. We can't force ourselves to focus on something that we're not already interested in, no matter how important it is. As kids we CAN'T just "pay attention in class," any more than we can fly. We are 3/
...easily distracted by other things. Our brains can't sort out the input or prioritize it. The teacher's voice is no more important than the ticking of the clock, or the siren in the street, or the kid with the squeaky chair, etc--We can't focus on one thing & ignore the rest.
Now let's talk about hyperactivity: everyone thinks of the 8yo boy bouncing off the walls in school, but it's not always like that. For one thing, often the hyperactivity is mental, not physical. I mentioned I think about many things at once; well, that's normal for us...5/
I've likened it to playing a pinball game, the mind goes off in one direction, meets an obstacle or distraction, gets sent in a different direction until it meets another distraction, and so on. The mental equivalent to that bouncing 8yo. There's also a physical version...6/
which is what I have: hyperactivity of the small muscles instead of the large. What that means is that, to look at me, I would seem perfectly still and composed. BUT! My toes are wiggling inside my shoes. My thumbs are bending and straightening. My calf muscles tense and flex..7/
and none of it's visible from the outside. As children we get scolded so much for "fidgeting" instead of "paying attention," that we learned to stim unobtrusively... because we CAN'T pay attention without stimming/fidgeting, but we got yelled at if it got noticed. We hide it. 8/
All that is before we even start talking about Executive Function, which is something we mostly can't do. ADHDers can have smaller frontal lobes than NT people, and that's the portion that handles EF. There's other stuff, about our dopamine & norepinephrine levels being off...9/
but I'm not getting into all that now. What it means is that our brains literally do not allow us to have normal Executive Functioning: meet deadlines, be punctual, keep track of dates & times & appointments, keep track of time, and a host of other normal "adulting" tasks. 10/
And yes, we realize that it means we get disapproval, we get infantilized, we get told to "Grow the f*** up!" We get treated as failures, because we fail at tasks that NTs have no problem doing. Making phone calls. Getting places on time (or at all). We get blamed and judged..11/
We get told to "try harder," and that we "have so much potential" and that "If it were important to you, you'd remember." All false. All disrespectful of our neurodivergence. And yes, all abusive. With being treated like this all our lives, is it any wonder most of us end up..12/
with depression and anxiety on top of the (usually undiagnosed) ADHD? We see memes, pictures of leather belts labeled "the original ADHD medicine" as if child abuse can cure a neurological disorder. Well, I got the belt an awful lot as a child. Guess what? Still have ADHD! 13/
In fact, ADHD in women very often gets overlooked because we're socialized differently in school. We're the chatterboxes, the daydreamers, in my case the quiet, shy girl who never got in trouble...but never remembered to do her homework either. It gets misdiagnosed a lot as 14/
#Depression and #anxietydisorder ... but sometimes when the ADHD finally gets diagnosed and treated, the depression lifts because you're not so far behind the 8-ball anymore. Suddenly it's like you've grown up and can do this adulting thing after all! Now, pills are not magic.15/
It can take a long time to find the right dosage of the right medication to work for you. Some opt for not medicating (though I'm betting most of them are big coffee drinkers and nicotine smokers, since both are stimulants), or for using natural supplements. I've done that too16/
And I've been reading lately about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy being helpful for ADHDers. ADHD coaches are also a thing. But because most ADHD meds are stimulants, they're controlled. That means some doctors will go to great lengths to keep them away from patients. Thing is, 17/
Stimulants have a different effect on ADHD brains than NT ones. They aren't like taking speed, at least for us. They actually calm our brains down, enable us to focus, help us be able to remember things. We'll never be or function as NT folks, but with decent treatment, we 18/
can come a lot closer to being able to "adult" in the real world. Problem is, most of the treatments are inaccessible for us, either because of misdiagnosis, denied controlled substances, financial limitations (ADHD coaches are pricey!), and the like. So many self-medicate. 19/
Caffeine & nicotine are stimulants. So are certain OTC cold medicines (which many stores have started locking up). Weed, CBD oil, and its ilk have become popular as ADHD treatments, but they're still illegal most places. And ADHDers often have trouble keeping jobs. 20/
Many folks don't believe it even exists, and few employers are willing to make accommodations for it. Even with the gifts and blessings that come with ADHD, it has its challenges too, and the biggest one of those is the stigma.

It's real. It's neurological. It's disabling. 21/
But while I'm on the topic, it DOES have advantages & gifts! Yes, we deal with sensory problems like autistic people do, but we also have this wonderful thing called hyperfocus! The rest of the world fades away & we get a shipload of work done! But we can't control when it hits.
Again, attention dysregulation. But then there are the obsessions! Our autistic "cousins" sometimes call them special interests, and the "experts" pathologize them, but they are SO FUN! One interest leads to another, then to another, and before you know it you're in so deep 23/
you can't even think about anything else! This topic takes up all your spare attention, all your waking hours (and sometimes you dream about it too). I love my obsessions. I love my hyperfocus. I love my ADHD and wouldn't want to be "cured." Just wish more ppl understood it.24/24
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