Rhonda’s Story

Like so many of you, I was recently diagnosed with ADHD, at the age of 39. It answered a lot of questions for me about my childhood, and the way I lived my life up to that point. Let me try to explain, as my story will probably sound familiar, at least to a point. It is so good to know that I am not alone, nor a freak…

I am the youngest of nine children, with only 11 years between my oldest brother and I. I have always been hyper, talkative, friendly, and extroverted. I excelled in everything that I put my mind to, and entered Kindergarten at three, and graduated at 17, half-way through my Senior year. I actually could have graduated as a Junior, but that would have given my parents three graduations in one year (my sister was held back, so was in the same grade as my older brother), even though I had enough credits. So, I just took classes I enjoyed, graduated early, and went to the Army.

I was discharged after three months due to a benign tumor (still there), and returned home in time to cross the stage with my classmates. I never applied myself, studied, or did my homework, and still maintained a B-C average all through school. Imagine what I could have done if I had tried. I forgot to mention that I got pregnant at 16, had the baby at 17, and gave her up for adoption (I never dated her father).

I became a nanny in South Florida, married my first husband, moved back home, he died (thanks to a drunk driver who never paid any price), lost my baby, and went back to be a nanny again for the same family for a year. Then, I moved up to Wisconsin to live with my Mom, got into some trouble (we love chaos), ended up with my son, and met my second husband, had another daughter, and moved back to my home town. Everything seemed fine for a while, until the DHS got involved due to a lie from two of my brothers.

Long story short, I lost custody of my kids, and divorced my abusive husband, in that order. I took a few years to figure out that I did not want that kind of man any more, met a terrific guy (not my usual type, hurray), and eventually married him. My oldest child found me when she turned 18, and is now a part of my life.

She has ADHD, and is bi-polar (courtesy of her dad), and started raising questions in me. I had my doctor do the in-depth test on me (full history work-up), and informed me that I have had ADHD probably my whole life! What a shock! He put me on Strattera (I get chronic migraines), and helped me learn to deal with it. Now, everything makes so much sense. I do not take the medicine any more, I have learned to force myself to concentrate by humming a song while I do things I don’t like to do, and do not allow myself to get distracted by the little things.

To help me sleep at night, I drink four cups of coffee right before I go to bed, and I am out like a light. If I do not drink the coffee, I am up until 2-3 am. I am a waitress/delivery driver for two jobs, plus I help my husband with our semi, that he drives, so I cannot afford to be slowed down physically, which is why I don’t take the meds. I have learned to deal pretty well, though I have to force myself to focus, and not get sidetracked by the little things…books, pictures, old notes and papers I forgot about, photo albums, yearbooks, etc…..