ARFID, Me and ADHD (with a sprinkle of Autism)

Every person has their own set of challenges, quirks, and characteristics that make them unique. For me, I wear several labels: ADHD, ARFID, hypersensitivity, hypervigilance, and a sprinkle of autism. However, these labels don’t define me; they only enhance my individuality. As a psychotherapist and ADHD coach, I have learnt to embrace my differences and use them to help others navigate their unique life journeys. So, let’s dig a little deeper and explore my personal experiences with these different conditions.

Unravelling My Layers: ADHD and Me

Most of us have heard of ADHD by now. The term stands for Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. It’s a neurodevelopmental condition and it’s an integral part of who I am. It’s like a roller coaster ride – peaks of emotions, sharp turns of impulsivity and a whole lot of whirlwind thoughts. But here’s the kicker – I consider it my superpower!

Why a superpower, you may ask? Well, ADHD gives me a unique view of the world. It opens my mind to think beyond the conventional, enables me to crack problems with a creative twist and, most importantly, it helps me form a deep connection with my clients who are in the same boat. See, as an ADHD coach, having first-hand experience with this condition allows me to truly understand the struggles my clients face and guide them effectively.

So, in many ways, my ADHD is a blessing in disguise. It makes my day-to-day life a bit more vibrant, a bit more unpredictable and a lot more interesting. Plus, it equips me with the tools to be a better coach for my clients, helping them turn their ADHD into their own superpower. Life with ADHD is not just a roller coaster ride, it’s an exciting adventure and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Navigating Through Life with ARFID

So, let’s talk about ARFID. It’s not as well-known as ADHD, but it’s just as big a part of my life. Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder is more than just being a fussy eater. It’s like being at war with your food. It’s looking at a plate and not just seeing what’s for dinner, but feeling a rush of anxiety about the texture, the smell, the colour of what you’re about to eat. It’s a constant balancing act, trying to find foods that don’t trigger that anxiety, but are still nutritious enough to keep you healthy.

The worst part? – social situations! Dinners out, weddings, holiday gatherings, etc…. they can be absolute torture! Having said that, as with all things, you learn to adapt. You discover coping mechanisms, like bringing your own food to gatherings or finding safe foods that you can eat in any situation. It’s a challenge, it really is, but it’s also taught me patience and resilience like nothing else could.

Far more than that though, it’s given me empathy. Understanding what it’s like to live with ARFID has made me more compassionate towards others who struggle with similar food issues. We all have our battles and this one is mine. But it’s also been a way for me to connect with others, to help them navigate their own battles with food. And in a way, that makes it all worth it.

Dealing with Hypersensitivity: A Daily Encounter

Let’s talk about hypersensitivity. It’s like having your senses dialled up to eleven! Imagine walking into a room and feeling overwhelmed by the brightness of the lights, the volume of the chatter, or even the smell of someone’s perfume. It’s like living life on high-definition mode – every sense, every experience amplified. But you know what? It’s not all bad.

Yes, it can be a bit overwhelming at times, but it also has its perks. My hypersensitivity makes me incredibly attuned to the world around me. I can pick up on things that others might not even notice. The subtle changes in someone’s tone of voice, the slight shift in their body language, the hidden emotions behind their words – nothing slips past me. And that’s a pretty nifty trick, especially when you’re a psychotherapist like me.

You see, therapy is all about understanding. It’s about picking up on those tiny details, those subtle cues that tell you more about a person than their words ever could, and that’s where my hypersensitivity really shines. It gives me the ability to connect with my clients on a level that others might not be able to.

So yes, being hypersensitive can be a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Some days, it’s all bright lights and loud noises. But other days, it’s about noticing the details that others miss. It’s about seeing the world in high definition and in the end, it’s these vivid experiences that help me connect with my clients and guide them on their own journeys.

Living on High Alert: My Experience with Hypervigilance

Have you ever had a moment when you can’t shake the feeling that you’ve forgotten something important? Imagine feeling that way, but about practically everything, almost all the time. Welcome to my world. Hypervigilance is kind of like being in a constant state of high alert. Imagine having a built-in alarm system that’s constantly scanning the environment for potential threats or changes.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: sounds pretty exhausting, right? Well, I’m not going to lie – it can be. Always being on high alert can take a toll. But, before you go feeling too sorry for me, let me share the other side of the coin.

This high alertness also means I’m incredibly attentive to details. It’s like having an eagle eye that spots everything, even the smallest change or shift. When it comes to noticing things, I’m your girl! It’s a bit like being a detective, except instead of solving crimes, I’m figuring out people’s thoughts and feelings.

And let’s be honest, in my line of work as a psychotherapist, this trait is kind of a superpower. Being able to pick up on subtle changes in body language, shifts in tone, or unspoken emotions helps me understand my clients better. It gives me insights that I might have missed otherwise and allows me to provide a more personalized, effective therapy.

So, even though hypervigilance can be a bit of a handful, it’s also an invaluable tool in my toolkit. There’s certainly never a dull moment in my life, that’s for sure!

The Touch of Autism: Subtle yet Significant

Finally, let’s talk about my subtle autistic traits. These traits are like the gentle brushstrokes on a painting – you may not notice them at first glance, but they add depth and dimension to the overall masterpiece. My specific routines and special interests aren’t restrictions, they’re my compass, guiding me through life’s complexities with a comforting consistency.

I have to say, these traits aren’t just part of my life, they’re also a massive benefit to my work. Just imagine, being a psychotherapist with a dash of autism. It’s like having an insider’s view into a world that many people struggle to understand. That’s because my subtle autistic traits help me form a deeper connection with my clients who are on the spectrum.

It’s like sharing a secret language, allowing me to provide a more personalized and empathetic approach to therapy. So, in the grand scheme of things, my subtle autism traits aren’t just characteristics, they’re invaluable tools that help me provide the absolute best experience to my clients.

So, there you have it – a glimpse into my world. ADHD, ARFID, hypersensitivity, hypervigilance and a sprinkle of autism. These are my labels, but they’re not limitations. They’re part of my unique journey and have shaped me into the psychotherapist and ADHD coach that I am today. It’s a pretty amazing ride and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

 

Until next time, give yourself space to breathe.

Maggie

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