Elizabeth’s Story

I was not diagnosed with ADD until I was thirty years old, and even now the diagnosis is tentative as my therapist is not sure if I have ADD or depression. He suspected it was ADD because of the rate I lose things. Whenever I want to sign my older daughter Kayoko, who is eight, up for a sports team I invariably have to send for a new social security card and birth certificate to get her registered. My Mother never had this degree of difficulty organizing personal papers. I lose credit cards, I lose car keys, I lose atm cards, and drivers licenses. At one time I had five alternate drivers licenses in my purse because of all the many times I had misplaced my license. At the current time I have lost most of my alternate licenses, I have one in my purse, and it just happens to be the one out of the six that was expired.

I don’t want to be seen as stupid or a total ditz. Unlike most people with ADD I don’t have a problem with reading. Reading in fact is my hyperfocus. By the time I was in fourth grade I was reading at an eleventh grade level. Based on my reading level in fifth grade they tried for the first and only time to channel me into gifted classes. We would meet and study spanish. The only problem was I always forgot to bring my pencil and my paper. I am working as a lunch lady currently in my daughters school. I work in the dish room and the fast pace of the work, and the short hours of the job suit me. I dread summer and all of the unstructured time I will be facing.

It seems that all of my life I have been lonely and moody. The word hypersensitive does not even begin to describe the self imposed drama of my adolescence. I never dated in high school or had a stable group of friends. My grades were in the 2. something category. My teacher’s comments went like “You looked like you slept in a gutter last night” for the frantic way I pulled on clothes in the morning. That teacher had it lucky though. I was there. When we moved farther away from the school and I could not walk, I consistently missed my bus every morning. It did not help that I procrastinated my homework until late every night. The classes I liked like English, I was really not any better at, but I had potential. I remember a teacher telling me “You could do really well if you got organized” It has not happened yet.

My husband works eighty hours a week, is Japanese and has a gambling problem. Between us we manage to never discuss what is dysfunctional in our lives. We never have company over because we always have a messy house. So we have no shared social life. I feel in every way like a single mother. I also feel like a single mother that is taken advantage of by my neighborhood kids. They come over to my house all the time because they know I am the fun mother who will take them swimming at the ymca when I take my own kids. They push the limits constantly, stealing food, and last time writing on my front door. I am so happy to see my older daughter Kayoko happy, who is not happy a lot as she is a lonely girl with a weight problem that I have a hard time saying no. My neighbor Danielle also has a lice problem. Rather than confronting her Mother I scrub this little girls head every time she spends the night, spending hours combing out nits and bugs. This little girl is the most infested girl I have ever seen, and my combing never eradicates all the bugs.

Well enough of my being a push over and a wimp. That really does not have much to do with ADD. This does. I have more problems when I go to college with having my car towed, losing directions for papers,or etc than I actually have doing course work. I procrastinate going to the gym, I procrastinate doing my laundry. Currently I have three home improvement projects going on, that I just have not finished. I owe two hundred dollars to my therapist for appointments I have missed due to forgetfulness when I got stressed. I am taking Wellbutrin and ritalin when I can remember it. When I hit a life crisis like my husbands not paying the mortgage because he gambled our money away, or a best friends moving away these drugs do not seem to help and I slide right back in to forgetful mode. A friend once told me “Get control of your life”, but I really have had trouble with that one.

I would like to be a writer. I figure thirty years of obsessive reading should be put to some use. I know however that I don’t have the concentration to write. The only paper work I have ever been able to do has been deadline induced.

Sometimes I get the blahs and I figure I am just another housewife trapped by suburbia, trapped by my life, but unlike any other housewife I feel trapped by my level of disorganization. When I hear other Brownie Mothers talking about cleaning under stoves or making dresses from patterns I think to myself “Who are these women?” If my child is matching in the morning and has lunch money I feel I am doing a damn good job. If anyone out there has any tips on how to make living with ADD easier, let me know. I don’t want to hear however “buy a planner” (I would lose it) or “Stop feeling sorry for yourself” or “Get motivated” The last one is definitely the toughest.