Jamie, the therapist at Ascot House (the eating disorders clinic), wondered if I might have a mild form of ADHD or ADD, rather than (or in addition to) mild dyslexia! It sounds laughable, at first. I work with ADHD kids. They jitter around, flaring skittish energy; babbling, climbing the walls: I’m not like that at all.
But, asked Jamie, was this because I’d starved myself into an approximate stillness?
Hmmm…I was still doubtful. Jamie gave me a questionnaire of, maybe, 15 questions, and I scored in the ADHD band in all but 3 of them. Wow. It made me weepy, for some reason. Relief? I know self-diagnosis is incredibly unreliable, but this result brought up the possibility that I struggle valiantly and determinedly to overcome difficulties that others don’t have to contend with. An eating disorders clinic is a place of shame, but at least reading, writing, concentrating may genuinely be more difficult for me. That would mean I’d been battling all my life, which would be pretty impressive, right? It would also explain why I have always irritated and exasperated people. The ADHD kids at a school are always the most punch-able.
It’s a liberating idea, though bewildering: a small paradigm shift. The mental disruption caused by ADHD seems a cleaner, truer explanation for my partial problems with words and concentration than dyslexia. I always felt like a fraud claiming to have that, given how disadvantaged my poor students are with the condition.
I guess I could have both, given my problems with time, and so on. I could only justify the diagnosis if I accepted that it was one part of a complex of mild symptoms of an underlying, inoffensive psychological construction. My ADHD students are often desperate to fit in, but their condition makes them just a little too weird to get close to other students. Their inability to concentrate also undermines their ability to learn and achieve at school. They are lonely, isolated, frustrated and humiliated. It would be monstrous to claim the empathy, support and understanding that they deserve.
Still, it’s an attractive thought that I keep coming back to. ADHD would also provide me with an excuse for being unable to maintain focus on other people, despite being so interested in them: it’s not monstrous selfishness, it’s a tragic ailment I battle with, heroically! It would excuse my horrible, endless, dominating talking!
Of course, obviously, down in deep foundations of myself, I don’t believe a word of it. A miasma of disbelief floats always through the fungal, bricked up basements, the dank and festering cellars of my most fundamental thinking.