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Readers Respond: Living With Adult ADHD

Responses: 84

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Updated July 15, 2010

An About.com user recently diagnosed with ADHD as an adult made a wonderful request on our ADD/ADHD community forum. She became concerned after reading about so many of the struggles and frustrations faced with ADHD.

Her request: "I'm looking for the success stories. I want to read about people with ADHD who have turned their lives around and are living a life they never thought they could have."

Please help her (and others) out by sharing the triumphs and accomplishments in your life with ADHD. How has life improved since being diagnosed and involved in treatment? Share Your Success Story

Letting Go of the Fear

I was 27 when I was finally diagnosed with ADHD. After more than a decade of seeking help, after years of relationship disasters, job losses, drug addiction, alcoholism, and depression, I felt finished. I spent so much time hating myself, that I destroyed my relationships to avoid having others come to the conclusion that "well, yup, she sure is irritating, and really not reliable". Now, it's been a year and a bit since I started taking Ritalin. I went back to work in November, (I had not worked for two years since having had a nervous cocaine induce breakdown), and last week, I got a promotion and a raise. And now, I feel like life is okay. So, I guess my comment is that finally my potential and matches my ability, and finally I don't have to always feel like I failed to live up to what I could have been. I'm getting a chance to be who I could have been, and all because I take a couple pills in the morning. ADHD left untreated is an emotional cancer. Get help and live your life.
—Guest finally okay

You CAN be Successful

For me, diagnosis was the first part of success. Of course I had some mixed emotions about it, and sometimes even felt downright depressed. Overall though, there was a sense of relief that I wasn’t just a screw-up, or lazy, or irresponsible. The more I began to understand why certain things were such a struggle for me, the more I felt relief and began to be able to accommodate my ADD. In my humble opinion the second step to success is letting go of all the negative feelings you’ve been carting around about yourself for all these years. This is still a challenge for me sometimes, but it has gotten MUCH better. With the help of some therapy and ADD coaching, I was really able to change my attitude from ‘I can’t seem to do anything right’ to ‘Wow, I’m really learning how to get things done much better!’ Each small success (I got something in the mail on time!) gave me more confidence… so give yourself credit for the things you get right, even if they seem small.
—averagejane

ADHD is a gift

As CEO of a midsize, multi million dollar conglomerate, my day consists of making decisions and establishing direction for a number of companies, people and programs. I am continually asked how I keep it all straight. I am ADHD and without it, I could not keep it straight. Spending little time on each item is perfect for my brain which changes channels all of the time. My employees are the best and at times I have to joke and say, sorry, I went to Bermuda for a moment could you repeat that. They do and we move on. Accept and embrace your ADHD and remember that you struggle because you are trying to function in a non-ADHD world. You are still holding on to the belief that you have something wrong with you, you don't! Stop believing what the schools told you, it is BS. Schools are set up and geared towards the average brain. The average type of learner. When you or your children do not do well in the average environment, its because they aren't average, you are not! BELIEVE!
—Guest Firewalking

Wasted Potential.

I was just diagnosed with ADHD last week and hope to start medication by the end of this month. I've always been bright but have had a sense of dread when school was concerned. School, to me, meant bringing myself to focus and this could be quite painful. I would never do homework, practice my instrument, read for class, etc. and I always felt like a fraud, like I was one misstep away from being exposed as lazy or inept. My peers made it look so easy and it frustrated me to know that if I could only apply myself I could do better than them. I was always able to get by in school because I am so smart (I am a Mensan and a member of Intertel.) The problem lay in people knowing how smart I was and assuming that if something didn't get done or if it was turned in late that I had CHOSEN to blow it off, like I didn't care. People expected a lot from me and the fact that I didn't deliver was often seen as indifference or worse. I am grateful to read these stories!
—Guest JDB

ADHD

I'm a 25 year old Sales Executive in the Steel industry. I battle this everyday in meetings with customers, product demonstrations, and being behind a desk time to time. I repeated first grade as a child and always have struggled even through college. You can channel this into a positive by practicing your challenges daily with your own step program on things you would like to achieve.
—Guest Sales Executive

I Can Do It eventhough it is very hard

I am living in my own financial prison. I can’t go visit family or take a real vacation because I spent all my money and I owe everyone under the sun. Here I am almost 40 and I am taking Adderall and meds for depression. I am also going to therapy sessions. I am almost finished with my undergrad degree. I have to slow down and stop before I repeat the same mistakes again. I am 39 and I was diagnosed 2 years ago. As a child I was always daydreaming and not paying attention in class. I knew something was wrong but I did not know what. I could not do my homework because I was not attentive when the teacher was explaining it. I was constantly called lazy all my life. I always would continue to try and do better for a short while but would get easily distracted. I have to fight the negative thoughts about myself and put in positive thoughts everyday which is hard but I am feeling better.
—Guest May

Life so far...

Man, this site is great. I've struggled for soooo long with this crap. I hate blanking out, losing concentration, forgetting things immediately, etc. I've been reading the posts but I'm really apprehensive about doing the meds thing but I'm dreading any side effects. if however, there is any type of medication that could somehow make life better, I'm all in. my job as a lone apartment maintenence supervisor has been hell. Its almost physically painful to complete a task and all of the rest as you all know. I hope there's some type of light at the end of the tunnel as living this, is not really living.
—Guest shawn

Speechless!

