“You’re going to do great things!”
“You have so much potential!”
“You’re so talented. I see great things in your future!”
So many people in my life have directed various versions of these well-meaning yet anxiety-inducing, expectation-laden comments to me during every phase of my academic career. As a gifted child, I felt as though I could succeed and, at the same time, as if I had to… or I would be letting everyone down.This black-and-white way of thinking did get me to check off a list of great accomplishments:
But hidden in these accomplishments are the many, many struggles and failures I encountered along the way:
I eventually learned that my setbacks — so confusing and contrary to my successes — were actually due to undiagnosed and unmanaged ADHD. I was twice exceptional (or 2e) all this time, and I had no idea.
[Read: I Grew Up Gifted and Autistic — and Suffered the Burnout of Twice Exceptionality]
My undergraduate transcript is a wonderful example of my interest-based nervous system. I had As and Bs in classes within my major, but failed yoga (which likely had to do with my impulsive, oppositional streak).
At the age of 29, I came to the realization that my life is my own, and while the approval of others is nice, I would never feel content if I continued to chase it. I made the conscious decision to let go of “greatness” as defined by others and to start experiencing life as it came to me.
Letting go of greatness freed me up to be content with where I am currently, instead of always trying to do more or be better. I still have personal and professional goals, but these goals are now based on my values rather than the values of other people.
My shift from “not good enough” to “good enough” has changed my self-view from lazy, unmotivated, and stubborn to efficient, understanding, and passionate.
[Read: “Twice Exceptional Is a Cruel Double-Edged Sword”]
Now I am:
I don’t believe any of this would’ve been possible if I hadn’t made the choice to live life for me, instead of an image I could never realistically attain. I’ve found a specialty I love and a life that finally feels sustainable.
If you are 2e like me, or if you see yourself in my story, start living life for you with these steps:
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We are pleased to bring you the first post in a series on Digital Media and Children Under 3. This series is brought to you with collaboration from the journal, Infant Behavior and Development. Over the coming weeks, the posts in this series will highlight research from a special issue that focused on how young children engage with technology and ways...
Three years ago, I launched the @domesticblisters TikTok channel to serve a neurodiverse audience. Short videos on the channel present strategies for accomplishing daily care tasks. For all the ADHD information swirling around social media, very little addresses how the simple tasks of living are sometimes the hardest for us. Cleaning, doing dishes, folding piles...
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