Writing more about chronic illness and giant lizards (ADHD)

I had recently set my blog to “private” for a couple weeks. Mostly to ponder why I felt bothered about it. And to decide if I wanted to keep going – and if so, what would that look like? My blog isn’t big or popular, I assume it’s mostly read by friends or family, and a bunch of acquaintances on Facebook (hi folks!). I don’t have a professional life tied to blogging. One could wonder that I had anything much to be concerned about. If very few people are reading what you write, then what’s to vex you?

I don’t write deeply personal things, but I do write general stuff about family life, which I realized I’m just not comfortable with anymore (no offense, internet). I’ve decided to save that either for Facebook or a family newsletter. I love writing it, but there isn’t any reason for it to be public.

The giant lizard in the room.

I’d still like to keep writing here, though. I’m going to shift over to writing more about the two things that have impacted my life the most. For the last decade, that would be living with a chronic illness (fibromyalgia). For the last 44 years, it’d be living with ADHD. I have written about chronic illness several times. I have never written about ADHD. I’ve brought it up a few times on Facebook, but in general it’s something I work hard to hide about myself, which is ironic because it’s something that is so completely visible over the scope of my life.

It’s like if you have this friend who is constantly running away from – what’s that giant monster that’s always plaguing Tokyo? <googles….GODZILLA> Yes, okay. In our metaphor, Tokyo is life, and Godzilla is ADHD. So this person is just constantly running around Tokyo. One spot to the next. Everywhere they go, Godzilla eventually shows up and levels whatever they were trying to build or do, whatever job they had, whatever big life decision they’d made, whatever organizational system they’d set up, whatever infrastructure in their own life they were trying to build so they could function like everyone else. They’re constantly dealing with it. Every aspect of their life, from going to college to finding their keys to keeping up with friends to feeding themselves with anything like a rational diet on anything like a rational schedule, is affected by trying to outsmart this giant lizard that will, if it catches up to them, undo in a flash everything they’ve tried to accomplish. And finally they’re, oh heck – let’s say in their mid-40’s, and you look at their life and you’re like, “So wow, you’ve been all over this map, constantly going from one thing to the next. What’s that like?”

And they say, “Oh, I just have a lot of hobbies.”

That’s me. Not that anyone is demanding an accounting of things (my friends and family are nice people). And not that I don’t have a lot of hobbies. I do. But just….that is so not the whole story. That’s nothing like the whole story.

I’m not sure how to start writing about this (maybe I just did), but I want to start. It’s kind of funny to say in the same post, “I won’t be writing about family life because that’s personal and there’s no need for it to be public,” but then say, “And SO, I’ll be writing about my health, and the biggest mental hurdle I face, which has affected my whole life and filled me with shame and/or self-doubt and/or frustration on a near-weekly basis since I was a kid.” Because that makes sense.

I’ve repeatedly heard two pieces of writing advice: write what you know, and write what you want to read. I don’t think there’s enough written about ADHD and how it affects people, especially women. I wish that more were out there. And I don’t think there’s enough about fibromyalgia/chronic illness, either.

Maybe I can contribute something. It’s worth a shot.