Discovering I have ADHD
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OK folks, let’s finally talk about my ADHD.
How I discovered it, how I’m managing it, and how ADHD is literally connected to everything in my life.
I briefly touched upon it when I talked about my insecurities, but let’s dive a little more on it.
This is another long one, so get ready for the lengthy read.
I found out I have ADHD through TikTok
I was absolutely against TikTok for the longest time. I didn’t need another social media platform to take up my precious time nor did I feel like I had the mental capacity to learn how it works.
But when I was working at my previous employer, one of the developers wanted to start sharing TikTok content for their upcoming game, so I knew that I had to finally give in.
So in December 2020, I finally downloaded the damn app so I could “study” over the holiday break.
God, I hate that it SUCKED ME IN.
Unknowingly, I was getting a brand new type of dopamine hit that my undiagnosed ADHD was indulging. I'll explain more later...
If you don’t have TikTok, you’ll have two feeds: the For You Page or FYP, and the Following feed which is where you’ll find the content of accounts you follow. But you mainly scroll through the FYP when you open the app.
After a couple of swipes, engaging with certain videos, the algorithm starts to pick up what you like or thinks that you like.
Lemme tell you... this is one of the few platforms that REALLY knows who you are.
At first, it was showing me animals, comedy skits, dancing, and gaming ones. Y'know, the usual. Then it started to get specific.
There was one video I came across that started off as a thirst trap, but then the following text appeared - “This showed up your FYP because you like: Tall men. With a beard. And tattoos. 😏”
That was the first time that had me shook.
I was actually chillen in bed with Luis when it appeared and I immediately showed it to him and was cracking up at how accurate it was.
Slowly over time, I started getting some TikToks about ADHD. They started to say something along the lines of “Hey, do you experience this, this, and this? You might have ADHD 😁”
At first, I thought… “Yeah, but I’m sure that everyone does that!”
-Me being in denial.
But the biggest shocker to me was when I came across to this Dani Donovan video:
That’s when it clicked.
It was so specific, but it was the first time I felt seen.
It explained why I hated it when my mom or dad verbally tells me to do certain things and I’m standing there like they spoke to me that wasn’t in Tagalog or English.
If you ever see me squinting, staring hard, or spacing out, it’s because I’m still processing everything in my head, piecing it together.
And if I still don’t get it, I would ask them to repeat themselves. Or begged them to write it down because I knew I wouldn’t get past the 2nd or 3rd step.
That TikTok video made it all make sense about my life.
Unfortunately, I learned that a lot of women discover they have ADHD when they’re much older. That’s because we usually have the inattentive ADHD, not the visible hyperactive ADHD.
When you have inattentive ADHD, you usually have the following:
- Forgetting things
- Easily distracted
- Unable to do certain tasks
- Inability to deal with stress
- Interrupting people (most likely intrusive thoughts)
- And many more…
A lot of the things listed are very true for me.
Growing up, I’m always forgetting things when I leave the house like my wallet or phone. I will forget that I’m heating something up in the microwave. If something doesn’t interest me, I will not pay attention and then I’ll have my own thoughts running through my head.
Funny enough, I remember back in high school, I was struggling in my physics class. I didn’t know this back then, but my dad suggested to my teacher to put me up front the next time he’s rearranging the seats.
My teacher then rearranged our seats for the new semester and I was right up front. I hated it, but my grades did improve.
Apparently, I pay more attention when I’m in the front vs being in the back getting all distracted. Who knew? (Obviously, we didn’t know it was because of my ADHD.)
So December 2020 marks the beginning of a new self-discovery journey. Learning about all the little traits and characteristics that I did growing up. All because I had inattentive ADHD and I didn’t know it.
Being aware of my ADHD
After a couple of months of reading articles, watching YouTube videos like How to ADHD or Psych2Go and looking at Instagram accounts like @theminiADHDcoach, it was becoming so apparent that I have ADHD.
I eventually took a test from this website called, ADHD online, to confirm this. It’s an affordable option if you don’t have a doctor, and was suggested by Dani Donovan, the creator I discovered on TikTok.
It’s a pretty long assessment test, but luckily you can save your progress if you need a break. After hitting submit, you’ll get your results within a week or two.
