This is the transcript for the first episode of The Endy Enby podcast, including my experience getting diagnosed with ADHD. Every podcast episode will have the transcript on the website so you can read, listen, or both!
Hey everyone, I’m the Endy Enby, and welcome to the first episode of my podcast! In this episode, I’m going to talk a bit about who I am, why I wanted to start this podcast, and give a bit of background information about the things that I’ll be talking about in the future of this podcast, namely ADHD and being non-binary. This podcast isn’t just for people who are non-binary and/or neurodivergent, though obviously all y’all are more than welcome here. This podcast is for anyone, whether you know someone in one of these categories, are questioning things yourself, just want to learn, or love the soothing sound of my voice. The Endy Enby is for everyone.
So to start off, my name. Endy comes from the abbreviation ND, which means neurodivergent. I’m going to do a whole episode down the line about the neurodiversity movement and neurodivergence, but basically neurodivergence covers a whole bunch of disorders, like dyslexia, autism, and what I have, ADHD. There isn’t a noun form of ADHD the way you can say “I am autistic” or “I am dyslexic,” you can’t say “I am ADHD.” Well, you can, but it’s not exactly grammatically correct. Plus, there’s a whole lot of overlap between ADHD and autism and I’m currently trying to figure out if I have both or just ADHD, so ND is a good catch-all there.
Now, enby is the noun form of non-binary, N-B, the way you’d say boy or girl. Again, you can say “I am a man,” “I am a woman,” but you can’t say “I am a non-binary.” You have to add “person,” say “I am a non-binary person.” Now, not every non-binary person likes to be called an enby, some people find it infantalizing, so just because I like the term and refer to myself as an enby, don’t go calling every non-binary person an enby.
So there’s the name, The Endy Enby, the neurodivergent and non-binary person. If at this point you’re thinking “wait what’s ADHD, what’s non-binary, I’m already lost,” I have a primer on my website that you might find helpful, cuz while I will be talking about my story, which might help you understand some, this isn’t going to be a “trans 101” class or anything.
Alright, moving on. So, I have ADHD-C, or ADHD combined type, which means that I express traits of both the hyperactive and impulsive form of ADHD, usually called ADHD-HI or ADHD-PH, primary hyperactive, and the inattentive form of ADHD, ADHD-I or ADHD-PI. We used to also called that one ADD. I was diagnosed just before my 21st birthday, following 8 years of treatment for persistent depressive disorder. Fun!
Basically, I never got diagnosed earlier because I wasn’t a hyperactive boy who disrupted class and refused to do schoolwork. I was an honors kid, an overachiever to the point of my own detriment, a teacher’s pet, and I was assumed to be a girl, we’ll get to that. Girls and boys have ADHD and autism at similar rates, they’re just vastly underdiagnosed in non-men, cuz of this whole cyclical thing of “less women get diagnosed, and less non-binary people get diagnosed, so then they think that there are more boys and men who have it, so then they continue to diagnose non-men less.” It’s a whole thing. Basically, based on the stereotypes and what most people think ADHD looks like, I was the polar opposite.
I’d had some conversations with therapists over the years about the possibility of me having ADHD, but my mom and I always brushed it aside; again, I was a straight-A honors student, no problems with test-taking, etc, there was no way. Then I got to college. Still a good student, but now I was starting to struggle a bit more. Classes were a bit more difficult, I couldn’t really figure out how to study since I’d never needed to in the past, but I was thriving socially, finally able to be “myself.” Ya see, as a kid and teen, I was that weird kid. I ate lunches alone, I was always last picked for groups and partners, etc. I was…a lot. I was energetic and passionate but I was also really awkward. I would say the wrong thing at the wrong time, I would struggle to not act on my impulses; now this is starting to sound more like ADHD, right?
As a kid, my ADHD manifested itself in my social life, not my academic life, but I thought it was like you see on TV, that weird kid underdog who does so much better after high school, that the people at my high school just didn’t understand me, and I guess on some level I was right there. If I wanted to be liked, I had to hide who I was, and that got exhausting, so I didn’t. And I paid the price by not really having too many friends. This might sound familiar to anyone familiar with autism; it’s called masking, and I’m going to talk about masking in a future episode about the overlap and relationship between ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder. But once I got to college, I found places where I didn’t have to mask.
