I Have Never Told Anybody About This Before, But I Have Pretty Severe Adult Adhd... Now I Own A Jewelry Business

God took my life and turned it around. I went from a failure to a success, and this is my story.

“Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose.”-Jeremiah 1:5

I have never told anybody about this before, but I have pretty severe adult ADHD. I knew I had it, my school knew I had it, and they urged my parents to get me help. But I was never formally diagnosed until now. My uncle Dale, who is a psychologist, came to our house this Thanksgiving and I had a chance to sit down with him and ask him for his professional opinion. He asked me several questions, gave me some tests, and went through the standard procedure. He confirmed what my teachers had suspected and I had known all along. We then had a long discussion about the impact it would and already has had on my life.

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADD) is a genetic neurobehavioural disorder that affects about 5% of the population. People with ADHD are born with differences in their brain structure that cause them to think differently than most people. It affects behaviour, learning, work performance, and social skills. Its three main characteristics are inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.

Some common signs of ADHD include:
Inability to focus, short attention span
Lag in processing information, difficulty learning, does things slower, distorted perception of time
Impaired social skills
Poor listening skills, easily distracted, automatically tune out or drift off even when being directly spoken to
Daydreaming, drifting off, easily distracted (although at times can be hyperfocused-Get so wrapped up in some things I do that I can hardly stop to take a break or switch to doing something else)
Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships, promiscuity
Difficulty falling asleep, may be due to too many thoughts at night
Difficulty coming awake (may need coffee or other stimulant)
Frequent search for high stimulation (bungee jumping, gambling, race track, high stress jobs, ER doctors, doing many things at once, etc. Needs a lot of stimulation from things like action movies and video games, new purchases, being among lively friends, driving fast or engaging in extreme sports.)
Skips around while reading, or goes to the end first, trouble staying on track
Restlessness, constant motion, legs moving, fidgeting, nervous energy
Prone to hysterical outbursts, outbursts of rage
Test anxiety, or during tests your mind tends to go blank
Performance becomes worse under pressure-The harder you try, the worse it gets (No matter how much I do or how hard I try, I just can’t seem to reach my goals)
Periods of low energy, especially early in the morning and in the afternoon
Tendency to be immature, risk taker, thrill seeker, acts on impulse without thinking (like spending money, getting sexually involved with someone, diving into new activities, and changing plans)
Chronically late, always losing things
Not living up to potential in school or work, hard to finish anything
Trouble remembering things, following instructions, or completing work within time limits, absent-minded, starts lots of things but has trouble following through to the end
Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living
Poor handwriting, often prints
Switches around numbers, letters, or words, trouble reading or comprehending sentences in conversation or on paper, easily confused
Chronic procrastination, does things later rather than right away
Coordination difficulties
Tendency to blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
Behaviour problems, trouble with authority (Rather do things their own way than follow the rules and procedures of others)
Easily bored, impatience
Frequently feeling tired
Avoids group activities
Frequent traffic violations
Poor financial management
Poor organization skills, often have piles of stuff, messy
Mood swings, careless mistakes
Lack of talking in a relationship, talking nonstop
Trouble sitting still (such as trouble sitting in one place for too long, sitting at a desk job for long periods, sitting through a movie)
Say just what comes to mind without considering its impact (tactless, I tend to say or do things without thinking, and sometimes that gets me into trouble. I see myself differently than others see me, and when someone gets angry with me for doing something that upset them I’m often very surprised)
Tendency to turn off or become stuck when asked questions in social situations
Get stuck on thoughts
Has to be moving in order to think
Self-esteem issues, depression
Often occurs along with, and more likely to occur in individuals with blood relatives who suffer from bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression, or substance abuse.

Not all people with ADHD have all of these symptoms, but I have nearly all of them. More symptoms do exist, this is not an all-inclusive description of ADHD, but these are some of the most recognizable signs that are used to diagnose it. People with ADHD think and behave differently than the average person due to the way they produce thoughts and process information. Depending on the severity, it can affect all areas of their life, especially their schoolwork, job, and social life.

50% of children and teens with ADHD are rejected by their peers, compared to 10% of those who who do not have ADHD.

Those with ADHD are more likely to develop alcohol and drug problems, get involved in criminal activity, and have trouble finding a job.

50% of students with ADHD never finish high school, despite special education.

Only 5% get college degrees.

