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Readers Respond: What's It Like to Live With ADD / ADHD?

Responses: 55


Updated March 05, 2010

I Can't Take It

I’m 12 with ADD and whenever I act impulsively (or like a kid put it, "ADDish"), people always stare at me and I feel bad because I know I’m wearing my mom out and I’m having such a hard time coping with it! My mom keeps telling me I need to stop flipping out over little things and act normal.
—Guest ADDdrivingmekrazy

Me and ADD

My name is Lyss and I am thirteen years old. In the middle of 6th grade, I was diagnosed with ADD and was put on Concerta. It changed my life. I was finally able to focus during class and that made my grades go up from C's and D's to A's and B's. The only thing that I don't like about taking Concerta is that it takes away my appetite. Medication has helped me so much.
—Guest Lyss

Make Lemonaid

Both my 11 year old son and I have the primarily inattentive type of ADHD. We both "think out of the box," manage better when we are thinking of more than one thing at once, and are really challenged by finding new ways to approach problems. I have a job that I love working in a busy emergency room as a Physician Assistant. This job is perfectly suited to my style of brain processing. I was a great waitress as well for much the same reason. I like the way my son and I think, but there are not many schools that know how to teach to this type of brain. I see that less as a brain problem and more as a school problem.

A Life with ADD/ Still I Won't Give Up

I have had ADD since I was born and if not probably around the age of 4. It's always been hard beginning in Pre K. Teachers would hate me because I would never pay attention to them and always stare into space. My years were hard and I was barely passing until second grade. I started taking Ritalin and next thing I knew I was getting A's and B's. I was focused and organized but at a price. One, I never ate and even when the medicine supposedly wore off I wasn't hungry and would at times force myself to eat. Also, I was very violent and angered easily. Most of all, I stopped growing. I used to be one of the tallest kids around in my classes and next thing I knew, I was one of the shortest. I finally stopped taking it by the beginning of 7th grade. Ever since my grades and scores have dropped and now I am 13 in 9th grade with C's some B's and if I am lucky, an A. Nobody gets me. I hate coming home because my dad always calls me a failure saying my ADD is an excuse and is never supportive
—Guest Richard

Learning Through Observation

Can the ADHD gene be passed on? My 15 year old son has it (diagnosed 7 yrs ago) and just informed me this morning that he likes the increase of his dosage of Adderall(20mg) meds and that he can tell a difference for the better in his school studies; as his grades have shown and his teachers have noted. I wish I had that support when I was young. Being diagnosed with ADHD my last 6 months of a 20 year navy career (age 38), it has been an eye opener. I probably would have done better in school (treatment drugs instead of butt swats from the principal for motivation), and would've gone farther in the navy. Now on Strattera, everyone notices a difference, and I'm better able to stick to a task.

Living with ADHD

I was diagnosed 2 years ago with ADHD. It's been wonderful to have 12 hours a day of feeling like I did before age 7: confident, lover of hugs, not anxiety ridden. I pronounce words articulately, listen to a person's conversation without jumping around, and I'm slowly learning to live in the moment. But after 12 hours comes the pumpkin moments. My anxiety medicine is in full effect and I impulsively, “express myself" verbally, often having no recollection of offensive things I may have said. I hate this. I hate that I have offended people because they don’t understand how you were ok and accepting how they treated you one day and the next day you take a pill and their treatment is no longer acceptable. Having friends and family understand has been the worst, but having a counselor I can talk to has been the best.
—Guest guest 2000

Spouse with ADD

I have truly been from one end to the other. So many heartaches until my wife started her Adderral medication. She is now so level. However, she still will have thoughts she just blurts out that are hurtful. The main thing is after 30 years of marriage, we can both see so much improvement with her ADD. She has done so much with her education - double masters and working on a book. She still has at times gets so many thoughts in her thinking I have no way to keep up. Our love has got us through the tough times. When she misses her medication or doesn't take it as prescribed, she gets into another zone. Sometimes I think, why does she not take her meds on a regular basis? This is only rarely done now, so my life is better. Our youngest daughter who is 35 also has ADD. Yet she is a school teacher, working towards her masters and she never misses taking any of her medication which is also Adderall.
—Guest edcone

Not Liking It

I just know I do not like the way I am and neither does my husband. My daughter age 32 thinks it is in my head. I have nowhere to go and have not been able to work now 2 years. My life has changed drastically. I no longer have any control of it. Someday I hope to wake and I will be as if all this mess never happened.

