On Being a Neurodiverse Creative: Introduction

Welcome to a series of posts (randomly posted—don’t expect a schedule out of me) on the subject of being a Neurodiverse Creative. About how being ND and creative at the same time affects my life and how I do things. How being ND can be both a superpower and a curse all at once.

To that end, let’s start this series with a proper introduction.

Hi there. I’m Tris, and I have ADHD. 

I just received my formal diagnosis this year. I’m 55 years old, and I’ve spent my entire life relying on coping mechanisms and workarounds, but it was only after my son started dealing with his own ADHD that I started to recognize that maybe, just maybe, I had developed those workarounds because of ADHD.

But I couldn’t be ADHD, could I? I tested well (so did my son…). I mean. I struggled with reading comprehension, and memorizing history dates felt impossible, but I got great grades as long as I cared about the subject. I was good at making lists, and I could get things done. Although I am a pack rat, and a mess, and if it wasn’t interesting, it just kept slipping to the bottom of the list, and oh… Ohh.

When I got my official diagnosis, my evaluator and I talked for a while. We had two sessions. One was the informal questions, one was the formal questionnaire required for diagnosis. Afterward she said that she was surprised I had never been diagnosed before. I blame it on my age, and on the fact that I was raised as a girl in the 80s. I was well-spoken, and quiet. My inability to sit still only translated into sitting on my feet and changing position, not running around the room. I talked a lot (too much, and was punished at one point by being separated from every other student so I couldn’t possibly chat wth anyone), right up until I learned I could read in class instead. 

I flew under the radar, and I developed those aforementioned coping mechanisms, and everything was great, until suddenly… it wasn’t.

So here I am at the age of 55 and I’m really looking hard at all my past habits. My past productivity. Things that worked then and don’t now, and vice versa. Places where my brain just STOPS and nopes out of a task. I am analyzing everything I do, and how I do it, and trying to understand myself better.

And I thought, as one does, that maybe I should do some of this analysis in public. Where other people can see it, and possibly benefit from it. Or at least, perhaps, feel like they are not so alone.

Because that last is a big deal. There have been so many times along my creative journey where I felt like I was one person feeling a certain way, and meeting one other person who also had the same problem/thought/etc. allowed me to break past whatever block it had caused.

So that’s who I am. I’m Tris. I have ADHD. I am still trying to figure out how to make it work as I try meds, as I get older, as day job and life stress get to me. And as things change, y’all are welcome to come along for the ride.

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