My Story: Kristi Lazzari

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What were the steps leading up to your diagnosis?

All my life I felt I didn't fit in anywhere. I didn't have problems in school that were obvious, but I was a constant daydreamer. I made average grades, but always felt the grades on paper didn't match up to what I knew I was capable of.

I couldn't make sense of it. I held fast and firm to the belief that I was somehow broken. I felt I had vast potential that I couldn't live up to. I was "lazy," forgetful, and there was constant noise in my head. I never followed through and rarely finished anything I started. Insecurity and fear held me back.

It wasn't until I had my own daughter diagnosed with ADHD that it all started to make sense to me. I had known she was ADHD, but had never thought that it could be the cause for my own behaviors.

I was in my 30s before I sought diagnosis, and it was as if a light suddenly came on. All the things I'd always beat myself up for began to make sense. I could see the whole picture and see how the signs and symptoms had been there all along. It was gratifying, but also frightening.

Just because I could put a name to my behaviors didn't mean I was going to be able to change them. I was scared that it wouldn't make a difference, but I was wrong. Getting diagnosed was the best thing I've ever done for myself.

What accomplishment are you proud of?

Since my diagnosis I have published two books; a middle-grade novella as well as a contemporary fiction novel. I've written all my life, but never with any follow through. First drafts were put away without ever getting polished. Short stories were completed but I'd never submit them. It was exciting seeing the projects through from start to finish. Finishing felt absolutely phenomenal.

What lifestyle changes have you needed to make?

Most of all, I had to learn to not be so hard on myself. That has been the biggest change. It's a difficult one, too. I spent a lifetime beating myself up for things I had little or no control over. It was time to forgive myself and learn strategies for coping with my symptoms.

Putting a name to things certainly helped. Where I was once lost, now I had a starting point to learn all I could about ADHD and coping strategies. It was nice to connect with others going through the same thing, and read stories of how they found ways to manage their symptoms.

I use a lot of alarms now. I set an alarm for practically everything. Sure, sometimes I turn it off and forget what I was supposed to do, but they mostly work!

I'm learning to write out schedules for everything, and instead of making a list of things I need to do, I have learned to flesh out that list, by writing down each step that I will have to take to get the whole job done, as well as how long I have to complete each step. Timers are my friend.

I spent a lifetime beating myself up for things I had little or no control over.

Who has been there for you? How?

I have to say my biggest supporter is my daughter. With both of us ADHD, there can be all kinds of madness and mayhem. My daughter is often the person who sits me down, reminds me to breathe, and to not expect to be able to conquer the world. Conquering getting the garbage out on time is enough.

Who has been there for you? How?

I have to say my biggest supporter is my daughter. With both of us ADHD, there can be all kinds of madness and mayhem. My daughter is often the person who sits me down, reminds me to breathe, and to not expect to be able to conquer the world. Conquering getting the garbage out on time is enough.

Since my diagnosis I have published two books.

Since my diagnosis I have published two books.

What's your advice to someone else living with ADHD?

I would tell others to never stop learning about ADHD. There is new information out there all the time. Use ALL the tools available to you to help you manage your symptoms. Try tips and tricks that others have used. Some work, some don't. If something doesn't work for you, toss it and look for another way.

Most of all, I would tell anyone living with ADHD or any other mental health issue to never, ever feel shame. There is nothing wrong with you, you are absolutely perfect just the way you are. Being "normal" is nonexistent. Embrace the unique abilities that ADHD brings. You were not made to conform, but to use your creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to make a real difference in this world.

There is nothing wrong with you, you are absolutely perfect just the way you are.

Is there anything else we should know?

I am passionate about awareness. I want to see the day when the stigma currently attached to mental illness is nonexistent. I love reading blogs and inspirational stories of others who are crashing through barriers – those put up by others and by us. It makes me smile to see others succeeding. It gives me hope.

I love writing and blogging. Music is my therapy. There is nothing a comfortable chair, cup of tea and a book cannot cure. I love being a mom, and my daughter is the best thing that ever happened to me. I believe we are all constant works in progress and that there is always something new to learn.

About Kristi

My Story: Kristi Lazzari

I am a mom to a fabulous (almost teenage) daughter who handles her ADHD, anxiety disorder and depression with a strength that I find extremely inspiring. Although motherhood is my favorite job, I am also a waitress, novelist, blogger, and freelance copywriter. Books are my favorite thing, but I also enjoy knitting, visiting museums, music, and watching old movies.

I hope to one day see the Northern Lights and to travel to Romania. My dream is to live in a quiet cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains; just peace, tranquility, and an amazing view.

I currently keep two blogs, one devoted to my writer's life, and a second that chronicles our lives with ADHD and Anxiety.

I love learning new things and seeing beauty in the ordinary. Nature inspires me and calms me. My wish is to truly live life and experience every moment to the fullest - not just get through it while wondering where time went.

Kristi's Blog - ADHD Kristi

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