What is wrong with me?
🤕 The fear of letting others know what is really wrong with the way I think
I watch a lot of YouTube. Like, a lot. I happily pay for YouTube Premium to hide all the ads because I watch it so much. It might be the most valuable subscription I pay for.
One YouTuber I enjoy watching is Sara Dietschy (rhymes with peachy) who does a lot of videos just on tech and software. Her latest video was titled “I’ve been scared to talk about this” which of course grabbed my attention and I had to watch.
Turns out, it was a video about Sara coping with and revealing her own ADHD diagnosis.
Watch it, it’s fantastic.
📺 I’ve been scared to talk about this.
The whole thing is great and extremely relatable, and a couple things in particular really struck me.
Like Sara, when I was first diagnosed, I also thought “I finally know what is wrong with me!” I always knew my brain was somehow weird and different and “wrong” according to other’s expectations. Finding out ADHD actually described all these feelings I struggled with—that this was common among people with ADHD—it felt like the answer I’d been searching for.
And the language I had at the time was “something must be wrong with me, because everyone keeps looking at how I act or respond to things with bewilderment or confusion or frustration.”
It’s like the famous Albert Einstein quote:
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.
(Einstein probably didn’t actually say this but his name adds gravitas—whoever said it was still a genius)
Sara actually addresses the “finding out what was wrong with me” language at the end of the video, noting that she should maybe have used more positive language (i.e. “brain difference”, etc)… but I honestly kind of love that she calls it exactly how it feels in the beginning. It’s so honest and authentic to this story.
When I first found out, that’s exactly how I felt! I felt like I’d finally found out what’s wrong with me, and that gave me an answer that makes me feel a little less broken.
The other thing that struck me is the guilt that comes from feeling like a crappy friend.
I still make promises that I fail to keep, am late to really important events, and forget to call friends and family to maintain those relationships.
It’s tough. Life is hard. I don’t have all the answers. But knowing that I at least have this answer, this [gestures wildly] thing that helps explain why my brain is different, why my sense is uncommon, why I will be absolutely incredible at one thing that others find it impossible, but can’t seem to make that phone call…
I hear from a lot of people that are seeking their ADHD diagnosis. And way too often they tell me their doctor told them something dismissive like “It’s just a label. What will a label change?”
Honestly, that label can change everything.
Jesse J. Anderson
P.S. If you’re seeking an ADHD diagnosis, I had a great conversation with Dr. Tish Gentile about how you can prepare for speaking with your doctor and how you can better advocate for yourself: ADHD Nerds - Dr Tish Gentile: How to Prepare for ADHD Diagnosis
Things that grabbed my attention this week. Lots of nerdy links in this one. 🤓
Keep reading with a 7-day free trial
Subscribe to Extra Focus • ADHD to keep reading this post and get 7 days of free access to the full post archives.