Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Living With A.D.D.

What a week!  Sorry for the lack of posts this week!  The doctor put me on a new A.D.D. medication and WOW, it has messed me up!  Yes, I have a big way!

I was actually diagnosed when I was in third grade.  Back then, I had several days of testing and was then sent to a psychologist that specialized in that arena.  Over the years, in addition to medication, my parents and I worked hard to try and figure out what would work best for me.   Life, as a kid, was always a struggle for me.  NOTHING was easy.  School was hard, social stuff was hard, my home-life was hard...EVERYTHING was hard.  It was quite defeating but my parents were so wonderful about reminding me that I was created for a purpose.  Eventually, I would find my purpose and all of these struggles were helping me become the person that I needed to be when that revelation came.  What amazes me, is that they were right!

Once I graduated college, I stopped taking my medication.  For some reason, I had always equated my A.D.D. to school.  After having little C, I couldn't keep ANYTHING together.  It didn't matter how many lists, calendars, and organizing tools I had, it wasn't working.  It really made me doubt my worth and ability to be a mother and a wife.  In addition to the anxiety I already suffered from, I was more anxious than ever because I couldn't see ANYTHING clearly.  What was wrong with me?

Eventually, I went to the doctor and told them that something was CLEARLY wrong.  I didn't know what it was, but I needed to figure it out.  I couldn't go on like this...I was miserable.  She referred me over to the psychologist to talk about adult A.D.D.  I went to my appointment and spoke to him for all of 10 mintues before he stopped me and said, "Jeanne, I don't even need to test you.  You pass with flying colors.  A.D.D. does not stop when school stops, its about how your brain works.  Let's address this."

I cried.

I cried because I felt embarrassed, I cried because I was relieved that someone was going to help me, and I cried because I felt like I should have known.

We started back on medication and bi-weekly appointments.  He was great because, like I had learned about my learning style when I was younger, he wanted to teach me techniques to manage life that would help me to be successful as an adult.  He also helped me to understand that A.D.D. is not a bad thing, it's part of who I am!  Because of it, I can bring things to the table that many other people can't.

Since then, I have been able to adjust my life to work WITH my A.D.D.  My laundry room, organization of clothes, and cleaning schedule are all examples of ways that I do this.  I try to organize my life in a way that is broken down to begin with so I don't have to break it down as I go.  In addition to this, my husbands support is HUGE.  He knows to take over specific tasks when I get overwhelmed.  If the kitchen or laundry are ever out of control, he will step in and get them back to a manageable place. 

Before I end this post, I just want to say that A.D.D. is a very real thing.  When my husband and I got married, he was of the opinion that it wasn't 'real', just an excuse.  He quickly adjusted his opinion.  If you or somebody you know is ever struggling to understand what it is like, just follow these steps and it will be clear.

1. Get a book, headphones with loud music, a few kids, and a drum.
2. Tell the kids to scream, run, jump, and talk as loudly as they can.
3. Have someone bang on the drum
4. Put on your headphones
5. Start reading

Now, do you remember what you read?  Were you able to focus?

While this is an obvious example, this is daily life.  When I walk into a store, the background music is SO LOUD and I am distracted by the slightest thing.  I do not have the ability to weed this stuff out.  It is SO FRUSTRATING!  Eventually, I will get so overwhelmed by everything that is going on and will just shut down and quit.

So, there you have it.  I was actually not planning on writing about this today, but I guess it was inspired...haha.  I hope this helps someone to understand what its like to live with A.D.D. or helps another mom know that there are others out there who are struggling just as much.  Now you know just a little bit more of my heart...


  1. What a great way to explain ADD. As a teacher I see many students struggle with it -- and I myself have it to an extent-- and it is just as you said. ADD experts say to teachers, never tell a kid with ADD to focus....because they are focusing! They are focusing on every little sound, movement, and change in the classroom that no one else notices! ADD, a challenge and a blessing, I think!

  2. That is so true! It's all about finding a different route to reach those students. They, more often than not, are willing to and ARE working way harder than the average student. I hope you can use this with your students and even their parents.


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