Podcast: Thoughts on Difference & Acceptance


When we get a diagnosis of a thing, yeah, great. Now I know exactly what's going on. I can get medication and get a coach, and then I can be fixed. And then I can be more like everyone else. I think that's where a big part of the problems that we have still live, because what tends to happen a lot of people is that six months later, and they're on meds and they're still feeling like crap or a year later or a year and a half later, it's still not quite the way that they think it should be. That they think they should be able to do the things because they should have been fixed now that they know what's going on and they have their medication, and have had time with a coach or whatever, that they should be like everyone else.


Hey, everyone, how you doing? Welcome to Episode 11. I think this was going to be a short one. Because it's about being different. And our feelings about that. I really believe that how we come out in the world, show up as who we are really does revolve around how we feel about our differences.


A lot of how we feel about our differences has happened from how we grew up. Like we might have been told, oh, you know, you're so special and unique and that's amazing. You know, differences is great. But then we turn around and the next thing we see is a teacher who is treating children different based on race. We see kids making fun of other kids because of what they look like, or their accents or their names or their abilities. We hear about things happening in the society and we started to develop ideas about what being different means. I think that in being able to start to embrace a life that we really want for ourselves, and who we are a bit


Part of that, that we don't really hear about in this community is looking at how we feel about being different. Because according to society and how it's built up, and what it expects from those of us with ADHD, we are different from that and a lot of us, when we get a diagnosis, or our children get a diagnosis, some of the things that we try to do might be to hide that diagnosis or hide our kids diagnosis because we don't want them to have the label. We don't want ourselves to have the label because we do have a fear about what that difference will mean to us to our kids. I really believe that part of the work that we have to go through is taking a look at how have we been brought up to feel about being different about seeing difference? Where people being ridiculed. embarrassment, was it something that was resisted. No, we don't like that change, or was there a pressure to be like everyone else? Was it not discussed or ignored, which can sometimes say a lot in not being discussed at all.


Taking a look at these things, and how we feel about it can really help us start to make changes so that we can start to be the people that we want to be but at the same time, at a pace that works for us and in a way where we can still feel safe about it. You see, we do get a lot of messages about what it's like to be different. And as humans, we don't really want to be different. We want to belong. There is safety in belonging.


I grew up being passed around from foster home to foster home to foster home until I was adopted when I was three and a half and I can still remember being baptised when I was like four and a half and thinking that I was going to be passed to another new family. I went up and like pack my suitcase. I was like, Okay, see ya. I'm ready to go again. Like you're not going anywhere. That is ridiculous for four and a half to be so unsettled and just used to being with different families so much and there is not security and safety in that. So I can say from my own experience that being different, definitely, for me, and just how I grew up in school and whatnot, was about being rejected. So I know that I had done everything and do everything I can to try to be what everyone else wanted me to be. Just so I could feel like I belonged, that I could be safe.


I think a lot of how we feel about what we can and can't do with our ADHD has a lot to do, how we feel about being different and our experiences around that. Yes, there's a lot of pressure in society about what we are supposed to be like, depending on the only two genders that society has decided that we have roles for them, and what it's like for what we are expected to do, how we're expected to do it, when we're expected to see it, what timeframes how well, it's supposed to be done and a lot of this stuff we, as ADHDers really can't do very well. Not in the prescribed way that is taught to us in schools, and not in the way that we were supposed to get through, osmosis, by these executive function skills or whatnot, that we're supposed to pick up somehow. So when we get a diagnosis, we think, yeah, great. Now I know exactly what's going on. I can get medication and get a coach and then I can be fixed and then I can be more like everyone else.


I think that's where a big part of the problems that we have still live, because what tends to happen is that a lot of people is that six months later, and they're on meds and they're still feeling like crap or a year later or a year and a half later. It's still not quite the way that they think it should be that they think they should be able to do the things, because they should have been fixed now that they know what's going on. And they have their medication, and I've had time with a coach or whatever, that they should be like everyone else. And I guess a lot of people like that, I would say you need to probably take a look at what being different actually really means to you and what things do you have to have a good journal on and have a could look at what voices are going on in your head, that are talking shit to you whenever you mess up. or whenever you can't do the thing that you think that everyone else should be able to do who's talking to you, then?


