Woman writing in journal. The page is still empty

The past three months have marked a remarkable transformation in my life. Change has always been a constant companion, a continuous ebb and flow. Sometimes going up and sometimes going down. When I used to tell people about not feeling alright, they often struggled to see the difference. To them, I seemed unchanged.

But now, something has shifted, and people around me can see it too. They say, “You sound different. Your energy is calm.” And it’s true—I feel this newfound calmness within myself. Where ADHD used to define my entire personality, I sense it loosening its grip. It’s not that I’m discrediting the reality of my ADHD, but I’m no longer the caricature I once was.

In the past, I often felt like a loose cannon, perhaps not that extreme, but within my own mind, it felt that way. In recent months, I’ve delved into understanding why this was the case. I realized that my self-image was fragile, leading me to constantly defend myself or sway like an autumn leaf in the wind, absorbing the energy and opinions of those around me. However, as I’m learning to embrace my true self and the responsibility that comes with it, I feel a disconnect from the unhealthy tether that bound me to others.

Don’t get me wrong; I feel more connected than ever, but there’s a newfound presence of my inner self in these interactions. I can finally think for myself while simultaneously listening to others. I stand steady on my feet and no longer feel compelled to defend my self-image because I’ve gained a sense of self-assuredness. It’s not an easy feat. The urge to slip back into that desperate energy still exists, but now I can catch myself in the moment or afterward. And when it’s afterward, I now have ways to return to my true self.

My mantra while writing in my journal has been simple: “What do I want? What do I think?” I repeatedly ask myself this question, sometimes even intentionally thinking the opposite of what the other person wants or having a completely opposing viewpoint. Then, I give myself the time to think. What is it I really think about this?

Another significant change has been the acceptance of my own random thoughts. For some reason (I’m still learning, but it’s all explained in the  book “Adult Children of Emotionally Immature Parents’ book), I used to be ashamed of my own thoughts and would shun them. I wouldn’t allow myself to think, “This is a foolish thing to say of this person,” or “You look like shit today.” Because being kind and liked had become my goal in life. During my teens and twenties, I was often painted as the “bad guy” or a “bitch.” Of course, I never wanted to be that person. So, I punished myself for having those “bad” and “judgy” thoughts, believing they made me a terrible person.

Now that I’ve granted myself permission to have these thoughts and accept them as not necessarily true but valid because, after all, I’m human, I’ve noticed that I’m gentler towards myself and more respectful of my inner self. I’ve come to realize that I can have these thoughts and still be a kind person. I used to bend my own boundaries to appease others because I never thought it was possible to be honest and liked at the same time. Disagreeing was never on my list of acceptable behaviors, which left me with only three options: agree, tirelessly try to convince others of my perspective, or leave the situation, conversation, or even the relationship.

In the past three months, numerous changes have occurred simultaneously, reshaping my perception of both myself and others. It appears that people around me sense this transformation as well, and that’s fricking beautiful. Not only do I feel better, but my loved ones also seem more at ease in my presence. It’s not a simple journey, but I’ve made a promise to myself to actively continue this personal growth, and I intend to keep that promise.