People come into this world with some similar, but mostly diverse qualities, abilities & traits. From the very beginning of life, we are taught to mask these diversities rather than embracing them and living authentically. This is a huge ask for us beings who, at times, have no choice but to surrender to our psyche, brain chemistry and "quirks". Us beings who are marginalized due to our different abilities, perceptions and expressions which disrupt this norm obsessed world.
As far as I can remember, I always knew that something was "off" about me. It seemed like everyone else was in on some kind of 'life instructions manual' and I definitely missed the memo. Every interaction with the world felt like evidence of my "off-ness", indicated to me that I did not belong and perhaps never would. I get that everyone feels different and left out from time to time. But, growing up only ever feeling that way, it hits a lot differently.
Anxiety... was my first guess, as it usually is with a lot of people, especially women. And I was not wrong. Anxiety did plague my life and it was getting out of hand. Being a very sensitive and (unusually) aware person, I always noticed when it came up and how it manifested.
It's tough to put my finger on why, when or even how this realization happened but I began to see my anxiety as a friend. Was it overprotective, frantic and at times frustrating as heck? Sure. But, it was my friend nonetheless... it was clear that it's intentions were always in the right place- to keep me safe. And I empathized with that a lot. The more I saw it in this light, the more my anxiety became controllable! Plus, it was also helping me achieve my goals and thrive because I had learnt to channel it beneficially. All of which started from that awareness + realization.
Of course, my obsession with learning about all things psychology also helped with this as I discovered more and more research/books indicating that this positive approach to anxiety was the way to go.
"I need to share this with my fellow anxious people."
This was the inspiration behind starting my coaching practice. Over the next few months, I began to build a community and helped many people with this new perspective. It was fulfilling to say the least. But.. there's always a but.
Mine was that the very techniques I was SO sure and proud of (that worked so well for me in the past, and was really helping my clients & community) seemed to not work for me anymore. I had hit a wall. Between juggling my university courses, running my own business and the 24/7 commitment to my responsibilities + wellbeing; I was running on empty even when it felt like I was doing a lot to fill my cup. There was that "off" feeling again... like I was missing a huge piece of the puzzle that everyone else had found by now.
I'll save you the anticipation, it was ADHD. I, however, wasn't saved from the anticipation as I spent about 3 weeks with my head buried in ADHD research & doctor's appointments, wondering if this is where the ever present "off" feeling in my life was coming from.
I went through a grieving period as I came to terms with the fact that the very things I've felt rejected and criticized for all my life were:
1. All symptoms of an undiagnosed neurodevelopmental condition that...
2. is highly misunderstood not just by people, but even by healthcare professionals because of which...
3. women especially are under-diagnosed & invalidated.
The world expects us to mask our ADHD so we can be like everyone else and "get with the program", even at great cost to our wellbeing. The intention of starting my coaching business was that no one should have to face the atrocities that I did due to my conditions, at least not without support and guidance. This is when I decided to rebrand to "ADDed with Anxiety".
The play on words is evident (ADD, aka ADHD, with anxiety- the two big conditions that I help with), but Added with Anxiety also indicates how ADHD/ADD is usually hidden, specifically in women. We are conditioned to internalize our ADHD symptoms more... which is how the anxiety gets 'added'. Our anxiety helps us cope in a world that was not designed with us in mind, and so I am grateful for it. That said, I will still do my part to make this world aware (and more accommodating) of our conditions & authenticity.
Currently, I am striving to show people like YOU that they were always worthy of space, care, kindness and support so they can thrive while being true to themselves. You can harness so much power from your anxiety/ADHD and it's totally valid if you don't believe that right now, but I do look forward to changing your mind.
Because the girl who felt "off" her whole life is finally embracing her "on-ness"... and so can YOU.