Sometimes it’s relaxing, a relief, soothing, helpful, whatever, just to read that someone else has the same thoughts I do at times.
At times, I’d not agree or say that, I have my moments – but generally speaking………….
Kudos to those who have found success, but frankly, you are the minority – otherwise, there’d not be a growing number of forums like these, a growing number of support groups, etc.
So congratulations to the minority who have it not so severe and have been fortunate enough to be in the right place, right time, and have those abilities. (as my wife would say, and often says “well I’m happy for you then”
Tips are welcome and may help some – but please, no “you can do it, I did” sermons. If it could be done, I’d be there.
If I could find such a job where my ADHD might actually help – don’t you think I’d have been there? Lucky few who find them, and who have understanding bosses. Mine is the opposite. He frankly told the doctor that since I’m on meds, he expects things to be fine and me all settled down and doing a good job. Basically he was telling the doc that now that I’m on meds I can be fully expected to perform like the others and need no other accommodations. How’s that for a great caring understanding boss that gets it.
I have only had ONE other boss in my life that really appreciated me and would have done anything for me (and he did, often) and I now believe HE himself was ADD – the rocking in his chair, the hand motions, the excited speaking patterns, inability to sit still, talking fast, other things. But guess what – upper management eventually forced him out! Treated him like crap after the company was sold and other management came in. They treated him like no loyal employee should ever be treated……….. I felt sick for him. He LOVED a good argument – and we’d often spar for the fun of it, like courtroom lawyers, we’d argue points we didn’t even believe in, then have a good lunch together. Yeah, more I think of him – the more I believe he was ADD like me. He understood.
Man, what I’d give for another boss, another job like that.
Thanks again for the post, john. get it out – off your chest. It sure helped me to read it!
I understand what you mean. The central message of the phenomenon of the Successful ADHDer is that you’re a loser – an even bigger loser – if you haven’t figured out how to parlay your extraordinary ADHD abilities into financial success. I even get that kind of pressure in my ADHD “support” group where we’re all supposed to just cheer the hell up.
But on many levels, the ADHD Success bandwagon is not much worse than the non-ADHD parallel that says rich people are rich because they worked hard and poor people are just lazy. We know hard work doesn’t guarantee wealth. Lots of people work like dogs and don’t make much – and many people struggle all their lives, working two or three jobs, and not because they’re lazy. Or stupid.
I am a blue-collar worker, but I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, and didn’t really plan for a career, so I don’t expect to be earning a lot of money. But I have struggled with low self-esteem, chronic feelings of isolation and alienation, lack of direction, lack of ability to make sense of my life, hopelessness, emptiness, wandering like a ghost. I think people who have the outward trappings of success can struggle in their relationships and with the energy it takes to get through the day. I’m lucky enough to have a stable and comforting marriage, but all through my twenties I was alone and thought no one would ever want me. I thought by now I’d have figured out how to earn some decent money, but I haven’t. I’ve never been able to figure out how other people do things – how they know where to go, what to do, what steps to take, etc. Now I’m getting on towards the age of 50 and it’s kinda late to be starting a career, as people my age don’t tend to get hired – are instead being laid off because we cost too much.
Even so, it is never too late to learn new things – and at your own pace. I had a great aunt who went to college for the first time when she was 84. She lived to be 103-1/2. She went because she wanted to learn, not because she wanted to be “successful” (whatever that is.)
I’m at the official poverty line, and aside from wishing I could fix the broken stuff in my house, and wanting to be able to retire, and make sure my kids have some security…I don’t feel lack of money impacts my life that much.
I wanted recognition for a long time. I wanted to be good at something, to impress people. I don’t care about that any more, because I figured out knowing who I am and what I value is what I really wanted the most.
Plus, I’ve known “successful” people who weren’t happy because they felt like they didn’t have a purpose, and that recognition didn’t feed them internally the way they thought it would.
But I’m with you, with regard to – well, a lot of self-help, “positive thinking,” motivational types of messages – obviously, if you could wave your magic wand and transform yourself into a Wizard, you’d already BE a Wizard and you wouldn’t need to.
For myself, I find that it’s helpful to understand ADHD, and to address related emotional issues – but at the end of the day, there is nothing as good as getting the brass-tacks kind of practical skills to deal with it. Unfortunately, there is not much out there that helps with ADHD on that level. Lots of theory, lots of psychology (some of it quite good, like Gabor Mate’s book “Scattered”), lots of directions and good advice, as in Barkley’s “Taking Charge of Adult ADHD” but without a methodology for carrying it out. People don’t get it – if I could figure out how to implement this stuff, I would have done it already. Progress has been incredibly slow for me.
