I'll be completely honest. I've always been a pro-medicine person and kind of left it at that. I know I need sleep and exercise too but I've always been pretty wary of people talking about "curing" ADHD with diet. It's not that I've changed my mind completely but I'm slowly coming to see that pretty much EVERYTHING impacts my brain and in order to be the best version of me, I need to do all of the things. So here I am, trying to learn all of the things.
I was diagnosed at the age of 5 and was on ritalin all growing up. Being a girl on meds back then was super weird. I was also smart and liked school. I was kind of a teachers pet type that very much wanted all the gold stars. I didn't fit the mold of the troublesome boys getting in to fights taking ADHD meds at lunch time. All in all, I'm glad my parents put me on medicine. I grew up believing that I was smart and that I could excel in life. I never thought my brain would hold me back though I definitely didn't see it as a strength. I'm finding the layers of shame buried deep inside now from messages I'm sure I heard over the years.
Towards the end of high school I started dating a boy who thought medicine was terrible and convinced me that my parents were bad people for putting me on it in the first place. Oh, young LOVE! In college I took myself off medicine and this straight A student got her first big fat F. I also started to experience depression and anxiety for the first time. I was running 5 miles a day to deal with the energy but was an emotional MESS. I got really, really sick and then at the end of my Sophomore year I made the decision to transfer schools and change majors.
Changing schools and major was for the best but my thinking was completely crazy! I decided that since I didn't want to be on medicine my entire life that I needed to pursue a job that I could do without medicine. I switched to Recreation which was a complete joke. I pretty much got straights As but learned nothing new and wasn't challenged. I was spending all of my time trying to stay afloat emotionally because I still wasn't on medicine. I left college with ambitions to be an event planner but really just wanting to be a stay at home mom thinking that would solve all of my problems.
Thankfully God was kind despite my foolishness and limited thinking. In my 20s, I moved to a big city, made wonderful friends, discovered many professional skills, found an AMAZING counselor and learned about anxiety. I began to see what adult ADHD looked like for me and after a few years of trial and error and a few amazing psychiatrists found the right meds for me.
Then I became a mom. The first year was HARD. Sitting still with a baby was brutal for me though I loved him so much. I went back to work for a few years and then transitioned home. And it was still hard. I started a home based business and learned that work is essential to my mental health. I need to be learning, growing and strategizing. If not, I get in to really unhealthy patterns of obsessing over things that don't matter. I had shame about that too!
I LOVE social sales. It's been the absolute perfect job for me that I never knew that I wanted. I NEED to work. I LOVE to work. I also love working for myself and setting my own hours. The ongoing opportunity to grow and learn is essential to my mental health. I'm never bored and yet have immense freedom and flexibility. I'm so extremely thankful!
I never realized motherhood would be so hard for ADHD. It's so hard to complete tasks and hard to not take my frustration out on them. We now have three kiddos and I'm back at the baby stage with our littlest. After 8 years of infertility, she's an absolute GIFT but I still struggle being fully present with her. More than ever, I want to be the best version of myself for these little ones.
Over the last few years dealing with secondary infertility and then the stress of foster care and also just daily life, I started drinking wine on the daily. I didn't feel like alcoholic was the right fit but it's been a really hard habit to shake. And if it's not alcohol, it's sugar. Always something.
I'm learning more and more that it's so easy for me to self medicate away what makes me special. My brain is big and busy and not everyone gets it. I have lots of energy and lots of ideas and find that when the shame and insecurity or fear creeps in, I want to numb it or dial it down. But it doesn't work. It just brings more shame. And I feel like I've been dialing it down for WAY TOO LONG. Like I've been limited my potential because of my shame around my unique brain.
I'm diving head first in to the ACTIVATED LIFE. I want to be fully alive. I want to use my gifts. I want to be challenged and to grow. I want to influence and impact as many lives as possible. I want to be fully seen and known. I'm making new ways. I want to be the best mom that I can possibly be and help my kiddos navigate this strange world with ADHD. I want to bring all of my ideas and energy to this world to add value and help others.
I'm turning up my life. I'm cutting out the toxic habits and embracing the parts of my personality that brings good to the world. I'm peeling back all of the layers of shame and inviting others to join me in that process. With all that I am, I'm coming alive and helping others achieve the same.
If you identify with my story and are ready to come ALIVE, I encourage you to lock arms with us in the Activated ADHD Mamas Facebook page as we pursue a full, activated life TOGETHER.