Anne’s Story

One day at work, I read an article titled “Do you have ADD” and to my amazement I have most of the symptoms. Although I’ve always known that I’m not the most attentive person in the world, I didn’t think of it as anything until I read the article and read stories of people with ADD.

For as long as I can remember, I haven’t been the most attentive person, especially in school. I wasn’t the worst student when I was in grade school, I was mediocre I was suppose, then again I didn’t pay attention in class most of the time. What’s strange to me is that when I would ACTUALLY put effort into something, I excelled. I learned to read and write before I started kindergarten.

As a child, I was obsessed with drawing and writing at home. I had papers everywhere, someone always had to clean up after me. There were ALWAYS piles of papers around me. When I did things on my terms in my own time and space, I excelled. But once I was put in a classroom setting, I just became bored. I was also a pretty hyper kid. I’m not sure if I was hyperactive, but I certainly talked a lot in school. I used to always get in trouble for talking and leaving my seat.

I’ve also never been patient when it comes to reading. Like I said, I loved to read when I was little…on my own terms. In high school, for some reason, I got away with not studying much. lol I know this was true for my own friends. Even though I took honors and AP classes, I definitely was not the attentive type. I can never listen to a teacher of professor for more than a minute. My mind zones out very easily. I would just sit in class and take notes, and 90% of the time I was not even listening to any word the teacher said.

My mind starts daydreaming. My hands were still taking notes! lol But my mind was always somewhere else. Based on an article that I read, one of the symptoms of people with ADD is that when possible trouble arises, a person with ADD becomes EXTREMELY focused. This was probably why I could get away with studying shortly before my exams.

My inattentiveness started to really become a problem in college and at work. I worked at a busy pharmacy where hearing directions left and write was crucial. This was a huge problem for me. I developed a bad reputation at work for being “forgetful.” I would always forget what someone just told me 30 seconds ago. I also asked some pretty “stupid” questions. For some reason, my mind likes to wander around. The solution to a problem can be right in front of me, but my mind would still around around looking for other possibilities. In my new job now, I always find myself, what else, zoned out in the middle of someone explaining directions.

I know what some people might think, “Don’t you think that perhaps you’re just stupid?” lol As I have mentioned earlier, when I’m focused on something, I’m REALLY focused. Unfortunately, I’m zoned out most of the time. I’m also easily startled. My co-workers have found amusement by just taping my chair and watching me almost jump out of my seat.

I am currently majoring in civil engineering. It can be both good and bad for me. My mind’s tendency to wander around helps when it comes to problem solving where brainstorming is important. It becomes bad when it comes to reading. For some reason, I can’t finish a paragraph without zoning out. Sometimes, it takes me hours to finish reading something that someone else can finish reading in less than an hour. I always find myself reading the same sentence over and over again.

More frequently, I find myself reading a whole section of a textbook and not understanding anything because my mind was zoned out 80% of the time. My eyes would still be reading the words, but my brain is also preoccupied about other things. One really weird instance was when the person I was dating was parked outside my apartment talking on the phone, and he later told me that he was watching me through my windows and I would repeatedly sit on my study desk and stand up and sit and stand up again. I did this for about 10-15 minutes.

He thought it was funny, but that’s something I always do. I can’t seem to stay in one place, especially when I’m studying. I always find myself standing up. I also play music ALL the time because my mind can’t stand silence…even when I’m studying. When I’m in my apartment, I would play music, then a couple of minutes later turn on the t.v., watch t.v. for a minute, then walk around my apartment, turn off the t.v., play music again….it might as well be a workout. lol I get bored very easily.

As I have mentioned, I can’t listen to a teacher for more than a minute without zoning out. On a 1 hour lecture, I can only listen to a professor for a maximum of 10 minutes…on a good day. It’s not that I choose not to listen. I even catch myself not listening and I tell myself, “Ok, focus this time, focus” and, of course, a minute later I’m already zoned out. I just take notes in class. Just like reading, my hands are writing away but my mind is too busy thinking about many things that I’m not thinking about what I’m writing.

Even in public places, people I know always tell me that they can be walking next to me on campus and I would never know it’s them. A friend of mine told me that he was walking next to me on my way to class and I never realized it. He thought it was funny. A few weeks later, I explained to him that the reason why I don’t realize what’s going on around me is because my mind is constantly thinking, it’s constantly zoned out. The only time my mind’s not thinking about something is when I’m asleep. People always ask me, “Why are you always looking on the ground?” They think I’m just shy in public, but I’m actually too busy thinking that’s why I’m looking at the ground when I’m walking.

Recently, I started taking action. I’ve talked to some school counselors. A psychologist suggested that I take a learning strategy class. The irony of this story was that while I was talking to the coordinator of the course, I found myself zone out in the middle of her talking! lol And she had only been talking at this point for about 15 seconds. And later that day, while I was leaving the office, I was told to leave the door open. Again, I was zoned out that I closed the door. Then right before the door completely closed, I immediately opened the door and said, “Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” lol

I’m just starting to learn more and more about ADD. I just started seeking possibility treatment options. Although I’m very aware that there’s no cure for ADD, I certainly need to learn on how to manage work and school given my condition.