Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Please read all the way down

From a reader, who blessed me with this testimoy:


I am writing about my very positive experience as of late with finally accepting what multiple psychiatrists and counselors have told me. I feel compelled to encourage others, but am fearful to write it on my blog, since family and friends who I am not ready to tell about this read it.

Do you know of any good sites I could share this on? Maybe even yours? I was wondering, as I don't know much about ADHD related sites on the web yet.
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Here's what I have started:

When I was a kid I was loved by my teachers. I was a 'good kid.' I sat in class and never acted up, never spoke up and never caused any problems. So, of course, teachers loved me.

What was I doing? Was I learning? Was I taking it all in? Was I too focused to act out?

Nope. I was daydreaming. My thoughts were a million miles away. I wasn't engaged in any way whatsoever. I wasn't learning and I wasn't bothering anyone. I was just there, so my teachers loved me.

There is a story my step mother likes to tell. She was about 10 feet behind me as I sat on the edge of the patio staring at the sky. "Matt," she said, trying to get my attention, "It's time for dinner."

There was no response.



"Matt, can you hear me? Matt? Matt!"

I didn't hear her, and yet my hearing was fine. My mind was somewhere else, hyper-focused on some sort of daydream. Because of this I was very often accused of being shy (and I was) or 'quirky' (and I was and still am).

ADHD was never thought of. We don't think of it this way. ADHD is what the bad kids have… It's something that those really hyper kids are diagnosed with. It's not for the shy and inattentive kid at the back of the room who isn't causing any problems.

That's the myth.

People thought of me as artistic (and I was this as well). It was easy to think this. One simply needed to look at my notes to see where my mind was: Doodling. I doodled on everything, all day long. My notes were filled with drawings interspersed with the occasional note text. It's not just that my hands were doodling: My mind was too. My mind was somewhere else. It's always felt this way. I've always felt a little 'disconnected,' as if viewing life through a TV screen rather than being there.

Is that ADHD or laziness? That's the million dollar question, isn't it?

How did I get through school then? How did I pass and get decent grades and go to college and graduate with a B.S. in Computer Science?

How did I graduate? How did I get good enough grades? I know how, and I've always known. You see, I've never felt like I've lived up to my potential. I've always known in the back of my mind that I was somehow capable of more. And yet I've always been unable to do it.
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I got through school and 6 years in the work force for two reasons:

1. I'm smart (this statement lacks humility, I know, but it's true. I have a high IQ, and this helped me through what would otherwise be crippling in many ways.)
2. I'm not lazy (this isn't to say I'm very motivated, but I'm certainly not lazy).


I'm not dumb and I'm not lazy, but I am 'quirky.' I'm not sure exactly how to put this, but it's particularly observable in me that my mind is often engaged in something outside of where everyone else's mind is.

This has always been a little 'cute,' I suppose. Quirkiness, I think, is a good attribute, and, as the cliché goes, normal is boring. I agree.

Here's when quirkiness isn't cute:
* When you seem unable to maintain your home.
* When you get angry and agitated with friends and family because they are interrupting your daydream.
* When you blow up at people because you have a desperately low frustration tolerance.
* When you scream and yell and kick things because you are frustrated by assembling something, like a Christmas tree, and you remain unwilling to read the manual.
* When your wife asks you to do something, and although you look at her and nod, you didn't hear a word she said. You love her dearly, but your mind has some strange difficulty.
* When your kids are begging for your attention but you can only seem to give it in short bursts. You want to give your attention, you really do, but some kind of driving force seems to pit your attention against itself.
* When you don't work. You go to work and stare at the monitor for many minutes, entirely zoned out.
* When you surf the web all day at work, rushing to get tasks done, and doing them sloppily, so that you can return to your mindlessness.
* When you change hobbies every month or so, spending a significant amount of time hyper-focused on your new love, and ignoring those who need you.
* When one day you decide you're going to move, so you give your two-weeks notice, sell your home, quit your job and move, only to realize that you made a life-changing decision on a whim. Talk about hurting your family! (Thank God for His grace on this one, which put our family back where it was and saved us from what would have been a very bad situation).


Killired said...

you've just been pimped!

Killired: NaBloPoMo #22 Blog Pimpin'

David said...


Barbara said...

Hey David - Thanks for sharing this. I hope you're able to get wherever you're going for Thanksgiving.

utenzi said...

Michele sent me, David. Happy Thanksgiving!

A reader sent that in to you? It sounds very familiar to me. Though it certainly doesn't fit the classic symptoms of what is typically described as ADHD it does sound like a difficult problem to have.

David said...

i just NOW realized that Barbara was poking a little fun at me. Barbara, I do so appreciate your sense of humor and your friendly attitude. When I give thanks, I include helpful people like you, who help tech-phobic people like me look good in the blog world. Bless you!
Yes, Utenziit sounds familiar to me, also, hauntingly familiar. Thank God for good people who care, smart doctors, and the grace of God himself that gets us absent minded people through our daze.
Have happy Thanksgiving day everyone!

phoenix said...

Happy Thanksgiving my friend! I will write about my son to you soon... he has ADD and my experiences with it.

Have a blessed day :)

srp said...

Here from Michele.
A friend who has her PhD in counseling discovered while in graduate school that she had adult ADD. She couldn't get her clinical files done, something in one case reminded her of another case and so on. After she started her medication she was amazed at the difference. Doodling was a big symptom she had in high school.

My daughter started noticing the problem in high school. Her main symptom was sleep. Any time she sat for two minutes, quietly.... she fell asleep. I was amazed at WHERE she could sleep. Our evenings became me waking her up every five minutes, and her complaining how she was always doing homework and had no time for friends. She too was amazed after starting her medication.

I believe it is real and manifests differently in males and females and in different ages.

Happy Thanksgiving.

MTR said...

Sorry to have forgotten about this... Didn't really, just a busy week. Will get back to it.

angel said...

hi david! thanx for sharing what your reader sent to you! it was very cool to read that from an adult point of view, dealing with a teenage ADHDer myself... so did you give him any tips and pointers? i'd love to know what your reply to him was!

MTR said...

I appreciate Dave posting this for me. One of these days I'll post it on my own blog. I just don't have the courage yet to let people who read my blog know about it: Friends, family, you know. It's a bit of a confessional situation.

sarala said...

Interesting post. Good luck to the poster and to David with their ADD.
Getting treatment for the first time is hard for adults. Often they get to it after their kids are diagnosed and treated.
Hope you all find the right solutions.