Russell’s Story

Hello and thanks to all of you for your stories,I see so much of me in a lot of them. I am 44 and was thoroughly diagnosed 2 years ago as severe ADHD, it showed as well some very unique abilities and gifts. I have always been a reader and yes I did learn how to finish a lot of them too! I grew up in a good foster home with a very kind and loving older older couple, their grandkids were my age and we spent a lot of time with the extended family.A lot of them have told me things like ,”you were always on the go” or “if we wanted to find you we would look at the tops of nearby trees”.I remember a lot of times as a kid that I would get us in trouble by leading the others into risky situations.

School was Ok at first, then In Gr 2 things started happening, I would get in trouble for not doing my work, disrupting class,daydreaming and always had comments on report cards like “could do a lot better if he applied himself” etc etc etc!I was a very confident outgoing kid until about Gr3-4 when we were introduced to team sports, at home there was no exposure at all to these things and being tall and skinny,unsure and clumsy, I was literally raked over the coals by the others and even teachers, that is when my self esteem began to plummet. I really started to act out in many ways and made myself a target for various bullies which compounded things quickly. I had a couple of good friends who still are today, but it seemed that they were never there when this stuff happened( maybe they were and I didn’t know???).

Around gr8 there was a real bad and persistent bully who always found me and by this time I had isolated myself from most of my earlier friends. Being native in a mostly non/native community can be very hard as well, although up to that point I did not even realize who I was. I got “in” with a group of my peers who also grew up in foster homes and had learned to stick together and be tough. They also introduced me to smoking, drinking and eventually drugs. I really liked the drinking as I finally felt comfortable in my own skin and could do a lot of things most people take for granted. It caused major problems in all areas of my life and continued for half of my adult life.

I quit school halfway through Gr11 as I could not comprehend the concept or any part of algebra, I got up from my desk, threw my books at the teacher and walked away from school. Jobs were plentiful and I was always very good with anything mechanical or hands on so drifted from job to job for many years, once they became familiar I lost interest,got fired many times due to my addictions or my problems with memory, distractions,disorganization blah,blah, blah. I did return to a school in a different town a year later and it was much the same although this time I had learned to “manage bullies quite effectively”. I slacked off in the academics but! excelled in shop courses, I basically did what I wanted to and left t he rest.

I got a high mark in woodwork for only doing 1 project, I spent alot of time in drafting,designing, then building a fancy coffee table.I did well in auto shop as I have a very high interest in cars although I was a lot more advanced than most of the other kids. I found,out of school that what I now know is hyperfocussing was very useful in building engines for racing which I just loved, all the stimulation of driving and speed and popularity for my abilities was great, my self esteem got very healthy again until I started to have the symptoms return as I got bored with this too. I started to make mistakes and forget important details and also to got back into my addictions.

In 1988 I got a big break when I started an apprenticeship in Heavy Duty Mechanics and a great job which involved a lot of travel as well, this went on OK in spite of my drinking as there was a lot of challenge. I finally got to the point that I had to face my problems and get sober as life was g! etting to be a living hell in all areas, I struggled with that for quite a while before I could stay sober and deal with other things. I became a member of AA and did my best look at and clean up the past, I have always had difficulty with identifying feelings and internal issues as I had covered up so much for so long.

Just recently I saw an “ADD To Do List”at which is extremely helpful as mapping out a path has always been very hard. Another article, not sure where from, but written by Jonathan Scott Halverstadt, M.S. on ADD and Romantic Relationships sets out a 4 part process of assessment, medication, therapy and 12 step work ( not necessarily AA)Relationships have always been difficult and although there have been some wonderful ladies in my life things just don’t last long, I am going through a separation right now with a beautiful, smart,successful woman who says we’ll keep the door open but you need to find what you are looking for.

It’s hard when I’m not even sure although I realize I am good at sabotaging things ev en though I REALLY don’t want to or intend to. She is 2 provinces away now and I got my old job back where I apprenticed and worked for 9 years, I have my resouces here though and am trying to do whatever I can to get back on track- again. My typing is getting real hard to do so this must be time to end, I hope this isn’t too long as I know that is hard for me. I found, make lists, try and develop routines, put up a key hanger right by the door and ALWAYS use it, take it easy on yourself, good rest and nutrition and I think I will find an ADD coach,I’ve found I am usually a positive person in spite of all the stuff that’s gone on, just keep putting one foot in front of the other, search for help and answers and use the ones that seem to fit, most of us do have good intuition, we just have to do it! Good luck on your journeys and I hope to make some friends who see the world like me, -Russell