Andi’s Story

I was the second youngest of four children. My mother was divorces, and struggling, as it was the late 70’s. She didn’t have time or energy to try to figure out why her 8 year old daughter was climbing on the roof of the church across the street. I could not make the connection that I might get hurt.

Making connections was always one of my major problems. By the time I hit 3rd grade, I was showing signs of ADD, but of course it wasn’t even defined back then. My teacher was very critical of my inability to pay attention in class. She called me a “daydreamer” and said that I would waste my life away staring off into space. She accused me of being “slow”, even though a year before I had been tested and was rated as “gifted”. I didn’t know why I got distracted so easily. Later that year, I gave my mother quite a scare when I came home from school 3 hours late- I couldn’t help but stop to play with some tadpoles in a water-filled ditch on the way home.

A year later, my mother remarried. Her new husband was abusive in too many ways to list. One thing that he demanded was total control. My older sisters had moved out and my younger brother and I were left. My younger brother was able to sit still for hours at a time, which is something that my stepdad expected, but not me. I could never seem to attain the ability to focus long enough to stay out of trouble. I didn’t want to do things wrong, it’s just that I’d literally forget what it was I was supposed to be doing. Eventually, I was sent to a psychologist who said that there was nothing wrong with me, I was just an “unruly child”.

As I got older, things in school just got worse. I would try to study, but as I would be reading something, I would get to a particular word or phrase and it’s like someone would hit a “pause” button in my head. I would sit there, staring at the word for up to 20 minutes, when suddenly, I would snap out of it, not even realizing how much time had passed. Reading became nearly impossible for me, even though I was advanced in English Theory Comprehension.

At 15, I ran away from home and dropped out of school, failing. At 17, I enrolled in an “alternative school”, as one last attempt to graduate. The students worked part-time and attended school part-time. Studies were completed at the students own pace. I graduated with a “B” average in just a little over 2 years.

Jobs have been very hard. I have always been one of those people who are good at whatever they choose to do. Part of that is due to my competitive nature. The problem is that I would get a job, master it in an unbelievable short amount of time, get bored and quit. Over the years, the only job that was able to hold my attention was in Bars. Mostly because I was able to work every aspect, from waitress to bartender to assistant manager, and the boss liked me because I didn’t mind changing jobs from one day to the next. He thought I was just “being flexible” and had a real understanding of meaning of “teamwork”. He didn’t know I was just trying to keep from going insane with boredom.

As time passed, I knew that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life working in a bar. Luckily, I met my husband. I started working for him part time. He does home improvement and repair. A different job every few days. I decided to go back to school.

I had attempted college right after high school. It had been disasterous. I was unable once again to concentrate and complete my work on time. I conceded to the idea that I was just not disciplined enough for college, and gave up. After meeting my husband, I wanted to try again.

I found a college where I can complete my studies online. I am once again able to work at my own pace. I am presently finishing this quarter one week early, with all A’s. Online schooling has been a miracle for me! I was also finally able to find a career that will be stimulating enough to keep me interested: Criminal Justice.

I have never been officially diagnosed with ADD, but it has been suggested to me many times by many sources. I have also read a great deal about it and seem to fit the profile exactly.

If telling my story does anything, I hope that it helps some people find out about the options concerning school. I know that school is an especially major challenge for those with ADD, and online schooling has made my dreams of a degree on their way to becoming true.