Unlocking ADHD Contributor Grace Lim shares about her newfound understanding and acceptance of herself after being diagnosed with ADHD. Grace is a fashion stylist and influencer whose creativity and quirkiness is part of her brand.
I was recently diagnosed with ADHD at age 29. It started with how a few of my friends pointed out my inattentiveness whenever I was having conversations with them, I’d either daze out or start fidgeting and keep my hands busy while trying to converse.
Earlier this year, as I was trying to get my life together, plan a schedule and stick to it like any full timer, I realised I just couldn’t despite trying my best. I never had to worry about having to follow a schedule before as I was freelancing ever since I graduated. It was when I observed how my co-workers were able to adhere to their plans, and I was struggling with it, that I felt abnormal.
Growing up, I could not remember a lot of things that I had gone through, and often had to rely on my closest friends to remind me of past memories or people I used to know.
After getting an ADHD diagnosis, the first reaction from my dad was not what I had hoped for. He simply brushed my diagnosis off, and said that I shouldn’t rely on medicines and trust every word my doctor said. He believed that I should build a stronger mind instead. That night of confession ended badly as I walked away from the dinner table crying. Thereafter, both my parents started to research more about ADHD and slowly accepted my condition.. A few days after taking my ADHD medication, I was surprised when my dad commented that the way I was working was improving. He even said that I was finally “functioning like a normal person”. I guess in a way, the medication made me neurotypical !!
How Medication Helped
Prior to getting diagnosed with ADHD, I was actually receiving therapy for my anxiety and depression. At that point of time, my therapist really helped in terms of seeking closure on the past experiences that had haunted me growing up. I tried harder after feeling better, but the harder wasn’t enough as I was distracted and drained very often.
After taking my ADHD medication, even though I could work so much better, some days can be extra emotional and the side effects of the medication do hike up my anxiety a little bit and make me crash whenever the medication wears off. However it gave me a good closure, an answer that I had been seeking – that I really tried my best and my best can be even better when I’m on medication. It made me feel relieved that I’m not as lazy as I, or as my family, sometimes thought.
It has been tough growing up as a hypersensitive person. Due to Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria (RSD), which I wasn’t aware of previously, I was often told that I was overly sensitive and that I over thought things. Painful memories kept replaying in my head to the point that I was overwhelmed and as a result, I often felt incapable of doing anything else. I always hated that part of me – the fact that I had a tendency to drown in my own emotions. After knowing that this was a situation that some ADHDers faced, it made me relieved that I was not an oddball.
My biggest takeaway from my ADHD journey so far is that I am grateful for the wiring that gives me the creativity to do what I love. This combination of creativity and idiosyncrasies also makes me unique. My ADHD diagnosis makes me embrace that quirky, straightforward side of me and this part of me is often what my friends and family love me for.