Support & Stories

From Feeling Like a Birdbrain to Finding My Wings

Like the woodpecker I observed one morning, I’d spent too many years “pecking at the wrong tree.” After my ADHD diagnosis, I learned that I can do things my own way — and you can, too.

A bird flying, wondering why life is so difficult
Illustration of a bird flying

I sat on the back step in the morning sunlight. The birds sang, “Spring is coming.” At minus 17-degrees Celsius, with snowbanks on my deck taller than I am, it was hard to believe.

I popped in my earbuds. Adele played, but not so loud that I didn’t catch the tap-tap-tapping to my right. A woodpecker, I thought.

I glanced at my neighbor’s deck. His teardrop-shaped feeder appeared to be unoccupied. I waited. A downy woodpecker emerged from the container’s south side, continuing her tapping.

[“Suddenly, a Lifetime of Struggles Made Sense”]

I watched her work in vain against the thick, clear plastic. The feeder was full of birdseed, but she’d never get a morsel by tapping. I sat and wondered how much energy she would waste on a futile pursuit.

Then I thought about my ADHD diagnosis — a life spent pursuing goals and not seeing the barrier that stood between the goodies and me. Before my ADHD diagnosis, I looked and felt like a birdbrain. After spending a decade learning about ADHD, and finally understanding what had stood in the way of my success, I wanted to shout to the bird, “The sooner you realize you won’t be getting what you need, the better!”

The woodpecker was tapping at the wrong “tree,” just as I spent years trying to be nourished from neurotypical pursuits that left me hungry.

If you’re wondering why things are so hard for you, when they look so easy for others, it’s time to fly the coop and start putting your energies into something that will feed rather than deplete you! Believe me, you’ll find your wings and soar.

[The Moment I Knew It Was ADHD]