ADHD Inattentive type
Ever since I was little, I have always struggled with concentration.
In kindergarten I remember feeling overwhelmed. As of now, I am discovering there may be more factors involved that exaserbated the inability to concentrate and brain fog. I am taking into consideration holistic perspectives.
1) I was born a highly sensitive person and emotional empath.
2) I was also born with congenital Intermittent Exotropia with Diplopia and treated for that when I was three. I had on going treatment for many years after.
3) Many members of my family have difficulty concentrating and focusing for a variety of reasons.
4) I have inherited and been modeled patterns of anxiety.
I was held back in first grade for a few weeks in the beginning of what was suppose to be my first weeks of second grade. I worked really hard over the summer to show my teacher in those first weeks that I was ready to move on and she ended up approving me to move on with my peers, but the emotional damage was done. I knew I was different and slower based on this experience.
I continued to struggle to keep up and always failed the reading comprehension part of testing. I developed even more anxiety than I was born with genetically.
In third grade I was tested for ADD and was diagnosed with "Borderline ADD". I was placed in front of the classroom (which I hated) and I worked with my wonderful reading teacher (one of the positive experiences that I remember). My personal opinion is that educators and adults didn't know what to do with children who had ADD and not ADHD back in the 90's and maybe this was new territory. In addition, the adults around me probably didn't know how to take into consideration the Intermittent Exotropia maybe based on the lack of research that we have today.
In fifth grade I was tested again and same outcome was "borderline ADD". Just was stuck in front f the room which only made me feel more self conscious. The most terrifying part of it all was when my teachers would ask me to answer questions based on the reading in front of my peers and also to read out loud. That only made everything worse for me. I would have severe anxiety and sweat. It was extremely stressful. I never remembered what I read out loud because I was panicking inside.
I struggled a lot into middle school and high school.
In college I got help though and I signed myself up for the disability program so I could have extra time on testing.
I always failed testing due to anxiety and the time crunch plus processing issues and lack of concentration throughout school so the extra time was very very needed.
When I transferred to SDSU in 2012, I saw the school psychologist and had a letter from my previous therapist in order to qualify for SDSU's accommodation program. The psychologist mentioned to me that I may have ADHD but that does not necessarily mean I am Hyperactive. He was right. But I didn't look into testing because Tony had just gone away for months on the ship, and I had just moved to San Diego and was starting college full time. My life was full and I also lived out of fear. The fear didn't want to open a can of worms, so I continued to suppress.
I managed to graduate college on the Dean's list, and did extra work such as participating in research and eventually being published along side my peers and professors, and won the Provost award with my research partners in a presentation. I worked my ass off in school and always felt like I worked 10 times harder than everyone around me. Do not mistake that as me thinking I was better than anyone or had it harder, but I always knew I was having to spend much more time of everything than people around me. That's just fact.
Overall I was in college for 10 years by the time I was done with my grad certificate.
I needed a break though and stopped grad school, even though a part of me wanted to apple to finish my masters.
When my vestibular disorders hit me in 2018, I ended up getting a Neuropsych Evaluation in 2019 and instead of any answers to the vestibular disorders, I was given an appropriate and much needed (in my opinion) diagnosis of ADHD Inattentive Type.
I had already learned a lot to cope with this most of my life before the official diagnosis, but I felt a sense of relief and like my life made more sense when I got this diagnosis. I knew this was a piece of my puzzle and understanding myself and the way I functioned my whole life a lot more.
When I and others feel relief after getting a diagnosis, it's not because we believe we are our illnesses, it's often because we understand more clearly, and this can lead to a direction of healing and proper care.
Instead of being treated for this when I was little, I spent most of my life feeling overwhelmed, misunderstood (by others and myself), and struggled. This has had a profound affect on my life and mental health.
Today I understand myself that much more, and realize I was adapting from a very early age without knowing it. I see that this is a piece of my life.
How I adapted
Taking notes with pen and paper, or using my Notes app on my phone.
In an unhealthy way - needing to explain myself because I was ashamed of how I couldn't function well or keep up.
Ear Plugs and ear protection, especially throughout school. During college I enrolled myself in the disability program to gain extra time on tests.
Resources and Information
Scattered was a book recommended to me by my therapist. I am currently listening to the original published version on Audible, and it literally describes my life.
I cried when I saw this video.
This is me when I was 6 and I first learned I was slower, and there was "something wrong with me". I was held back in first grade for my poor reading comprehension skills, but worked hard to read over the summer to prove I could move on. Two weeks into first grade, I was moved up, but this had lifelong effects on me as I was referred to be tested for ADD in third grade only to be labeled "borderline". I had an amazing reading teacher, however many resources plus lack of knowledge about ADHD affected me unfortunately. I love that I can understand this more now that I am an adult.
I discuss more in depth on this page above.