Sometimes I wish I grew up differently, that my parents got me into sports or that I had a best friend that would last for life but I know that if anything was different I wouldn’t be me. And that somehow makes it okay even when I’m wishing things were different.
—  c.t.//excerpt from a book I won’t write

Ill never stop being part of this club.

If it weren’t for gravity falls I wouldn’t have drawn inspiration from Mabel to be the bestest, weirdest me i can be. I was so like her at 12 (braces and all) and lost that spark due to loss of a dear friend a few years later, but Mabel has helped bring that spark back.

Her fears of the future mirror my own and her silliness brought out my own. Cosplaying Mabel has brought out the best in me as a person and as a crafter.

Though her adventures will end soon, im still gonna be the bestest, silliest, mabelliest me I can be.

Growing old is mandatory, growing up is optional. Ill never let growing old get in the way of doing the things I love.

Thanks for the wonderful 3 year ride. The Gravity Finale is gonna be a wild one.

Breaking the stigma for ADHD Awareness Month

Talk about how you were diagnosed. How old were you? What was the process?

Diagnosis came for me in my last year semester of college strangely enough, literally two months before I was due to graduate. What sparked it however was my increasing frustration that semester at being unable to stay on task. With papers to turn in, and finals and projects due just around the corner, I couldn’t handle another few weeks of my trichotillomania being triggered. The truth was, I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to figure out what was causing it and why writing papers gave me such anxiety simply because, in order to sit down and concentrate I had to pick at my eyebrows in order to sustain my focus for a prolonged period of time.

So I sought answers. It really shouldn’t have come as any surprise as a couple of my siblings also have the disorder and it runs in the family. But my family never took mental illness seriously, and especially for girls growing up in a conservative household meant that not being responsible, not being quite “good enough” was, and always will be a character flaw. Especially being Muslim, which I come from a very traditional background embedded in a culture where the woman upholds her household and personal responsibilities like it’s a matter of life or death. 

Unfortunately I could never quite meet that threshold. My constant spaciness, tuning out, inability to pay attention, disorganization, a complete plethora of ADHD symptoms meant I had to try extremely hard to meet the mark I constantly failed to achieve. And it also meant that one part of my life took precedent over another.

If I had to prioritize household responsibilities, that meant I had zero time for schoolwork. If I prioritized work, that meant zero time for household chores. If I prioritized schoolwork that meant…you get the idea.

I was constantly compared to other Muslim girls my age and younger who, for some reason, at least appeared to have their life together. And then there was me. Someone who couldn’t cook, messy, consistently isolated themselves and felt disconnected from everyone else around them. Could never quite fit in.

It pains me thinking back on all this. That I was consistently failing in all areas of my life and only doing the bare minimum I could to get by. All while battling depressive episodes, my chronic boredom and repeated apathy towards life and living, and trying my hardest to stay responsible with my religion, with my family, and my future.

It was a triad of disaster for someone like me who thought my life could be solved if I could just be more desirable to people. Wanted. Needed. If I could remain useful then I could be deserving of love. I was necessary, and adored if I could remain on top of my obligations. 

But one day, obviously, it just got too much. It surprises me that I held out that long in school and managed to graduate. But I guess you come to a point where you realize something’s not right, and that your struggle to keep on task or just keep up with life and it being somehow increasingly harder to keep up with as you age, is a blessing in that it makes you understand that life being that difficult is not normal.

I was 24 when I got diagnosed. 

Talk about treatment options. What do you do to manage your ADHD and what have you done in the past? Is there anything you would like to try in the future?

Managing my ADHD undiagnosed most of my life meant drinking copious amounts of coffee at all odd hours of the day and repeatedly not caring because caffeine had little to no effect on me 95% of the time.

It helped me focus but often it was a short-lived focus. For the most part I only felt wired on caffeine. It did solve the feeling of feeling like I was chronically tired all the time though. It gave me energy, it was just misdirected energy a lot of the time.

Now currently I’m on stimulant medication, 20 mg of Vyvanse. It’s done wonders. It does exactly what I’ve needed my whole life, which is the ability to have the basic fundamental energy needed to function and even get out of bed in the morning, and also the ability to stay on task. I’ve only been taking it for two weeks but the contrast between my life before my medication and after is like night and day. Quite literally. I’m actually sleeping at night and waking up early in the mornings which for me, was unheard of. 

