Mike’s Story

I just finished reading the cover story on this site and he was quite a bit more well off than I was. I’m a 56 year young male who was diagnosed with Adult ADD only four years ago. So you can imagine the coping techniques I developed coming up in my childhood years, which were unfortunately not good years of my life and I would rather forget them but for the sake of all the Adult ADDer’s out there this story is a must.

I come from a very dysfunctional family. My father’s father was an alcoholic and beat my dad frequently. He quite school in 8th grade to help his dad. I grew up in absolute and in total fear of my father and what he might do next. He is an emotionless, empty, bitter old man. Hey, I’m here to tell the truth and if I can’t do that then noone will be any better off. I can only remember from around the age of 5 and not much of that. Oh yeah, forgot, my father was a very angry person, at what or who is anybody’s guess. I was kept back in the 1st grade and didn’t even know why. Don’t remember anyone explaining it to me. My father thought crying was not macho, so alot of tears were held back for way too many years. I had a really hard time in school, in literally every aspect: no social circle, no friends (acquaintenances yes), hard to concentrate in class, low self-esteem, inability to comprehend what I read, day dreaming constantanly, it was truly a living hell for me and to a certain extent is still a living hell at times.

As I continued through my junior high and high school, when it came time for report cards to come out, I hated, and sometimes feared for my life. Why? Well, all my father saw were the bad grades, he didn’t pay much attention to my other grades. He would yell and scream some more, but by this time I had pretty much, in a way, become hardened to the way he treated me. My mother wasn’t much help either, and I’m not trying to put her down, because it is because of her and her alone that we 3 kids received any kind of love. I’m pretty sure she was pretty much passive towards my father. I remember times when he would come home broken down drunk and falling down and the times he would yell at my mother and I’m not sure or just can’t remembered if I even cried over that for fear that my father found out.

When I was 12 years old, my father and his two brothers were in the process of building our first house. During that process, I decided to build something for my mother. So I had some wood and I was cutting it on the table saw but when I put it through it slipped out of my hands and my left hand: middle, ring, and index finger were fairly mangled in the process. The people next door came over and helped me and called the ambulance. Once I was at the hospital in the emergency room, my father came in and said per batim: What the hell have you done this time!?. Something like that does not go away easy. I was already in shock and he says that. This is just a small part of my father. I could never be good enough for my father, for my father was a perfectionist. Unfortunately, I’m somewhat of a perfectionist and have been since my childhood. Didn’t do much for my golf game either (lol). My first love was golf but has disappeared from my life because of the body breaking down. Not a game for a inpatient person, like myself (lol).

Another indcident with my father which was just so badly timed, was back in 1976. On the Sunday morning of Mar 1, 1976, at 7:00, I received a call from my sister that my mother had just passed away (WARNING: individual may be highly emotional at times during this part). I just broke down and was so taken that I just fell to my knees an cried so uncontrolably, that even my roommate could not get me to stop for at least 30 minutes. I just lost the only person in my life who was the only one who gave me love at least love as I knew it. It was a horrific time to say the least. My sister and her husband, Bruce, at the time came to pick me up to take me home. I was currently stationed in the Air Force at Mather AFB, CA in Sacramento. My hometown is Redding, a 167 miles to the north. She was only 49 years old and died of natural causes (yeah right). She never got to see her grandkids. I was 26 at the time.

After the viewing, we went back to the double wide trailer where they lived and had a wake. Like I was in the mood to drink. Karen and I went back to the spare room and talked and I think I literally cried a river of tears. Then I hear the door open and my father comes in and says (and believe me you are not going to believe it, but like said it’s the absolute truth) “What the hell are you crying for!?. Well, I lost it even more then and didn’t care. It haunts me to this day.

When I graduated from high school in Jun of ’70, I joined the Air Force, but could not go in until Oct. I worked for my father that summer as an apprentice carpenter (sorry, not my gig, but gave me something to do). I was never so glad to get away from home.

I entered the AF on 6 Oct 70 and really didn’t even think of a career at that time, simple because I was kind of a wild and crazy guy for a few years of my career. But I eventually put in almost 21 years of service to my country and am extemely proud of the many accomplishments I accrued during my tenure with the Air Force: sucessfully completed Non-Commissioned Officer (NCO)Leadership School (for grades Sergeant (E-3) to SSgt (E-5) in residence (which meant I could go on the same base); the NCO Academy (grades Technical Sergeant (E-6 to Master Sgt (E-7); received numerous Letters of Appreciation; Outstanding Unit Award, Marksminship Ribbon, and various other ribbons; Meritorious Service Medal(2); Air Force Accomondation Medal(5); Presidential Unit Citation; served on many committees; served on the prestigious Funeral Detail Honor Guard as Non-Commissioned Officer in Charge (NCOIC) for a year (provided services to all military war veterans as they request it); flew on a B-52 mission as observer for 7.2 hours (once is enough in this case (lol). I was an administrative assistant, which basically took care of all the paperwork, filing, etc. Amazing enough, I could type up to 85 WPM. Just to refresh you memory, I cut my left hand on a table saw, had two surgeries. I think it’s nothing less than a miracle that I was able to do that for 20 years.

I’m currently working at the Post Office since ’93, but permanent as of ’97, night shift 2300-0730 hours, as a clerk. Great money and benefits, but unfortunately, not a very healthy place to work. Because of the work that I do, I have problems with my back, arms, shoulders, legs, etc. The supervisors and upper echelon don’t have a clue as to what is going on on the floor. Why? Maybe because they don’t feel the actual people that get the work done, need any accolades or slaps on the back for a good job done. Definitely doesn’t help with the self-esteem, which is pretty much non-existant.

I’m currently seeing a counselor, Bill, who is truly wonderful. He has been around ADD since ’75 and he seems to be more intune to what I’m actually trying to say and feel. He is sincere, warm, easy to talk to (big issue with me). Have been seeing him almost a year now, not alot of great progress, but this didn’t happen overnight and ain’t going away over night (lol). I’ve been on medication for four years now and there has been a remarkable difference in my behavior.

Well, now that you are totally bored and probably sleeping (lol), thank you for taking the time to read about my life. A step further, if there is anyone out there around my age and could be younger, that has Adult ADD, I would be interested in hearing about your story sometime and having someone to relate to.

Comment by lost in space on March 8, 2012 at 5:58pm

Thank-you for a great story I am 49 years old and can relate to your story. when I have mor time I will right my story, but for now I just wanted you to know that I can relate.

Thanks Again

Comment by Meg on January 18, 2012 at 4:01pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. Sounds like you have had a tough time with ADD. It’s heart breaking to hear about your home life and on top of that ADD treatment was probably non-existent when you were growing up. I am 30 so I can’t relate to growing up in that time period but your story made me cry…and then to read how you made such a career for yourself in the AF and served our country. Thank you, you should be very, very proud! I have to say that while it was not nearly as extreme for me, I was also not allowed to express emotions growing up. Only for me it was my mom who was emotion-less and would scold us if we cried, got angry, questioned her, etc. It’s so hard growing up in an environment like that….and now that I’m going through the healing process and dealing with my ADD I sometimes just feel like I need to cry a river and that I’ll never be able to stop. Sometimes it feels like those old wounds will never heal, but we just have to stick with it. Your story was inspiring for me, thank you.