International Specialisterne Community

Specialisterne Foundation

Specialisterne Foundation is a non-for-profit organization that works to enable one million jobs for people with autism and similar challenges. The foundation owns Specialisterne Denmark and the Specialisterne concept and trademark.

Do you know how many flights I’ve missed? Wallets I’ve lost? Cell phones lost or stolen? Speeding tickets and traffic citations, classes I’ve failed for not completing the final project or work that I did but did not turn in? Relationships I’ve ruined, missed opportunities, things I’ve left in cabs, trains, buses, job interviews I’ve ruined, not to mention all of the jobs I’ve lost, even birthday and holiday cards that were literally addressed and stamped that I never sent out, ? Too many to count. 

I can’t explain why I do these things. I’ve done these things medicated * and non medicated for years so that’s not the issue. I don’t do these things on purpose. 

I try, I really do. And it seems so easy to everyone else… “It’s not that hard”, “plan ahead”, “grow up”, “leave an hour earlier”, “get organized”, “keep things in the same place so you don’t lose them”, “get more sleep”, “make a to do list”, etc. But it’s just not that easy. And if it was, believe me, I would have taken advantage of it all a long time ago because I see better and more efficient ways to do things all day everyday, and I will if I can. 

Even I blame myself and hate myself sometimes, even doubting ADHD exists. “Just try harder”, “set reminders on your phone”, “be responsible”, “it’s not that hard”, “you’re not trying hard enough”….I know what I’m capable of. I know I’m intelligent. I know what to do to be successful, so why can’t I just do it? I don’t want to live this way. And I do care! I’m the one that has to pay for all of these mishaps (both literally and figuratively).

There is a misconception that ADHD is about a deficit in one’s ability to focus. However, the inconsistency of our attention is the issue. We focus, but on too many things at the same time. Our brains are moving so fast 24/7 – every sound, every face, every memory, every idea, every question, every song, every everything, every anything, all in addition to constant self talk 24/7. I wish I could say it stops when I sleep, but a dark, silent room just causes my brain to go into overdrive. 

What do you think about when you’re brushing your teeth or washing the dishes? I can’t even answer that question because I think about so many things. Do people really just wash dishes and think about the dish they are washing? I’m on autopilot…I wash the dishes but I’m thinking about so many other things. I do this when I brush my teeth. I do this when I drive (I know, scary thought).

My new year’s resolution pretty much every year is “I’m going to start being responsible, I’m going to start being on time, etc” and it never happens. I’ve finally accepted the fact that this is just who I am. I’ve also accepted the fact that some people will not or do not like me, or get me. Some people take things personally if you’re late or forget something, some people don’t even believe in ADHD or me because I “look normal and everyone gets distracted”….

Do you have an invisible disability? What are your invisible disability symptoms? I have sleep issues, executive functioning issues, actually too many to mention here. I “look normal” and I can (seemingly) “function independently” in society, yet no one really understands how hard it is to keep up with everyone else, who make it all look so easy.  There are things I want friends, family, and employers to understand about us. 

My series on Fridays will explore topics related to ADHD and other neurodiversities like R.S.D. (Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria), the latest research surrounding sleep issues in those diagnosed with ADHD, ADHD in the workplace (disclosure, self advocacy, accommodations) and more. 

My hope in this series is that through my vulnerability, honesty and research I can connect with other neurodiverse/divergent adults, individuals and organizations that want to understand and help us, and ideally make a difference in the world in which we’re living, if only in a small way.

* Medications help me (I can only speak for myself) finish a sentence without either talking too fast or interrupting someone before I forget what to say; I would literally forget what I was talking about before I could finish the sentence (working memory issues) OR I would ask the person I was talking to the same question repeatedly. Like “where do you work” then 10 minutes later I would ask them “where do you work”. I also would get lost a lot, even going to places I’d been before. My meds help with that BUT they don’t help with EVERYTHING; there is still work I have to do;  job coaching helps (#Specialisterne #JennFeldman), therapy helps, organization, etc. and I will use this series to share all of the tips or hacks I have developed over the years.