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This is the adulting with ADHD podcast, self-empowerment for women with ADHD. Today, we have a very special guest. We have a writer and musician based out of Kenya, Joseph Gitau. How are you doing today this morning?
I’m good. How are you, Sarah?
Is it evening right now where you’re at?
Just becomeing evening, actually
Just becoming evening, yeah. Okay. It’s morning over here. I’ve met you on Twitter ADHD. Twitter’s very lively these days and I just rediscovered it. It’s amazing.
Yes, it is. It’s actually a very interesting space, especially when, for like people who just accept their diagnosis and also who were just recently diagnosed. It’s very beautiful. It’s such a very accepting place. Yeah.
I’ve noticed that. Do you want to get into a little bit of your diagnosis story? A little bit of background on you?
Uh, so I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 13. Um, as for about five years … then later at 16 I had to confirm this with my mom because, um, I’ve always been under the assumption that I was diagnosed with bipolar 2 at the end of the high school. Cause she’s like, no. So yeah, I got diagnosed with bipolar-bipolar. It wasn’t like, I wasn’t told whether it was like, it was just last year. Okay. Yeah. Last year. Cause I guess so early last year, I, the doctor I’m seeing now out of curiosity, I just asked him, so do you know whether I have bipolar one or bipolar two? And he’s like, okay. Yeah, this is more intensive than bipolar one. So that’s how I ended up.
Okay. Great. Yeah. I used to have bipolar two diagnosis as well, and then they later figured out it was ADHD, but yeah, I’m very surface level familiarity with bipolar two. What is the difference between the two?
From what I gather from friends and relatives who have bipolar as well, it’s more the intensity of the moods and how often do these shift. Very rapid, like two weeks, a month, like I’d be shifting, within that period of time. So , bipolar 2, it’s [inaudible] less, less shifting.
Okay. Okay. Yeah, that makes sense. Um, and so when you, um, when you were diagnosed with bipolar, um, I might’ve missed that part. You may have said it, but was it your, was it your idea or did someone suggest to look into it or did you take the initiative?
Uh, no. When remember when I was there, I was still a minor.
Oh, so your parents were in,
So I guess ended up, I was in hospital, with the doctor and he looked at my previous diagnosis and he was like, yeah, yeah, no, this is bipolor not oppositional defiant disorder or definitely not [inaudible] they mad a secondary diagnosis. Doctors had been working with previous people.
Okay. So you said both, so both were around the same time you were young. Oh, gotcha. Okay. Uh, okay. So, um, you were 13, So how did that, how did it feel getting that, that diagnosis? How did you have a particular reaction to it? Or were you just like whatever or how did that feel?
Well, I wasn’t like whatever, but I was definitely like, yeah, this is not right. This is definitely not something that’s happening right now. I just started high school. Like there’s no way that I’ll be like positively called the brilliant kids. Your house is like, you’re like, no way you don’t need this me EBT. So I’m just saying, you know what, I’m gonna put this to the side I’m going to yeah. And I’m just, you know, and
So yeah, that, that tracks that I could totally understand that. So then when you, when you revisited it and you finally, you know, reached that acceptance phase, how, how, how did that feel for you when you finally decided you were gonna accept?
It’s kind of like a little bit, because I think by the time I accepted it, but I think, yeah, I think you have university, which we went 20. Yeah. That’s about seven, eight years of my ADHD diagnosis. So at that point I was just like, it’s like a weight has been lifted off my head, but at the same time, it’s like all that from just fighting it. I keep on like that. So now the worst part about being hit with that, Justin, at the time I used to teach, I was just [inaudible] by my degree. Um, what, a lot of what I don’t mention a lot in my blog and Twitter is that when I went to university, I wasn’t going to as a, as a enjoy music course or writing policy, I initially joined the university of the arts as a business major. Oh yeah. After one year when it, but yeah, I actually ended up accepting my dad was this I’d actually just switched to it.
Oh, interesting. Yeah.
Yeah. So all those types of just like, so I think I did business for one year and from the time I switched to the time I initially dropped out because I ended up years ago, it was about four years. So, so effectively, but it’s about five years.
And so what was it, the pressure of school that kind of made you come to acceptance or the difficulties you were having in school?
Yes. Cool. Well, first of all, there’s not a very good bus mental health policy in Kenya to get to starting to build a robust one because sadly you’ve had a lot of old, um, suicides in Kenya, especially with students, particularly high school children, students. So then started going towards a health policy. It’s I mean, when I joined university, it was not in place. And a lot of them, a lot of them count mental health and physical health. So a lot of their work you’ve taken care of people with physical disabilities. So we don’t need to be the same people with disabilities. Yeah. Secondly it’s and then second of all, my grades were starting to dip because, um, after my first year, I think 2.8 people in seven, I had a high GPA by the time I dropped out, I think all that at one time, somewhere around there. So I was definitely eluded to the GPA that’s required to graduate. And on top of that, I was on academic patient.
Yes. I’ve been on that too. Yeah.
Yeah. So one of the, one of my biggest issues going back to the positive is if I go back to the university eight, eight effective, he helped one semester to get my act together. And if I don’t get done that one semester effectively of,
That’s not the kind of question one. So that’s why I’ve been the so long ago that I’ll make a, I don’t want to flunk out because that looks bad on me. And I don’t want to go back to 18, which again, not exactly.
