Allen’s Story

I am 45 years old, live in Jacksonville, FL, separated and have three incredible children ages 8, 5, and 3. So what am i doing in Jackson Hole, Wyoming? Running. i hadn’t even heard of ADD until i was like 35. My sister had heard about it on Oprah of all places, and called me and asked if i knew anything about it. She said it was like they were sitting around talking about ME.

I did very well in school until high school. I failed 11th grade and finally got kicked out of the public schools and had to finish in a private school where i got into even more trouble and graduated by the skin of my teeth. After high school i had not the faintest idea what i wanted to do. All through school, teachers, family and friends would all tell my parents and me “he has so much potential…he could be/do anything he sets his mind to.”

HA! Set my mind to it. Nobody ever told me how to do that. My mind has never been set, resists being set and in fact, has no conception of what that means whatsoever. At the age of 14 i started using drugs because i was bored with life. I got involved in criminal behaviour and between the two it is only by the grace of God that i am sitting here right now writing this. I was constantly starting projects (paintings, model cars, etc.) and never finishing them. This is a horrid habit that has carried over into my adult life and has caused more problems than i can count.
I have a million ideas a day (some are quite excellent) but none ever seem to come to fruition.

I have a zero tolerance for boredom and this has caused me to not be able to keep a job for more than 3-4 months at a time. My work history is a nightmare which makes it very difficult these days to get decent employment. It has also been one of the major factors leading to my separation. I love my wife and kids, want to provide for them, know that i need to, but there always comes this moment with every job where this physical feeling comes over me and it feels like i’m going to drown if i don’t get out, leave, and worry about the next job in a few days. I need constant change and the rest of the world wants/needs, in fact, runs on, stability.

I am always reading about 5-8 books at any given time. I thrive in a structured environment, but HATE everything about it. My finances are a wreck. Another cause of my separation.

I could go on and on and on with how disorganized, chaotic, free-wheeling, spontaneous and outrageous my life has been. I have a lot of great stories to tell as a result of my all over the place life, but nothing really to show for it.

After my sister called me and mentioned ADD, i went to the bookstore and found the book called, “Driven to Distraction.” It was like reading a biography of my life. I eventually saw a doctor, got diagnosed and began the Ritalin/Prozac experience. Worked great for a few months, then the depression set in and i became suicidal. Got off the meds and thought i could do it on my own. Wrong.

Many years later, two attempts to run my own business and resisting medication because i hate the thought that i’m broken in some way and need fixing with meds. I’d like to think i’m smart enough, strong enough and talented enough to beat this ADD on my own terms. Wrong again. I’m 3000 miles away from the ones i love, no home, no car, no money, no job. Guess i was wrong again.

When i get back to jacksonville ( i will get back!) the first thing i’m going to do is see my doctor and try and find the right meds for me. I am also going to join a support group. I will seek for and accept help anywhere i can find it. Whatever it takes to get my family back and live a “normal” life, that’s what i’m aiming for. Thanks for listening and thanks for all those who have contributed their stories. I can relate to all of you on some level and wish you all the best as you seek the same thing i do…how to successfully live with this monster/blessing called ADD. It really does help to know that I’m not alone.

Nobody can say anymore, “that’s just Allen.”