Reading this blog is almost like reading my life story. A few years ago I began to notice that something may be wrong. You see I lived in this fantasy world all my adult life. I could always find the wrong in everyone else, except myself. After years of jumping around from college to college, I finally finished a B.S. in Psychology after only 13 years! Years later began to work on a Master's, let's just say I am still working on it. It's only been 6 yrs. Btw I am 39. I had a son 3 yrs. ago. I began to become more self-aware. Went to see a Psychiatrist for depression and was put on meds. It helped but just made me not care that I was dysfunctional. Finally starting doing some research and realized I have ADD. I could not afford the psychiatrist any longer, so I asked my GP to prescribe me a different med to quit smoking. I omitted the ADD suspicions. The combo works ok most days when I remember to take the meds. Works best when I take twice a day, which rarely happens.
—Guest K

hello success story

I was diagnosed with ADHD. My success: I am an airline pilot and I hold an MBA. Happy married and focused as h*** due to working out and being stubborn.
—flightdog

A better life !

Well... since I have discovered that I have ADHD, it lifted over a pound off my shoulders. Suddenly, I understood my past, my mistakes, my strange behavior and the feeling to be different from others. In reading a lot about it, I also succeeded to change gradually my lifestyle in taking care of my supply, of my body (in making daily exercise) and of my mental health (in going out often and in taking frequent breaks to refill my tank of patience and energy). Plus, since I take meds (60 mg of Strattera per day), I'm more focus into my actions, I'm less impulsive and my mind is clearer and I'm less anxious than before. Oh ! It’s not perfect yet, because I have trouble again with concentration, especially with reading, and I have again rages of anger, but it's much less worse than before and all this gives me hope for the future.
—Writerbutterfly

extreme symptoms but kept on going

I'm 36 and have held down a technical job for 15 years, married for 11. I had always been wondering what on earth was wrong with me, such poor short term memory and having mental blanks, not remembering names, and just making silly mistakes. Never feeling genuine in anything I do, or that I hadn't done things right. It's too complex to even write about. I'd learned to mask how I was feeling constantly but it meant I had to wing it so much. I am hard to listen to and cause people to yawn, often simultaneously or when they even see me without talking. But I've always just kept going. I'm a great electrician, fridge mechanic and also crane driver. I can focus highly on those things and it's meant that I can fix really complex faults. That is how I gain any respect at work, because it is known that I'm the go to guy for fixing faults/fault finding. I failed grade one as a five yr old and never shone at school, just had to keep trying, still doing ok, but no friends, just my wife.
—Guest Jake

newly dx

I was diagnosed today with ADD. Finally a nurse practitioner whom I respect dearly expressed her disbelief that she had missed my signs and was sorry for not diagnosing me sooner with it. I have taken my first dose of meds today and after reading all of these other testimonies I am so looking forward to really start living my brand new life!! I have been battling depression and anxiety for fifteen years or so I thought. I developed ulcers from my excessive worrying but after my appt today part of that depression was in fact misdiagnosed ADD. I feel like my nurse and doctor has given me a new life to start over again. I have just recently lost my job just two days ago and my fiance and I have been fighting off and on for the last two years because of me. I just caused a wreck Sunday and was driving my kids to the store. So a light bulb went off to say the least. I will b forever grateful to Jill Matthews NP! It's never to late to start over. I'm 32
—Guest malena

CoMorbidities

This is only a partial success story. Looking for a job seems insurmountable. Once working, I excel. I've been diagnosed with depression at 14, ADHD as an adult, More recently I also have OCD symptoms. I'm also a recovering alcoholic & addict. What a combination! Yet I scored in the 98th and even 99th percentile on IQ tests. A friend said I was like Einstein & 3 Stooges in 1 person. I've become a chemist, an engineer and a programmer and excelled at each. Yet I've been unemployed for many years now, because I don't even know how to start job searching. I'm 50 and I really want to live a normal life. Existence seems futile, except for the fact that I've survived dozens of incidents & accidents that would normally be fatal. I don't want to give up. I take meds for depression & ADHD. They help, but what more can I do? I feel so stuck.
—Guest Stephen

Be as stubborn as a mule

I was always told I would amount to nothing by my teachers in high school, getting kicked out of class and failing subjects. When a certain teacher laughed when I said i wanted to become a doctor and said i didn't have a hope i turned around and said 'f**k you, we'll see about that and stormed out of the detention room. I developed a passion for engineering class and for proving a certain teacher wrong. I ended up scrapping through school and went to university. Following 6 years of keeping my head above water I came through the other side with an honors civil engineering degree and master of environmental sustainability. Now one year on I've worked as a structural engineer in the Scottish highlands, project engineer of civil project in Australia and was even hired by the Nigerian government to give lectures to 150 student about solar technology. I'm now aiming for a doctorate of engineering.
—Guest Jay

I am very successful with ADD

I am the top sales rep in my fast paced technical environment. I am torn in a million different directions and this is where my ADD comes to the rescue. There is help. Sports gave me an outlet my entire life, and yes I fail at what I am bored with but I am extremely at my best when things are the most hectic and stressful. I have found a way to make it work for me as opposed to accepting that it limits me. People with ADD like to research because we can't just sit around and relax. So research and realize you are not alone, turn it into a positive and this condition does not mean you are doomed. I think very quick, I communicate very fast, and I process a lot of information at lightning speed. I find others are a lot slower at this than me...so I have the advantage. Good luck to you all.
—Guest Guest-Deborah

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