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Readers Respond: Personal Stories of Adult ADHD

Responses: 74


Updated March 26, 2013

Tips that I found are life saving

In the video I give tips on how I cope and even overcome ADD: Haha hopefully this will help you to concentrate on studying: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ZHw1z-tH_Q
—Guest Nate

My greatest fear

In the middle of university, I’m at an overwhelming crossroad: should I go to the school counselor and find out if there really is something wrong with me, or is it just my personality? I’ve always been this way- I can get things done somehow in the end and get good grades... I’ve just never been able to focus, I can't follow simple directions, procrastination queen, I want to do so well and it never turns out. I’m not worried that it is ADHD, but that it is not ADHD. That it’s just me- I don't want it to be real that I’m stupid or that I can't do things right. I just am afraid of what people will think- I got myself into university somehow in spite of everything- I don't want my parents or friends to know this fear that's overwhelming me. Is ADHD the reason I can't sit still, can't concentrate, can't remember everything, mess up directions, interrupt people's conservations, blurt things out without thinking and make people mad? Why I can’t finish a task? Is it ADHD or just me?

Is it too late for this?

Some of us (maybe most? I don't know) don't understand why we are called "Attention Deficit" in the first place because if anything, we are just as likely to be "hyper-focused" at any given time. I guess it's just an issue of perspective. The other day before work, my wife blew up at me because I did not wash the 2 plates, 2 forks and 2 glasses after lunch. I had heard an old tune the night before and had decided to learn it on the mandolin when I had the first opportunity. I saw that time as a good enough opportunity…and I was quite pleased that I had figured that song out because it got me thinking about a song that I had left half-written after I had run out of a decent way to finish it. So I learned one song and finished writing another one. All in all, a very productive use of my time. My wife on the other hand was not impressed. I found a solution to a creative problem that had hounded me. To my wife, I wasted valuable dish-washing time. Perspective.
—Guest Jack-of-TV

Is it too late for this?

The "alpha" folks don't ever want to hear about some "condition" because they know that everyone gets distracted or depressed now and then and those of us who claim to have ADD are just “too lazy and stupid” to "make something" of our lives. When I was younger, before I had even heard of something called ADD, my response to teachers and (later) supervisors was certainly problematic but simple. I usually said something like - Oh I'm not lazy. Not at all. I'm not stupid either. The problem here is that you sir/madam, are far too boring, uncreative and shallow for me to care about what you say most of the time. I'll care about what you say when you come up with something worth listening to. Needless to say..I got to know my school officials and later..work managers quite well. It is for this reason that almost no one knows of my ADD diagnosis. I'm no longer ashamed for who I am and/or why I might be the way I am. I just have no desire to deal with the same old "alpha" solutions.
—Guest Jack-of-TV

Is it too late for this?

I'm 42 and was officially diagnosed with ADD 10 years ago. Growing up was a nightmare. I was forever hearing.."How can you get straight A's in history, write papers in English composition class at a college level, instinctively know and understand any musical instrument with strings you ever picked up...but fail (or very nearly) every math, health and chemistry class you were ever in?" The only thing I could ever come up with is that I really..seriously..could not do the stuff I wasn't interested in. The same things happen to this day when someone attempts to hand me work just to keep me looking "busy" (supervisors and spouses all seem to love doing that).
—Guest Jack-of-TV

Benefits of ADD

I'm 60 and was diagnosed with ADD when I was 50. I was diagnosed as a result of my daughter's diagnosis (her pediatrician nailed me). Anyway, it was good thing because I discovered why I annoyed the rest of the world for the first 50 years of my life. Now that I know, I still annoy the world ...but...so what. The diagnosis was really enlightening for me and I read quite a bit about the symptoms and types of ADD and have the following thoughts. We live in an ADD enabling world. Distractions and interruptions are with us 7 days a week. We carry them with us in the form of cell phones. Or the Internet enables your availability 7 days a week. So you never know, when an unplanned "have to do" or "want to do" is coming your way. I believe, one of the most important aspect of living with it, is to be aware of its characteristics and behave conscious of those traits. Self control is very possible with structure and organization (which bore me to death).
—Guest wheelen15

So I sat down at my computer to work...

and next thing I know, I'm reading this. Um, meant to write and finish my work, but am reading instead. At least haven't gotten to the part where I start surfing online for various interesting stories, but oh, this newsletter about attention deficit...it's all your fault for distracting me. Think I'll go to the kitchen now and dig through the freezer for some ice cream...wait! There are more responses to read! And then the cat comes along and wants chow, and then there are more responses to read..... (Welcome to elective non-medicated life!)
—Guest Sarah

