Mike’s Story

I, like so many others, had a hard time concentrating in school and life. I am 24 years old now and have had a heck of a life dealing with it. Beginning from preschool and kindergarden even, my mother says that I was so eager to learn to read. I would come home every day and want to know more because I was getting bored. Eventually I got frustrated and put up a mental block and had a hard time with language arts the rest of my life. I was put into the gifted program in the first grade. I stayed in there until 7th when I chose to get pulled out because I was frustrated that I couldn’t pay attention/stay on task long enough to complete tasks. I was almost failing. It only got worse when I was put in the mainstream classes because then I wasn’t challenged at all. I hated school from then on.

Throughout this time I started playing music but could never stay on an instrument. I played: Violin, piano, flute, bass guitar, guitar, and percussion. I finally stayed on percussion and the guitar work. Music was my passion, my calling. Unfortunately it only was consistent a few times a year.

My life seems to have moments of shift like clockwork almost. My whole mindset would shift every few weeks to every few months. You would expect this somewhat for children but it has continued throughout my life.

I graduated high school in 2001 (a miracle). During this Senior year of high school I had more of the “shifts” from pursuing music, then infantry in the military (which the recruiter got me to sign while I had the excitement), to teaching, to god knows what else. So in the summer of 2001, I left for MCRD (U.S. Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego. I did very well to start with but my knees had problems from early on, so I got sent home.

So then I went to College to pursue music education. 1 year later I was frustrated that I wasn’t being challenged enough, so I took 6 months off and became an appliance technician.

Then I moved to another city(while continuing to work as an appliance guy when needed) and went to school for welding. 1 1/2 years later I got my certificate, got a job welding, hated it. Then I looked into joining the army but they said it wasn’t possible with my medical discharge. So I moved again.

I went to another school for Music education/performance/and studio engineering. I was satisfied but the percussion instructor couldn’t keep me challenged or he would over do it and I would get discouraged and shut out the outside world for a few weeks. During this time I also tried to join the Army again, and was denied. So with two semesters and a student teaching left, I finished out my current semester, dis enrolled for the next, and I tried to go to a college in Texas. I didn’t pass the audition and was discouraged. So I moved in with my long time high school sweetheart, worked, and didn’t have direction.

We soon got married and moved. I felt hopeless and worthless. So I looked into joining the Army…again. This time I was accepted, passed all the medical and everything, then they didn’t have a job opening for my selected field. So I didn’t join again and have since let it go. Then our child was on the way. With all this direction change, b.s., and frustration from a life full of indecisiveness, unfinished goals and projects, and endless wishes and dreams, I couldn’t take it anymore and I broke down.

After hitting bottom, I decided I should go get tested.

My wife and I researched everything about ADD and took a slue of online tests (these tests showed that I had ADD very convincingly). We then presented these to the doctor with our visit. He was impressed that we wanted to make an informed decision and that we were serious. So he gave me a long test and it showed that I had ADD. Then he gave me a bi-polar test (had 3 questions total, which were very vague). During our consultation I had informed him that I would get so frustrated and angry from not staying on task and concentrating that I would sometimes get violent (throw things) or get very mean followed by depression and self worth problems. This prompted him to test me.

So…he prescribed me bi-polar medication instead of ADD medication. Needless to say, three weeks later after going through three jobs, quitting school (law enforcement this time), almost getting a divorce, and almost committing suicide, it was not the correct medication for me. So we got a hold of the doctor.

He then put me on ADD medication. The result was wonderful and terrifying at the same time. I felt like I had just woken up and I saw the world in a different way from never before. The number of all the radio stations playing in my head (its what I call the millions of ideas circulating that clog thought to make it impossible to think straight) went from millions to five or less. I could concentrate! I could read a book and actually finish! I could complete tasks! Yeah!!!! However, the thoughts of “what the hell happened to 24 years of my life?” came to mind. I had nothing to show for it. I was also married, had a child on the way, was in the middle of buying a house, oh my god! Where did this come from!!! It was terrifying. The feeling of “how did I get here!” came across a lot. So it has been a rough adjustment period in that aspect.

Since I have been medicated (only 5 months now) I am becoming the husband I should be, have been beginning to build a music networking base (to try and find gigs with) and currently holding a job, and finally know what I am here to do in life. Play, teach, sell, and perform music. The avenue is still undetermined but at least I can concentrate enough to develop my ideas, skills, myself, and research what avenue will suite me best. In turn this will help me become the father I want to be.

My life is no success story by far, and I still have my frustrating days (even a week sometimes) where I cannot concentrate or complete anything at all, but at least I can “snap back” after a period of symptoms and continue trying to live the life I feel I deserve.

This is my story, my life…