Cindi’s Story

Hi, my name is Cindi, I’m 45 years old with three children, 16, 13 and 18 mos. It’s quite a lot all on its own. Add ADHD, depression, chronic migraines, meningitis that caused the chronic migraines and I am also a recovering alcoholic with 7 years in a 12 step program. Whew!!!!

I worked up until I remarried 2 years ago, and things have been so difficult for me to manage at home, even though I performed well in my position and still have very good relations with my co-workers when they call me. I have actually just been diagnosed with ADHD and they are still trying to get the meds. correct due to the other problems. I found out about the ADHD because my husband of 2 years, who is a physician, sent me to this psychiatrist to see about trying a med. that would help me stay awake during the day so I could take this other med. at night to help cut down on the number of migraines I was having during the day. (the night med. made me very sleepy and I had stopped taking it.)

After about an hour into my history with this new doctor, he asked me if I had ever taken ritalin. “Excuse me, what did you say?” No, of course I had never taken ritalin! No doctor, I’m here about these awful migraines-that’s the problem. He then asked me to take some tests home and bring them back. Okay, I’ll do it, but I think we are missing the point. So I filled them out and was surprised at how familiar the questions were. I answered “often” or “very often” to almost all of them! When I returned to his office he looked at it and told me that he really felt that I was ADHD and because of my substanse abuse problem he was concerned about how to medicate me properly. It made me nervous as well, even though my problem was restricted to alcohol, I told him that I did not want to find out that I had other addictions!

What we decided to do is for me to work with an ADD counselor and keep everyone around me always informed about what I am doing and how I am feeling. I am currently on concerta and provigil. Once I adjust to the increase in dosage, I feel great! I’m amazed that I can focus and actually complete a task or two, not just think about doing it! I even feel like picking up the phone and calling friends just to talk!

At first acceptance of another chronic condition was difficult, but once I realized that this is who I am then the healing can begin allowing me to recover and “work towards a better quality of life” as my husband says.

At the same time, I am going through some feelings of anger because of having lived 45 years and gone through quite a bit of pain (including the alcoholism during a very nasty 3 year divorce and the custody battle for my two children at the time, which I lost). During all of this I was under the care of a well known pshychiatrist and an MSW for approx. 12 years!!! Not once did anyone mention the possibility of ADHD. It has been bittersweet to know what I have, because I can’t help but feel that maybe some of the events that ocured in my life could possibly have been avoided with the knowledge and proper treatment. I’m just speculating and I only say this because of all the misunderstandings and problems that have gone on for years chipping away at my self-esteem and I never could figure out why I did such stupid and impulsive things and never intended it that way! Although, I will say that I learned to make fun of myself before someone else could to deflect misunderstanding and anger. It was a great tool for me and worked well. I also want to add that I do feel that my former pshychiatrist and therapist were not intenionally trying to mistreat me, I just don’t think that they had the proper understanding of this condition.

That is the main reason for writing this story. Even though ADD and ADHD are common terms in our society, they have negative connotations and a there is a surprising lack of knowledge in the professional world about this condition. ie: diagnosis When my doctor told me about the ADHD I looked horror stricken! He laughed and said,”you’re not a murderer or a thief or a criminal, all you are is a person with a condition known as ADHD that is treatable. It does not mean that you are a bad person.”

I know that I can’t be the only one to have gone through so many years of being in the “clouds” and I have only told you the tip of my story. I wish there were a way to help educate people and clear up misperceptions about ADD and ADHD. But, like everything else, it takes time and alot of work! I feel that people like me don’t need to be treated with sympathy and taunts. Just tell me when I need to get back in line or need to contact my doctor. As we say in the program, “do it with love”. I’m not asking for special treatment, nor do I want it! I take it “One day at a time”.
Thank you for reading my story. I hope someone was able to relate to it and that maybe they too will have hope and gratitude for caring professionals and family members\friends that don’t leave you when the going gets tough!