One book I like so far (crappy title, helpful content) is called “Four Weeks to an Organized Life.” It has very concrete, specific exercises, which for me have yielded actual results (for the first time, I was able to get stuff done – and this after nine months of coaching and six months of support group and the reading of all the big name ADHD books, which are good but didn’t tell me how to do anything.)
Just know, you’re not alone. I understand the frustration and despair very well. Not to mention the disgust at seeing a whole industry blossom around this problem…and other people making money off of my desperate attempts to get help. It’s hard sometimes to keep resentment from creeping in, but who does it hurt? I don’t want to be in the ADHD rock star club, and I don’t need the T-shirt. I just want to make my life work. That’s why I appreciate the professionals who do offer real help and have something useful to say.
I’m realizing the problems I have with ADHD are not going to go away, but it’s OK if I live my life anyway, in spite of being “different.”
Wow, sdwa…… you expressed a lot of good stuff there. Yeah, I can relate.
Again – there are not only different TYPES of ADHD, there are different severities, different levels, and behind that, there are different things that can go along with it that some people have, others do not. Anxiety impacts a lot of ADD folks, but then again, many don’t suffer from that as well. There are as many types and combinations of possibilities as there are people – or so it would seem, because there is a real human, a real personality behind every ADD diagnosis. Can’t lump them all together any more than you can lump all non-ADD people together. So if we don’t lump all humans together, why do many seem to think that because they got lucky, or their personality and circumstances allowed them to be successful with, even benefit from, ADD, that we all should or can?
Now that I finally know what it is, how bad I have it, and now know the OTHER things I have – personality traits, social anxiety and some other stuff – I can deal with what I can deal with, live with the rest, understand it, and know I’m doing the best I can.
Some call me successful, and in many ways I am because I have survived it thus far and as badly as I have it…….. but me, I know what my real potential is, or was, and I guess that part still sort of bothers me. but I’m going to strive more than ever to accomplish now that I have some tools (including this forum and a great neuropsychologist who really wants to help me), and some friends – including those here.
Hey, I’m a great mechanic, can restore cars and parts to perfection, am an excellent trouble-shooter, won contests. My 1970 Javelin SST has won a first place trophy in its class 4 years in a row at an all AMC event.
So why can’t all of you do what I’ve done?
Yeah, that’s why I don’t care for the “if I can do this…..I was a great success” thing – I know what I know, but also respect others for what they know and can do. I appreciate the diverse abilities and although my ADHD makes me frustrated with others who don’t understand some things – when I REALLY think past that, I truly, as a human, am happy for the differences and the fact that not all can do what I do, and appreciate those who can do the many many things I could never do.
Our janitor at work thinks he’s not a worth-while employee, always belittles himself, but I nailed him in a class one time and in front of everyone told him how important he really was, and how much all of us appreciated his hard work and dedication to doing the best that he could and suggested he never again believe he wasn’t important. (to which there was some applause)kc5jckParticipant
Think of what a better place the world would be if there were more janitors and fewer politicians and lawyers. Good for your billd.AnonymousInactive
Hi SDWA…..I enjoyed reading your post. I thought your comment …”I figured out knowing who I am and what I value is what I really wanted the most.”…..resonated quite strong for me. I don’t see how that perspective can be anything but a positive life affirming view?? I also agree….that no, ADD is not like an irritating skin rash that you can put cream on to make it go away, it is who we are. There are meds out there that can assist or mitigate some of the troublesome issues inherent in ADD(H) and then there are people on the spectrum for whom meds provide very little relief. All true….. I also believe that therapy can be a huge assist for those who struggle with the “difference”!! No it’s not magic….yes it’s hard work…..but….what isn’t
As a “Positive’, I can only say, it is never, and has never been my intent to send you or anybody the message that, if your in the very real throes of a struggle with your ADD, “you’re a loser’. I also understand, this medium is woefully inadequate as a communication tool but, just like my life, I work with what I/WE got, and try make the best of it I can. My only hope in sharing here is that those of us who have found some path that works, and yes, in some cases appears to work well, and that maybe, just maybe, there is something in sharing that…..sheds a little light, or provides a little “YES YOU CAN”…..into somebodies struggle. Remember we “Positives” are not that different….I/We too have had our heart ache….and struggles with our difference. It would take a book, not just a short post to describe the trials of a lifetime.
