FIRST PERSON | My girlfriend called me “ADD Boy”. Imagine my dismay when I had to admit she was right. Her playful, albeit snarky, commentary was usually delivered after observing one of my frequent moments of forgetfulness. As it turned out, a doctor shared her opinion. At the age of 44, I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).
Aren’t ADHDer’s Simply Sugar-Buzzed Holy Terrors?
I had all the classic traits but never considered having ADHD. Why? Because I didn’t know what it was. I thought ADHD was something only kids had. You know the stigma. Hyperactive and sugar-buzzed holy terrors that bounce off the walls of elementary classrooms like chimpanzees at the zoo! That’s attention-deficit disorder, right?
Wrong. That is what I soon discovered after researching the answer to my own question of “What is attention deficit disorder anyway? I learned that most adults and many children don’t have the hyperactive component (the “H” of ADHD) – which is why a lot of us drop the H and call our condition “ADD”. As in, “Hey, you forgot to put on your shoes ADD Boy!”
Memory: Dude, Where’s my Phone?
I have the Predominantly Inattentive type of ADD which means I have issues with focus and memory. The fictitious exchange below is a good example of how this manifests itself in my daily life:
· Girlfriend: “Hey, you forgot to put on your shoes.”
· Me: “Thanks. Have you seen my phone?”
· Girlfriend: “Ya, you’re talking to me on it.”
If Those Symptoms Weren’t Hilarious Enough… Wait, it gets Better
My adult ADD also comes with: extreme distractibility, “zoning out”, difficulty following and remembering conversations, lateness, relationship challenges, inner restlessness, constant stimulation-seeking, and wanting to do a million things at once. However, I also possess the enviable ADD traits of creativity and (when I find something particularly stimulating)…hyper-focus!
I am now 48, single, and living in Nebraska. I manage my attention deficit disorder with diet, exercise, Adderall, and attitude. A positive attitude, that is.
Post-diagnosis: A Triumphant Journey!
The ADHD diagnosis started me on a liberating path of self-development. It’s opened doors of understanding I would not have known otherwise. I am learning to embrace my ADD without letting it define me.
I have a new zest for life knowing who I am and what makes me tick. Trying to overcome the challenges of ADD taught me an important lesson I want to share with people in our ADD tribe. Success and happiness begin when you stop trying to do things you are bad at and start playing to your strengths and passions. Truly believing this gives me confidence that my recent decision to transition to a new career (freelance writing) at mid-life ensures the second half of life will be sweeter than the first.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go write.