WARNING: This has absolutely nothing to do with tech, short of a mention of GitHub.

First, I need to give credit to something I never in a million years thought I would be crediting: Twitter. Specifically pre-Musk Twitter, but anyway. Second, and more importantly, a person: Jaana Dogan. I’m linking to her GitHub profile because a. she’s a Distinguished Engineer there b. it’s less weird. Not like she’s ever going to read this blog anyway, but it still seems more polite.

I don’t remember what post of hers popped up that made me follow her, but it was her later discussions on ADHD that gave me pause. Theretofore, I hadn’t considered it. I knew that I daydreamed a lot, that I was easily bored, and that I performed much better under pressure. I thought that was just normal. Yet here was a person rattling of symptoms, and how much better and easier things were once diagnosed and properly supported with medicine. I took an online survey (self-diagnoses of mental issues are, of course, notoriously perfect), and was mildly surprised to see that I hit nearly all of them. Being of sound mind (well…), I opted to ignore this.

As though the universe was speaking to me (or, you know, brains finding patterns where none exist), at some point shortly after that, the song “Help” by the 2000s-era band Papa Roach came onto my Spotify playlist, and I’ll be damned if it didn’t speak to me. After a few more days of introspection, I made an appointment with a psych, who quickly confirmed my self-assessment. ADHD, primarily inattentive type. I got put on Adderall XR, and that was that (not really; there were and continue to be many follow-up visits with various tweaks and check-ins, but the end result is the same).

It is life-changing. I can’t begin to describe how much easier and better life is when your brain is working normally. Previously, I was pretty good at work with things I cared about, mostly because I would not let them go until I’d solved them. But boring stuff, like Jira work? Ugh, pass - day after day, until it’s due, and then panic and get it done in an hour. Or my Master’s Report at UT - I didn’t exactly procrastinate, but I definitely didn’t make that much progress, and with about one month left, I realized that my entire approach had to be discarded. This time crunch - three months of work in one - was enough to get me to work tirelessly on it until it was done. But as I said, that was the before times. Now, I can just, you know, focus. I can and do still hyper-focus on things that deeply interest me, but if something just has to be done, I get it done.

If this resonates with you, I implore you to get a professional opinion. It might just change your life.