Until now I never thought much about how it had affected my life over the years, I just knew it had. And I never told anybody about it. It was a problem that I just tried to sweep under the rug and forget was there. Every now and then, some stranger might make mention of my odd behaviour that would serve as a painful reminder that I was different. The reason I was here, getting a professional diagnosis, was because recently I started having recurring nightmares about it. It wasn’t until I began having these nightmares that I realized how much it was bothering me, that I needed to confront it.

The dreams were reliving past experiences I’ve had with people. A few times in my life people, whom I often didn’t even know, would notice my strange behaviour and rudely point it out to me, so as to say “What is wrong with you?” Snippety people would get mad at me and say things like, ”Why are you just walking around in circles?” When I was lost in thought, I wasn’t really thinking about what I was doing, I was in my own little world. But when people said things like that, it shattered it. It was really hurtful and insensitive when people would say things like that or criticize me because of it, because they didn’t know how much I’d struggled with this, how much it was affecting my life, and how insecure I was about it. Every time somebody mentioned it, it just reminded me of every time I had failed because of it. I felt like I would never be able to function normally, like I was always going to be different and people would never understand me and I would never succeed in anything. I wasn’t TRYING to be weird or inattentive to [bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse][bless and do not curse] them off. I was trying really hard not to. All my dreams reflected these memories. Somebody would criticize me, I would try to defend myself and explain it to them and tell them how I had suffered a lot because of it. Then I would wake up whimpering. At that point, I decided it was time to confront the issue and get a professional diagnosis.
Highschool was a nightmare. Like most nightmares, I woke up from it and promptly forgot nearly everything about it. But the counselling session with my uncle brought it all back to me. It all made so much sense now.

I struggled in school, all 2 years of it. I had been homeschooled my entire life out on a dead end gravel road at the foot of the Bridger Mountains outside town. The only friend I ever had growing up was Zack Hoover, who had ADHD too. He moved away when I was 7. When I turned 16, I started my junior year at Manhattan Christian School, a little private school in the small town of Churchill. I barely finished it.

I was constantly late to school and class. I had a hard time concentrating in class and my homework was always late. Teachers would always yell at me because I wasn’t listening. My mind would always wander and I’d drift off into a daydream when I was trying to learn an important lesson or take a test. I could never finish any tests in time. My parents got mad at me, too. They thought I just wasn’t working hard enough, I just wasn’t applying myself. Everybody told me to pay attention! Just do your work! They didn’t know how hard I was trying. No matter how hard I tried to listen and concentrate, I just couldn’t comprehend the words they were saying, I couldn’t keep my mind focused. It was like trying to tune into a fuzzy radio station. I couldn’t pick up a signal. I got in trouble in school a lot for late homework, arriving late, not concentrating, wandering the halls or behaving inappropriately. I couldn’t concentrate in class, so when I did my homework I couldn’t understand it to begin with, and I’d sit down staring at it for hours. I’d try to focus on finishing it but my mind would always wander off and I’d get distracted by my thoughts. Even when I did pay attention to something it took a while to process the information. Oftentimes I would have to read a sentence 5 times over before I could comprehend what it was saying. Homework took so much longer for me to finish than for anybody else, and I didn’t have time to do anything else after school. I was exhausted.

