The Dark Side of ADHD

I used to say that I was forgetful.

And I definitely am, to a certain extent.

ADHD robbed me of so many of my memories as a kid. The best way to explain what’s there is to say that my memory was random. I can tell you the exact setting and feeling of my first kiss in extraordinary detail, but struggle to keep what foreign language skills and vocabulary I have learned. I can tell you about Queen Elizabeth I’s life and family context with the accuracy of a lifetime researcher, but I can’t, fo the life of me recall the first time I told someone that I loved them (in a romantic sense).

I was considered gifted from a very early age. The teachers who caught on to this encouraged my parents and I to have me in classes that reflected this. And I would do well in those classes, until I had a test. During tests I would struggle with recall and get grades that did not reflect how well I knew the material, how well I grasped it.

I am sometimes mad at my parents for not having seen this earlier. If I had been treated for my ADHD starting in middle school or high school, I could have done so much better academically. I could have gotten the grades that reflected my learning rather than my shit test-taking skills. I would probably remember more of middle school than a few scattered memories.

I have been on some form of ADHD meds for close to a year and a half now. It has been one of the most amazing time of my life – not just because of the amazing people I have met and/or started dating, but because I am starting to remember. I am starting to have better memory recall. I can remember the first time I said I love you to not one, but three different people in that time period. I a remembering more of the small moments – the details of conversations, the looks in people’s eyes, and the nuances in articles, books, and papers I read. I feel more full of life now, more full of the things that make me happy.

No, I will never be “normal”, nor do I have any desire to be. I am proudly neurodivergent. No medicine in the world can change that I have ADHD. But I am glad to have finally found something that gives me more space to be me, with all the awesome that is in my life.

It is the greatest gift for the storyteller in me. The ability to remember.

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