Having read you post, it appears you too know there is more……. your insightful commentary speaks volumes to that…too me. I’m not saying there is a magic fix…..but getting to or “figuring out who we are’, and “what we we value” …..for me was critical to my life and on going happiness too.
There are so many so called successful “Linear Types” that are heart sick, drug addicted, alcoholics, with huge incomes and high level social positions…..that I can only wonder…….
I for one clearly understand that circumstance played a huge role in my success. Being in the right occupation at the right time was critical for me. My corporation, my position called for my skills and insights, in my time. My futuristic nature and views were a asset, not a detriment. My fearless, do it against all odds when nobody else would step up personality, would appear reckless in another time and another place….so who knows. As it was, where I worked they viewed and managed me with extreme caution. I know that…..so yes, we do have value and we do have skills that set us apart……where, how, when??? It is not a common window….but there are windows. Yes…..I was fortunate…..and yes, i’ll be the first to say, circumstance played well for me.
But gawd when we shine……….. we fuckin well shine…. in ways they will never ever understand!!!!
Well thanx, now I won’t sleep tonight because I think ‘venting machines’ are gonna make me rich…
Any successful ADD’ers out here willing to make an investment?munchkinMember
It’ so weird how when you feel really really disappointed about something that didn’t work out, it just becomes absolutely unbearable to be around people who have succeeded at that thing. No matter how irrational – it just hurts, and there’s no way around it.
I built up my expectations around being a musician so so so high, and when I couldn’t make a living at it, and played nights, while slaving at my day job, I would be on stage with people who were “making it” and it poisoned me. I just got so sick of being around people who seemed to have privileges and advantages that helped them succeed, but believed their success was because of what a great character they had, and that other people’s failures were due to their poor character and “non-winning” attitude. No mention of their having the money, connections, lucky timing, free time and top of the line equipment that helped their talent and great attitude along the way… (no doubt they WERE talented)
It got so bad, I literally smashed my instrument in frustration, quit playing, and felt that those people were going to drive me off a cliff if I had to hear their attitudes and judgemental comments anymore.
I think I may have overcome this problem, over years of experience, seeing the naivety of people and lack of malice in their ignorance, I just think – well, they’re missing the point, but it’s their life – they have to go by the information/experience they’ve seen and know not what they do… I try to think: Bless the privileged – I would prefer not to know suffering, and if I had kids, I would rather they had an easy life, even if it made them a little more shallow. I wouldn’t wish struggle on anyone.
Still – when I go to certain live music concerts, I just find myself going outside for a smoke. I just can’t bear the bitterness inside. I own it – it’s just a mistake I made in having an “entitlement” attitude toward musical success – like a gambling addict who always thinks they’re going to win this time… I don’t know the answer, but I keep searching my soul to find peace and acceptance that there is no such thing as “fair,” and it’s not anyone’s fault.
My humble and public apologies for having taken toofat wrong, or having been irritated with him…….
LOL – guess that’s part of who _I_ am – short with folks who ‘seemingly’ “don’t get it” or “don’t understand”.
My mother warned me I’d be that way – but she gave a different reason after the school psychologist chatted with them.
This medium can be risky, and as folks with ADD – we often know what we WANT to say or type, but have trouble getting it down – or, like Dr. Barkley says, we strangle first……….
I went to only ONE class reunion (the social anxiety thing, my first wife helped to break that a bit with her own personality at such events) – in short, it was like 10 years after – back in 1985. What I found – _I_ was the successful one, I had a job, was married (then) and was happy. Those who were voted most likely to succeed, would be rich with great homes, would be company CEOs, were drunk, sad, divorced, and some unemployed.
My “geek squad” type friends – those of us who were grease monkeys, weekend warriors with the hot cars, very long hair (mine was past shoulders), etc – we were the happiest of the bunch! We were laughing, joking, had decent middle-class type homes (no mansion, but we were happier with our humble homes). Yeah, the class losers were the happy ones, the class elite, not so content.
I’ve never been to one since – but it was a real education – learned more there that one night than much of my high school career.
