Alexander’s ADD / ADHD Story

I am a 30 year old male living with Attention issues (I don’t like labels). When I was very young, I used to fight a lot in school, not pay attention and make jokes in class and seemed to be very hyper. Through grade school, I found it more important to joke around with my friends in class. I found it hard to pay attention because all I needed to do was look at a friend of mine and start to laugh. Whenever my friend was not present in class, I was fairly successful. Even in high school, this continued.

I often found school to be some sort of a joke, even more so in University. I found it hard to keep any pattern for studying or performing tasks because I would do it on a whim mostly. Novels never seemed to jive with me. I found them to be a waste of time and I would rather watch a movie because my attention span was horrendous. Even today, it sometimes takes me 1 year to finish a book. I’ll take on other books to read and sometimes forget to get back to the original one I started with.

University was a challenge. I transferred from being a Jock to an academic. I have read that people with Attention issues are fairly bright if not extremely intelligent. I think of myself as being very intelligent and that intelligence actually made me lazy in University. School was boring for me especially when I was in a lecture hall which required me to just take notes. I would often skip classes and teach myself because I found it a waste of time to listen to the prof who was teaching out of the text. A waste of my time. It however took my a while to get around to doing the work or teaching myself because I grew lazy. In my senior year, I took on many projects with the thinking that I always had time.

Boy was I wrong. I became the president of the pre-Med society, Chair of the Student Health Advisory Group and worked on my Senior Thesis among others. I burned out and crashed hard. I couldn’t understand at first because I thought I could do anything. Truth be told, I needed to be doing more than one thing with a lot of variety to keep me interested. Unfortunately, keeping focused on each of these major tasks was a problem. My problem was structure. After completing my thesis, I ventured off to Harvard to work for a year. I found it easier to schedule an appointment with a professor and sell myself versus submitting my resume for their consideration. I never thought much about my marks representing the true value that I had to offer.

I worked there for a year and went to school at another University. I had to upgrade one course and write the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) in order to be accepted into graduate school. I successfully completed the course but failed the standardized test. I wrote it two more times and was not successful. The pressure of time was killing me on those tests and doubting the answers to the questions.

After my work in Boston, I returned to Canada pursue more schooling in business because I was told that I was more of a business man. All I had to do was do well on the GMAT test (for MBA entrance). Same result. Not that good at all. I became frustrated with myself and sat back and decided to fully understand myself and what I really want to do in life.

Fast forward, I am now in business for myself. Every day is a new success, but I have had major challenges. I have had the business for 4 years now, but I can’t even remember what I was doing in the first 2 years. It seems as if I wasn’t getting anything accomplished because I was trying to do so many things. Now a days, I have been trying to keep a very structured schedule so that I can measure what I am doing and how well I am doing them. I have checklists and note pads everywhere.

I almost feel psycho. I forget the simplest things time and time again. I can’t even find my recorder that I bought to track ideas and reminders. I often get parking and speeding tickets still to this day and have a hard time focusing on things such as relationships since I can get turned off or annoyed very easily. I am always looking around while driving or doing something else which has caused accidents. I pay many of my bills late or forget to pay them and I have terrible financing skills. My concept of money is also skewed.

I’m am still trying very hard to work out my Attention issues but it is not easy. I have tried Stattera (medication), but I didn’t feel a real result. In fact, I think I lost some of my personality on it. That really bothered me. I am not taking any medication at the moment but I am considering trying something else. I tried Ginko Biloba in high school and it worked well but my body got used to it.

My day now consists of getting up at 5am to plan my day and in bed by 10pm. People are confused or don’t understand why I get up at 5am but I need that time to organize or try to organize myself. Funny thing is that I am still late for appointments. I have no concept of time but I am working on it.

I wouldn’t change my creativity in for a more structured life, but it is very hard. I don’t like complaining nor like accepting a label. I know I can control this with the right type of training and support, but only time will tell how successful I will be.

Wish me luck.