30 Things You May Not Know About My Illness

Someone suggested this site, Chronic Babe, which is for women living with chronic illnesses. Chronic means basically an illness you'll have for life, so ADHD, Aspergers, depression and anxiety count. I wanted to participate in this meme on the message board, and I thought I'd crosspost it here, too!

In honor of Invisible Illness Awareness Week, here's my contribution to the "30 things" meme. Want to write your own? Head over to the forum and post!

1. The illness I live with is: ADHD (i'll just focus on the one since i have a few)

2. I was diagnosed with it in the year: 2003

3. But I had symptoms since: preschool, at least, and all through elementary school, high school, and adulthood.

4. The biggest adjustment I’ve had to make is: trying to find my own ways of doing everything. What seems like an ordinary piece of life for a typical person can be a complicated ordeal for me, such as trying to "pass" for normal at a job interview, sitting still in my college classes, trying not to annoy the people I live with, etc.

5. Most people assume: ADHD is just an excuse about laziness.

6. The hardest part about mornings are: feeling exhausted even though I slept all night, and feeling sort of sick.

7. My favorite medical TV show is: Gray's Anatomy

8. A gadget I couldn’t live without is: the GPS on my new cell phone! Its prevented me from getting lost about 100 times already! Before I had it, I was always getting lost!

9. The hardest part about nights are: when I am not ready to sleep but everyone is, and when I know I'm going to have to wake up in a short while. I'll try to force myself to go to sleep so I can get enough sleep, but it doesn't work!

10. Each day I take: Celexa, Wellbutrin, and vitamins.

11. Regarding alternative treatments I: wish I could find one that really worked for me and that was affordable.

12. If I had to choose between an invisible illness or visible I would choose: I don't know. I am used to myself the way I am. Even though ADHD is a pain, I'm not sure I would want to trade it for a more visible illness, even if it meant I'd get more help for it.

13. Regarding working and career: I'm studying to be a special education teacher, but I'm afraid I'm not going to make it, because my professors tell me I'll have to get straight A's and be super "on the ball" in order to get a job. I am anything but on the ball!

14. People would be surprised to know: I have a really hard time connecting to others. I feel really awkward around people even if I know them really well. Family get togethers are totally hard for me. Its not that I don't love my family. I'd just rather see them one at a time, instead of all together.

15. The hardest thing to accept about my new reality has been: nothing because this has been my reality forever! I guess, knowing about it, its sometimes hard accepting that this is going to be who I am forever. I'm not going to wake up with that missing piece suddenly no longer missing!

16. Something I never thought I could do with my illness that I did was: l! earn to drive. When I was a kid I was told I'd never learn to drive. But I learned when I was 21. Its still sometimes hard for me and some people say I'm a "bad driver," but at least I get around!

17. The commercials about my illness: are mostly about children with ADHD.

18. Something I really miss doing since I was diagnosed is: nothing, since I've had it all my life. But I think I miss out on things like socializing.

19. It was really hard to have to give up: n/a because, since I had it all my life, there is nothing really to give up. I've been told to give up caffiene but I cannot part with my Dr. Pepper!

20. A new hobby I have taken up since my diagnosis is: I learned to knit and crochet. Also blogging.

21. If I could have one day of feeling normal again I would: not know what to do because I was never "normal!"

22. My illness has taught me: to find the things that I am good at and enjoy, and run with them. I may not be able to do some things as well as other people, but I can do other things wonderfully. Also to live life to the fullest. I have a low tolerance for boredom, so I have had a lot of experiences just because I want to try everything!

23. Want to know a secret? One thing people say that gets under my skin is: "You don't have ADHD. The doctors are wrong. You're fine. You just have to... (try harder, gain more confidence, get over anxiety, stop feeling sorry for yourself, insert your own words here.)"

24. But I love it when people: understand and ask me questions to learn more, instead of just assuming they know better than me or anyone else.

25. My favorite motto, scripture, quote that gets me through tough times is:“Love is patient; love is kind
and envies no one.
Love is never boastful, nor conceited, nor rude;
never selfish, not quick to take offense.
There is nothing love cannot face;
there is no limit to its faith,
its hope, and endurance.
In a word, there are three things
that last forever: faith, hope, and love;
but the greatest of them all is love.”

26. When someone is diagnosed I’d like to tell them: find the things you are interested, the things you are good at, and the things you love to do, and use those to help you get through. I love writing, so even though I have trouble paying attention in school, my ability to write fascinating reports and give funny presentations gets me through. Everybody has something that makes them shine!

27. Something that has surprised me about paying a living with an illness is: its tough. There's not a lot of help out there for people with an invisible illness. I am usually broke!

28. The nicest thing someone did for me when I wasn’t feeling well was: Diana often talks sense into me. When I think everything is horrible, she helps put it back into perspective, letting me see that its not so bad and that others have gone through similar things.

29. I’m involved with Invisible Illness Week because: I just learned about it, and I think it is an important thing for people to learn about, not just for my benefit, but for the benefit of the children I work with who have invisible illnesses such as ADHD, autism, OCD, etc.

30. The fact that you read this list makes me feel: thankful that someone cares enough to listen to me!


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John Scott said...

I like this post a lot, I'm not just saying that. One alternative, safe and effective therapy is art. I worked with an art teacher who said that the only two things that helped him with ADHD, since 8th grade through high school (on meds), was art and also soccer. Exercise, good diet, and art can help ADHD and depression. This is an ADHD books list on Amazon. Even though some of these books are more on the lines of parents and children, the principles in some of them are good for teens and adults also. This is a page on ADHD and art, from a college professor, which is really addressing adult ADHD, but applies across the board. There are other good ideas for alternative therapy. Also, don't watch television more than a couple of hours a week. Be a reader, this helps you to concentrate. Neurofeedback therapy works for some people. It is like exercising the brain, making it stronger, getting more control over it.

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Joann said...

As a woman with ADHD, I can relate to the fact that you have to find your own ways of doing everything. And that's not necessarily a bad thing. I know that I have trouble switching gears fast enough to do certain tasks, at times I want to just avoid those things completely. But it's better if you can work around your disability and find a new way to approach your work. I found a great site for adults with ADHD, if you're interested: http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-lb. It's a great resource. Thanks again for this great post too!

Anonymous said...

I am waiting for a diagnosis for ADHD and your blog really defines a lot of me. It was refreshing to read your blog after reading a bunch of articles on ADHD because those were more general and the traits you described really hit the spot! I am not good at expressing myself well so I can already imagine the difficulty in explaining my condition to the people in my life if I am diagnosed with ADHD. If you don't mind, I want to direct them to your blog and they can read for themselves. :)

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Helan said...

This is a great post! It takes a lot of courage to share this information to the world so thank you. It is always helpful to me when I read about others who are dealing with the same things that I am. I have ADHD and as an adult it is a struggle to deal with. I found some helpful advice about coping with adult ADHD at http://onlineceucredit.com/edu/social-work-ceus-lb.

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