Before I found out I had ADD, I thought everyone felt exactly the same as I did. The only problem (for me) was that I relentlessly wondered why I was the only one that didn't thrive in school despite being "smart", or why I had such a hard time making friends and relating to my peers. I never realized why things I did made the whole class laugh at me until years after each event. That has been a life long pattern. I still have a huge fear of public speaking because of it.
How were so many people able to get degrees? I couldn't even manage to stay off academic probation at the community college I attended. Finding out that I was neurologically different was wonderful... or at least it was at first. It was shocking to "interview" everyone I knew and realize that very few of them felt the same way as I did. I had never even noticed. Once my eyes were opened, I started paying more attention via "people watching". I knew then why people "lovingly" gave me pet names like, "Nerd". No, seriously, people that loved me. ;) I was like seemingly "average" yet incredibly nerdy?
|Makes much more sense now, the friendships from teenage years: I was in my own head most of the time.|
The more I learned about ADD and managing it, the better I got at living life successfully in an NT world. Obviously this is a crucial skill, and something you can't practice until you realize there is an issue. So knowing is important.... But I miss those days where I was obliviously off in space just figuring everyone understood when I did whatever I did because it was "normal". I hate being aware of the fact that people think I am "odd". It makes me so much more self conscious. I find myself constantly watching peoples expressions and eyes now to figure out what they are thinking. I never noticed how often people make subtle expressions at me that say, "?!?!?!". I wonder now, how did I NEVER notice this before? I act the same; but I think before I only made quick glances of eye contact. I've seen now that I have to always make an effort not to look around the room in a conversation or at my hands- I am a big on talking with my hands.
I have another friend recently diagnosed and while that first wave of, "It's not my fault!?" was exhilarating, the reality has set in. The time has come to put the feet to the pavement, and it's painful. It's so hard to come to terms with feeling like you were asleep half your life and never realized how you were perceived. Always wondering what if I had known earlier? And learning to manage the awkwardness once the truth is discovered? Well, I guess it's one of those catch-22 things.
Although I don't like feeling different, or misunderstood, I do like that I can now go to college and make straight A's. Or even better, I like that I don't have wild spending problems like I did before therapy as a young adult... or that my credit isn't ruined because of forgetting/missing payments as I did in the past.
Life is a bunch of trade-offs I guess... What is a trade-off you've had to deal with that is especially bittersweet for you?