I do think that whenever we're in that space, or we're trying to be a do the thing, like everyone else says that we should be doing it like, we are not able to use our brain, actually, which is good for this, to see in other ways that we could actually get the job done in a way that works for us. It's also hard to when we're trying to still do things the way that everyone else expects us to do. Because we have this understanding and this belief over us about what it means to be different and if it's quite negative, we're trying to avoid it and trying to hide any kinds of differences. Then we're not able to see like what else is possible in a way that works for us, or giving ourselves grace and be kind to ourselves. Because we do have an invisible condition that does make some tasks difficult. That does disrupt our ability to self regulate, but does make it tricky at times to emotionally regulate and to manage focus. We are not walking around with the endless supply of dopamine that gets people through boring shit they have to do every day. And even with medication that changes in action ebbs and flows with, you know, hormones and sleep, and I think anyways with some of the food that we eat, and I condition that Epson flows with what happens around us, and if we have too much information all at once and sensory sensitivities, and that affects it to the people that are around us. And yet, depending on how we feel about being different, we put all of that aside, all of those things that make it that layer, our existence on this planet, make it that much more difficult. And I'm not even talking about any of the oppressing identities that we have right now, either. And we'll put all that aside and try to hide all of that and try to be like everyone else. Yeah. might do, depending on how we feel about being different.


So, I definitely think it's something that we need to actually start thinking about because one thing that I started to learn, not a new and understood was looking at my feelings about acceptance. What does it actually mean to accept who I am as I am right now? I thought it was kind of passive. You know, like it was just like, Oh, okay. I have ADHD and some other co occurring conditions and shit. That is what it is. Then take some medication, maybe some coach will help me do some stuff. Yeah, that's all I can do. So I'm going to suck now, ort of thing but, I think acceptance isn't necessarily being like, okay, I just have to hand in the towel and I'm done. But it's kind of making for a step of being like, Okay, this is what it's all about.


And not just the bits that are like, Oh, this is my ADHD makes me great at this and this and x and y, and Zed, and I have a superpower of this or that whatever bullshit we're talking about. Yes, I get it. Yes, there's a lot of great stuff about ADHD. But there's some shadow parts too. And we need to be able to look at the shadow parts that maybe tricky. So that we can see all the parts and be able to accept it, as it is accept us as we are. Because it's only in being able to accept it all that we're able to actually see what we can or want to do about it. But if we're struggling in how we feel about being different, and trying to hide all the shadow we bits that aren't easily accepted by society, even in a way or even being, you know, just not even acknowledge them at all. And it is hard to take radical acceptance. And this is a quote by Tara Brack, who says "radical acceptance is a necessary antidote to years of neglecting ourselves, years of judging and treating ourselves harshly. Years of rejecting this moment experience. Radical acceptance is the willingness to experience ourselves and our life as is" I think when you're able to have radical acceptance of yourself I think it gives you the power to make new choices and do more things or all of yourself.


We came to this part of looking and being diagnosed because we're been trying to manage those parts for years and stuffing them now and trying to ignore them in trying to apologise or than trying to make excuses for them and now that we know what they are, and they're there, of we're gonna keep trying to stuff them down but then No, but now I know what it is and I'm just gonna have medication now in a couple of sessions with my coach and then I'll good I can keep trying to fix this and stuff this down a bit more so I can pretend to be like everyone else, and it'll fix me then we're not in the headspace at all to live life, the way that we need to, to help us feel like we can thrive. I think that's my main point there.


See, I think the aim is to really have this chance to actually learn about who we are. Learn about more of who we are before, we didn't really understand that, then we get this diagnosis. Now we are starting to get what it's like, what's happened and now we've got to look at those differences and be like, okay, like, 'how does this difference of ADHD look in me? How does it present for me?' Look at both sides and the shadow bits? Because it's not about the aim of trying to fix ourselves to be better fit for society, Jesus, do you really want to be a better fit? Oh my Lord. We just need to be able to, I think, to start looking at ourselves with that radical acceptance. And you know, I don't think it's about like, screaming it off to the mountaintops and being like, yeah, I have ADHD!! like, our society is pretty whack. It's a complete mess. And yeah, there is a lot of strategic things that we have to learn and do in order to be able to function at our best. But if we have a really shitty feeling about being different, and we're not even going to look at those parts, to even see what we can do to feel better, we're just going to try to ignore them. We're just going to try to avoid them like we've always done. And then that's what happens a year later, two years later, six months later, when you still feel like shit and you don't really know why.


