One of the weird things that comes up when you write about topics like sex, self-improvement or relationships is how often you face the question of whether or not to mine your own life for content. On the one hand, it’s one of the oldest and hoariest cliches for columnists and essayists to use their own lived experiences as fodder for material. It can feel… well, kinda hacky in some ways. It can feel as though you’re trying to sell the idea that you live this crazy, adventurous or glamorous life, rather than your actual writing. And when you’re writing about things like self-improvement or getting better at dating, it can feel as though you’re more upselling folks with columns that come across as “look how awesome I am, don’t you wish you were me, well if you subscribe to my Patreon…” rather than offering real advice.
On the other hand, however… well, a lot of times, your lived experiences provide genuine context for what you’ve learned. In fact, talking openly about your personal experiences with the particular topic can make it easier for folks to talk about their experiences or to understand that their experiences are real, valid and normal. So there’s an unusual amount of tension whenever one wishes to pull back the curtain a bit and get personal.
Now, I bring this up because I’m coming up on the two year anniversary of my having gotten tested and diagnosed as having ADHD and – much like when I published my video on being diagnosed with ADHD as an adult – I want to normalize talking about struggles with mental health as well as some of the difficulties, adjustments, frustrations and downright weird shit that comes up when you’re dealing with and learning to live with it. Because, as it turns out, getting diagnosed and treated is the start, not the end.
So, as a follow-up to my last piece, let’s talk a little about what I’ve experienced and learned about having ADHD, two years in.