On Trying to Hide ADHD

For many with ADHD, it can be a terrible struggle to just “make it”–to get a job, to do well at school, to maintain a relationship, or otherwise.

If only I could get there, … things will be so much better.

And then for many of you who do appear to have made it, the pain doesn’t let up. It only changes.

You have a job. You show up to work, maybe even on time. People seem to think you know what you’re doing.

But inside, it can like the seams are barely held together.

Your mind continues to race, just as it ever has. You set a hundred timers and think,

Wait, is this one I should pay attention to? Maybe I can blow this one off, and keep doing what I’m doing.

Or maybe you’re in a meeting, and someone adds a thought, and your mind goes… anywhere else. Boredom swallows at any moment.

Am I tapping my foot again? Ugh, I gotta stop, I know I’m bugging them.

Maybe they’re not making sense, and it’s not just me. Oh wait, others are responding and even clearly know what’s going on.

I’ll just nod politely and figure out the information on my own later.

But then later comes, and you need to be doing something else. Meanwhile, you’ve just received 2 calls, and 5 emails that all need responses.

I’ll stay late again…

And then you can rely on that part of your mind that runs fast, that part of you that can get a lot done under pressure.

But now you are chronically under pressure, and it’s exhausting.

And above all, you don’t want to look incompetent. It means so much that you’ve been able to make it here.

The years of work, medications, therapy, the teachers, and even loved ones who didn’t think you could make it–you can’t let them have the satisfaction of knowing that you feel like you’re barely keeping it together. Or maybe you care about them too much to let them know how much you continue to suffer, every day, struggling to keep it together.

How upset, how angry you can be with yourself.

How is this so easy for everyone else?!

  • Kourosh

PS It can be difficult to explain the struggles of ADHD. Consider subscribing to the Letters of a Wandering Mind, an attempt to present an experience of the struggles of focus and engagement, delivered as an email series over 11 days.