Juliet’s Story

I was diagnosed 3 years ago when I was 27. In the last 3 years i have undergone an amazing personal growth. Like everyone else here the problems started in school.

Like many, my teachers assumed I was lazy. I was put in every remedial class available. No one once ever asked me what was going on, and I find this extremely odd and insulting of my intelligence as I am the one who’d have provided the answer. Why people think children are incapable of answering questions like these is stupid. I’d have told them that I was bored and that not a lot of the structure of school made sense, and it was never clear why I needed to live up to their predefined classifications, because humiliating me and keeping me in at recess sure didn’t encourage me towards the teacher’s beliefs. It didn’t help at all. As many of my teachers told me I was stupid and wouldn’t amount to much, my self esteem was gone. I got in trouble the rare occasions I actually attended class. I’d skip school frequently, but I went and did things like field trips to the nearby city, museums, slums, you name it I went exploring So my education didn’t suffer I was learning things by experiencing them instead of being told about them. I feel I did well by skipping school because I certainly learned more by interaction. I distrust authority figures because I cannot be certain they have my best interests even in mind, and this is entirely from being in school.

As an adult, I ambled along and felt like a fraud. I was considered mysterious by everyone who knew me because I’d reveal nothing about myself, nothing that could incur judgement at least. I was hiding all the problems I was having: losing shoes and other important items, all the forgetting and the ability to be even remotely organized. I was terrified someone would find out and then I’d be exposed. I didn’t have opinions on things or really any hobbies; all my energy was spent trying to figure out my environment. After diagnosis I felt relieved but also felt there was nothing wrong with me and still feel that way now.

I’ve adjusted my values over time and now I feel great about myself. I now think there are fundamentally things wrong with our society that would allow teachers to call their students ‘stupid’ to their faces. Why humiliation is used instead of positive reinforcement shall indeed remain a mystery, like the Nasca Lines in south America. If you are trying to create a working society, don’t ostracize your members for not understanding or necessarily liking the culture. Humiliation does not work. Integration would likely be more successful. DUH. Unless that isn’t the goal, and I am mistaken. My experiences in school have taught me to be critical, cynical, and question anything which doesn’t have immediate benefits. This is good, and this quality has served me well over the years.

I don’t wish to come across as reformed or anything, I certainly don’t greet the sun with a cup of coffee on the porch in a white bathrobe with my TV actor husband, and the bluebird of happiness must keep within 10 feet of me at all times. I’ve put a restraining order on it.

There is nothing wrong with me. If it takes six trips to the store, that’s how many trips it takes, and there’s no sense in getting upset over it. A few people have told me they wish they had ADD. Okay, if that’s what you want…I’m glad I’m the way I am. It’s nice to have time for opinions and hobbies and not just perseverate on one negative comment someone may have made.

Get to a place where you feel good about being yourself in all your glory with your ADD. I recommend it.