ADHD goes hand in hand with many definitions: lazy, excitable, overstimulated. I've heard these and many more. And I'm sure that in many ways these describe it perfectly. But there's a darker side to having ADHD. One in which you can't comprehend unless it's you or your married to it. That place where all the medication and therapy still simply can't reach.
There are funny parts for sure. I laugh and joke with my partner about them in some ways. Often to ease the tension and strain I know it puts on our marriage; or to hope he sees it in the colour of humour vs hurt and exhaustion.
It's like a super thrill ride of a roller coaster until you reach the top and realize the bills haven't been paid. Or she's spent 500 dollars of your saved wedding money on absolutely nothing.
Its hilarious to look back on the moment I tried to cook an entire meal from scratch for guests (although never having cooked more then pasta prior to this) and attempted a Gordon Ramsey recipe with a couple Pinterest desserts thrown in their simultaneously nursing a baby. We had to order Chinese. Because I almost burnt the house down.
I love to joke about being a super fun parent until I remember we have to go to school and then lose my mind trying to get children dressed, fed and lunches made. And it's only then do I start looking for my keys.
Its a funny moment when we laugh about how I put things in "special places." It's a running joke in my house. Because my mind is running so fast I actually don't register where my hands are going. I would make either a really horrible or really wonderful octopus with all those extra arms and legs to help. Or I would strangle myself. It could go either way.
I joke that the only reason I baby wear my children is so I don't lose them. But I'm not joking. I lose everything. And use to dream/nightmare that I would chase after my two other littles with the baby in the car seat and put him down in a store and forget where he was. So just in case I tie him to me.
Its a funny story to tell. The one in which I'm one of "those" ADHD types that can't be overwhelmed by clutter in front of me. Meaning walking into my house you would see it show home ready. But what you don't see is the rage cleaning I do out of sheer panic when my brain becomes overloaded because I can't comprehend my space. And if looked even closer you would see the millions and millions of junk piles. And drawers. And "special places" in which I keep my stuff. And then proceed to throw away my children's birth certificate. Twice.
But there's a dark side in my marriage. Amongst those stories we tell at cocktail parties in which I wince underneath my skin as we laugh at these stories. There are darker ones. Ones we don't laugh about.
I'm exhausting. There's a scene from the 1980's Bette milder movie "Beaches" where Midler's mother tells the young Bette "you were exhausting. You exhausted me out, your father out, everyone." I do that. I know I do. I hyper focus. I go at a speed that isn't a normal speed. And then I crash and burn. And then having burned out my spouse and now barely moving - I except to be taken care of. Even though I literally have burned all my bridges.
And then the times when I'm brutally unsafe. Because it's all fun and games until I leave a medicine bottle out. Or forget where I put the children's Tylenol or leave the lid off the cough syrup. My patient yet disappointed husband makes the rounds in the mornings to ensure I haven't forgotten any of the bottles in plain view of the little ones.
Or the hundred tasks I start but never finish because I either lose interest, get distracted or lose interest. And he has to clean up with me or for me. Over and over.
Such as when we try to have a conversation with the stove vent fan running and the noise alone overwhelms my brain. And I can see the annoyance and frustration as he try's to be so patient and wait out my brain being bombarded with too much information.
Or the thousands of dollars we've had to spend on my mistakes. My carelessness. The many times I shrank his "dry clean only clothes" hit another car driving our children somewhere (more then once. Or twice. Or three times) because I was distracted by some random shiny thing. The dishwasher that needed to be fixed because I overloaded it one to many times. The documents I lose, the impulsive spending I do, the random items I throw out or get rid of in a moment of "not thinking" only to have to re-buy said item because we actually do need it.
The constant need and desire to be stimulated with unrealistic expectations that end up on him and the world around me. The confusion for me is why/how people stop and relax. Because I don't run that way. I run and race full speed ahead moving fast and generating wind. Thinking I'm doing so well. The problem is that wind often turns into a tornado of things and people I have broken and hurt. But I don't see it until I'm lying awake at night recounting the things I need to work on tomorrow. It's only then do I see his face hurt by something I blurted "without thinking." I don't see humour anymore. Or laughter. Only weariness. Because the problem with a whirlwind is that it doesn't leave anything but destruction in its path.
But shhhh. It doesn't end here. There's a secret about us. A secret your ADHD lovers, friends, and children carry. It's what gets us out of bed the next morning after realizing what we've done and the turmoil we've created. It's what opens our eyes in the morning even after they are swollen from the tears of our mistakes.
Here it is: We are eternal optimists. Emotional sponges. Empathetic beacons. We see the glass half full and can't wait to help fill it up more! We are the helpers, the emergency room doctors and nurses, the creative actors and the welcoming loving preschool teachers you remember from your childhood. We are the excitement in your world. We love people and the energy that surrounds those friendships. But balance for us is key. We can't survive without relationships. Ones that grow us, love us, push us and yes sometimes even carry us. Those are the ones I invest in, that I deepen. We aren't a people of shallow friendships or surface garbage. We move too fast for fake smiles and handshakes. We love hard and are fiercely loyal to those that are willing to go the mile with us; without "working" on us. Those that love us just as we are, but aren't willing to let us stay there.
I once asked my husband in a moment of self wallowing why he was with me. He laughed with love and said it was because I was so full of life and energy "Without you," he said "I wouldn't talk as much, laugh as much or feel as much" and that's what we do. We stir things up. We make you feel. There's never a dull moment when you're with us, near us or touching us. We don't exist in a grey area. Grey doesn't make sense to us.
We can't possible work any harder then we already do. Hear that. Let that sink in. We work hard. So hard. We are always working hard. To change. To fix. To apologize for what really is an imbalance in our brain. No; working harder isn't the answer...
Carl Jung once said "I must also have a dark side if I am to be whole." Our world doesn't get dark. We don't "do" dark. We medicate it, pray its not us or our children, run from it and hide from it. But my ADHD brain has that side. All brains do. Mine is just so apparent. You don't need a microscope let alone a megaphone to hear and see the mistakes and pain and hurt I cause in my marriage. And I am sorry. Very sorry. But I am whole. I am just as much the darkness as I am the light and energy I bring into everything I do. And I am good with where I am at. And so should you be.