I was in the dark

My boyfriend hid his ADD from me. I always suspected something was up, perhaps a personality disorder or something as he kept telling me the same stories over and over in a very short time frame, didn't remember things we talked about say earlier that day, lots and lots of jobs coming and going, etc. When I did ask and he told me about the ADD he became hostile, defensive and broke up with me. Wow, never even gave me a chance to understand this or exercise patience with him, nothing. I'm not sure I could have tolerated much more but don't understand why he felt it necessary to hide from the truth. I guess he felt I would judge or think less of him. Well I do but not because of the ADD more so because he felt the need to lie for so long until his back was against the wall. Trying to understand and that is why I am here. Thanks for everyone’s comments. It helps a lot.
—Guest sue

To tell or not to tell

I have experienced mostly negative responses in the workplace. If your boss is cruel, do not expect that to change when or if you disclose ADD. I think it depends on your relationship with your coworker and boss. One of the responses was don't use ADD as an excuse, because your coworkers will resent you -that's true. It is also hard to succeed in the workplace when you are assigned boring tasks.
—Guest Texas Tumbleweed

Undiagnoised ADHD Ruined my Marriage

I'm 57 years old and have an appt for ADHD testing. I don't need the doctor’s confirmation; I already know it's true. I got here because my husband of 15 years left me. I couldn't understand why. I began therapy and tried to work on the grief and pain of being without my husband. It was through a newsletter that was entitled something about ADHD that I went to read the article. I'm a special education teacher with 2 masters degrees and was I blown out of the water. It was me. I took the self test and burst into tears. My life suddenly began to make sense. My husband has known for years that something was wrong but he couldn't put a name on it. He suggested that I go to therapy but I wouldn’t go. He couldn't talk to me because I was in his words always mad. How I wish that I was tuned in! How I wish that I'd been diagnosed way before now. How different my life would be. I don't know what my future holds. I can't get my mind to stay still long enough to make any plans for a future.

Symptoms Ameliorated

Undiagnosed until late thirties, ADD was a major deterrent to my potential. Now with meds my life is unlimited and I feel emancipated. Free to now enjoy my full potential. Treatment was a Godsend and miraculous.
—Guest TK Lawson RPhT

Feel in love

I can only say that this has really affected me emotionally. I met this great guy and really feel in love with him. He did tell me he has ADHD but I was very ignorant to the fact of what it entailed. I am very hurt because he is hyper focused on his lawn and house. Very hurtful because he was so focused on what I wanted at first but now he pays no attention. I feel it's time to move on. It makes one hurt because something like this can affect such wonderful people.
—Guest Frustrated

The Life Struggle of ADD

It is because of my Dad that I have my degree today. I see ADD as a different type of "brain wiring". My brain has to process information slowly and methodically. I will always "get straight to the point" in discussion rather than pad out conversation with social convention. It is so humiliating when people think you are stupid when we (ADD people), know that we are not. Our brains just work differently. Unfortunately for us, the world is structured to accommodate people with non ADD brain wiring. What hurts so much is that because of this, we do miss out on many opportunities in life. The number of times I have been described by people, including 2 family members, as "hopeless", "selfish", "inconsiderate"..... to me, highlights their lack of empathy and their inability to "think outside the square". Now that's not a very smart brain! All I can say is: people have absolutely no idea what it is like to try to survive life with ADD let alone to live it!
—Guest Anon.

Such a Life Struggle

I first suspected that I might have undiagnosed ADD when I heard a University Professor on the radio discussing his struggle with paying bills, being organized, not losing things, time management, impulsivity and excessive talking. Subsequently, my official diagnosis was given 2 years later when after dexamphetamine I was able to sit down in a noisy environment and read a whole chapter of a book! For me, having ADD has made my life such huge struggle. I did brilliantly at school but this was only because a put a massive effort into my studies. Going through university was almost unbearable. What I could not reconcile, was the fact I knew from an intellectual perspective that I was okay but at the same time there was "something wrong with my brain" as it took me so long to finish tasks etc. My beautiful Dad was my Ritalin, Dexedrine, etc. for me. He would read my text books for me and then teach the content to me. He would take pages and pages of my notes and simplify them for me.
—Guest Anon.

Better Late Than Never

Before diagnosis my life was such a mess that I felt I was buried alive. I carried a heavy load all the time -debt, relationship & family problems, family…everything, everywhere. The medicine helped a lot, but didn't remove it and I've been working on the behavior changes. But, trying to clean up from a lifetime of impulsivity, poor choices, disorganization, and the rest, while trying to learn how to live with ADHD is really a bit much. I did manage to become an R.N. and passion got me thru school, but working as a nurse for 30 years and scrambling to keep up every day has taken its toll by means of anxiety and pure exhaustion. I just got fired for tardiness...and I'll never go back. For those of you who are younger, PLEASE follow your passion and do what you love. I never used to cry much. Now it saddens me to tears that I'm treated like I'm using it as an excuse and I should be ashamed. What I think is most misunderstood is how it affects EVERY moment of our lives and EVERYTHING we do.

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