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Readers Respond: Living With Adult ADHD

Responses: 67


Updated July 15, 2010

I Never Could Focus

I am 27 and have been job hopping for the last 7 years because it was fun at first but then it became tedious, the same damn thing over and over with no real challenges. My fiancé suggested seeing a psychiatrist and after seeing him a couple of times he sat me down and suggested that I might have ADD. After confirming that I do have ADD he's put me on Ritalin and for the first time since I can remember I can focus and have now decided to start my studies. I wish success for everyone here and hope that you all get to focus on life as much as I can now....Never take life too serious, you'll never come out alive....As I was reading through the replies on this forum I could identify with almost all the stories.
—Guest Chris

ADHD at 31

My life has been a struggle for as long as I can remember - school reports have been low, coming from a broken home raised by grandparents in a neighborhood riddled with drugs and gangsters. During school, teachers would tell me how lazy I am and how I would not amount to anything and being the poor kid in the class made it worse as teachers would treat me with less respect as the other kids in my class. High school was worse, mixing with wrong friends and bad choices. I started abusing drugs and alcohol and almost started dealing. After thousands spent on tests I was diagnosed ADHD. They prescribed Ritalin LA 20; I have been using it for three months now. My thinking is so much clearer and it feels that I have received a new lease on life. My boss has seen radical progress. My wife noticed major changes. I am following through with tasks. I am enjoying my studies. My marks have increased from 50% to 68%
—Guest Al

How Do I Not Resent My Life

I could not study in school and kids and teachers all thought that I was stupid. I could not even finish High school because I lacked the right amount of credits. I spent 4 years in the military and could get no promotions and after I got out. College was a joke. I could not even finish high school. Got work as a laborer in a factory but one personnel manager thought I had a chance to work in a development lab and from there after 41 years and ended up a technologist in research one of the only ones left without at least an AA degree. I had one patent and even then had to share it with others that had college background. Even today, a recovering alcoholic and retired I still feel cheated because I could not study, I did not know how and was just a few years ago that I wondered if I had ADD/ADHD and no one had seen it in me. I still feel cheated and constantly wonder what I would have done if someone would have known. I am 72 and do not have much time left but am not bitter.
—Guest cranerh

It is not all bad:)

I have had ADHD all my life. We struggle to stay on track in school but many of us are very intelligent. We often have a perspective not afforded to the so called "normal." We have to work harder to achieve goals and even though most of us have the extra energy, it is hard to use it efficiently as we are all over the place. Regardless of how good a person we may be, we are still perceived as different and usually don't have many friends so it can be a bit lonely. We may get bored with many of the myriad of things we get involved in but there are always many more to take their place. We are usually never bored ourselves as the mind is constantly working on something. I am going to try the prescription drugs as I finally did get my BBA at age 56 and am always looking to expand my horizons. I've had to take a step back and seriously look at what I am doing and analyze my situation. Becoming more mainstream is important. I would say I have succeeded considering and I have a wonderful family.


I had myself diagnosed after my gifted daughter who was struggling in school was diagnosed with ADHD. I saw so much of myself in her. I have had a reasonably successful life, but was constantly down on myself for not being able to handle things that I felt “everyone” else could do and for doing what I perceived to be stupid things. After being diagnosed and researching ADHD I realized most of the things I get upset with myself about are typical adult ADHD behaviors. Medication has helped some, but just accepting that ADHD is a part of who I am has helped even more. For example, a few days ago I was having what we call a “dizzy and twirly day.” I was distracted while making dinner and messed up the measurements. I tried to fix it by increasing the other ingredients, but then realized I didn’t have enough, because I had forgotten to put something on the grocery list. There was a time I would have gotten very upset with myself and berated myself for days, but instead, I put everything away and we ordered take-out.
—Guest ADHD mom

Success in a Different Way

I grew up in a small town...often at times I would find myself getting distracted (i.e. iPod or video games). I was the guy who played sports but talked to everybody and just didn't give a s*** in general. I set myself up for failure trying to identify with others time and time again...letting little things get to me and making an a** of myself. My success is that I have a good group of friends that respect me for who I am now, versus my past. Aside from my room being clean for the most part and keeping up with work, school, etc. I have also managed to live somewhat peacefully with two undiagnosed and in denial attention deficit parents. What makes me most happy is that I have set myself free in the sense as to think about positive things and move forward instead of being paranoid. Just a reminder to whom it may concern...you can choose to keep your mind off bad things and stop beating yourself up on the inside...not letting others get you down or see you sweat has helped me.
—Guest guest44

Wish It Was That Simple

As much as I love these stories to see that people have been put in the same situation as me - getting a job, keeping a job, meeting a partner losing a partner, holding a friendship, people not liking them, people not understanding, people no matter how you know you’re a good person they see another side to you, letting your friends and family down, some cases proving them right that you’re a loser. I can relate to these in the biggest scale possible. I have recently been diagnosed with ADHD myself about a year ago. I’m 30 years of age. I’ve put my family through hell, been in trouble with police, in prison once for 3 years! Lost family that disowned me, friends I’ve never had, and partners that seem to feel sorry for me more for what I’ve been through but still left me! Sorry I’m just letting off steam here! All my life I’ve had it drummed into me that I’m not all there, there’s something wrong with me, I’m crackers, crazy etc, worst one the black sheep of the family! Where’s my help?
—Guest lee oreilly