Whenever I told my teachers I had spent all day doing my homework, they didn’t believe me. Their response was always “Everybody else had the same assignment, and they finished it in time. Why can’t you?” They just thought I was making excuses, but I wasn’t. I couldn’t understand how the other students were able to juggle their assignments so effortlessly and I could barely finish one. I would often stay up very late at night, sometimes getting little to no sleep, trying to finish my homework. And that just made it harder for me to concentrate the next day because I was so tired, and I would often fall asleep in class. Then I might as well have skipped the class, because I had to catch up on everything later. The sleep deprivation would make me do very strange things too, and I acted even weirder than I normally did, and it made me get into more trouble. Sometimes I literally felt like I was losing my mind. My social life suffered, too. Socializing was already hard for me because I’d been isolated all my life, but ADHD made it harder.The stress I was under made it really hard to think about, well, anything, let alone my image. I was pretty much sleepwalking my entire junior year. Everybody in school thought I was on drugs because I acted so odd and they would avoid me because they thought I was so strange. I was misjudged a lot. I was yelled at a lot. I was under so much pressure. My dad was threatening to take me out of school and make me go back to homeschooling if I didn’t get better grades, and I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to have friends. But I found it hard to relate to other people. Making friends and maintaining relationships was difficult. It was hard to understand each other. It was hard for me to join in conversations with my classmates. I didn’t know how to interact with them. People excluded me. Rumours started. I remember one that was particularly entertaining, people thought I was getting high every day before school. My hair and fingernails grow at a remarkable rate and I never had time to cut them, so everybody thought I was on crack. But by the time the rumour got back to me, it went that I was making some weird kind of drug out of my fingernails. Just goes to show you how things can get twisted around in highschool gossip. I’ve never even done drugs. I’m not going to come down on anybody; they knew how to deal with it just as good as I did. I understand that they were just highschool kids trying to stay out of trouble, which is good. But I do wish that everybody had handled the situation differently. I wish that the teachers had realized that I was doing my best and not been so hard on me, and I wish that the other students had been there for me, instead of just avoiding me or talking about me and not thinking about everything I was going through. Even if they didn’t want to get involved-they could have just took me aside some day and said, “Hey. I noticed you’re having a hard time. Is there anything I can pray with you about?” Just that alone would have shown that they cared and made things easier for me. Instead, it was like I was invisible or an inside joke, and nobody took the time to help me out or befriend me.

I always missed the bus, I was always losing or forgetting things, I was always late, I always failed tests, I constantly got bad grades, I was yelled at all the time, I got in trouble a lot, I was always in detention, I never had any friends, I was always bored, I was under a lot of pressure, I was miserable, but I was trying my hardest, but nobody liked me and everybody was telling me that I was never going to succeed at anything and it was all my fault. I felt like everybody was ganging up on me and everything was against me.

I got in trouble all the time in school. It was a disaster. Twice I got in trouble for leaving school to go for walks without permission, once for climbing on top of the vending machine (which I still don’t understand why it’s not allowed), and for breaking the dress code or skipping class or being late to school, not listening or “wandering around” between classes. I just got bored and did stupid things (which didn’t necessarily stop once I graduated.) Once I got in a fight with some girls in study hall and cussed them out, threw my homework at the librarian, and stormed out of the school, ran down the road and hid in the ditch. The principle found me a few miles down. I got in trouble on a road trip for being too hyper in a museum and trying to jump over stuff. (I wasn’t allowed any sugar from them on.) Once I was giving a presentation on how to make icecream and accidentally electrocuted myself, and began to cry in front of everyone. One of the scariest moments I remember is when...

Read the rest in my journal at mtgrl.wordpress.com
mtgrl mtgrl
5 Responses Dec 5, 2012

how are you going, i think i may have this also

I loved reading your story. It makes me happy that God directed you to the right path, and that you are happy now. I too, have ADHD and struggle with a lot of the same things as you. I totally understand where you're coming from. High school has been pretty hard, but now I'm about to start my final year. I know I'll make it through, since God's watching over me =)

ADHD is a curse it took my life too all my hapiness goals everything is went down the drain

Thanks =) I appreciate your feedback. And no, I haven't tried ritalin... I'm a little hesitant to take anything if I don't have to, but I have heard some good things about it. I'm glad it's working for you though. I think now that I am self-employed I can just set a schedule and try to stick to it. I have found yoga, exercise, and lots of green tea helps a lot though!
BTW please check out my journal now and then! I plan to write a little bit in it almost every day. I'd really appreciate it. Thanks =D

wow..well, i must say...you are one of the most intelligent people ive met here on this site. I have adhd and didnt know as much about it as i know now from reading your story. It was like reading about myself. Thank you for all of that info. i couldnt even get that much out of my psychiatrist concerning the disorder. I understand what you are going through. I used to think that everybody had racing thoughts that interfered with daily living. people can be so rude cant they. ? its ignorance.! try not to let what others think bother you too much....its like worrying about worrying...it doesnt help anything...only another distraction.
Have you tried ritalin? thats what im on and it made a world of diffference when it came to paying attention and focusing. I could even finish a project before beginning another one. I no longer blurt out things without thinking first. I can read a sentence once and its effective. you know the changes im refering to. I think you mentioned every symptom there is and more. Im so impressed with your letter that ive saved a draft in my documents to reread when necessary. so, once again thankx for the info...sorry i couldnt give you more advice but all the luck in the world to you.

Thanks a lot. I appreciate your encouragement!