Tom’s Story

I guess I’ll start at the beginning of my memories. I have memories of many fragments of my life growing up. I also have memories of what my Mom told me. I was a kid that got into mischief throughout all of growing up. My mother told me that when I was was in half day kindergarten; I wouldn’t even make it to school even though it was only a block away. I would see a squirrel, follow it till I saw the butterfly, then when the butterfly got away, I’d stop to pick up an interesting stone which I would eventually throw. I’d try climbing the tree with a low limb and sit and watch the birds. My mother would get a call to find out why I wasn’t in school and she’d find out that I was still in the tree.

I was very sensitive and was an easy target for the local bullies when I was young. I was picked on and cried easily. I learned very early on that boys that cried were sissies, so I learned to swallow my feelings, and stopped crying over most things. This did take me a lot of time to master, but I mastered it as well as many other things. I had this amazing ability to get involved with learning something and block out any external stimulus. This was a saving grace throughout my schooling. I did however, not have the ability to turn this on or off on command.

I excelled in mathematics and science in school. I had a very difficult time mastering reading. The harder I tried the harder it got. Wish I could have mastered it like other skills. I was accused of not paying attention, interrupting class, and not achieving my potential. After awhile, I started to think there was something wrong with me. I had this feeling that I was different from my peers, but didn’t know what it was.

Adolescence brought new challenges. I found that I fit in with the crowd that was quote, from the wrong side of the track. I’m amazed that I remained out of trouble for the most part. I still had this gut feeling that I was different, and started to think I was inferior. I did manage to graduate from High School and go on to college.

I changed my major in college after my first year of college. I started out in Parks and Recreation Management, and switched to Ornamental Horticulture. I am proud of the fact that I worked full time throughout this college. After graduating with an associate’s degree, I couldn’t get a job in my field that paid as much as I was making on my janitor job that I was working. After taking a semester off, I decided to change my major again and get my bachelors degree in Forest Botany and Pathology. This meant that I needed to get in three more semesters of course work to transfer. I did end up completing a bachelor’s degree at an upper division college. I still never felt that I really fit in, but didn’t have any idea what I could do to help me fit in.

Eventually, four years after college, I married. The next year I broke my back in a car accident. I did manage to recuperate after time. I do have a rod in my back, but I manage quite well. However, I am never without some pain. The next twenty two years, with two sons, have been constant relationship troubles. I’m constantly miscommunicating, interrupting conversations, putting my nose where it doesn’t belong, making my wife feel that I don’t care about her by not remembering things discussed, hyperfocusing and ignoring everything around me (again making my wife feel I don’t care about her), the list goes on and on.

I finally got diagnosed with ADHD in December of 2005. My psychiatrist prescribed meds only because he felt that I might be able to patch up my relationship if I had assistance overcoming the obstacles of ADHD. Since that point, I’ve read about ADHD, and found out all I could. I’m still learning as much as I can. I’m also seeing a counselor and learning who I am and that I do have a lot of self worth. I am discovering new approaches to how I react to things. Medication has helped me with not being as impulsive, although I still can’t help impulsivity all the time. I’m not getting as easily distracted, and if I’m distracted, I’m able to get back to what I was doing prior, and can even remember. My relationship has not improved, but I’m learning to be a person that, if my wife gives me the chance, will be receptive, and caring. Now if I could get the piles and piles of paper organized and off my desk at work, I feel I’ve achieved another milestone. My life is just beginning and can only get better.

Hopefully I haven’t bored you all to death.

Update: November 25, 2013

I’m back to revisit this and say that a lot has happened since I posted this.  I have left that job with the piles and piles of paper, but still have those piles of paper at home 🙂