It really was the name of the blog that drew my attention. Because honestly, if you surf the net, there are plenty of things out there on ADHD. PLENTY. Sometimes I feel like everyone has become an expert all of a sudden. There are endless lists of "what it feels like if you have ADHD" or "what to know when you love someone with ADHD" or "life hacks for people with ADHD" and so on. (Don't get me started on what happens when you get hyperfocused on reading those lists; half a day down the draaaain!) I've read lots of those lists (some of them are actually really good). When I am reading them I feel understood. But then I jump back into the real world only to find out that, in my own reality, nobody I know understands what it's like to be somebody with ADHD or to love somebody with ADHD (except for my boyfriend that is, poor chap :D). What use are lists if there are no other people to connect with, to check my reality with?! (and no, forums are NO good; ten for ten henhouses OMG)
But the title of Beth's blog stood out a little. No, actually a LOT!
Smart girls with ADHD.
"Whohooohoo SMART girls with ADHD, YEEEES, they ARE out there"
But from the moment I had clicked "like" and "follow" on every social medium possible (well, every one that I am familiar with that is), I had second thoughts (the classical split decision second doubts) :D What kind of girl would call herself SMART?! I gotta admit I first thought it was a bit cocky. Where I am from, we don't do that, calling yourself smart. Only other people are allowed to do that.
We are a modest and humble; it is part of our upbringing. But apparently also where Beth's from, so she writes, on her blog.
"Aha I am going to like this one", I thought. *continues to read*
(I have to admit I have skipped through the blog like a squirrel, had to read every item on there at least three times to make sure I got it all).
And I must admit I do fit her description of a "smart girl with ADHD".
So, smart? But, at the same time, not allowed to call myself smart - how does that work, huh? Well, I have a medical degree and I am currently doing a residency. To most people a doctor equals smart. Which is of course a wrong assumption as I know a lot of stupid doctors (we cannot all be as smashing as Dr. Carter used to be, because girls, he truly IS the perfection of a doctor). At work however, I am not considered the brightest bulb in the tanning bed.
Supervisor: "Give me the answer to this question"
Me: "What was the question? What is this about? I wasn't even paying attention, I know nothing, heeeellppp".
So being and feeling smart depends a lot your own perspective. Like Beth says, we should start being proud of how far we've come and not depend on external factors for our self-worth. That is why I like her blog so much. It has as goal to empower and encourage others. We should start looking at some of the amazing things we can do because of our ADHD instead of looking at we can't. Yeah smart girls unite!
And yes, of course, I am a girl, a 29 year old I might add. I will turn 30 this year (or twenty-ten as the deniers like to say :D). To some, this is the age of a woman ("I am not a girl, not yet a womaaan''). At work I try to behave as a doctor-woman-person something. But whenever I am allowed to be myself I am definitely still a girl, even a child at times :)
And yes, I have ADHD. Writing it down gives me shivers. I've known this for about two years now and I still haven't come to terms with it. Why? Because doctors don't get ill. We keep working when we are physically or mentally sick. Doctors don't go see doctors and certainly not psychiatrists. It is the irony itself. Amongst the people that treat all kinds of illnesses in the rest of the population illness itself is not accepted. Especially when it comes down to psychiatric conditions. You are weak when you admit you have a burn-out or suffer from depression. You are crazy when you tell you have autism or ADHD. It is just not accepted.
Unless you are the lucky to come across a colleague whom has a family member suffering from the condition you are bound to be misunderstood. It will work as a stigma and haunt you for the rest of your career. And it is probably like that in a LOT of jobs.
So there you have it - why I cannot (at least not immediately) reveal my identity (whoo mystery ghost writer kind of thing, right?) I am in a vulnerable position as a resident. The fact that it has to be like this is really one of the main reasons I truly do want to be a part of this project. There is so much misconception it hurts. We must get out there and break stigmas. And Beth started something great with this blog (thank you so much, Beth!!!!)
So, I made the decision (yep, the second in ten minutes that day) to contribute from time to time (and then it took me another month to produce something decent, hahaha, sorry Beth). I want to find more people like us and the only way is to get out there and reach out. I know because I've been alone in the dark for too long.
So I know what some people might be thinking (maybe I'd be thinking the same if I wasn't on this side of the story); look at this, two women, being hysterical, inventing problems they don't have, in order to avoid jobs they don't want to do.
We have jobs. We contribute to society. We live pretty normal lives. We are not crazy (well, not in a bad way). ADHD and having a job are not mutually exclusive. ADHD and doing something with your life are not mutually exclusive. ADHD and success are not mutually exclusive. ADHD and being a girl or being smart are not mutually exclusive.
We can be smart ADHD girls and we can be good at pretty much anything, if we can just put our minds to it.
And Beth and I are here to prove just that.
By Merel (not my real name)