There was a time when I stood outside of my own life hoping that the character I had created would survive her own story. This time lasted a long time. The tension of being in two places at once, and therefore in neither place fully, was at times intolerable.
I can point to systemic streams, family dynamics, faults of character. All true. However, it is the recognition of ADD that opened the door to know myself better. My brain works in a way that is not conducive to the parameters set by schools and other institutions that need people to move through in a certain way. To do well, I had developed elaborate coping mechanisms and defense strategies. It was exhausting. Many of you know what I mean; some really do not.
At any rate, I really did struggle to stay within the lines, I wanted to, but time and again the colors spilled over, sloppy and impossible to control. Not some secret genius, or higher level of functioning, just different, scared-lonely different. I found ways around. I knew I couldn’t understand the instructions, couldn’t track the narrative; I knew my mind would blank rather than face not knowing, so I sent my avatar into the world.
Not entirely there when there, anxiety became my method of calibrating the worthiness of various possibilities. Saying Yes to the many wonderful opportunities that came my way was simple, appealing, exciting. But anxiety almost immediately ensued. It told me more often than not to withdraw — from the job, the project, the person. Anxiety protected me from more anxiety, but it also protected me from moving beyond my limitations.
It never really occurred to me to wonder about the discrepancy between my mind — so filled with learning, ideas, wonder — and my brain, which seemed not to be able to scaffold the mind’s journeying. It was my son who named it. All that he was discovering about himself, and still I failed to look in the mirror. Once I did, everything in me relaxed, the discrepancy began to make sense. All those years of feeling less intelligent, skilled, worthy than the people around me, all those years of hiding those feelings … since I was a little girl, young beyond memory. Oh, she worked hard, that little one. But now I can scoop her up into my arms, out in the open. I can tell her, Let’s find ways to close the gap between the mind and the brain. Let’s discover the spaces where ADD is not a deficit but an attribute. You know, Little One, I have a few already — leading family constellation workshops is among them.
And I know there are more spaces out there wide enough to hold the broad spectrum of neurodiversity. I am here now. Others will join. My mind is still filled with learning, ideas, and wonder.
Copyright © 2019 by Suzi Tucker