Everyone’s different. I’m more the introverted type, content to be alone much of the time (although not all of the time, I still want people around.) I was never the outgoing, hob-nobbing, schmoozing social butterfly with a million light-hearted acquaintances…more the type to be very close to one or two people and not need more. That’s just who I am. For me to go out and “market” myself is exhausting, takes hours to psych up for, and is just not my strength, even if I could learn to fake it, I would hate it and be miserable doing it. I do the creative, behind-the-scenes stuff, and don’t enjoy being in the spotlight – it makes me uncomfortable, while others seem to enjoy it. We live in a culture where charisma and working the crowd get rewarded.
I think it’s wrong that being “shy” or introverted is treated like some sort of pathology.
I used to paint…and got together a pretty intense body of work over a four-year period, got into a couple of juried art exhibitions, but I never got around to getting a solo gallery show, which I wanted and felt would have validated my existence….And for a long time, I couldn’t look at other people who were producing great work or getting shows without feeling bad about myself. But I got over it, because recognition wouldn’t have a lasting internal effect. It would be nice, but I think it would feel kind of empty, or I’d start worrying if I could keep getting that attention. All that “outer” stuff – framed certificates on the wall, awards, articles in the newspaper, degrees, credentials, fancy possessions – none of it would make me any more ME than I already am. And then I started asking myself: Do I really even want to do this work, or why am I doing it, and what does the process mean to me? Engaging with the process can put me into a state of flow. It can also be frustrating. It can be emotionally challenging. But I live in the moment, so the quality of the moment is what matters. At the core of it all, though, I think I’ve struggled most with the feeling that I have to earn the right to exist, have to find some way of proving that I was worthy of being born – and that feeling is a real buzz-kill when it comes to enjoying life.
What would it be like to just BE, and have that be okay?AnonymousInactive
Verry interesting post Sdwa.
I too am of the inverted type, I can deal with people, but you will never see me at a networking group or asking for help at the Hardware store. It’S just who I am, regardless of my ADD. Some days, I just wish I didnt have to say a word to anyone, but unfortunatly, life isnt like that and I know I dont have a choice if I want to succeed. I see it as working on myself and not just on dealing with my ADD. Maybe the ADD formed me to be that way growing up, but IT’S not an excuse for me and it has been one hell of a journey to get to where i am now.
Have I had disastrous consequences due to not always taking action on dealing with people, customers, family…you bet, on a weekly basis even. But you got to keep at it.
I guess I am one of the “Fortunate” ones, the “lucky” ones, the “not severe enough to fail” ones. Well I dont buy it! I deal with my ADD on an hourly basis. It’s one hell of a struggle. But I feel every problem has a solution. IT’s not my schpeal, nor a motivational speach, it’s the way I was brought up, the way my father taught me. The same father who never finished highschool, or couldnt stay still for more then 2 mins, who couldnt process his thoughts before acting upon them, but the same father who never gave up, never made an excuse for the way he was, never was afraid to work and who ultimately had to restart from nothing three times before being what is considered successfull by the norm. Obviously he was adha all along without knowing.
I couldnt read all the previous long posts from toofat and billd, I just couldnt, so excuse me if im off topic in regards.
I am in NO way categorizing ADDers, not everyone is able to do what they would like. I never made it through my engineering degree and had to settle for technicien because i couldnbt cope with the system, like many adders, but that made me realize, 9 to 5 jobs suck anyways, they’re not for me, I’m not wired for that, I cant do repetitive stuff without any creativity or room for it. Why dwell in trying to be an engineer when i may be more suited for something else. Finding that something else was another ordeal.
I finally started my own business with the help of non-profit organizations that gave legal and business coaching, already I was looking for help, to delegate, because i knew there are things i simply cant do. And this is 5 years before even knowing what add is and being diagnosed.
I have been able to succeed well so far, but do I do my own accounting….hell no! I delegate, especially what I suck at . Just like I have someone to help me through with dealing with staff. Does it cost me more sometimes? yes. But it’s the price to pay for someone like me….like us. I’m a shitty boss, unable to say what i know should be said, and I am still working on that, and thats why I have someone assist me for that, I suck at it, but being add does not prevent me for finding a solution and/or someone, even if it may take forever to get it done!
Have I had problems and horrifying situations due to lack of proper time management, lack of communication, and for reasons directly linked to my ADD, you bet. There are mistakes i regret alot, but I live with it, and try not to do them again even if sometimes i still do.
All in all, people see me as successfull, i work for myself, have over a dozen employees, and should be on top of the world. BUT, ask me if I am successfull and i will say no. I dont feel that way, i have alot of regrets, alot of issues about how i am that bothers me and even my confidence. People say I’m to modest, I just dont see what they see, dont feel the same. I know what i feel when my brain says to do this and i do that instead knowing the concequeneces ahead. I know what it feels to not be well and not enjoy life.
