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20 years Into My ADHD Story

Two decades after being diagnosed with ADHD comedian Rick Green talks about how things have changed during his ongoing journey of discovery.

I’ve Got ADHD?

Like most people diagnosed with ADHD as an adult I was stunned.

That initial shock soon turned to anger, sadness and regret, as I came to see all of the ways that un-diagnosed ADHD had sabotaged me. It felt so unfair. What if I’d known sooner? What would my life be like if only I’d known back then?
This initial grieving is natural but it became a trap for me and eventually I saw I had to move forward not look back, because I was ruminating around and round  the same stuff.
So with coaching I realized that there are a million possible what-ifs.  By switching from what might have been to what do I do about it? Then I started to find strategies that worked for me and for my son. I was able to spare my son so much of the unnecessary suffering that I endured in high school and university.
Seeing how having the diagnosis helped him find ways to succeed where I had struggled, it was wonderful, it’s the best.
It fueled my desire to learn more and eventually to empower everyone who has ADHD, and that led to our PBS documentaries ADD and Loving It?! and ADD and Mastering It! and then to TotallyADD.com and today it’s over a dozen full-length videos on every aspect of ADHD.


I want to talk about some of the things I came to understand about ADHD and me.
First, ADHD impacts every area of life. I mean take any symptom and spend a few minutes considering all the ways that it’s impacted your work, your education, your love life, your parenting skills, friendships, career choices, finances, self-esteem ,like poor working memory or easily distracted, or a lot started and not much finished.
These undermine every realm of life, when you don’t know what’s going on, when it’s un-diagnosed, ADHD demolishes your self-esteem and after we’re first diagnosed the danger is that all we see are the negatives, the failures, the foul-ups, the lost opportunities.
But ADHD is situational, some negative traits can be positives depending on the context. What doesn’t work in my marriage, being overly talkative, is great when I’m performing comedy on stage.

The ADHD Diagnosis – A Huge Relief

Eventually I came to see that for myself and for my son the diagnosis was a huge relief, especially learning about the neurology and the genetics, the
neurotransmitters and the genes.
That was empowering for me, okay so this is real, and I now had an explanation for so many areas where I struggled and areas where I soared, and there were things I could do about the downside.
For example I could see that my emotional sensitivity, managing my emotions, was a potential positive or negative. Being very sensitive can be good, not always.
A key message in our PBS programs ADD & Loving It?! and ADD & Mastering It! and everything we’ve done since, is that ADHD affects every area of life.
ADHD is holistic and it demands a holistic treatment plan. That means more than one tool, it means using the tools that serve you best right now and when a
tool or a strategy no longer works or is needed you set it aside.
The stigma around ADHD is decreasing, the research keeps building our knowledge, but there’s still a lot of misunderstanding. In fact understanding your own symptoms and how they are impacting you is a it’s a lifelong process.
You see ADHD is situational and as your situation changes so will your strategies, in fact having ADHD you’ll probably want to change them up just from boredom.

Where Do I Start?

So it’s important to learn what ADHD actually is and then identify which of the traits or symptoms or beliefs or behaviors are most disruptive for your life, and that’s where you start.
The good news is that there are more and more accommodations at schools and in workplaces. There are all kinds of supports to manage projects, there are apps, software, even certified ADHD coaches who specialize in helping students or in helping adults.
The best schools are becoming wise to the fact that kids with ADHD can bring a whole different mindset, a skill set, and creativity to the classroom and so more
and more colleges are finding ways to level the playing field for students with ADHD, and that makes all the difference.
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