I often wish I felt as confident as my professional head-shot portrays. I see that photo and think, “That woman’s got it together. She’s solid in her truth, knows her shit, and I want to be her.” Ironically, only one of those three statements is true, and even that one flickers in and out like a bad lightbulb.
Nearly a year ago I began a 2e Tuesday post, lamenting my lack of focused attention, convinced that I had ADD. Said post took me over a month to write. Fun fact: I’ve been working on this one for the last ten. My stats are not improving here.
Last February I poked around in my health insurance coverage, realized that neuropsych testing was covered (and that we’d hit our deductible woohoo), and got myself a referral. My attention (and psyche, mind, soul, etc) was thrashed and I needed some answers. I can manage nearly anything but I needed to know what path I was on before I could map out how I needed to get to where I wanted to go. So in I went for a full day of testing, and a week later sat down with the neuropsychologist to review the results.
tl;dr I do not have ADD. Color me surprised, but only one shade, because imma gonna need all the other crayons in the large Crayola box to color in all the other surprises I got from that testing. A veritable rainbow of interesting surprises.
Mild to moderate depression (and in this day and age, I dare you to find me anyone who doesn’t have mild to moderate depression), high stress related to the daily balancing of all the flaming chainsaws of life, general fatigue, and seasonal affective disorder. No big surprises here. The main surprise was that I apparently have crazy fast processing speed, something I did not see coming. On one of the tests, I don’t remember which one, my score was impressively high for an 18 year old; for a woman in her mid-40s it was stunning. The psychologist had never heard of someone getting as far as fast on that exam, and she sat and watched it happen. Alrighty then, fast processing speed might explain a few things. Like why I have such a hard time shutting down my brain, like why I can never get things done as quickly as I can plan them out (and probably why I tend to grossly underestimate how long it will take to do something), like why I prefer reading over watching a movie (I read really fast and unless I’m in the mood, movies are too slow). As I understand it, I don’t have ADD, I just have a brain that moves faster than the rest of me (including the brain itself) and gets pissed off having to wait around. No wonder I like sight-reading; I can just go.
Nearly everything was average to well above average, with the notable exception of nonverbal fluency (ability to generate unique designs on a nonverbal fluency task), which was in the low average range. I don’t even remember what task this was, which I’m blaming on the months since the task and chuckling lightly at the irony.
All this, roiling under the calm surface of that headshot.
Some days I feel like that photo, confident and steady. Most other days I’m a hot mess inside, outside, upside down. So many women work to make their outsides match their insides, but I feel the urge to do the opposite. Tame the inner chaos a touch to match the outer confidence. Just a touch.