TRUE SUCCESS IS WHAT HAPPENS WITHIN! not your income, not your title.
ADD has not made me successfull, and it hasent helped either. IT’S a burden, for all of us. It hasent made me any more smart or stupid and it is just shit. I hate it. But till I have blood in my vains, I will not make it an excuse and will live my life as I can, through success or failure.
Besides, for every success, there are always a bunch of failures behind, it is true for normal people, and even more for us.
P.S.: I am sorry if this offends any and is in no way ment to push the envelope on the original post nor is it to brag about myself, people who know me know that is the furthest of who i am.AnonymousInactive
That’s funny T_lola……….took me while. Sometimes I’m slow……..
Need another thumbs-up smiley, admins!
“And if you care, don’t run away;
The freedom’s inside your head;
That’s what they said…….”
I plan on getting a lot done (well, that’s my plan, anyway!) I’ve got my cats loving me, giving me unconditional friendship and love, it’s going to be a nice day, cold, but nice, and I have ALL DAY to myself.
I just totally unwound with some early Moodies – and am good to go, now. I’m a melancholy man, that’s what I am, all the world surrounds me and I think I understand…. that we’re going, to keep growing, wait and see…….
Here – a gift for today.
Enjoy -> (and I think this one applies to us – all of us……) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fj61_G_USdQveronicaMember
i haven’t read through the whole post of replies, b/c quite honestly i’m being lazy.
but i just wanted to point out that some of those f-bombs should have been placed in a different spot to REALLY, truly emphasis what you feeling. hahahahaha
i get it. and sometimes venting does help. sometimes just having someone to listen to you, without criticism and be empathetic, is just the right kind of therapy one needs.
i tell folks all the time, just b/c you have an education doesn’t mean you know what to do with all that you learned. plus, some sh*t just doesn’t come naturally for all kinds. but it’s whatever. i’ve become more mindful of the times i get in these moods and try to stay the hell away from people. that’s my coping mechanism…. building walls. it’s not healthy, but for the most part keeps me sane. hahahahaha
Who said ADHD was an excuse? I don’t feel like ADHD is an “excuse” for me, because I didn’t know I had it until I was 45. It was a relief to find out and have an explanation for why things are so difficult. I’m not sure anyone on this thread is saying it is an excuse, but rather are expressing the frustration of trying so hard to get through the day and not being able to do that effectively. Some people do seem to like to wear their problems like a badge, but I’d guess that’s just a way of trying to build self-acceptance, and to acknowledge one’s own perseverance and courage which generally no one else is going to recognize…so I don’t knock it. And I don’t take it personally.
The question comes down, in part, to what people value. If I’d valued the pursuit of money above all else, I could probably have made that work. But I don’t. That said, I can understand the deep feelings of frustration many experience at not knowing what to do or how to do it. When I was younger I could never figure out how people got into various careers. It didn’t make sense to me, partly because I had to be interested in what I was doing in order to be able to invest in it emotionally, mentally, or physically, and more significantly because I needed a “big picture” understanding of all the little things I needed to do in order to know how those small steps fit into the larger scheme. Those sort of old “dad” messages about hard work paying off are fine if you want to be a salesman or a banker or a lawyer or an executive, but if what you want is to be an artist, they are not that relevant.
I think if I were clear in my mind and had confidence in my abilities – if I understood what I’m best at and what I care most about – I could find a way to translate that into, if not a meaningful stream of income, at least a way to solidify my sense of self, self-respect, or self-acceptance. I want to know who I am and be who I am, rather than trying to shoe-horn myself into roles that don’t fit me – before I try to become a commodity. These things can’t be pasted on from the outside.
Everyone needs a personal “mission” – a reason for being, a purpose. Everyone needs a sense of personal agency – to know that they can control their own choices – and for a lot of folks with ADHD, that is a challenge. They want to get organized but can’t. They want to complete their to-do lists and pay their bills and show up on time…but they can’t…because they don’t have the skills – and NOT because they don’t have the will. People with ADHD are tough, they bounce back despite the hardest fights. If there were an “A” for effort in life, everyone with ADHD would get an “A+”. It is those unseen efforts, unmeasurable successes that I admire. I would never underestimate the will or desire of someone with ADHD. Nobody here is lazy or indifferent. I don’t buy that.
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