Guest Blogs

“Out of the Closet”

The thing about exposing yourself as having ADHD is that, once you do it, there’s no looking back.

To get out of my funk, I’ve been going to a weekly writing workshop, packed with middle-aged women who have lived enough of life to actually have something interesting to write about. The workshop is therapy really-non-fiction-but why is it that everyone has handed in sob stories: adoption, deaths, illegal immigration, abuse. So what the heck, right? I decided to write about my ADHD, no big deal. The thing about exposing oneself is that, once you do it, there’s no looking back.

The problem with coming out of the closet, so to speak, is that people look at me in a different light. Suddenly, all of the things that were annoying, confusing, and such make sense. The writing professor guy smiled at me as I trolled in 10 minutes late. “Thanks for warning us about your tardiness,” he said, referring to my essay titled “ADHD and Me.” I was 10 minutes late because the subway was stalled. I’m sure the non-ADHD population can relate.

I thought I sensed sympathy for the first time too, but I’m not sure I like it. I’d rather be seen as offbeat and slightly ditzy, than disabled. We went around the table round robin, slicing and dicing apart each other’s essays. When it came to me, there was a silence. “What is ADHD?” one woman asked? The professor guy thought I needed to include ways in which I cope, and I wanted to laugh. Well, let’s see… how do I cope?

I continue to get up at 8 A.M., sleep at 1, do laundry and wash dishes at the most random times, and I continue to pop those magic pills in the hope that they will awaken me. I continue to buy organizers of all shapes and sizes, continue to search for a therapist whom I can trust and respect. I thought about buying a kitchen timer as a cheap version of the “watch minder.” And I keep hoping that somehow I will find the right key. I didn’t have the heart to say, I don’t really cope.

A woman to my right, well dressed, wealthy (by the likes of her Rolex watch), said to me later that her husband and son have ADHD, so she could definitely relate to my essay. “Don’t think of yourself as any less. This is as a mother speaking, but you are a high-functioning person. Use your gifts best to your abilities,” she said. She was compassionate; I could tell she was genuine. “I can sense there’s a bit of shame in your voice-don’t be so hard on yourself,” she said. Indeed, Richard Branson, the Jet Blue guy, Kurt Cobain, all have it, I started to rattle off. She nodded in sympathy…

Till later.