26 March 2023

Hamna, Living with ADHD

Trigger Warning: Mentions of Abuse

“I had to grow up early on, I was the eldest in a family of 5 kids. I to bear the weight of the world on my shoulder” says Hamna who suffers from Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

ADHD includes a combination of persistent problems, such as difficulty sustaining attention, hyperactivity, and impulsive behavior. It is known that it is difficult to identify ADHD in women.

“Sometimes you don’t realize you are stressed since you are trying to survive one day at a time. I worked two jobs. I was living in auto-pilot” Hamna said remembering the days when she struggled to pay rent and pay the bills.

Hamna had been having panic attacks almost every night and no one knew. “I fell apart in the bathroom and stayed like that for five hours and somehow dragged myself to bed where I got probably an hour of sleep before my friend barged in. He woke me up and asked me to go diving.” Says Hamna describing what was the start of her diving career.

Hamna explained that she had been in a cycle of abuse throughout her life and it was hard for her to acknowledge. “The memories were erased. I didn’t really remember the bad things that happened to me until I sat with myself and tried to think about it. I didn’t see it because I didn’t have time to process or think about anything that was going on because I was so busy.”

Hamna had been independent since she was 13 and was a prominent athlete on her island. She was also on the national team. She went on to become a gym instructor later on. But everything came to a halt due to the pandemic. “What happened to me was horrible. I was back at square zero. Because all my life I have constantly been keeping myself busy and for the first time in forever I am again back to where I started.”

“When I came to Male’ it was one struggle after the other. I was spiraling every day. It came to a point where I couldn’t sit alone by myself for 3 minutes. I had to be distracted” Hamna described how her mental health deteriorated as she tried to find comfort in friends and going out.

Hamna became a divemaster because there were no female dive masters on her island. The island is popular for diving spots. She mentioned how it was a male-dominated field and it was hard for her at first to break through the glass ceiling. “They did not consider it a real job. People are not used to seeing girls do this kind of job. It is difficult that because of my ADHD I forget little things and people would not understand it. People do not consider it a real thing. But it is very real and it impacts every aspect of my life. But I am trying to break the stereotype and working around my ADHD every day.”