What is attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD)? Does this diagnosis even exist? Doesn't everyone struggle with procrastination or focusing at points in their life? Am I at an advantage if I surrender to this diagnosis and take medication?
These are thoughts that have occupied my mind space through the interrogation of ADHD in my mind. My thoughts change on this topic continuously. Some days I hear my ego fighting back saying "you don't have ADHD, you can do everything on your own," and some days I feel complete acceptance of the need to take medication to complete school work or organize my day more thoroughly.
There's a bit of truth awareness therapy I have had to conquer to slow down my constant analyzation of this topic in my head. A therapeutic practitioner once said to me, "what if your truth is just that some days you're able to focus and you are accomplishing everything on your own and then some days you are messy and chaotic and procrastinating everything?"
The truth part is as humans we all are fluid individuals, and we might not be one definite version of something every day. The beauty comes from practicing self acceptance and understanding that you are enough in each part of the flow, and whether you need medicine one day or you are focused and present the other, the only real perfection comes from the divine consciousness that you already hold. Therefore, every part of your journey and part of you is already perfect.
This article stems from my very own struggle with receiving this diagnosis during my undergraduate studies and the struggle I faced through identifying with this diagnosis as a part of me or my truth. I found myself not wanting to reveal to others that I had ADHD or that I needed medicine to be able to focus, because it was difficult for me to grasp the truth of this. Could I really not focus without medicine? Did I really have a deficit that keeps me from functioning as optimally as others?
Here's the thing, when you think of ADHD symptoms you hear lack of focus, inability to finish tasks, forgetfulness, disorganized, inability to sit still, impulsiveness and etc. Did I just describe every person on earth? Well the truth is we may all experience these symptoms, but the best way I can explain the rationality of ADHD is looking at the symptoms on a continuum and at how much these symptoms are interfering with one's ability to function in the world while maintaining a healthy sense of self worth.
Many people who are diagnosed with ADHD have suffered with symptoms repeatedly, leading them into a cycle of self doubt, shame, depression, and anxiety that can ultimately lead them into the darkness of not feeling good enough in the world. Many of these people turn to external forces like drugs and alcohol to fill this sense of unworthiness inside. If these types of people go untreated it can be severely dangerous to a person's life. This is where the pros and cons of treatment with stimulant medication are weighed.
For myself, I remember the sense of shame and surrender that Ied to an appointment with my psychiatrist. When I said earlier ADHD can lead to external substance use to numb or cope with one's symptom, I definitely fell into this category through a binge eating disorder that ultimately turned into bulimia to maintain a likable weight in this world. Many women especially, turn to more socially acceptable ways of coping such as food to numb shame feelings of not being enough, are searching for an extra form of dopamine to balance what they may be missing, or as a way of procrastination (or pain avoidance behavior) to avoid the real task they are not completing.
But now, here is the even messier problem, there are so many other diagnoses such as depression, trauma, PTSD, and so forth that can mimic symptoms of ADHD. It can be difficult to differentiate between an actual diagnosis of ADHD or if there are many other life factors going on causing these same problems.
This is where my own holistic approach has been very helpful for me. While one may struggle with the actual truth of their identity such as I have through this diagnosis, what helped me was recognizing that while it's hard to reveal the actual cause of symptoms, the one real thing is that the symptoms exist.
Can these symptoms be healed through getting at the root of deep traumas and depressions and rewiring mental pathways through therapy? It would most likely help and is also very worth it, but when someone is at the depths of despair and a way out seems far far away, stimulant treatment can truly help them regain their since of self worth and function in this world again.
There's a part of me that a has great deal of respect for my psychiatrist for allowing me to have access to medicine if I needed it, because it has been the autonomous journey, choice, and freedom that has helped me to grow and transcend past my impending self doubt.
My very real, honest, and holistic opinion about stimulant therapy for ADHD is that one must decide for themselves (with the support and supervision of a trained medical professional) what is the proper balance. My holistic self very much appreciates a self without the need of medicine, although when my symptoms start to build up again or become too much, I appreciate the medicinal support that may be giving my body what it is ultimately missing (extra dopamine).
I wouldn't say I have truly come to an agreed upon inner truth on the origin of my diagnosis, for I continue to struggle with recognizing whether my symptoms stem from an inherent hyperactive mind space or if past traumas have significantly affected my ability to focus and perform in the world. However, having juggled this in my head for many years I now know that being in tune with my inner balance is the only truth I need. I have self love for myself without medicine and self love while using medicine to help me complete assignments. Overall, it is your life and your own growth process and how you choose to live it is up to you and what most balances with your true self!
Take the diagnosis away, take the label away and ask yourself does the medicine help me? Does the medicine alter me in a way that takes me away from my true self? This one can be tricky, because after treatment you may no longer connect with the messy chaotic person that you once were as often, and this can take conscious work to let go of old parts of yourself or labels that may no longer serve you to become the best version of yourself. I like to think I have a playful and healthy balance of the two forms of myself and I accept and love both of them.
All in all, trust your process, and trust yourself in each level of growth so that you may be guided to a place fueled from your highest intuitive awareness.
Remember... Mysteries are part of the human experience, mysteries are divine. The mystery is the ultimate growth mechanism.
P.S. I want to significantly address the addiction potentials that exist with taking a stimulant medication, as well as include both sides of the research that has shown that although stimulant therapy may be helpful for ADHD, it can also light up the same pathways in the brain connected to addictive dopamine pleasure receptors that may lead one to abuse or overuse the medication. This is a serious form of treatment that requires support and supervision by a medical professional to truly evaluate what is best for each person’s life.
DISCLAIMER: The purpose of this website does not intend to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment and before undertaking a new health care regimen, and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.