Hello, and welcome to Adventures with ADHD; story time, where I tell you a story that could be embarrassing, a little bit funny, and 100% connected to ADHD.
The reason I want to share this is because finding the fun and laughter helps me cope with the things that undoubtedly go a bit pear shaped and because it's good to share, right?
So, picture this I'm in my hotel room in the Philippines. I'm frantically searching for my money, about £100 that I cannot find. The sweat is dripping off my head, my breathing is getting shallow. Where is it? I say to myself while wildly flinging clothes around the room.
Still searching I quickly draw the conclusion that somebody stole the money. That must be what's happened.
So, I marched down the stairs to reception and said (in a raised and frantic voice) “my money's gone missing from my room! I want you to do something about it. I need you to call the police”.
They looked really shocked. They apologised and they said they would look into and investigate so I said “OKAY” and off I went back upstairs to pack my bag for my wakeboarding session, which is a story in itself but I’ll save that for another time.
Back in my room I was getting distracted and looking through my belongings when I picked up a cloth mobile phone holder I had recently bought. As I casually looked through it, my stomach just sank.
Yep, in a little hidden pocket was the £100!
I couldn't believe it.
It was there all along. I just forgot where I put it, literally had no recollection of hiding it!
So, now I’m faced with a dilemma. ‘Oh my god, what should I do? Do I apologise? Do I just say nothing and hope it all goes away? Well, of course it's not going to go away.
Right so there was only one thing left to do. I Slowly skulked back down the stairs to reception. I felt sick and worried about the outcome.
I apologised and explained exactly what had happened.
I held my breath and they just looked relieved.
And they you know what? They were so gracious and didn't make me feel worse than I already did.
I’m pretty sure they thanked me for letting them know. Thanked me! Wow, what lovely people.
So, there you have it. This was a case of out of sight out of mind and my memory did not serve me on this occasion.
So, what's the moral of the story?
1. apologise when you need to when it's necessary. However, remember, it's not always necessary. As ADHD/neurodivergent folk, we often apologise when it's not needed. However, in this situation it was totally needed. It was hard to do but I felt better afterwards.
2. Take some time out – our brains can go from 0-100 in seconds and jump to all sorts of conclusions. It can help to literally change location and go into a different room. Take some deep breaths to help give your brain a fighting chance.
3. Forgive yourself. I didn't mean to cause a commotion. I didn't deliberately set out to accuse somebody of stealing. Oh my gosh, of course I didn’t.
Look, I do acknowledge that my memory is not great. I scored very low in the working memory part of my ADHD assessment and even the psychologist was shocked at quite how ‘challenged’ I am in this area. (Cheers mate!)
What is important to remember is that all of this doesn't mean I'm a bad person. This isn't a character flaw.
It is in these moments that it's very easy to say, ‘you idiot’, you’ve messed up again’. ‘You shouldn't have done that you should have realised’ and so on. These thoughts undoubtedly lead to feelings of shame, embarrassment, frustration and even self-loathing. Believe me, I have said all these things and more to myself in the past.
So, let's not cause any more shame or embarrassment. We have had a lifetime of that and it’s time to change the narrative, right?
It’s taken a lot of work to change my inner dialogue and to be kinder to myself. One of the ways I have done this is by thinking kinder thoughts that serve me and make me feel better about myself. Things like ‘I didn't mean to cause a scene, that's my ADHD brain and it will get me into trouble sometimes’, ‘I am a good person’ ‘my memory is not always reliable and that is not my fault’.
So, there you go. There are plenty more stories to come of how my neurodivergence has caused many a mishap, but you know what? I always come out the other side.
If we can learn to laugh at ourselves and see the humour in these situations and offer ourselves forgiveness and compassion, we can learn to embrace our weird, wonderful, and unique brains.
And let’s face it, we have freakin amazing brains that work in so many wonderful ways right!
So, my friend, I invite you to focus on your awesomeness and find ways to work with your challenges.
If you would like to find out how I can support you to celebrate your brilliance and overcome some of the challenges your ND brain throws at you then do book a free call here to see if coaching might be right for you.