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.



I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts this afternoon as I was driving and they were talking about expanding sexual orientation in relation/response to non-monogamy.  The idea came up about not being queer enough to claim queer.  My first response is to call bullshit on this, but I know that I have internalized a lot of the “not enough” bullshit.

I do not feel “queer/bi enough” because I am currently a Kinsey 2.  I have a female partner who I have sex with, and might be interested in having sex with another female partner, but am otherwise not really interested in pursuing any other women.  In the past a great majority of my relationships have been with male or AMAB people.  Am I queer enough?

I sometimes do not feel “poly enough” because my saturation point is fairly low and in the past I have chosen to only have one partner when I was not mentally stable.  In that particular case I began doubting myself – not my identity, but myself, as being poly is rather central to being me – because I was not sure I would ever fall in love again.  Fortunately, that did not end up being the case.  But that still remains in the back corner of my head (more quiet than not these days).  I am not loud and proud about being poly, but don’t make much effort to keep it any bit of a secret.  Am I poly enough?

I sometimes do not feel “genderqueer/genderfluid/non-binary gendered enough” to claim that identity or to claim being transgender.  I tend to look lazy femme or just tomboyish in my presentation.  My dysphoria only flares up occasionally.  I do not have any issues with how my genitals look or work or the fact that I have visible breasts and other curves that may not be easily disguisable.  I strongly prefer they/them pronouns, but am willing to accept she/her in some contexts.  I am not out about this identity to anyone except friends.  Am I trans/NB enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “mentally ill or neurodivergent enough” to claim those.  My depression is cyclical and my anxiety is, in at least half of cases, controlled enough not to show.  Yes, I have sensory processing issues, but those tend to just come across as being a little weird to most people.  My ADHD is moderately well managed and also just tends to come across as a bit odd or flighty when not.  Am I mentally ill/neurodivergent enough?

I sometimes don’t feel “physically ill” or in pain enough to claim being a spoonie.  But the truth is – I have an autoimmune condition that I will have to take medication for for the rest of my life and does have an effect on my energy levels.  However, that’s under control and my migraines have mostly abated.  My joint pain is getting worse and I’m starting to think it might be something other than the barometric pressure shifts to that pain (the remaining migraines are definitely just that though).  My pain levels do affect my energy levels.  Yes, there are many people who have it worse.  It is hard to remember that my pain is also valid.  Am I physically ill enough to be a spoonie?

Am I enough of a partner for my partners?  The idea that I was defective because I was not the only partner a partner has, that they were looking for someone else because I am not enough never was an issue for me.  Instead it is a matter of other measures.  Am I available enough, physically or mentally?  Am I stable enough (physically and mentally) to be in a relationship with them?  Am I pretty enough to keep their attention?  Am I satisfying enough in bed for them to still want to sleep with me?  Can we build enough of a relationship to weather the years (can I contribute enough to the relationship to this building), if that is indeed something we want?

Am I enough?  To myself I can be, that I know.  And I am very glad that I am at a point in my life where this matters most.  It was not easy getting here and sometimes I slip back into old thoughts.