My ADHD Journey Began With a Book
Everything in my life became painfully clear within the pages of a used, tattered paperback.
My daughter has attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Her official diagnosis was a formality, and a starting point for treatment — and I learned all I could to help her succeed.
I Never Recognized Symptoms in Myself
My story was very different from those I usually heard. I didn’t have problems in school; I was never in trouble, I didn’t have a problem with compulsive lying, my teachers loved me, I was quiet, and happily sat in the back of a classroom doing my thing.
My grades were average. I always felt I wasn’t living up to my potential, but I think most of my teachers just assumed I was an average student. Not struggling, but with no special gifts either.
I always felt there was so much more inside than I could show in the classroom. There were so many things I thought about, things I questioned, things I wanted to know that were not satisfied in the classroom, and not reflected with grades.
I was a hopeless daydreamer. I taught myself to take copious notes because that was the only way I’d pay attention to the lessons. My note taking saved me in high school and community college.
Somewhere It All Fell Apart
I always felt scattered. I always had too much noise in my head. I noticed too much, felt too much, saw too much, heard too much.
I struggled with things I knew other people did without thinking. I wondered what was wrong with me, but I never confided in anyone. Many would have been surprised to have known I felt something was wrong with me.
There were so many things I could not make myself care about; things that were supposed to be important. Yet I could latch onto an idea that interested me turning it into an obsession.
I rarely finished anything I started. I got bored with new activities quickly and was constantly searching for things to interest me, and few things did for long.
I started two home-based businesses, and although there were circumstances beyond my control when I took time off from them, I never returned to them. I found more excuses. I was so scared of failure I didn’t try to succeed.
I was living my life on auto pilot. I wasn’t fulfilled, and all I could think about was what a huge failure I was. I moved through my 30s thinking I had nothing to show for it.
I had no career, I felt disorganized, chaotic and baffled as to how I could want things for myself with no follow through. I couldn’t figure out how I could be so lazy and unmotivated.
Next page: diagnosis and moving forward