queer adulting with ADHD, part two: the diagnosis

The one thing I wish I could have understood before getting my diagnosis was that getting the diagnosis wasn’t going to end the process but start it.

It was on Saturday morning that I sat down to write. I kept my eyes closed, breathing intentionally until I got in touch with the kind of clarity I wasn’t sure I was going to get in touch with today having sat down to write not because I felt inspired to but because I had the time. It occurred to me sitting down that I was optimistic the day I decided to write for one hour, five of the seven days of the week. “If Elizabeth Gilbert can write for an hour, I can write an hour,” is what I told myself. It never crossed my mind that Elizabeth Gilbert didn’t wake up on a busy Thursday to make that decision, actively ignoring the fact she was late for a meeting to make it. It never crossed my mind that adding an hour to my schedule without taking an hour away doesn’t make for a sustainable strategy. I was excited. I wanted to write. And I knew that the only thing standing between me and writing was the fact that I won’t have the time until I take the time. Imperfect as it may be, my strategy found me timer set, eyes closed, and tips of my index fingers resing on the tiny ridges protruding from the F and J keys.

portrait, 2021 © photographer: Edvard Stokstad

The sentence above written in italic stormed through my fingers so quickly, I had to remove my hands from the keyboard to regain the sense of control over my body. I could have continued typing were it not for the discomfort I felt, disguised as confusion. What happened to me just now? And why did I panic?

I know what it feels like to be moved. I know what it feels like for a thought to take control. I work hard to be able to call upon such focus on purpose, when ever-so-responsibly I decide that now (!) I have the time and the energy required to give myself and of myself in exchange for clarity, and all in search of knowledge that reaches beyond the territory I might think I have access to at any given time.

I turned my gaze to the sentence, finding little solace in the fact that I remember thinking something along its lines. I might have even written it, or a sentence similar to it in my journal. I definitely explained to Edvard how I’m beginning to think about the particular place on the experiential timeline that getting a diagnosis occupies. Which reminds me I’ve been waiting for you! Shouldn’t I feel excited then that you came when I was finally ready to call? Shouldn’t I feel grateful that I knew what to do to get your attention? And shouldn’t I feel proud of the fact that I figured out that you need me to have something in mind when I call on you, because you cannot move my fingers unless I give you something to chew on? A thought to push through?

I returned my gaze to the sentence, in awe of the fact that it’s not quite what I expected it to be. The sentence is not a document. It is a key.


movement and word artist, educator & a queer critical thinker • (they/them) (adhd)