So, what I've done and like this is ongoing for me, because no, not everybody in my whole freakin life and in all my jobs and all my work whatever, knows about my ADHD has a lot of fear behind it. And that's kind of evolved a lot too because now where it's not so much fear as much as it is about my own understanding of who I am and how I'm able to respond to what information I give out. I'm okay with that. But I know that I actively do other things to make it easier for me in workplaces, or with friends or in my family, so that I can manage my ADHD well and feel a lot better about how I'm showing up in the different jobs or the different things that I do each day.


So one of the things that I've done, I think it's really important is, I've talked a lot about this. I journaled a lot about like, how was it like for me growing up? What did I learn about being different? I look back on my journals to I like to look for patterns. Was there anything that I noticed were there people that predominantly come up in my journal entries are in my memories, incidents that stick out for me as being no particularly traumatic in my understanding of what it was like to be different.


This has been tricky because some of this is a little bit of a shadow side, I have had to have a good thing about some of the parts of me that I've grown up being ashamed of. And just wondering where those voices were coming from. And what do I want to do about that?


Now, the third thing that I've done is definitely taken a look at some of my own ADHD symptoms and some of the things that made like, for example, going to work tricky for me. What were some things that I could do to make that experience better for me, this was something like making sure that I had lunch break or had time to go for a little bit of outside time during my work day whenever I was working in school. It meant that what I was taking home or deciding that there were some things that I preferred to do at home, rather than at school, or vice versa. And I'm putting in some of those little boundaries, things that I knew would help me function at my best. Even if I wasn't fully disclosing everything, or anything that I had about my ADHD, I knew that there were some symptoms and some things that I needed. It would be things like, one day, my principal stopped me in the hall and was telling me all this stuff, I was like, wait, you can send me an email about this. I'm not going to remember it all. But I feel like it's quite important to you. So send me an email and I can get back to you. Those sort of things were helpful for me to understand about myself so that I could share those needs with others.


I don't think that I am definitely an expert on my feelings about being different, you know, it was not easy for me growing up. Again, this made another difference. But in a weird way, it was actually a difference that opened up my eyes so much that it actually allowed me to look at other things about me that were different that I hadn't looked at before, and allowed me to start looking and thinking about them.


In doing that, I've gotten a bigger picture of who I am and that's been really cool because I've been able to be a lot more accepting of myself. I've actually learned to treat myself with a lot more kindness, because I've never really had that feeling either, because being different, did not give me a lot of ways that I felt that kindness was given to me. But I guess I felt so different that I was able to just kind of go, you know what, I'm just gonna try to be kinder to myself. And all the things that I learned because this is just a lot.


And I felt okay with that. See, I know that we all have this ideal that had been placed in our heads. But I am starting to realise how limited that ideal actually was, for me. That there was so much more that I can be and do, beyond the limits of any idea that society has placed on me. And it's my job to find what that is for me and create my own image of ideal for me.


Now, I guess one thing that you can take away from this episode is just asking yourself, you know, what was being different, like growing up? What did you see around you? How are others treated around you? Did you experience good or bad? I don't like using good or bad, positive or negative? I don't know. But what did you experience about difference yourself if you had that? What emotions come up for you? Sit with them. Any voices, someone else say with that too.


I think whenever you have a good picture of that, you'll start to understand and see a little bit about what's holding you back. From showing up as the person that, you know, you could really be. Alright, that's all I got for today. Have a good one, everyone. Bye.


Hey, thanks for listening. I hope you enjoyed it. If you did, please feel free to leave a five star review and comments that helps people find the podcast, especially listening on Apple podcast. Don't forget to check out the show notes, any resources mentioned on today's podcast, you can find my own free resources links there and things to get in touch with me on instagram and facebook at the ADHD Good Life. I'm so grateful you could join me today. Have a great week, and I'll see you next time. Bye!

Transcribed by https://otter.ai