Women and Adult ADD
What it means to be a woman AND have ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
When I was first diagnosed with Adult ADD I laughed. I thought my doctor had to be joking!
Like many people, I thought ADD (or ADHD, depending on who you're talking to) was something that only occurred in children, and boys at that. As far as I was concerned, it was simply a good excuse for bad behavior.
But the perception of ADD in adults, particularly women, is starting to alter as more is discovered about this complicated and misunderstood disorder. ADD in women is experienced in a very different way from men, and is often masked by depression, anxiety and low self-esteem.
So, what are the symptoms of Adult ADD?
From a personal point of view, once I accepted my diagnosis, my life took on a brand new perspective. Finally I had found a reason why my life up until that point had been erratic, frustrating, contradictory, impulsive, eccentric...the list goes on and on.
Although it may have appeared to my friends, colleagues and family that I had it all together, I struggled every minute of every day to maintain my grip. Every ounce of energy was spent on trying to keep some order in my hopelessly disorganized life and I formulated crazy routines and schedules in a desperate attempt to bring some order to the chaos that was going on in my brain.
Having ADD is like having the TV and radio on at the same time, while the alarm clock is ringing, the kettle is boiling, the kids are yelling and the fire alarm is going off. The noise never stops, and because you have no idea where the on/off button is, all you manage to do if you try to turn the noise off is change radio stations.
Women with ADD crave constant stimulation, yet are incapable of comprehending the consequences of their actions, which leads to a high incidence of alcohol abuse, drug addiction, sexual addictions and self destructive behavior.
On the positive side, because women with ADD are incapable of clear, logical thought processes, we often act instinctively, using our enhanced intuitive skills to guide us through rough patches. We are the ones who get the solution long before the question is even finished and we make great adjudicators because we can feel, understand and agree with both points of view.
Focus and concentration are not words listed in the ADD dictionary. You can usually pick somebody with ADD by the number of projects they have on the go at any one time. Problem is we are incapable of completing most of the projects we start simply because we can't decide what we want to work on next.
And try holding a deep and meaningful conversation with a woman with ADD! A friend of mine once described having a conversation with me was like opening a bell jar full of butterflies then trying to catch each one and hold onto it. Our minds are so bombarded with new and stimulating ideas that it becomes impossible to stay focused on one subject.
Two years on from my initial diagnosis and treatment, I have now come to terms with having ADD. I no longer have to make excuses for my crazy behavior, I've learned to reign in my impulsiveness and I've channeled my creative urges into something constructive.
Indeed, life looks rosy.