I have joked my whole life about having ADD, but it wasn’t amusing when my boss asked me in frustration, “Have you ever been diagnosed with ADD?” We were having communication problems. I was working on a project and she would provide me feedback and directions by email, on post-its, and verbally. I couldn’t keep track of it in all of those places, so I would invariably miss one of the steps. When she asked me that, I decided to find out, and after finishing the evaluation (my sister also completed one about me) I was told that my scores were higher than anyone else’s since this clinic began using them. I felt validated and empowered, but also felt so frustrated and angry that I’d been swimming upstream for 50 years!
I haven’t had great education and support since then–I tend to procrastinate a lot. But I have struggled to be “normal” for so long and just lost a job because I wasn’t meeting deadlines, so I have finally (3 years later) contacted a reputable ADD coach and am going to learn how to live with ADD instead of ignoring it.
Watching the video “ADD and Loving It” was cathartic for me. I personally related to 98% of the challenges Patrick, Janis and Rick talked about. I wish everyone in my life would watch this documentary, because I think they could understand why I’ve made the life choices I have, why I was such a jerk growing up, and so much more about me as a person. I’m so glad to have found this website too, and look forward to making ADD work for me instead of trying to fight it!lindsey3Member
Hi stillwatergirl, I so relate to your point of ‘ swimming upstream’ via work that finally exposes reasons for ongoing difficulties. I was just myself – a bit odd, passionate, private, for me highly successful within my professional role, verbally insensitive with colleagues sometimes ( I would hear myself saying words but couldn’t help or stop the flow some how ) and increasingly losing capacity. My dear dog died on a Monday afternoon and I was back at work early on the following Tuesday – and so my hard won world of hiding feelings, over control, deeply entrenched patterns of routines and repetition, no private life and complex denial started to split open. My unconscious self tapped me on the shoulder and said – you can’t go on any more. I had been swimming upstream for thirty years professionally, but it all started at 18m when I jumped out of a first floor building. This resulted in stitches and a scar that I still have.
At four, I regularly jumped out of my mothers little van when stopped at lights, and ran in the opposite direction. My passion was to run until exhaustion as a child, or to jump from heights – sheds, bunk beds, car roof tops, walls – you name it. I had begun denial of my true self by the age of seven.
When the break or crack happened in my life, I had no idea where the depression and anxiety disorder came from, such was my dislocation from my own real self in relation to my exterior performance. It has taken over sixteen months, a lot of therapy and a diagnosis of ADHD, to begin the first next steps to being perhaps happy, but at least real.
Despite awful difficulties and down feelings, my goal remains positive, and I want this for you too! Everything takes time, but I truly believe that we can be happier with knowledge and strategies, than without.
I know that my future will be different from my past, and I hope happier and more resolved. Fingers crossed!deebeeParticipant
I’m cheering for both of you, though a touch envious about your optimism. I pretty much gave up working 10 or 15 years ago because I did not trust myself enough to allow anyone to rely on me to get necessary tasks done.stillwatergirlMember
Have you two watched the video “ADD and Loving It?” I sort of assume everyone on this site has seen it because of the connection. Or even if you have, because you have ADD, watch it again! I have watched it 3 times now and learn something new with each time. The video really emphasizes how we should learn what our strengths are and use them, and stress how many of us with ADD/ADHD are highly intelligent. I could spend the rest of my life kicking myself or being mad at the world for not recognizing my ADD before, but I choose to figure out how to work with it and even use it as an advantage for the next phase of my life. If that sounds fake or too Pollyana-ish, it’s not. It’s realism. If you tried to eat soup with a fork for 50 years and then someone told you about spoons, wouldn’t you find one and start using it? So I think of this website, books, collaborating with others, medication and ADD coaches or therapists as spoons and I’m going to do much better with the right tools!
You need to remember that it wasn’t that we have ever lacked the ability to do things well, we just needed the right techniques. For example, I used to miss my daughter’s parent-teacher conferences, I missed a choir concert, her lacrosse games, etc. But last year I learned to keep everything in ONE electronic calendar that I can sync with my phone, and I think in the past year I’ve only missed one thing!! In fact, I’ve even noticed now that her dad (my ex), who doesn’t have ADD, has missed a few things in the past year that I remembered. That is a huge shift. Also I am learning how to organize my mail and open it every single day, instead of letting it pile up until there is too much and I am completely overwhelmed. And when I put something down in a different place, I consciously think about where I am putting it down and visual it there, which helps me remember where it is later. These techniques all really work!
As for socialization, I’m a very gregarious person (teacher) so I’ve always done well in superficial social situations. But in day-to-day interactions over time I used to be pretty hard to deal with. I found it helpful to read through my sister’s evaluation and talk about it with her. It was so funny-shortly after I gave her the ADD evaluation to do for me, she called and asked timidly, “Do you want me to be honest on this?” I laughed and told her, “Absolutely!” Because what she didn’t understand was that those behaviors were unconscious. Knowing about them was what I needed to change them. And it was eye-opening, to be sure. I used to be incredibly defensive when criticized, even constructively, but at this point I find it far more useful to weigh it honestly, decide what I should own, and make a change. It was easy in some cases, like being more patient (tailgating when people weren’t driving as fast as I wanted, or being really obviously frustrated when a line wasn’t moving fast enough). Other things were a little harder to digest, but I’m trying.
It sounds like you are both self-enlightened people who are on the same journey I am, and I believe from what you’ve each written that you’ll figure this out. And I believe I will as well. Just don’t waste time like I did trying to do it on your own. Because if you’re anything like me, your gift for procrastination will win out and you won’t get far. I’ve wasted most of the last 3 years since my diagnosis, but have made a commitment to myself now, mostly because I have a 15-year-old daughter and I need to be a good example for her. Best wishes to you both!
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