Vicki’s ADD / ADHD Story

I was born in the mid-50’s. During the 60’s in grade school we were given pluses and minuses for various attributes. Mine were almost always minuses with comments such as, She doesn’t use her time wisely, she doesn’t complete assignments, she daydreams during class, she doesn’t pay attention, she loses interest easily, she doesn’t apply herself (emphasis on this last phrase). The list goes on and on. I had a triple whammie, I also have central auditory processing deficit. So what I hear is not always what was said. I must have people repeat things several times.

It’s not a volume problem, please don’t yell it only makes matters worse. I was ten years old when it was discovered my vision was 20/100 in both eyes. No wonder learning was difficult, sitting in the back of the classroom not being able to see the board, or understand everything that was being said. It never offended me to be called four eyes, it was such a treat to be able to see clearly, call me whatever you please. I CAN SEE! HALEUIAH!

Not until I was in my late 20’s was my life explained to me. All those years thinking there had to be something wrong with me. Why was I bored so easily? Why did I always get into trouble for drawing pictures when the teacher was reading to the class? Why couldn’t I sit still and quietly like all the other children? Why can’t I stick to one job? I learn and move on or decide I don’t like it anymore and quit. Growing up I was given IQ test after IQ test. Please never let me have to take another IQ test.

I never took them seriously, though. I’d come across a question that may require more thinking than I cared to provide for that question so skip it! Every test said above average intelligence (136 with the standard plus or minus 15 points). Have any idea what these IQ test results did for expectations from teachers, principles, not to mention your own parents! Want to feel like a total loser? Take an IQ test and have it be anywhere above average when you’re ADD!
When all three of my children were diagnosed with ADD, the psychiatrist said it is normally hereditary and did the children’s father have ADD. Not that I knew of. Well then how about me. Not that I knew of. A few questions later and I’m given the series of testing for ADD. Oh, they got it from me! When a psychiatrist is trying to explain ADD to a person that has ADD, you sit there and look at him like he’s nuts. How is that different than normal? Isn’t everyone like that? NO! It’s ADD.

It took several years to come to terns with the diagnosis. When it’s your children, you do whatever you can to make things easier for them, but you don’t pity them or treat them special. It’s just the way they are. When the diagnosis for yourself comes at almost age 30, you look back on your life and wonder what could have been.
Now at 50+ I’ve learned to work with the ADD, it’s not a detriment. Let the creativity flow, don’t stifle it. I’ve learned to tell myself, good enough, let the project be finished. I’ve realized how much I truly enjoy sewing my clothes. It allows for creativity, in fact, it depends upon creativity!

I have worked on numerous projects and fund-raising events with others. It is often commented how organized I am. That surprises me. If they saw my office, they would never say that! My work area is a reflection of my mind’s work area. It looks like total chaos!
As for medication….be very very wary. A drug that works for one ADD person may not work for another. Ritalin! Skull and cross bones to me! It did nothing to calm the ADD, but it sure sped up my physical metabolism. I actually shook. I have found a natural medication that works very well for me. It slows the brain processes somewhat that I’m on an even keel with the majority of the population. The doctor that prescribed this medication listened to what I said, he took my anxiety to heart.

I asked him if he had any idea what it was like to have 50 million ideas running through your head at the same time and you can’t keep any one of them long enough to think it through to a logical conclusion because you’re being bombarded by the other 50 million ideas? We then discussed the benefits of alternative medication. I agreed to try it. The difference the correct medication makes is unreal. I have not had any negative physical side effects. It does not produce a feeling of mental instability or zombie like effect. It is not the medication for all ADD persons, but it is the correct medication for me.

I believe those with ADD are gifted with the abilities to look at things from a different perspective, to always keep the spark of learning active by our inquisitiveness. What I feel is the greatest gift is the ability to always see things through a child’s eye. Everything is always new, you notice the minute changes taking place everyday with everything we see. We are the children of change.

All I have left to say is, “I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.