Pay Attention: Inattentive ADHD

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Inattentive ADHD Art by Shakirah.

Since the time ADHD was first suspected in children, it has always been associated with outward signs of hyperactivity. 

 When I was little, I remember my little brother bouncing off the walls and people joking about how he needed to be on Ritalin. I, on the other just spent all day daydreaming and listing to music. When I was being assessed for a learning disorder, the psychologist informed me that part of the battery of tests she does is for attention disorders. As she went through the questions with me, I laughed because I lose important things, forget things, zone out during conversations, and daydream. I asked my older sister if she thought I had ADHD, and she said yes. I did not agree I pay attention, for the most part, I am not bouncing off the walls.

WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! The psychologist who tested me was surprised at my inability to pay attention. Her exact words were, "I did not expect you to score the way you did. You looked like you were paying attention; you were so focused." I zone out and do not even know I am doing it. I was diagnosed with inattentive ADHD. I have had a significant decrease in migraines since being put on medication. I realize always having thoughts racing is not normal; needing noise to distract myself is not normal, and being sensitive to noise and wanting to be in the dark were ways to cope. 

Know the Signs of Inattentive ADHD

ADHD can look very different in girls, and the fact that I someone who has read the DSM criteria could not see ADHD in me is a problem. I diagnosed myself with dyslexia when I was 14. ADHD is seen as a problem in boys because they are often more hyper, but many women and girls are undiagnosed and are seen as lazy, unfocused, and not trying hard enough. I was not too fond of school until college. I hate rigid structure and can be overly sensitive. All symptoms of ADHD are common in women just go overlooked.

The mental health care system has to do better for women and girls. Now I have to have Noah assessed given the level of heritability of ADHD. Imagine the women who have gone undiagnosed and what they could have brought to the world. 

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Design out of the FlyBird's Box.