April Jeppson: My brain works differently than most others
Published at 20:45 on Friday 18 November 2022
Every little thing by April Jeppson
I’ve been known to create spreadsheets and do hours of research into things I may or may never do. I aim, I aim, I aim, I aim and I rarely shoot. I think about every possible question, problem and solution. The inner workings of my mind can be incredibly fast when it comes to predicting the future and potential outcomes. It’s not stressful, it’s just the way I think. However, I’m learning that this may be the anxiety that drives me to over-prepare.
I like to think I use my powers for good. God has blessed me with a mind that works a little differently than others. When I was a kid, I used to run with it. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I thought everyone had racing thoughts. I thought everyone’s brain worked like Doctor Strange or Sherlock Holmes. Isn’t everyone watching how the people around them behave so they can mimic those same behaviors and adapt?
As I got older, I saw my different ways as unique and used these resources to my advantage. I mastered the things that came easy to me. I knew what my strengths were and I exploited them.
On the flip side, there are things I’m awful at. Normal daily tasks that I really struggle with. For years, I beat myself up and considered myself lazy for not being able to master these tasks as well as I could master others. It really does something for your self-esteem when you believe that if you just tried harder, you’d be successful at x, y, and z.
As I said before, I have ADHD. If you think this is just something for hyperactive kids who don’t listen in class, I encourage you to read it a bit. In fact, I encourage you to read up on all sorts of different mental illnesses/disorders. Here are some to start studying: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, autism…
The more I learn, the more empowered I feel. The knowledge has been extremely helpful when working with my mental health. Being able to recognize why my thought patterns are going in a certain direction or why I have responded to a situation the way I have. It helps me not be so hard on myself. I am also able to set myself up for success whenever possible.
Learning about these different issues also helps when interacting with colleagues and friends. While there is a plethora of information out there and even celebrity advocates, there is still a stigma surrounding mental health. People have been trained to try harder and don’t realize there is a chemical imbalance in their brain. No amount of harder effort will change that, just like no amount of harder effort will regrow an amputee’s legs.
One of the many benefits of my prescription is that I am able to finish the activities I have started. I’m sure it sounds like a very insignificant win, but to me it’s huge. I am currently trying to rewrite my self-talk. I’m not lazy, my brain works differently. I know there are just some things that are going to be harder and harder for me, and that’s okay. I don’t need to try harder, I need to find ways that work better for me. And when I find friends and colleagues who understand, it makes all the difference in the world.
Albert Lean April Jeppson is wife, mom, coach and dream encourager. Her column appears every Saturday.