Mike’s Story

I haven’t as yet been diagnosed with ADD, but I’m pretty sure I have it. My symptoms intersect with those of many of the people posting to this board.

I am currently 46, and I can recall my 1st grade teacher reporting to my parents that I seemed to need reassurance for everything I did in school. My own mother later started saying that “Michael’s majoring in Fun,” and she thought that was pretty clever on her part. For my part, I was encountering a great deal of frustration throughout my school career. I always seemed to score well on standardized tests, but my grades were poor because I had a major problem with reading comprehension, one that endures even today: I can read a paragraph or two and suddenly realize that my mind is thinking about something else completely, and that I have no idea what I have read. My mind is cluttered with numerous extraneous thoughts, images and even music.

As a result of all this, I find that I must read things several times until I either figure it out or give it up in disgust. I struggled through high school in this manner, where I took to cutting classes for weeks at a time because I found myself unable to keep up with the reading. I gained a reputation as a “bad” kid, and even began to loathe myself in the process. I have always viewed myself as someone whom everyone else thought was bright, but whom I myself “knew” to be unable to “cut it”. As such, I’ve been crippled by a terrible self-image. I was accepted to 5 different universities on the strength of my test scores, but I flunked-out of school the first year, and have been unable to succeed in subsequent attempts over the last 25 years. I have a great intellectual curiosity, but I feel stymied.

To make matters worse, I also have a visual problem that causes me to see the last word in a sentence first on occasion, which makes it even harder to read.

When I speak, my thoughts race through my head…and into it. My typical monologue carries me from the original thought through 2 or 3 more, and when I’m finally done the other person is usually looking at me as if to say, “What the hell did he just say?” Or so it seems…

My home office, where I sit as I write this, is a collection of piles of papers everywhere…on the desk, on the floor…but I know the contents of each pile. If I clean it up, it just reappears a few days later. Controlled chaos.

I don’t think I’ve ever been hyperactive, but I am easily angered and irritated when things don’t go “right”. I can remember my addresses and telephone numbers from 40 years ago…all of them. In fact, I can still close my eyes and see the signs in front of the houses and on the garage doors. I leave my house early every morning, giving myself plenty of extra time to get to work, yet once in the car I still rush like crazy to get there, always arriving way too early. I’m depressed as hell, and being in the midst of mid-life doesn’t help matters.

Is this ADD?