Luckily, I was able to do it in one sitting and then lo and behold after about a week and half, they confirmed that I have ADHD.
A weight has been lifted off my shoulders, and I feel so relieved that I’m not just self-diagnosing myself.
Luckily, I started to remember a couple of life hacks that I learned from reading James Clear’s Atomic Habits.
Atomic Habits has been recommended through so many of the YouTubers I watched before I had my diagnosis. I figured it would help me be a better streamer/YouTuber and overall better person because I knew have the worst habit building skills.
One of the hacks was habit stacking. You first start building one habit and then once you develop that one, you add another habit which eventually becomes a routine.
For example: I didn’t have a place to put my house keys until Luis finally 3D printed us a little key/mask holder above our shoe rack. So once I hung those keys, I would then place my wallet on my corner of the coffee table.
The reason why my wallet is out on the coffee table is because another stupid trait of ADHD. If something is out of sight. Then it’s out of mind.
Basically, if we don't see it, it no longer exists. Hence, the reason why we forget things constantly.
Ever since I was in grade school, right before I leave the house, I couldn't remember where I placed my wallet. Either I leave it in the pocket of my jacket or it's in one of my many purses that I used that week.
And I would spend the next 10mins searching for my wallet and panicking because I hated the idea of being late to wherever I was going.
This was a very common thing for me, and I always felt ashamed whenever I find it in the most obvious or the most ridiculous spot I would place it.
Fast foward to now. Honestly, since developing this routine, it helped me immensely.
Everything has its place and I would say I haven’t forgotten any of my things when I leave the house anymore. (Ok, maybe like 85% I don’t forget anymore).
This is just one of the many things of what it’s like to have ADHD and “fixing” it, but I’m glad there are plenty resources that I can go to whenever I’m struggling with something.
How ADHD is connected to everything in my life
As I mentioned, there’s way too much to talk about my ADHD, but ultimately, I made the connection that my personality, my interests, my lifestyle, and everything else is all related to it.
One of the biggest things of ADHD is that we constantly seek for dopamine hits. Especially new kinds of it. At least for me.
And I absolutely blame my undiagnosed ADHD for a lot of problematic actions and behaviors from my past. I mean it’s right here in this list:
Like Jesus Christ, college Jem was probably the pinnacle of my undiagnosed ADHD.
- I hooked up a lot plus…
- Getting into messy situations because I was impulsive
- Forgetting to study and focused on hanging out more
- Shopping a lot which increased my credit card debt
I was really reckless, emotional, and I didn’t make the best decisions back then. (Sorry, mom and dad)
However, I’m also grateful for my ADHD because we tend to get hyperfocused on the things we like. Usually that means we crave for more knowledge or want to get good at it.
- Writing/blogging was something I always did whether it be on Xanga, Tumblr, or Twitter
- Early days of YouTube brought out a different side of creativity of video editing for me
- Playing sports gave me the adrenaline and dopamine hit because I truly did have some killer instincts like digging a volleyball from a spike or quickly catching a line drive hit
(I may not have the best hand-eye coordination in video games, but trust me, put me into any sport, and I’ll be your unexpected MVP.)
I still love doing these things. And that’s why I’m trying to be more serious with my blog, content creation, and getting back into sports.
Because it’s providing me with positive dopamine hits and not negative ones that could affect my health (or credit score).
I know I need to be gentle with myself, but it does make me frustrated and upset that the symptoms were all there. But I know better now. And now I can make better decisions for my future.
Reduce the impulsivity. Think rationally and know the consequences. Turn to sports or writing if I want to be productive.
There are going to be times where I’ll slip, but as long as I forgive myself and not be so critical about it, then I’ll be OK.
So to those who are neurotypical, be gentle and be patient with us neurodivergents. We’re doing our best to be “normal”.
But be glad that we’re in your lives because we do make things a bit interesting 🙂
Here’s a YouTube video from How To ADHD if you want to learn more and support us:
I’ll have PLENTY of more stories of ALL the things ADHD and how it affected my life, but I just wanted to share my ADHD discovery story.
I appreciated y'all reading this and I hope y’all will have a better understanding about me and who I am.
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