Angie’s Story

Hi. My name is Angie. I’m a 31-year-old mother of two young boys. I’m a newspaper editor.

Growing up, I ALWAYS felt different. And I guess you could say that I was. Looking back, I showed classic signs of ADD. But in 1981, I was just considered a bouncy, sassy, and impulsive little girl.

My impulsiveness and willingness to blurt out whatever was on my mind gave my prim and proper grandmother fits. So did my bouncing from sofa to chair to floor like an atom. My one great characteristic though was intelligence. Until about the third or fourth grade, I was put in the class with the children who were considered “gifted”. My IQ was determined to be nearly genius.

But when a child reaches higher grade levels, of course the work requires much more concentration. My straight “A” report cards began to decline to B report cards. And by the eighth or ninth grade, I was just an average “B” and “C” student. Even failing a couple of classes. Needless to say…they didn’t want me in the enrichment classes anymore! This was a huge blow to my self-esteem, because I knew I was smart.

The strange thing is, the two or three subjects that I was extremely interested in, I would hyper-focus on those and do very well in them. Even though I was a B and C student through middle school, I managed to win the school spelling bee several times, and in 8th grade went all the way to state.

And as a Senior in High School, I scored nearly perfect on the English part of the ACT, while barely scoring high enough to stay out of remedial classes.

By then, I had a job, a car, and just a very few financial responsibilities But not many. I made more than enough money to pay half of my small car payment while my grandmother agreed to make the other half. I opened a checking account. What a nightmare. I’ve never been able to keep a checking account straight. Even though I had sufficient funds to keep myself up (I lived at home still), I’d impulsively spend, looking for that thrill. It was the beginning of a financial nightmare that’s haunted me since college.

Speaking of college, I got bored with it. Simple as that. I quit on a whim and decided to marry my childhood sweetheart. We had nothing, and when you add my poor financial skills and impulse buying,well it doesn’t paint a pretty picture, does it?

I was thumbing through a ladies’ magazine one day sometime around the early to mid-90s, and read about adult ADD. I nearly cried…this sounded just like me. Forgetting appointments (Just two weeks ago, I forgot a doctor’s appointment. I remembered to call, apologize, and reschedule the appointment. Guess what? I forgot it, too.

And it doesn’t just end with me. My kids are affected. I forget to help them study. Sometimes I’m so worn out trying not to forget things, I don’t even bother. The tv service has been cut off again? Well, I had the money at the time it was due, but forgot it was already there to pay the TV bill…and I spent it on something else. The credit cards are past due again? Oh, I forgot all about having to pay those this month.

Now on to my job. Oh, how it’s affected me. From the time I was twelve until age 30, I worked for a family business. She had an idea what my problem might be, but when you accidentally leave the door unlocked at closing when you have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of inventory where anyone could just walk in and take it…well, she eventually had her fill of me.

My whole life, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. But I never finished college. Last year, some friends of mine bought a local newspaper. They needed a reporter/copy editor. It was a dream come true! I took the job and it was going great. I had all week to complete stories and edit. But after I forgot two important meetings and didn’t have a story finished, they had to let me go.

Thank God that wasn’t the end of my dream of being a journalist…I was hired by another paper. I finally admitted to myself that I had a problem.

You know, the strange thing to me is, well…I’ve always suffered from chest-crushing anxiety. I’ve tried various remedies. It never embarrassed me to talk to my friends about being on medication for that, because I know lots of working moms who couldn’t cope without it.

But talking about my ADD to anyone absolutely mortifies me. You may or may not know how worthless, stupid, and even suicidal someone with ADD feels. There were nights I’d lay awake, crying out to God, “Why’d you even make me?” I swear, if it weren’t for my husband and kids, I’d have taken my life at some points. I have felt so low, so worthless, so dumb.

To prevent losing this perfect job I now have, I finally sought some help. I was put on Strattera, and though it takes several weeks to see results, I do believe it’s helping.

Reading these other stories gives me hope…hope for the present and for the future. Thank you so much for reading!
—Angie