Maybe you’re passionate. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Uh, pressure. Definitely. In my experience, probably yours pressure just makes the execution even worse. The more pressure you’re on, it’s like adding fuel to the fire. It’s like, Oh gosh, I can’t even think straight. It’s like, I totally get that. I’m glad you brought up your, your music and your art because you write beautifully how, how that’s impacted your experience. And I wanted you to talk a bit about that and how, how that plays into your, your mental health experience.
It’s ugly. Right. It’s actually very interesting. So I’ve been doing music effectively since, before I was diagnosed, I started music when I was [inaudible] I started music when I was seven that’s when I started playing the violin. So yeah. I’ve been doing music for about 20 years. Yeah. 20 years. Cause he says he just turned 27. So yes it has. Yes. Oh, so what I realized is I use a lot of my creative outlets as, you know, kind of like a way to express what the person. So that’s like, if you have like a lot of my, especially my poetry record is actually waves. Um, you get, you look at a lot by poetry. You can actually tell you what it’s like. If there’s someone who is lovely, you’ll find a point that they judge, you find a point for that in more feeling depressive, find a point for that. Um, so a lot of that has, was like that outlet that, um, singing and the bilingual million outlets in terms of motions and be able to balance like watch, I feel and not necessarily be able to talk with people about what I feel, because sometimes you feel like it might become a bit too much.
Right. That, that is something I wanted to ask you about is, um, you, you do also write about your, your difficulty opening up. Um, talk a little bit about that. Why do you think it’s difficult to open up? Or are you referring to friends or family or both?
Um, I’d say a mixture of both. Um, but he has been very supportive of me. Um, I’m currently living with my grandmother. This is like that kind of support, I guess, for my family. It’s I can’t do big things up or be part of it, but in similar friends, a lot of like my closest friends, like for my blog, I do mention like my best friend. She would, one of the reasons why I, like, I started talking about my issues and I started taking it seriously because she was very understanding about my struggles. And even my closest friends, they are very understanding. They’re very good walk with me. Oh, the thing is when the thing, I think why if I get hard because not a lot of people understand the struggles we go through. Um, the, the neuro gave us the squad hashtag on Twitter. I think it’s like the reason I find it so openly and etc is because when people know, understand what you want to go a different aspect than someone who hasn’t, but you know, particularly blunt to it. So like you to tell something, you have ADP, they’re like, uh, what has it been AB 10 years?
They’re like, Hey, everyone has a bit of like pooling. You know, you just need to suck it up. He don’t, those are the kind of, that’s why it’s very hard for me to open up. It was very hard for me to stop getting up. And it’s also very hard. That’s why a lot of people find it hard to talk about their experiences as not just [inaudible] look at autism, schizophrenia, dementia, all of them it’s the same. I think they’re all in the same boat when it comes to get things that open up about our experiences.
Yeah. Cause I’m being dismissed, being dismissed or, or not having that understanding that this is an actual thing. And so I agree with you, like having that shared experience on Twitter, really, it also filled a void for me cause it’s just like, um, it also takes, right. It takes a lot of energy to have to explain to people who don’t understand or it’s like all this stuff you have to get over this Hill before you’re on the same page. But on Twitter it’s like right off the bat, it’s like shorthand, you immediately, you know, have this shared understanding.
Yeah. Yeah. I think especially with ADHD, when you have that full many different terminologies, because when you said [inaudible] versus ABC high biopsy was 80 people buying someone, someone looking from the outset, we’d be like, what’s the difference? What’s going on? Like, yeah. That’s actually about people. Have we moved too fast? Yes. Right. I wouldn’t say necessarily interest but interest. Oh. I think a while back, I actually posted a picture of my major folder and I think I had like 10 different flavors at the time goals, goals, rules, and the dislike. When does it stop bullying?
Right, right. There’s no end. It doesn’t stop. That’s yeah. It’s incredible. And it is good. Not to have to feel like you have to explain all that. And it’s like, people immediately are just like, got it. No need to explain. You know, I don’t know about you, but I catch myself explaining myself a lot too. Um, neurotypicals like, you know, especially spouse, my spouse, you know, uh, it’s just like, there’s always this an aside of like, by the way, the reason I did that was because, you know, and it’s just like constant, you know? So it’s, it’s really cool just to hang out on Twitter and not have to worry about all that energy of, you know, translating yourself to normal, normal people, neuro typical people. Where can people find you online and read your, your blogs and poetry
And all your projects? Uh, so you never actually I’ll let me just go. I might change it, but you can find everything I do on Twitter. There’s actually a multi link on my, in my bio. Okay. This is what I can swipe. And that’s so normal. Like isn’t this actually the most recent one you can find there multiple things like my blog at [inaudible] dot wordpress.com. Okay. Again, my mental health when they get along today, um, a lot of my novels, my novellas slash snowballs. I post them to what part, which, uh, uh, not having quite Jean or what’s my 10 name. You can find me. You can find me there. You can also find me on Instagram at [inaudible]. Okay. So yeah. So those are normally the ones that operate as, you know, want to get out there and then also to channel miss, miss [inaudible]. Yeah. They should also be in the aggregate, updated it to add my YouTube channel, but it’s strictly back bedroom.
Yes. Also. And I’ll be sure to include these in the description as well, so people can find them. Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Joseph. I really enjoyed talking to you and I I’ll see you on Twitter. All right. Take care. Bye bye.