I have recently completed a storytelling workshop together with a 1-1 session with public speaking coach Alex MacIntosh. There was only one goal: face your biggest fear, and give a public speech about your story.
No, it was not one of those events when the speaker is shy but then gets a standing ovation. I was not perfect but I did it. The speech was a conclusion of the first chapter of my personal growth. I learned new skills, gained confidence, and most importantly I accepted myself. I wanted to conclude the jurney.
I went on the stage thinking about giving away the last thing that I have, without expecting anything in return. My story.
I gave a speech on 29.01.2020, at D18 Cafe in Budapest. You can watch the video here:
Stupid, Lazy, and Crazy
We are all different. We come from different schools, families, cultures. Some of us have savings and some debt. We all look and think differently. We also have different types of brains.
For those differences, we all get bullied at least once in our life, including myself. I was bullied for my brain. Many people call him: lazy, stupid, and crazy (there is even book about it!).
I would talk to him like that:
Dear brain, isn’t it stupid not to remember where is our home town on the map? Or when our mother was born? I get it, it happens, but to mix up our own children’s birthdays? How are we supposed to make friends when we forget what we were talking about 2 minutes later? And we never get the jokes! That is so stupid! I tried to help you, I studied 3 hours when other kids got it in 30 minutes. I tried so hard to remember.
Dear brain, what about the lazy part and the days when our husband plays with kids all day because we can’t take the noise? Kids make noises! How can you possibly forget to take the washing out? Every single time! We did post-it notes and reminders. Remember? Of course, you don’t! You are so lazy!
OH yeah and the crazy part? Brain, what do we tell people, when you want us to start 15 hobbies and not to finish any? Why on earth would you tell people that you will change the world? Seriously? You can’t show your city on the map. You are crazy, we can’t even save ourselves!
We are going to a psychiatrist. I need to fix that, I just want to be normal.
The day when you become normal
So I did that. I went to a psychiatrist and after a couple of tests and sessions, I had my big diagnosis day. My doctor confirmed my long time worry that I have ADHD. I was so excited that I almost hugged him! I felt relief.
Walking back I stopped suddenly in front of the train station. All the new information started to flood my mind. I panicked and I felt dissapointed with myself. I didn’t even listen! AGAIN! I was scared about all the treatment and the medication. I started talking back to my brain:
Brain, I hate you! We have it on paper now. We are stupid. We are lazy and definitely crazy. What do we do now?!
To my surprise, my brain replied for the first time.
STOP, just STOP! Don’t talk to me like that. You are enough.
In fact, the ADHD term is not even correct anymore. We don’t lack attention. We just can’t focus on the things we don’t like. Isn’t it like this for many people? You are enough.
Just don’t be angry with me. I wish I could disappear and go away. Staying is much harder when you hate me so much.
But if I go away, you won’t be here anymore too. What would happen with the good things we did together!? Your family? Your career?
You can’t be stupid. You scored straight A at the university for four years because you loved graphic design. Just don’t tell me the jokes. Even medicine doesn’t help me with that.
We might forget things but I am not lazy. Your body fought so hard that it created OCD, which makes our house sparkle clean. You wrote a book. You have your own business. Because you constantly need stimulation you did everything with kids: cycling, hiking, swimming, boxing, reading 10 books daily! You are enough.
Indeed, it was impulsive to quit all the well-paying jobs when you couldn’t make a change. Crazy, thinking to change the world. That I give you. But you stayed true to my values which are: family-balance, equal chance, transparency, and growth. As Steve Jobs said:
“The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do”.
The “AHA” moment
That last thought changed my life in one second. I realized, that I actually like myself just the way I am. I would never trade my family or creativity for being neurotypical.
I am enough.
I looked at the train and with confidence, I stepped in. Happy, full of acceptance, ready to start a new journey.
You are enough
And just like that, I beat up my biggest bully. Today, I try to show my own children new ways to grow. But I try to remember, that there is nothing broken, nothing to be fixed. I have more empathy.
We are all different. But you are not your work, parents, education, culture, bank account statement, or brain. I like your story, just the way you are.
You are enough.
More about ADHD
The story was published also in ADDitude magazine: When the Bully Who Does the Most Damage is You
The best magazine online with reliable resources: When the Bully Who Does the Most Damage is You
I started Creative ADHD Therapy to translate everything I learned to Polish for my mother: Creative ADHD Therapy
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