Getting ADHD Again

Now, hold on. I have always had ADHD (a look into my history shows that), and I always will have ADHD. (Even if they can ever restructure the brain, the neuronal-restructuring equivalent of anti-vaxxers will make sure it’s distrusted. I fear for treatments of Alzheimer’s that involve messing with the microglia. But I digress.) But an odd thing happened to me when I got a fatal brain tumor treated (successfully, or I wouldn’t be here typing this).

My ADHD got worse. At least, it got more noticeable.

Now, I don’t know if it’s measurably worse, or if the (small) side effects have made it difficult or impossible to continue the coping strategies that I had. For instance, I used to whistle a lot and the tiny bit of nerve damage I suffered means that I can’t whistle any more. Nine years on, I suspect that whistling was a kind of fidgeting for me…it kept part of me occupied so the rest of me could get on with life. So I’m not saying that, say, brain surgery worsens ADHD. (I looked; there’s nothing in the literature about that.)

I’ve had to learn new coping mechanisms, though. I suspect that my effectiveness dipped at work, partly because of the problem and partly because I didn’t recognize the problem. I am a much better worker now than I was eight or nine years ago. I have more tools in my toolkit to strategize and to achieve. Am I perfect? No, of course not. In some ways, I’m just not as good as I was before the acoustic neuroma. On the other hand, I’m a decade older; in some ways, I wouldn’t be as good even without the acoustic neuroma.

It’s rather like being diagnosed with a whole new problem.

You’re going to run into this, too. Maybe not as severely as I did, but if you have a chronic condition, the way you change as you age will change your ability to adapt.

So write something down in your planner. At regular intervals (maybe every six months, maybe every year), check to see if what you’re doing to help is really helping. And see if you can’t do something anymore that you can now see used to help. Because it sneaks up on you. “Oh, it doesn’t matter that I can’t whistle any more.”

It matters. Or rather, it might matter.

My mailing today from Additude magazine included this sentence: “ADHD never sleeps. It’s a 24-hour, 365-day reality.” Most chronic conditions are.

And sometimes, through no fault of your own, they find a new way to get in, or to express themselves.

So be careful out there.


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