Kim’s Story

Hi, I’m Kim. I’m really not sure how to begin this. 25 years of my life I have felt like an outsider looking in.(I am now 26.) I was never comfortable around lots of people and if I didn’t know you well, I’d retreat into my shell. I always felt like my classmates knew something I didn’t. I’d see people who were two and three years older than me and think they looked so much more mature and confident than I felt. It never happened to me though. I always thought when I reached the older age, I would feel the same way. It didn’t. I still felt small and insecure.

I received average grades in school, but not without effort. I quickly learned which classes I had to work harder in and which ones I could just get by. Math and Science were always my hard classes. I never got it. English was the class that I could slide by in. I’ve never had a problem expressing things on paper. I didn’t participate in class, unless I was called on. Then I felt like I was going to explode. I would get red faced and hot, and stammer. I knew the information, I just couldn’t get it out at that moment. I hated group projects. Still do to this day. I don’t see the point in them. They never seem to be a group effort.Usually one or two people work on the assignment, and the rest goof off.

My temper was also uncontrollable. I would get mad at the smallest things. It didn’t matter what or who it was. I remember going to the eye doctor one time on the way to work to pick up a replacement contact. I had torn mine that morning. The receptionist said they had them in stock, but I had to buy it because I had already had one replaced for free. Well, this wasn’t the answer I wanted. It wasn’t that I couldn’t pay for it. I had built it up in my mind that they were just going to give it to me. When that didn’t happen, I got angry. I argued with her for a while, and then picked up a can of pens on top of the desk and threw them down. Then I stormed out of there. This is just one example of my temper in action. Once I had done that, I thought to myself… “why did I just do that?” I never set foot in there again because I was so ashamed. I could go on and on about incidences like this one.

Procrastination. We all do it at some point. I am terrible about this. I will wait until the absolute last minute to do something, and then run around like a chicken with its head cut off trying to complete it. School research papers are the worst. I always had good intentions. I would get the book I was supposed to be reading at the beginning of the semester, say I was going to read it, and have the paper finished by mid-terms. Getting the book from the library was as far as I ever got. It would sit in my book bag, or at home for weeks. Then, usually a week before the paper was due, I would start to panick. I would try to read the book quickly, which never worked, and throw some sort of paper together. The grade would usually be passing, but nothing I wanted to post on the refrigerator.

At this point you’re probably wondering why in the world I’m telling you all of this. I’ll tell you. I finally got tired of arguing with people, including my husband; tired of feeling like a failure; tired of this low self-esteem; and many more things. In January of 2001 I went to see my doctor. She talked with me for a while, and then suggested that I go visit a therapist she knew. So a few weeks later, I went to talk to the therapist. I saw her about three times, and she said she had a feeling what was going on, gave me an assessment test, and told me to read, “Driven to Distraction.”

Oh my goodness. I read this book and felt as if someone was in my house watching my every move. It was really spooky. I went back to see her again, to talk about the book and my findings. Her conclusion… I have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. I about fell out of my chair! “You’ve got to be kidding me!” That was my reaction. “Isn’t that what little kids have?” She explained that it is, but that adults also have it. She told me that it usually missed in girls because they are not misbehaving in class. Girls seem to daydream a lot – totally me. She said there are actually two different classifications: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and attention deficit disorder (ADD). The later is more often found in girls. She said she was diagnosing me ADHD because I don’t stop moving. I’m not “bouncing off the walls,” per say – but I’m always moving. She asked me to go see a psychiatrist. For two reasons: (1) she wanted a second opinion, and (2) she can’t prescribe medicine.

So off I went to the psychiatrist. After talking to me for about 2 hours, he came to the same conclusion. I still couldn’t believe it. He prescribed some medicine for me and told me to come back in three weeks. I started taking the medicine the next day. After a couple of days, I couldn’t believe how different I felt. I felt like I was actually in class and focused on what was going on.

Part of me wishes that I could have found this out a long time ago. Then I think of where I am today and how I got here. It would have been nice to be able to focus better in school, but that doesn’t guarantee things would have been any easier. I am still in college, and I hope and pray that things will be easier to handle, now that I know what I am up against.