I’m very grateful, currently, to be where I am. I feel like I have a future ahead of me, one I could not envision for 24 years prior. The ability to be able to plan ahead and work towards a future and not only exist in the present is so vital to me. I can make progress now. I can grow.

I would like to try neurofeedback in the future so I don’t go lifelong on medication. I met someone recently who tried it and recommended it, and said they did twenty or so sessions of being wired up to electrodes while you do some sort of games that essentially train your brain to focus and ability to sustain focus for prolonged periods of time. Obviously he still has ADHD, but he said he doesn’t need medication because he can focus on things on his own now.

Anyway, it’s worth a shot. I’m just glad there is a medication-free option out there, and maybe it won’t solve everything about ADHD, but it can solve a major component of it possibly and I’m excited about that.

Talk about a typical day. How does it go for you? What kinds of things usually happen?

A typical day off my meds is pretty unproductive, honestly. I can’t get anything done no matter how much I want to. It’s not just me actively procrastinating but me being unable to get my brain to shut up long enough for me to sustain my focus on anything. To sum up since I wrote about this before in other posts…

And now on medication it’s like,

Instead of my brain being like “I wonder what’s on tumblr I wonder what’s on reddit I wonder about this thought here, I wonder if ADHD is like this, I wonder what Tom Hardy is doing, I wonder if you stuck your finger in a finger trap how long you’d get stuck in that if you are also handcuffed like what’s the ratio to of finger to handcuff release, how much wiggle room do you have?”

It’s like,“Okay when I’m done cleaning these dishes/getting started on them, I’ll go check the laundry and make sure it’s finished. Then I’ll get some comet for the sink and clean the sink. Maybe when I’m done with that I’ll soak these rags in Clorox to whiten them. Then, I’ll need to keep my eye on the time cause I’m going somewhere at 12. Oh! What time is it? Okay it’s only 11. Better leave myself enough time to shower. I’ll stop cleaning at 11:10 so I can shower and get dressed. Don’t forget to take that envelope with you when you go. I’ll hopefully be done by 4pm and when I’m done I’ll resume cleaning and laundry. And then, I’ll check the garden and pick the tomatoes there so they don’t go bad. Oh, also I’ll clean out the fridge and take out the trash.” 

Put a face to ADHD and post your selfie!

Share tips and tricks that you have found really helpful as you work to achieve success with ADHD!

Research. Excessively. Having answers to everything that’s happening as it’s happening will only help you and help you learn better coping methods more suited to your needs as life goes on. It causes you to stop placing the blame on yourself and engaging in negative self-talk, and helps you actually assess how to solve a problem logically, because you are informed enough to know what’s happening and why.

That means you can forgive yourself easier. That means you can take the appropriate steps to finding a solution that works for you. That means you can give yourself breaks, you can cut yourself some slack, you can participate in life the best way you know how.

I recommend an ADHD book titled, “ADHD in Adulthood: A Guide to Current Theory, Diagnosis, and Treatment” because it is a book designed for medical professionals in treating and diagnosing ADHD, and it goes in-depth about ADHD, it’s symptoms, differential diagnosis’, etc. It really helps give you a thorough understanding of the disorder, and allows you to gain practical knowledge in understanding ones behavior, and how ADHD manifests.

Second, do not under any circumstance, ever stop validating yourself. It took me a good year from when I got diagnosed to believe I had ADHD and more importantly, to understand I had it. Don’t think you will relate to every ADHDers experience because you won’t. Your experience is uniquely your own, and every ADHDer experiences it differently. Whether that’s how you react to stimulant medication/caffeine, whether you get racing thoughts or you don’t, whether you have a sensory issue…everyone experiences it differently. What may apply to one person will not necessarily apply to you. Your reality, what you experience, it’s real, and it’s happening. Don’t think you have to fit a number of symptoms to qualify. What qualifies you for ADHD is meeting at least two of the diagnostic criteria that cause serious impairment to your life.

And lastly, always remember that life should not be this hard. That the act of daily living should not feel like pulling teeth, that you should not have to fight with yourself constantly just to exist and participate in life on the level everyone else does. It should not be this hard.

Understanding that will allow you to lead a more forgiving life. What seems effortless to one person may be a mountain for another.

Never stop climbing up the mountain.