Meet the ADHD pixie
She's Fun Times Bobbie but she really just needs to chill out.
I was diagnosed with combined ADHD in September 2022 and not a day has gone by without me thinking about it, figuring out something new or just having yet another a-ha about my life. There have been such creative highs I’ve wondered how anyone neurotypical invents anything; there have been such frustrated lows I’ve scratched “I f*cking hate ADHD” in my journal. Now I know what makes me different I can’t un-see it. Impulsivity and hyperactivity are definitely my strongest traits (the latter 99% internal), while my forgetfulness is practically a superpower.
My sister (also neurodivergent) and I call all of this internal chaos the ADHD pixie. It’s the pixie that plays five radio stations in my head and repeats the same song over and over. The pixie wants to stuff her face with chocolate while shopping for gardening tools I’ll never use and paperbacks I’ll never read. The pixie will interrupt you while you’re speaking because she gets so excited and wants you to hurry up. And it’s the pixie who’s dancing at a rave in 1993 while I’m desperately trying to focus on what I’m doing. Don’t get me wrong — the pixie is Fun Times Bobbie, but she also really needs to chill out.
The pixie will show her face in social situations but as I’m an introvert I only have the energy to power her for an hour before I wither. You should see me and my sister in a shop — somehow we manage to turn any interaction in public into a comedy skit with verbal tap dancing and a cancan line. The Conway Sisters are a very entertaining duo ;-)
My latest observation is noting how it takes me all day to build up enough dopamine (I’m assuming it’s dopamine) to get my work engine revving, making my most “productive” hours between 6pm and 8pm. If my body would allow me to be a night owl this would be fine, but it refuses to sleep beyond 7am. FUN!!
Another realisation arrived yesterday. I was enjoying a hot chocolate with a friend, sitting in the spring sunshine outside a coffee shop. In the corner of the window there was a sign: “No smoking or vaping on the premises”. First I marvelled at how vaping is so commonplace now —> then I marvelled at how people still smoke —> then I marvelled at how we used to smoke in the smoking room at my old job —> then I felt a bit smug that I quit smoking 15 years ago —> then I started wondering if nicotine affects ADHD and ohmygod is that how I self-medicated in my 20s?!
It turns out, yes, people with ADHD are very likely to self-medicate with nicotine.
I started writing this blog post at 10:48 last night, making notes in my journal in bed. I’m finally getting to the point where I may be able to try ADHD medication — for health reasons it looked like it might not be possible, but things have changed — and I’m keen to at least TRY it, knowing ADHD is not something you cure or remove, you just manage it. My hope is to have a few focussed productive hours in the morning at least three days a week — that is really all I want. Last night I wrote: “But my fear is, what if I lose my magic? What if I have no ideas or creativity on the meds? What if I become a “norm”? Who am I without this?”
I’m currently in a very creative period, putting the finishing touches to my new workshop, In the Flow (which is currently on presale and goes live April 3rd!) It’s all about how to journal consistently, something I have a LOT of thoughts about having journaled consistently for 39 years. Even though I have ADHD. Even though I famously abandon new hobbies after two weeks. 🤣
I’ve had some truly delicious days of hyperfocus while I created the workshop’s sales page — seriously, 9am to end of the day in the flowwwwww (pun intended) of my work, it was divine! But I can’t hyperfocus at will. Instead, I expend a lot of mental energy babysitting the pixie, making sure she has enough entertainment (noise cancelling headphones playing red noise, Buffy on in the background, co-working on zoom with friends, coffee on hand) while I try to get work done. Some days are better than other others.
So where am I going with this post? Nowhere, really, I just wanted to check in and record my… progress? Realisations? Acceptance? Yes, all of that. Through getting to know the pixie I’m better understanding my mind and body and that always feels like a win.
Huge shout out toat for creating the video that lit the lightbulb
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