The fact that I had the energy of a tour guide at an undergraduate university shouting about my school pride was fine, because now I was an undergraduate at a large university where my passion and involvement would lead me to people like me, though I never did become a tour guide. I made friends, joined clubs, and thrived in my classes, well, after I failed chemistry and switched majors. This idea of ADHD was there, and my mom and I had both done a little more research and had some more discussions, but we both agreed that since I was doing fine with my current therapy and antidepressants, and I didn’t need accommodations, it didn’t really matter if I actually had ADHD or not.
Then I got to junior year. Two major things happened there. The first was my girlfriend broke up with me. Now, there’s this little thing that lots of people with ADHD experience but that only has been talked about more recently and openly, and it’s still not something that people who don’t have ADHD or don’t know they have ADHD associate it with, called rejection sensitive dysphoria. Unrelated to gender dysphoria, RSD is an inability to handle real or perceived rejection well, no matter how badly I want to, and I could not stand losing my girlfriend. I was a mess. Now, my ADHD isn’t the only thing that contributed to me taking the breakup so hard, but when you have an understimulated brain, it’s gonna have a tendency to latch onto any sort of stimulation, good or bad. And I think anyone who’s been through a rough breakup could certainly say they’re stimulating.
Around this time, I came across a Facebook page called ADHD Alien. Breakup was September, ADHD Alien I discovered in October. Now, mindfulness meditation is great and I have always felt like a failure at it. I cannot just push thoughts out of my head, I can’t just accept and acknowledge them as they come and send them on their way like a boat on the ocean or something. I have too many thoughts! I remember finding out that other people were able to have moments where they don’t have a constant train of thought, and I was just floored. My brain literally never shuts up! It’s annoying, if you think I’m annoying, imagine never being able to turn me off!
But anyway, this comic, it was four panels and showed a girl with alien antennae talking about how meditation frustrates her, but that video games have done more to relax her than meditation ever could. And something clicked. Yeah, we’d considered the possibility of ADHD, but some part of me still felt like there was no way, wouldn’t I have known by now. Even if i did it didn’t matter…but this comic hit the nail on the head. Pina, the author of ADHD Alien, was using Animal Crossing to relax; I’m a huge video game nerd, and Animal Crossing is one of my favorite relaxing titles. New Horizons really helped get me through 2020. I started scrolling through Pina’s page, and like any normal person, ended up reading every single one of her comics in one sitting and crying.
I sent Pina’s comics to my mom, my therapist, my friends, basically everyone who could tell me if they agreed, I was just like the girl in the comics. And I was. At this point, it was a relief to know that there might be an answer to all my inner turmoil, my strong emotions, my forgetfulness, my impulsiveness etc. And so I made an appointment with a psychiatrist right then and there! Yeah, not quite. See, making someone who has memory problems and executive function issues have to make a doctor’s appointment with a new doctor, which is already scary, when the person is in one of the most depressive states of their life, not really gonna go super well.
It took me until March–remember, we were in October at this point–it took me until March to actually get my diagnosis. I think I finally called in later January. Luckily, I was able to be seen fairly soon by a lovely Russian man, and when I made the appointment over the phone, his secretary told me that the appointment would need to be paid in cash. Which, of course, I forgot. So I went from being nervous but excited about this process to sobbing and speeding to the nearest gas station atm, frantically withdrawing money and hoping to get back in time to actually make the appointment, because you can’t rely on a person you’re assessing for a memory disorder to remember things!
Anyway, got the money, all was good, told the doc my epiphany and how past therapists had thought I had ADHD too, he asked why I hadn’t gotten diagnosed sooner, I explained it all to him, and I will never forget his response, as I was sitting there spilling out my life story and twisting back and forth on his office chair, and no, I will not be attempting a Russian accent, he said “I could tell you had ADHD just from talking with you for five minutes.” Which was both hilarious and incredibly validating.
He sent me out to the waiting room with some forms, all of which are available online by the way, I’m gonna try to find them to link on my website, if I can find a legal version that won’t get me in trouble for posting them, but one was about ADHD symptoms impacting quality of life, and one was about severity of symptoms.** Again, even with this knowledge that I very obviously had ADHD, I still didn’t think that it was that bad, I still thought I had to have pretty mild ADHD because of my bias towards my academic progress. I scored almost the maximum on both tests. Now that’s not to say that someone who scored lower couldn’t also have severe ADHD, but when I saw these things that I thought were just totally normal parts of my life like turbulent relationships or my impressive ability to lose things, I realized how much happier I could be. Now I’m not going to get into the whole “is ADHD a superpower” argument right now; there are good aspects, sure, but being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world is really difficult, and for me, it’s difficult in general. But that’s ok, I’m not ashamed of it, obviously, I’m doing a podcast on it.
