When I tell people I have an ADHD devil living inside my brain, they never believe me. People don’t notice anything strange about me and I definitely don’t fit the image of the overactive little boy that appears inside their mind when they hear the word ADHD. My ADHD remain invisible most of may days, especially for the people around me. But my devil being invisible for other people, does not mean I’m not struggling through every day, trying to act normal and doing the things that are expected from me is always a fight.
Years of hiding
I have taught myself to hide my ADHD so well, that I managed to fit in and I was able to pretend I was part of the neurotypical brains that rule this world. I was able to fit in the mould that represents the normal that is created in this world, I was able to pretend that nothing was wrong with me, that life wasn’t as hard as it really felt. But because I tried so hard, the fight inside me kept growing, unnoticed, until it exploded and I could no longer hide behind the fake version of me I had been creating.
For almost 30 years I have been hiding, I gave up everything that was me, and I believed this was the way to live with the ADHD devil that is living inside me. I believed I had to adjust, I had to put aside my own issues and do whatever it took to find a place in this world. I believed that many parts of myself where not allowed to exist and no matter how hard it was, I did everything to hide these parts, until they became invisible to myself.
Being great costs too much
I was amazing at living my life. I preformed extremely well at my job, I was a vegan, I did not drink any alcohol and never went a night out, I was always there when someone needed me, I spend at least one hour at the gym, 6 days a week and I payed my bills in time. I was great. I did everything I was supposed to do and I didn’t fail at anything, until that one day I wasn’t able to do even the smallest thing.
What I never realized in all these years of being great, was that life didn’t have to be as hard as it felt for me. I did not realize that I was struggling too much, that deep down inside me I was using too much energy for everything I did. I did not listen to my sadness or tiredness nor did I ever allow myself any joy or rest.
I was so fake
When I look at the pictures I have made in the past year, I can not believe myself. I have pictures of me in perfect clothes, in a perfect body with freshly washed fair and a nice layer of make-up. I have pictures of the most healthy and vegan meals I prepared, the images I made for my job that look beautiful, videos of my best boxing trainings, other workouts and yoga classes, and a cary amount of pictures I took of my perfect house with the perfect furniture and a healthy jungle of plants. My phone shows a perfect life, but I can not remember one perfect day in the past year.
I was so fake, I was hiding behind a fake image of being perfect while I was actually far from ok. It hurts me to look back at this time, and actually not only this year but the many years before this as well. I believed I was great, I believed I was perfect and happy but just on the surface. I was never satisfied with the work I did. Nothing was ever good enough for me and I kept asking more and more in the hope that this would finally make me feel better.
A void, where I should have been
I see now, that I was too perfect, too great for what I can handle. I was trying to excel in a way I wasn’t supposed to, and because of this I never felt good. I never felt like I succeeded in life, not because I wasn’t, because I must admit I was pretty great. But in order to fit my image of perfect I needed to hide so much from myself that I wasn’t able to see any greatness. I could never feel good about any of my successes because the feeling of missing myself was too strong.
Without me noticing, I had drifted so far away from myself that no greatness could fill the void I had created inside myself. I have set such high standards for myself, that I would not only never reach them, I also had to sacrifice too much to even come close. I can not remember the last time I truly laughed in all those years, I also can not remember the last time I truly cried or listened to my many fears that exist inside me. I can not remember the last time I felt good about myself, the last time I felt like Anna, a crazy bit extremely happy and loving little girls.
But then I went on my first holiday in about 6 years and I met Anna again. I enjoyed my time in the snow and the whole setting that came with it. I truly loved my boyfriend and I cried about everything, about every little beautiful thing that made me feel true joy for the first time in 2 decades. On my holiday I connected with Anna, the girl I am supposed the be, and this changed everything.
A glimpse of happiness was enough to make me recognize the void I have been living with, enough to open up a little bit and feel everything that I have been hiding as well as the energy it took to do so. After just 6 days of joy, I started to second guess everything I was doing in my life and I started to allow myself to feel.
Within a week of feeling, everything became too much, too many emotions had surfaced. I felt too much, I was too far lost and I could no longer hide or run away. It was finally time to face myself and there was no longer the opportunity to postpone this moment.
Redefining my image of greatness
After a month of facing all the darkness that has been hiding inside me, I start to realize how mean and hard I have been to myself. I have never allowed even the smallest failure. I have forced myself to be amazing at everything but no matter how many people where jealous at me, I never felt great, I did not even feel a little ok.
My image of being great never involved the true me, I was only focussed on the image that would be visible to the rest of the world and I never valued the greatness in relation to myself. At this moment, I do not care about my weight, I do not care if I eat animal products or not and I do not care what my house looks like. I stopped trying to express greatness to the rest of the world and in a way this creates a kind of peace inside me. Instead of valuing my greatness by the way people think about me, I have to put myself in the first place from now on.
I do recognize now, how hard I was to myself, but I also notice how this recognization is not enough to change me. I keep blaming myself for not being better, sometimes I truly hate myself for never listening, for all the mistakes I have made in the past. I hope that one day, not too far away, I will start to learn what true greatness is, that I will be able to change the image I have of myself and that I can finally start to love myself. I hope that one day I stop expecting myself to be great, because not a single person in this world is able to be completely amazing at everything. We all have our flaws and I have to start accepting my own, in the way I accept other peoples weaknesses and even love them for it.