Ups and Downs

Hello, I’m soon 16 years old. I always knew I was different from most people, but I didn’t know how to explain it. I have ADD. When I was into my new high school with about 1300 kids from ages 14-19 things started getting really bad. I had my ups and downs. I usually sat in class in the last row of chairs because I didn’t like attention. I just sat quietly, not sharing anything with anyone or talking in class. In school all the day I barely worked because I couldn’t concentrate on anything - I noticed the grass outside the window instead of my notebook and started thinking in the clouds. Each time I went home I went to a private teacher, and in one hour with one teacher I did the work of 7 hours in school. Eventually my intelligence was shown and I was beyond my whole class in all subjects. Things were better until some kids started to harass me about my height. I absorbed their insults like a sponge. It was hurtful and I am still struggling.
—Guest special kid


I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12. I was different - I wasn't able to make any friends, because everyone thought I was weird for acting too hyper. I was not able to concentrate in class, but it was because I hated my school, so it was difficult to pay attention to something I hated, which resulted in getting Ds and Fs.After the one year of 7th grade I got held back and moved to England where I did year 8 (my second year of 7th grade). I go to a great school. I’m not as hyper as I used to be. My mother says I outgrew my ADHD, which is impossible. I am simply doing more things that I enjoy at school, and it’s fun. I still have minor signs like acting too hyper at times. I can control it in fun lessons, like math, French and Spanish. But in exams, my leg shakes and I fiddle around, which makes it tough to concentrate. So I normally speed through my paper, and I get a bad mark. Home life isn't as great a school. I feel I can hide away from home at school.
—Guest cheese

One of a Kind

I remember when I was young child like 6...7 noticing I’m not like every other child...there’s something very different about me and at this point I was on Ritalin and in a very depressive state - a point where nothing was fun I didn’t talk, didn’t want to do anything then when I wasn’t on it I was psychotic like a freak off a leash and I couldn’t understand what was wrong until I researched it myself and asked my mom. I stopped taking Ritalin and I found my outlet in music and skateboarding and I learned over roughly a year how to control myself and stay motivated and strive and push to do the best I can now. You might wonder if I’m still wacky and insane in my membrane and I got to say damn right I am and damn proud of it because I got this amazing beautiful girl who loves me for who I am :)
—Guest Alex Bacon

ADD & Proud to Say So!

After my youngest son was diagnosed with ADHD in kindergarten, I ransacked our local library shelves and read everything I could get my hands on...and in the process, discovered that just about everyone in our family (both sides) had some version of ADD/ADHD, back several generations. Suddenly, everything became so clear and YEARS of frustration, embarrassment, and pain were suddenly wiped away. Two books in particular, "You Mean I'm Not Lazy, Stupid or Crazy?!" by Kate Kelly & Peggy Ramundo and "The Edison Gene: ADHD and the Gift of the Hunter Child" by Thom Hartman, changed my life. We are not freaks and maybe one day, they won't call it a disorder any more. But for now, I am proud to say I have ADD, and yes, ALL of my best friends and most of the influential people in my life have it, too. We are an intelligent, creative, and occasionally wacky bunch of people and I cherish the unique brain "wiring" that makes us so. Vive la Difference!

No treatment

I was diagnosed with ADHD Inattentive type (back then known as ADHD/R) 20 years ago. Since then I have had many therapists and many psychiatrists but NONE have ever treated me for it. They always consider treating depression and anxiety first. Yet, my inability to stay focused on anything - and at times hyperfocus without intent - has destroyed my professional life and my relationships with everyone. My wife is still sticking with me, though on her terms, which are not really good for me. She tolerates me most of the time but I do not ever get any support. I have found a SW/therapist that I can talk to, but I cannot get any straight answers from her either because she believes a professional should leave her own opinions out of therapy. The result is that I really have nobody at all to have a two-way relationship with - any kind of relationship. To make things even harder and more complicated, I grew up in post-Holocaust Vienna, Austria, and have diagnosed PTSD.

The Bitter Sweet Edge of Insanity

At 41 years old 5 doctors diagnosed me as severe ADD/ADHD and dyslexic. I had taken every single prescription medication to try to counteract the symptoms, and worked night and day to cover them too, and appear 'normal.' They stopped my salary when I started Ritalin, but the 120 Xanax and 120 Imovane and 120 Stilnox daily and Lithium and all the categories of anti-depressant medication were OK for them as long as I did my job. When I stopped all and stuck to the Ritalin, I officially became the drug addict of the family. Now that four other members have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD they may learn that Ritalin to a person born without the brain's connection wired right is as addicted to it like a diabetic to insulin, or a patient and his pacemaker. You can live and fight a life of being told you are stupid, and within the curse there is a gift, but nothing replaces the inner self-confidence you receive when the Ritalin is taken.
—Guest Photi M Bouri

Lost for too long....

I spent my entire childhood knowing that I was different, but not why! My poor mother could not figure out why I was so disorganized. She tried so hard to help me, there were many a night with tears spent from both of us. When I joined the work force, I managed to finally get it together some, but it was still hard for me to learn like everyone else. I still have times where my head is in the clouds, just lost somewhere.When I finally did some research and spoke with me mom about my findings, and about other family members that had similar traits, we realized that not only did she have some, but also numerous family members from both sides of the family had some of them.This has given hope and help to the next generation, it’s no longer kept in the closet and hidden away. Seek help anyway, and anywhere you can find it.Like I explained to my friend once, one and one equal two still, but for me it’s more like one and a half, and a half equal two. It all depends on how you look at it.

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