Success I Can Not Have

I have had ADHD since I was a child now I am older and it is not easy living with this even on Adderall. People find ways to stigmatize as if you had a label on you. My intelligence IQ is 130.
—Guest cyber

It All Makes Sense Now

I am 32 years old and have just self-diagnosed myself with ADHD. After more than 15 years of trying with all my strength to achieve the heights that I know my intelligent mind can reach, and failing time and time again....I finally believe I have found the reason for it all. Reading through all of these posts has been like reading a story of my life and I now have tears streaming down my face. It is frightening, disappointing and embarrassing though strangely, a relief and a joy. From forgetting appointments, to tardiness, to lack of commitment to underachieving and problems with study and employment....the symptoms are all there. Perhaps with medication, I will finish my Town Planning degree after all, at least I now have hope! How wonderful to know we are not alone and not crazy after all. I wish you all the best for your future success and happiness.....and remember never, ever give up!
—Guest Debbie

Swiss ADD husband

We have two children, the first born a girl and the second a boy. When our son began to have social problems in kindergarten, I had him examined and he was diagnosed as ADHD. I cried. I never was a believer in medications...and they are often the quick or only fix for ADD. Thankfully he outgrew the hyperactivity. We eliminated all TV programming in our home seven years ago. Kept only one TV for movies. The Xbox is in the safe and only gets out randomly. The whole family has benefited by eliminating distractions. This school year our son is 15. We placed him in a small, private Christian school rather than the large one that our daughter attends. Best decision we made. I have just recently realized that our son inherited this ADD from his father. We've been married for 25 years. Gosh, why didn't I see it sooner? His dad has mastered the skill of ADD. Highly successful, has learned to focus on what he must and leave the rest out. A dedicated, hard worker. I pray my son will do as well.
—Guest Lynn R.

My Sucess Story

I am now 60 yrs old. I struggled a lot in school. Got lots of Ds and Fs. In 1976-1985 and 1998 I put myself through community college programs, got better and better grades each time, and have a good career with seniors that I love and am very good at with good pay. I was not diagnosed or on medication until I was 52. My motto is there’s always tomorrow. If today sucks tomorrow can be better. Don’t give up and ask for help when needed.
—Guest valerie jc

Lemonade from Lemons

My loneliness taught me the value of solitude. My pain taught me compassion for others. My heartbreak taught me the value of love. My procrastination taught me resourcefulness. My errors taught me forgiveness. My defeats taught me resilience. My triumphs were tempered with the humility of hard work. I have the gift of ADHD.
—Guest Will

ADD at 47 and Loving It!!!!

Finally a doctor gave a name to what I'd been living with all these years and it's ADHD. Born in 1962, never had many problems in school but I guess I just learned to cope with the workload. Went on to become a lawyer, but could never seem to keep a job in that industry. Being stuck in an office pouring over stacks of documents made me hate my career choice, and dash home at 5:00 sharp. (not the expected leaving time for first year associates). Anyway, I finally muddled my way into private practice where I have been much happier, but still, felt like everyone else had the secret code to succeed....except me. I've been sober for 11 years now but was just diagnosed as having adult ADHD. What a relief. The Adderall has brought me back to my wife, I have stopped screaming at the kids for being kids, and feel like I've just rounded a huge bend in my life. All I can say is study the symptoms, if they sound like you, get some professional help. You'll never regret it.
—Guest Jeff

Life Long Struggle..and Now Am Enjoying

I'm 29 years old and I've spent all of my life dealing with ADHD. I finally said enough. I couldn’t keep bills in order or remember when to pay them, carelessness, never able to keep boyfriends long or follow a task very long. I wasn't able to move up in my job. I felt like a teenager everyday. After 21 years I ended up with one baby and then another baby when I was 23. People wouldn’t treat me like I was 23. They'd treat me like a 5 year old and I didn't like it. My life was a complete mess. Trying out the medicine the doctor gave me wasn't easy. It took over a year to get my life in order, then years of fixing all the mistakes I'd made. I had to become assertive and tell people to stop their mistreatment of me. I had to learn to set boundaries, say what I mean and follow through with it. Now at 29 I finally feel like 29. It's almost like there was a part of me missing and as much as I would try I just couldn't. Finally with my doctor’s help, I am able to finally live a normal life.
—Guest amy

Coping Mechanisms

My ADHD made me very self conscious about what others thought of me in social interactions. I’d always worry I’d forget names, places, important info and I was constantly told I was rude and not listening. So to counter this I would fake interest. It’s not that I wasn’t interested. I just could not stay focused for long so I would watch for visual clues, nod at the right moment, and if they frowned I’d frown. I can fake listening down to a tee, but still can’t focus on what is being said. I fake most conversations and all the tips here I already do, but just can’t seem to take anything in after 30 seconds or so. I ask questions and hear the answer and seconds later forget what it was. Arg!
—Guest sarahguest
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