Tag Archives: ADHD

What It’s Like To Be An Adult with ADHD

It’s a lot of hiding. Dodging questions until you can’t dodge them anymore. “Why do you write everything down?” “Why do you drink decaf coffee?” “What’s with all the doctors appointments?” Eventually your tendency towards brutal honesty gets the best of you and the truth comes out. You pray that your latest confidant will understand. They do, more often than not.

A part of you wants the whole world to know, so that you don’t have to explain yourself over and over again. You want them to recognize when you’re having a Bad Brain Day, to know that you can’t always give 100%. It’s not an excuse. The volume in your head is just a little too high. You need a moment to breathe. To reorganize.

Work isn’t like school. There’s no letter from the disabilities office for you to hand to your professor at the beginning of the semester, explaining everything. There’s no parent-teacher conferences, no IEP meetings. Your mom can’t call your boss to tell him how your brain works. You have to advocate for yourself. But what if they don’t understand? What kind of accommodations can you even ask for? Will they see you differently? You replay nightmare scenarios over and over in your head and decide to just keep your mouth shut.

Some days you struggle, but you persist. You’ve accomplished so much and exceeded everyone’s expectations. You learned a language! You’ve starred in musicals! You earned a bachelor’s degree! You have a full-time job! And yet, you still feel like you’re fooling everyone. When you trip over a word. When something falls through the cracks. You have days where you allow the words from those first evaluations, from your third grade teacher, from the middle school Cool Girls, to make you feel small. Words from over a decade ago, when you were a totally different person.

Relationships are difficult. On the train to a party you fret over making the right impression, saying the right thing, not interrupting people when there’s something you just HAVE to say, not talking about yourself too much. Small talk is a drag. You’d rather discuss film theory or religion or how we’re all going to die some day but aren’t we so lucky to be alive at the same time as Patti LuPone? Or just look at your phone.

Some friendships move fast and furious while others get neglected. Old familiar faces of one-time best friends show up on your Facebook feed and you wonder what happened. Scheduling conflicts. You got busy. You forgot to text back. Things got too loud. You got distracted. Out of sight, out of mind.

It’s finding a community of wonderful, brilliant neurodiverse people in your travels and online. It’s those beautiful “No way, me too!” moments with coworkers and strangers at parties who know how to unlock your secrets. You compare diagnoses and medications and the alternative therapies your parents subjected you to before you turned 18. You start to get out of your head a little bit. You start to feel less alone.

Your Brain Brothers and Sisters show you that your diagnosis comes with superpowers and teach you how to unlock them. You teach yourself how to harness your hyperfocus and turn down the noise when you need it gets too loud. You learn how to multitask the right way, writing things down so you don’t drop any balls. You start a bullet journal. You buy a fidget cube. You lose it almost immediately.

You grow up. You gain perspective. It never goes away. But eventually, you learn how to be kind to yourself.


This is something I’ve wanted to talk/write about for a while, so it feels both great and scary to hit post. ADHD has been a part of my life since I was 9, so I have a lot to say on the matter. If you have questions/topic suggestions you’d like me to address in future posts, let me know in the comments or on Twitter.

I also recently got to talk ADHD with Zach Valenti on his podcast, focused.af. It was a really fun conversation and Zach is the bomb. Go check it out!

5 Amazing Moments from Nerdcon: Stories 2015

After 6 Vidcons, I can count on Hank Green and his team to run a great conference that caters to both fans and creators. Their events manage to be equal parts variety show, public forum, master class, and party, which always leads to a good time. While Vidcon centers around the more specific world of online video, Nerdcon: Stories tackles storytelling, an artform as old as…well, people. I was curious to see how this event, the first of its kind, would play out, so I bought a pass and headed to Minneapolis.

What I experienced at NC:S was a celebration of how stories are created and how they connect us all. “We are all made of stories,” was the general refrain of the weekend, and both attendees and presenters brought stories to share. I left on Sunday feeling emotionally energized and inspired to create, albeit physically exhausted from three days of walking around the giant Minneapolis Convention Center. Here are some of my favorite moments from this year’s conference.

Paul Sabourin’s Opening “Why Stories Matter” Keynote

Throughout the conference, several special guests were invited to give their take on why stories matter. Paul Sabourin, one half of Paul and Storm, kicked off the first morning session on Friday in his hilarious and high-energy fashion, running through a (very) brief history of storytelling. Sure, it mainly focused on storytelling in western civilization (as most history classes in America do), but it gave us all a good idea of why stories have been so prominent throughout history. Ultimately, we tell stories to feel less alone in the world, to relate to each other. Whether their true or not, stories have the power to connect us. 

story circle

Leslie running the story circle like a champ.

Leslie’s Story Circle

Have you met my friend Leslie? Aside from being a fabulous human and great friend, Leslie created and curates “One Time Stories“, a storytelling web series in the vein of The Moth and StoryCorps. It’s truly amazing and I suggest you check it out and submit if you’re so inclined. As a featured guest (#proudmama), Leslie hosted a storytelling circle on Friday night which drew a huge crowd. People shared heartfelt and hilarious stories of firsts: first kisses, first times crying in public, first poop explosions (go with it). There’s something so simple and great about just sitting in a huge circle, kindergarten style, and listening to people sharing their truth.

“Honing Your Craft” Panel

As a writer, I’m always looking for ways to embetter my word-doing, so I jumped at the chance to listen to a panel of great writers talk about their process. The panel featured several novelists who write across several genres – including Lev Grossman, Stephanie Perkins, and Nalo Hopkinson – whose processes are as diverse as their writing styles. They were each brutally honest about their struggles to get words on the page. Nalo spoke in particular about working with ADHD, which was incredibly important to me. Once again, I had a moment of feeling less alone.

panel 1

From left: Paul Sabourin, Paul DeGeorge, Cecil Baldwin, Sarah Mackey, and Leslie Datsis on the “Communities and Fandom” Panel

Dylan Marron’s “Why Stories Matter” Keynote

Speaking of representation, Dylan Marron’s take on why stories matter was one of the most powerful moments of NC:S. Marron, known for his “Every Single Word…” video series and for playing Carlos on Welcome to Night Vale, touched on how storytelling helps us build empathy by showing us how we fit into the world. When we tell universal stories with only white faces, we essentially deny the existence of people of color. The fact that hundreds of (mostly young) people got to hear this in the convention center’s main auditorium gives me hope for the future. You can check out a video of the speech here.

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

Sometimes, you have to fly to the midwest and attend a major conference to see a show that’s performed twice a week in your own city. Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is an ever-changing show by the New York Neo-Futurists, in which a group of actors attempts to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. They introduce new plays each week, and the order of plays is determined by the audience, so you never know what you’re going to see. I was incredibly excited to see TMLMtBGB, and the Neos did not disappoint. Each play managed to be poignant, true, and funny within the limited time. Above all, the Neos are genuine, and I love that. Kevin R. Free is a delight. I want to be best friends with Desiree Burch and Kate Jones. And Jeffrey Cranor brought me close to tears more than once over the weekend. I’m now determined to get to a Neos show in New York before the year is out.

It’s safe to say I had an amazing time this weekend at NerdCon: Stories. I’ll definitely be back next year, hopefully with some stories of my own. In between all this awesome, I learned that Minneapolis is a wonderful city that we should all move to (6 months out of the year). Stay tuned for more on my Minneapolis adventures next week!