Edie’s Story

I’m 57 years old and have known I’m ADD for about 10 years now–since my oldest son was diagnosed with the same thing and I knew we were VERY much alike.

I’m an artist and very open about being ADD. I think just being an artist allows me to admit to people that I’m a little wierd at times because of my ADD and I think they accept it and see it in me as part of the whole creative person that I am.

During the past 10 years I would take Ritalin at times when I need to concentrate on something I really didn’t want to do such as reading a computer handbook, you know, technical info. . . .

My worst enemy is boredom and I go from project to project, medium to medium. I conquer one field, and then I’m off to another one–leaving many unfinished projects in the wake, always thinking I will get back to them. And I still believe that that is true–that I will get back to them.

I think one of the greatest attributes that I attribute to my ADD is persistence (hyper focusing). When there is something I really do want to get done–I will stay at it for weeks, months and even years. Believe me there are many many things that I’m not persistent with, but when something does come my way and I want it–I don’t let go. That quality allowed me to adopt a teenage boy from a Central American country where it was almost impossible to do and yet I did it. I also worked on a project with homeless people that spanned over 10 years. I learned all sorts of new skills such as; interviewing, writing and editing–but I still haven’t fulfilled all of my visions for that project–but I will.. . . someday.

I think my greatest personal failure to myself was that I wanted to learn Spanish but couldn’t. I wanted badly to communicate better with the new family we’ve unintentionally adopted by adopting our new son–lots of brothers and sisters, all wanting help, all wanting money. So even though I’ve been trying to learn Spanish for over 6 years now, taking classes here and there, spending 4 months in Lat Amer doing the adoption process and recently two weeks of a Spanish Immersion class–I still can’t speak worth a damn. My brain just doesn’t process the information quick enough to speak.

I have a poor audio memory, short term memory problems and a blender goes off in my mind when I try to speak. All of which makes it about impossible to speak in any intelligent way with any one. And I know it takes me so so much longer to really remember anything compared to someone with out ADD. But I do like challenges and I’m never bored. But after taking 2 weeks of a language class and not being able to speak even a tiny bit better–I’m finally giving up on the speaking part and accepting my limitations. I really don’t like to do that but I think it’s about time I face the reality of my ADD/learning disablities when it comes to language.

I also have trouble speaking in an intelligent way even in English. I am very limited in my vocabulary. I know quite a lot of words, but for some reason I cannot pronounce most of them when the time comes that I want to use them. When I was a child, I was smart but phonetics was a total mystery to me–I cheated my way through it which is not something I felt good about. I just didn’t know how else to deal with the fact that none of the teacher’s information was getting through to me. I couldn’t stand the idea of being labeled dumb by anyone even though I certainly was in that area.

There are so many stories or experiences that I’ve had with my ADD and how I’ve adapted to it. But what I really wanted to say when I started this essay was that I finally got tired of living in a fog and not accomplishing anything since my adoption experience–so I started reading up on ADD literature and have gotten on some new medication–Concerta which has helped my immensely.

What can I say except I now have a clean studio and a clean garage and hope to someday have a clean house. I’m also getting my act together so I can support myself again as an artist–at least pay for my wonderful studio. I think the Concerta has helped me stay focused in many general ways–but mostly I think it has brightened my view of the world so that I am coping better, I’m not so anxious, which I didn’t even know I was! A pile of papers on my desk doesn’t bring anxiety to my core any more, I just see it as something I need to tackle a bit at a time and that it is a do-able task.

Well, that is all for now. . .