“Growing up, Hannah Gadsby always felt she was different. She struggled to read social cues, she had trouble applying for jobs, and spent a few living in a tent and doing farm labor. But Gadsby, who’s from Tasmania, had always been funny. On a whim, in 2006 she entered a stand-up comedy competition — and won.
“I’d never held a microphone before. … I’d never even been to a comedy show — but all of a sudden, I kind of knew what I was doing,” she says. “As soon as I told my first joke … it really made people engage with me, and I held the audience in my hand.”
Gadsby embarked on a comedy career in Australia, but she still felt out of place. It wasn’t until 2016, when she was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder that things started to make sense.
“It shifted the way that I understood myself,” Gadsby says of the diagnosis. “I was always operating on the false premise that everyone saw the world like I did.””
From “The truth about the symptoms“:
“When I search for information on ADHD symptoms, I keep finding the same list, a sum-up of all the things ADHD brains suffer from, impulsiveness, disorganization, poor time management, problems focussing, trouble multitasking, excessive activity, poor planning, low frustration tolerance, frequent mood swings, problems completing tasks, hot temper, trouble coping with stress… When I look at this list I see the things that are mostly visible to the world around me, the things that frustrate neurotypical brains about ADHD brains, the things that make ADHD brains different and unappreciated in everyday life, for other people. For sure the symptoms on this list bothered me, but they are not the things that are causing the everyday trouble I’m experiencing because of my ADHD.
After 27 years of living with myself and my ADHD I know I have these symptoms, I know how I have to handle them, how I can, and have, changed things in my life to deal with these symptoms. For me the real struggle, the real fight with my ADHD is not fighting these symptoms, it is in how both ADHD and the fight with ADHD changed me, how the symptoms had an effect on my life and personality, and how I am shaped by this effect rather than by the actual symptoms. In this blog I want to write about what this general list of ADHD symptoms has given me, and what it has taken from me. How managing the symptoms meant giving away some parts of myself I did like, and gaining some parts that I’m not happy about.”