So, with a prescription for Vyvanse in my hand, and as many questions as I had answers, I left and sobbed some more in my car, this time overjoyed that I had a path to start on to actually feel better. That was the beginning of March 2020. You may recall that some other major things also happened in March 2020, so I had plenty of time to reflect on myself and my shiny new diagnosis! Disclaimer, a doctor’s diagnosis is not the be-all and end-all. Doctors can get it wrong and diagnoses can be inaccessible, and I’ll be talking about that in a future episode.
So, I’ve got ADHD. Now, for the gender part. I’m non-binary, a realization with a much less interesting story than my ADHD, so this is gonna be shorter. Basically I’ve known I was bisexual since I was in middle school, shout out to my bis, and I started going to an LGBTQ+ youth group in high school. That was my first exposure to non-binary people, and it was not the lightbulb moment I had with ADHD Alien. It was more like 4 years of “am I…? No, I can’t be! But…what it..?” It felt more like whack-a-mole. I always had an excuse. I was a feminist (I still am), I loved makeup and dresses (I still do), I didn’t have dysphoria (or so I thought until I learned about gender euphoria and different ways that dysphoria can look), I wouldn’t want to transition anyway so what would be the point in making things harder for myself by coming out (transitioning is not just a medical thing), but no matter what excuses I had, I couldn’t get the thought out of my head, for years.
But the truth is, I did not want to be non-binary. Not because of internalized transphobia, ok maybe a bit of internalized transphobia, but mostly because being trans in a cis world, much like being neurodivergent in a neurotypical world, can kinda suck! But I started using all pronouns at college…and then just she/they…and then just they. I started going by my more gender-neutral nickname as my name, I shaved my hair into the stereotypical non-binary androgynous haircut, not intentionally, and sophomore year of college I got my first binder.
In short, that’s my gender story. I’m not gonna justify my gender here, I’m not going to get into any “two gender” arguments here; over time, you’ll probably get more answers as to “why” I identify this way, I’m sure, if that’s what you’re looking for, but the short answer is it makes me happiest, and that’s what matters. Obviously, there’s a ton more to me than my neurodivergence and gender. I’m studying for my Master’s right now, I love video games, I have a pet hognose snake named Sausage, but my gender and my neurodivergence are two massive parts of who I am, and they define me just as much as my major or my hobbies do. I started this for two main reasons.
One, this is a niche I didn’t see filled. There’s lots of stuff out there about non-binary people, there’s a lot of stuff about ADHD (ok maybe I’m being a bit generous using “lots” for those two), but I didn’t see anything about the intersection. I’m very open about my life experiences, being a chronic oversharer, and if I help even just one person understand something they didn’t before with this podcast, I think that’s a job well done.
The other reason I started this is that I’m a Master’s student and being a Master’s student is not cheap! So, if you like what I have to offer, I have a Patreon and a Kofi! I’m The Endy Enby on both, please only donate if you have the funds to do so, but it would be incredibly helpful, any amount whether it’s monthly on Patreon or once on Kofi. My first goal is to get an actual mic so I sound less…bad. This is a 20 dollar gaming headset that I’m recording on, so it’d be great to have a stand-alone. Currently, I’m aiming for monthly podcasts and posts, if I get enough donations and/or have enough time to record, it might be more, we’ll see! But in the meantime, thank you all so so much for listening, I’ve been the Endy Enby, and I’ll talk to you soon!
**Author’s Note: I couldn’t find the tools without the copyright attached but they are available online. The ones I did were called the ASRS (Adult ADHD Self Report Scale) and and AAQoL (Adult ADHD Quality of Life). I’m not saying you should go Google these and download yourself, but if you were to find these easy-to-access PDFs and fill them out, remember that they’re just a general tool. You could come back with low scores and still have ADHD, you could come back with high scores and not have ADHD. It’s just to give you an idea.Like this content? Share it!