I still hate that phrase which was said to me multiple times when I was at school. Normally around parents’ evening the socks required pulling up. Matthew is a lot more capable than what he is currently achieving. He needs to apply himself more. He needs to concentrate more blah blah blah. ADHD wasn’t ‘a thing’ back then and even nowadays, if you have inattentive ADHD, it might not get noticed or addressed. If you have the hyperactive, impulsive type and your behaviour is an issue in school – then you are much more likely to receive intervention. Getting help at a younger age would’ve made a difference to so many people, myself included. But that is my history now and I can’t change it so onwards and upwards and all that. I have my diagnosis for which I’m grateful.
My school memories are mixed. Before I moved to Harrogate aged 9, I had quite enjoyed school. Yes I was a daydreamer, but nothing I can really say stands out as ADHDesque. Being of summer birth, I was maybe a bit more immature than my peers (I still am). In Harrogate I was the new kid, the outsider from t’other side of the Pennines. I feel like I can pinpoint things more here like zoning out, not paying attention and just feeling different to my class. This carried on into secondary school with having the attention span of a sleeping gnat. This is where I discovered more and more that my socks had dropped down. This is where I became more distracted, struggled listening, was forgetful or disorganised. The homework last minute rush or that feeling of dread when you haven’t done it. I would often ask my class mates what we were doing after the teacher had just explained. Like a cat with a laser pen pretty much explains my concentration levels.
Genuinely I have just been distracted by some crows scrapping with magpies. Back in the room Matt…..Come on pull your socks up!FML
I count myself as pretty intelligent, but what sort of impact did inattentive ADHD have on my school years – and my mental health? Well, being the lazy, daydreaming underachiever that I began to believe I was, have a guess? If you keep hearing the same thing over and over about yourself, you begin to believe it. It then becomes part of your DNA and requires a psychological toothpick to prize it out. People with inattentive ADHD are more likely to suffer with anxiety and depression – even bipolar disorder. Now try to function as an adult with all that going on. Your teenage years can be pretty horrendous at the best of times, but looking back I can see the impact on my self esteem and confidence. They were pretty much shot.
Part of having inattentive ADHD is the lack of emotional control and regulation. Over the years my mood changed as my opinion of myself worsened. I would struggle with my temper and still do sometimes. In contrast, people that know me see me as relaxed, funny, quick witted and laid back. There has been a simmering well of frustration and impatience though which I have been addressing in recent years. The lack of self belief and confidence can destroy any form of resilience or commitment. I started things and never finished them. The slightest knock back would destroy any interest off and this has been part of my ‘all or nothing’ life since. I think this has had the greatest impact on me over the years. I remember playing viola at primary school and forgetting to go to a lesson. A teacher came looking for me and tore strips off me in front of everyone. I never went to another lesson. My karate sensei said one thing to me I didn’t like – I didn’t go back. I would drop things as soon as I had it in my head I was failing.
Right Mr or Mrs Therapist – you can have a go at resolving all this mess! I’m not trying to paint a bleak view of my childhood and teen years. I’m just highlighting the impact that ADHD had on me. I have a lot of good memories and things I’m grateful for growing up. My parents and family, holidays, experiences, love, friendships, trips out, playing and living in a nice house to name a few.
I will follow this up in another post as my brain is frazzled but thanks for reading! A fantastic website with a host of resources if you want to learn more about ADHD is https://www.additudemag.com