Why am I different?
Diagnosed with ADHD at 6, I knew I was different.
How did I know?
Almost failing out of 6th grade was a big red flag.
A hard time reading was another clue.
Why write this newsletter?
If I could turn back time... If I could find a way to tell my younger self what I know now... I would do it in a heartbeat.
Lacking time travel, I will go ahead and tell you what I wish I could tell him. That 19 year old barista reading self help books trying to re-program his brain.
The 23 year old college student pounding coffee to eek out enough focus to make it through his classes and 2 jobs.
I want to help him, tell him, that younger version of me to stop trying to fix himself and instead embrace the way his brain is wired.
I want to introduce him to so many others like him.
- Unique thinkers using mind maps to connect ideas.
- Problem solvers that seek out the dopamine rush solutions provide
- Neurodivergent thinkers who struggle with boring multi-step sequences.
All through college, the unique habits he would pickup would be the keys to functioning well in a world of distraction.
But, so many question him, question us about our condition.
Is ADHD even real?
Yes. Absolutely. Neuroscience is just beginning to uncover the why, but emphatically the answer is yes.
Of the many factors, low dopamine seems to be a primary culprit.
To my younger self:
Remember back in college, when you would juggle, unicycle, take laps around the community college between classes? That was one way of squeezing out a little bit more dopamine, and helping you stay focused for the next class.
Even that rubiks cube you played with in math class. Moving the pieces around while you listened to the lecture helped you to tune out the cacophony of thoughts raging in your brain.
Am I an Expert?
Hell no. I got no PHD. Got no certificate.
But... I do have my experience. I do have the CEOs, COOs, bosses and friends I have worked with, under, and around that all had ADHD, and all found what worked for them.
I have countless interviews. People have generously shared their experiences with ADHD. One day I may take on that tile of expert. But not today.
I'm simply a learner on a journey learning about my brain.
A learner discovering other people like me.
A learner discovering tactics and strategies that don't solve our ADHD, but rather help us press into our strengths. And sometimes... even discovering our weaknesses might be strengths in disguise.
And I have you, dear reader.
I want to learn from you. What would you tell my younger self, or yours?
What I want to share most of all
Younger self, we made it. That self doubting part of us lied.
We got married.
We have a corgi.
We work remotely, and still play with the Rubiks cube on long zoom calls.
We stopped owning a car 6 years ago, and ride a bike as often as possible (but also married into owning a car between wife and I).
Younger self, I want to tell you that life is good, even great at times. And you will still have ADHD.
I want to share the stories of other people that have found jobs, found habits, found patterns in life that work for their ADHD.
I want to share with you strategies that might work for you, right where you are. There is no perfect job. No perfect medication, or morning routine. No one solution that will 'fix' your brain. And that is ok. Accept who you are right now.
But know this.
Even though you will never be fixed. You will never be normal.
You can thrive.
I want to show you how, as I continue to discover it for myself.