I have always had a very wild imagination. Often I find myself lost is a daydream without knowing how much time I have spend in this pleasant universe that’s hidden inside my mind. Whenever I read or hear something, I am imagining it in my brain, and when different words and sounds are combined, I come up with the craziest ideas and images. I am very good in mentally visualizing everything, I have always been.
After I was diagnosed with ADHD, I often ended up in conversations about what it feels like. Neurotypical brains that where trying to understand how my ADHD brain works, and how it deviates from theirs. When I find myself in one of these conversations, I always use my imagination. I make drawings of the chaos and show them their brain as well, I use colors, lines and erasers to explain my symptoms, the effect of my medication and the differences, struggles and good things that derive from my ADHD. Besides my drawings, I also use a lot of metaphors, usually a description of the image that pops up in my mind when I try to explain the experience of living with ADHD.
Fireworks and computers
The main ingredients of my descriptions are fireworks and computer logic. Fireworks represent the many thoughts that run through my mind, like skyrockets, starting small but once they catch fire they start to speed up until they explode and fill the whole sky with their bright colorful lights. Especially when there are many of them, they show exactly what my mind feels like when it comes to the many thoughts it is filled with. The computer metaphor is useful for multiple symptoms, more on this I’m trying to visualize in ADHD wired.
But the fireworks and the computers have never proven useful when it comes to explaining the true feeling, the whole experience. I was never able to explain how it is possible that I don’t always respond in the same way in situations that seem to be similar. I was never able to explain how I don’t always have control over the things I do, how I don’t always have full control over myself.
Slowly, the idea of 3 creatures living inside the control room in my brain came up, maybe after watching the movie inside out. The 3 creatures inside my mind are all me, but all a different part of me, and they’re always fighting over control, always trying to be stronger than the other two.
The devil and the angel
The first creature represent my own will, this one fights for the things I want to do, the real me. The second creature is responsible for the good things that happen, spontaneous and unintended good things caused by my ADHD, my creativity, my passion and my honesty. The things that happen when my ADHD angels takes over. The third creature is the devil. When he takes over control, things also happen without my consent, but this time I’m not talking about good things. The devil is responsible for the bad symptoms that come from my ADHD.
Brightness and joy
I choose the devil and the angel not only because the things they make me do, but mostly because of the feeling they create when they are in control. When the angel takes over, she often gives me a feeling of joy. She makes me impulsively do the things I truly want, or makes me fool around and make jokes. The angel loves happiness but besides the joy she brings, she is also responsible for my hyperfocus and my ability to solve many problems, my creativity. She brings out the good in me, even when I don’t give her permission, even when I don’t know myself what’s good for me, she will always makes things better.
Chaos and fire
The devil on the other hand, is much less friendly. When he is able to gain some control, bad things happen. His actions com with anger, chaos, frustration, shame and regret. He creates a fire inside me that burns away all the good, like the fireworks that are often caused by him, his hire dills my mind with negativity, and the things he makes me do are never good for me. He makes me sad, he distracts me and the things I do because of him gaining control, are far from who I am. He is like a devil, turning my mind into a hell.
The little bully
Fortunately, the devil not often is able to fully gain control, not anymore at least. Most of my days he is like a little bully, trying to distract me with his stupid pranks and little chaos. When my devil is small, he as well can make my life a little better. When he is small, he creates just a little bit of emotions, a little bit of thoughts and a little bit of fire and this makes me into the caring and passionate person that I am.
As long as my little devil is not able to grow, not able to completely take over control, my ADHD, my 3 creatures inside my control room, live peacefully together and make me my unique self. But the fight with the ADHD devil is all about balance, all about equally dividing the control over the 3 creatures that together form me. As long as they work together I will be fine and perfect, but finding the right balance between them had proven to be the hardest part of living with an ADHD brain.