Personal Stories, ADHD

ADHD-PI & figuring out what is next

Sara (34) lives in Montreal and was diagnosed at 29 with ADHD-PI.  I had not heard of ADHD-PI before, so this was something new for me. Sara lost her job after her diagnosis, but has been on a journey of self-development and self-understanding since then. She is now considering what comes next for her.

This is her story.

What is ADHD-PI and how does it differ from ADHD

PI just stands for Primarily Inattentive, as opposed to Primarily Hyperactive or Combined subtypes. I'm the daydreamy space-case type that doesn't notice stuff when I need to, rather than hyperactive.

Did your diagnosis have an impact on you

Yes, hugely! I have been able to start rebuilding self-confidence now knowing that I'm not stupid, lazy or crazy. Neurodivergence is a legitimate thing that society is at best not adapted to, or at worst is dismissive of or actively harmful towards.

Being able to identify it (the ADHD) allowed me to learn about it, obtain resources to help me with it and work to learn about myself and the different ways I function best and to begin to seek out things that are better suited to me in that regard.

Being diagnosed also allowed me to join an awesome support group in which I made a few very close friends, one of whom is my best friend and mentor today, and who has had a huge positive impact on my life.

What benefits do you associate with your ADHD

I'm creative and easily entertained.

What impact did it have at work

I had been working at an inbound call center at a shipping/delivery company for 6 years, and I started getting unpaid suspensions for stupid mistakes I was making. They kept asking me why I was making mistakes, I had no idea.

I started reading about ADHD online and decided to get tested for that, but my job required me to give doctors notes when I had to call off work for the testing, so I couldn't exactly hide the fact that I was getting tested for ADHD.

When I got my diagnosis I told them, and that I was gonna try different meds and group CBT. None of the meds worked, I was still on the waiting list for the group CBT and a few months later they raised the pay of everyone in my department and started culling the lowest performers. I was the first to go.

Getting diagnosed sparked losing my job which was devastating at the time, but also sparked 5 years of self-discovery and self-improvement and I'm so grateful for. It also led to a continuing search for better and more well-suited work environments.

I recently discovered the 2e movement and giftedness and how that too can be a curse with all the asynchronous development and overexcitabilities (which is certainly my case if indeed I *am* gifted. I would like to get an assessment when I can afford it it).

I have tried to go back to school in another field (cooking) and worked in that field for a year and a half but that seems to be horrible for me too so I'm trying to get 2e/career coaching to help but it's not going very quickly without a job to pay for it atm.

What is the 2e movement?

2e stands for twice exceptional, someone who is exceptional both in their abilities and their disabilities. For example someone who is both gifted and has dyslexia, or ADHD, or anxiety and depression.

For a full description that will actually do this concept justice please read these articles:  Twice exceptional adult , Gifted yet struggling students in plain sight, Twice exceptional, Success 2e adults, Twice exceptionally ADD / Dyslexia

What should people know about working with you?

That I can't work under pressure. Pressure = stress, stress = worsening of my ADHD.

Be patient. Be compassionate. Be open-minded. Learn about neurodiversity.

What is next for you?

I don't know, otherwise I wouldn't be as suffering as much as I do in my career. I know it's not call centers, or receptionist desks, or kitchens, or cleaning. This is why I'm getting coaching, to find out.

The idea of working from home or with nature and animals sounds nice, but doing what I have no idea yet. If I am working under a boss (i.e. not self-employed) ideally it would be someone who has ADHD themselves and understands and is compassionate about my needs and neurodivergence, or in an organisation that welcomes and honours neurodivergence and neurodivergent peoples needs, but that is a very rare thing to find. I don't know where I can find that.

Final thoughts

Everyone needs to learn to stop using pathologising language (Autism and the pathology paradigm) when it comes to neurodiversity!

If you are autistic, dyslexic, dyspraxic, bipolar, Tourettes, OCD, ADHD, ADD, or Neurodivergent in another way, and would like to share your story and thoughts then please contact me.

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