In 1998, a colleague said to me: “You have ADHD, you just don’t know it yet. You can’t sit still!”
He had been working with me for a while, he knew perfectly well how to work together with me and we had a good time, but he had absolutely no idea what he just did to me. From then on it gnawed on me, if I weren’t restless yet, making me think back on my childhood years did. He gave a name to what I always knew, but never learned to give it a name myself, let alone to cope with it.
Very soon in life, when I was a year or four, I knew I was ‘different’ than my class mates and my twin brother, I could never sit still. Things around me drew my attention much more than what I was to supposed to take attention to. The blackboard, the voice of the teacher, my pen, other stuff was far more attractive than what I had to watch at the moment. And like a rubber ball with a crack, I jumped from here to there.
After a couple of years it grew worse, autumn outside smelled ten times better than the class room and birds in the sky drew a much better path than chalk on the blackboard. It drove the teacher mad and I myself wasn’t getting any happier too. In my head, ten things were fighting at the same time to get my undivided attention and in a wild chase to that one thing that jumped out I stumbled over my shoe laces, my words, my actions and the beautiful things I came up with. And my parents struggled with me. My class mates jumped on me. And all the time I grew more restless and the space around me became wider, I became lonelier. And I never sat still.
After primary school I remained the worry of teachers and parents and equally proportioned (math being my favourite subject), I became the subject of bullying by my class mates. School and I were enemies and military services was a constant fight. Every new study, challenge or new path I took I didn’t finish, because the intellect I had within me was overgrown by my chaotic nature, the incapability to finish anything at all, or just to persevere. I never seemed to have the energy to go in one direction for any longer than a couple of months.
Hiding behind a mask, fleeing for ever for myself and the people around me I went from here to there and over the boundaries of my country and my capabilities. I often said it to myself, partly desperate, partly stubborn: “Give me space, nog just the few yards on this spot!” Which was the regrettable interlude to the decision to move on to another place. Which I did, new people around me. For as long as it took.
And there I was, standing beside my colleague, after so many years of different jobs, surroundings, challenges and als always the presence of the tension in my body like “Will I finally succeed?” And he just said: “You have ADHD, you just don’t know it yet. You can’t sit still!”
Nowadays I am much less restless. I left the bullies way behind in the past as well as the challenges I never met. I have ample diplomas and they are ever so useful, my kids absorb my knowledge of so many subjects like sponges. I steer well clear of people that cannot cope with me because I am “so restless” and people that talk bad about it are not in my way either. Real friends stayed and The Real Friend hasn’t left me -thank God- either. He’s still keeping an eye on me.
I still can’t sit still by the way.