My ADD Story

Hello everyone. As my intro blog for the “Random Thoughts” section, I thought I’d tell my ADD story. I want to begin with two notes. First, technically it is called AD/HD, however, I don’t have any of the H (hyperactivity), so in this intro blog I will refer to it as just ADD. Second, I hope that through this blog posting, future postings and this section of my blog, others can find support and find even just one other person who has been through what they, their family members or friends are going through. Please feel free to comment and ask questions about anything I discuss. I love to talk about this topic so discussion is always welcome (and encouraged).

All through middle and high school I was the ditsy blonde; a little flaky, occasionally said dumb things but always got decent grades. I remember a few instances in high school where people would ask me “Where did that come from?” or say “That was random” in regards to a comment I had made. And it always hurt my feelings, but there wasn’t anything I could do about it so I would just be sad and move on. I decided to go to a college about 3 hours away from home. I had never lived any where else so this was a pretty big move for me. During that first year I drank A LOT and 9/11 happened. I got tired of the drinking and frat parties pretty quickly but the school is in a small town so there was nothing else to do really. Soon I started to get depressed and even kind of angry. My mom brought this up during a phone conversation one night. I felt guilty for behaving that way and wanted to figure out what was going on. My mom knew of a good therapist, so we set up an appointment during my Christmas break.

I went home for the Holidays. My therapy appointment was scheduled for that first week. I went to the appointment with an open mind thinking that I did not want to continue these new characteristics because it was not in my nature to be so angry and unhappy. The session started. I had a lot to say to the therapist and just started spilling my guts. She stopped me about 10 minutes into my motor mouth monologue and said “I think you have ADD.”

That shut me up immediately.

Telling me I had ADD was like telling me I was adopted. It had never been brought up before, no teacher had ever suggested it, no one, I mean NO ONE had ever even had an inkling of a thought that I had ADD. The therapist brought out her diagnosis book and that was where my life became so much clearer. Every question she asked was perfectly fitting to my life. It described every little doubt I had ever had about myself. I finally had an explanation for little quirks that didn’t seem to be normal.

I was 19 years old.

Nineteen is pretty late in life to be diagnosed with this ADD. When you are 19, you’ve gone through high school, all of your self defining teen years and struggles and pretty much established your identity. This diagnoses put all of that upside down. Once the diagnosis was over I was sobbing. Mostly out of happiness that I wasn’t crazy, that there were answers. I knew nothing about ADD and also felt overwhelmed by the idea of it. After the session I went home and had the biggest anxiety attack to date. At nineteen I was curled up in a ball on my bed at my parent’s house soaking the sheets with tears while my parents were telling me “everything will be ok.” We scheduled another therapy appointment for the very next day.

I saw that therapist 2 or 3 times a week for the rest of my Christmas break and then I saw her every time I came home. I was put on Adderall for which I am still taking. I learned to manage the disorder and learned to adapt my life in a way so that it worked for someone whose brain is continually firing. It’s a very interesting disorder that I love reading books and articles about. I have learned a lot since my diagnosis 6 years ago. I went through a mini identity crisis, which I am still dealing with, because once I learned to cope with ADD and with the help of continual therapy and Adderall, I stopped being the stupid blonde people knew in high school. I left that first college after my sophomore year and transferred to a school where I could live at home. It turned out that I was pretty smart and I ended up graduating Magna Cum Laude (not to brad or anything). So, now who was I? I still struggle with this, but I’m dealing and have improved greatly in many aspects of my life. I have a terrific family and group of friends who were my friends during the random years and continue to stick by my side.

So that’s my ADD story. I will definitely go into more detail about certain aspects of it in future blogs as well as voice my opinions on issues like over diagnosis and medications. I hope you all did not find my story too boring. It’s been a very eye opening road for me as well as family and friends who enjoy learning more about it as well.

“Basically, I'm for anything that gets you through the night - be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniels.” – Frank Sinatra
So may the prayers, tranquilizers and JD be with you and see you next time.

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