There's a common misconception about ADHD that only children can suffer from it. But adults have it as well. Adult ADHD symptoms may not be as clear since the hyperactivity may decrease, but struggles with impulsiveness, restlessness, and difficulty paying attention may remain. Also, many adults with this disorder aren't even aware they have it — they just know that everyday tasks can be a challenge.
Pina, a 29-year-old artist from Germany has been living with ADHD for a while now. "I'm a freelance illustrator and visual development artist for Animation but in true ADHD manner, I have studied graphic design, of which I dropped out, and game design, in which I graduated." Pina is currently juggling quite a few artistic endeavors, including a comic series dedicated exclusively to ADHD.
"I had been suspecting that I have ADHD ever since I was struggling and developing anxiety at university," she told Bored Panda. "It wasn't until my life fell apart being a self-organized freelance artist that I started to seek help and eventually received my ADHD diagnosis at 28."
"I started therapy when I struggled with university and it helped me only a little bit, [mostly] with my anxiety and depression. However, my ADHD went unconfirmed because according to the therapist I was seeing at the time, 'I didn't drop out of university yet, so I can't have ADHD.'"
"After being told I couldn't have ADHD because I was too quiet and smart, I started journaling my behavior, using techniques from therapy to analyze them. I was able to piece things together when I started researching ADHD, reading any book or paper I could find and watching endless amounts of videos. Self-help groups and talking to my doctors has helped me strengthen my knowledge. One of my favorite resources is Dr. Russel Barkley’s talks."
Now, Pina takes ADHD medication and visits self-help groups. "[These things] have turned my life around completely."
"Seeing other people like me at the self-help groups was eye-opening," she said. "[It was] the first time I felt like a legitimate human being, so I wanted to share this feeling through my art. I finally started the comic after being told by a respected fellow artist that everyone is a little bit ADHD nowadays. It made me so mad that people would judge ADHD without knowing what it really is or what we 'aliens' struggle with that I couldn't stop myself from drawing."
"My comics can't tell anyone if they have ADHD or not, but they might help someone understand the struggles they've had and give them courage to seek a diagnosis."
"What I talk about in my comics is so shunned upon and made me feel embarrassed all my life and I just want my fellow Aliens to know they're not alone. Even though not everyone with ADHD is like me or makes the same experiences, we all suffer from the same stigma."
"If there is something I could tell everyone, it would be that even if you relate to the problems and can overcome them, it doesn't mean that everyone else can. ADHD symptoms are a question of severity and can prevent people from living life the way they want to."