My ADHD Story
I’ve found the therapists/counselors I’ve seen and colleagues who have gone through the issues they specialize in are better, more informed, and have greater empathy than those those who have not.
It’s important to share my story with ADHD; from when I was diagnosed all the way up to today.
I can’t remember how old I was when I was diagnosed but we had just moved to Montreal, Canada. The education system is much more rigorous and intensive than it is in the States. The amount work in school and at home I was given on a daily basis was drowning me and my parents. My parents finally hired a tutor for me, who twice-weekly would sit with me and structure my homework times and helped me as I stumbled through my work. Learning how to be a structured and an organized student mitigated some of my forgetfulness, distractibility, and general apathy for boring tasks. This was my introduction to “positioning”, something we will talk at length about in these posts and in counseling. But, it was far from sunshine and rainbows after that, there was still school to contend with for years to come.
I was constantly in trouble for staring out the window, talking out of turn, making jokes with my friends.
To say nothing of my times at home being asked to do chores or homework, forgetting, getting distracted, or just wanted to get it done as fast as I could. I have vivid memories of sitting at the kitchen table for hours trying to get through my homework. Standing over me, an exacerbated father erasing all my work; for misreading the instructions or because I got bored and just put something down. This was followed by a demanding “focus on what you’re doing!”. There were many of these nights…
I distinctly recall one night laying on our loveseat alone, with my multiplication flash cards going through them over, and over, and over, until finally I had to stop; I couldn’t see the cards, there were too many tears in my eyes.
Eventually we moved and I was in high school, back in the States; easy street. It was like going from bootcamp for 6 years to water aerobics for another 5. The teachers didn’t care much for this attitude and we had many parent teacher conferences. They saw me as defiant and aloof. Truthfully, I was bored and unchallenged in class. However, could sit down and crank out homework and test well enough to pass all my grades. Good enough to keep my parents off my back, but not so good they demanded more of me.
Then came college. My first two years were ok; I transferred to UT Knoxville, where I could be on my own (somewhere along the way I failed calculus twice. But destroyed all my psych classes with the utmost ease). Finally, I found passions in psychology, and philosophy. If I wasn’t playing video games I was reading all I could on those two topics.
It was at this point I discovered coffee; it’s a stimulant, so it focuses ADHDer’s naturally!
Finally, in my senior year I took 2 psych classes that set me on my course to becoming a therapist. I loved those classes! They were hard but I could sit in those classes all day and not get bored. Eventually, one of the professors, sat me down and we talked ADHD. We went over a bunch of my tests and figured out why I tested so poorly. We then stategized how I could do better and I pulled my grade up to an A.
As an aside:
I want to highlight that fact that this was my senior year of college before an educator sat me down and helped me. She recognized my ADHD and how it was stifling my performance. Let that sink in… 16 years of school and no one else mentioned it.
Later that professor and I discovered I wanted to be a therapist and she pointed me to my masters. I thrived at Radford, to my own destruction at times. I had discovered I was an auditory learner, and could hyper-focus on interesting things; which meant I could sit in a 3 hour lecture 3 days a week with only a tall black coffee and absorb everything. The destruction: this looked terribly arrogant and disrespectful to my professors. Yet again, another example of ADHDers not conforming to what everyone else is doing. Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. But it worked, and that coupled with reading all my books out loud (auditory learner) I breezed through grad school.
But it still wasn’t perfect after that, my first two jobs in mental health continually asked me to do things I didn’t agree with for my clients well-being, not to mention ethical things, and after a year at each I quit both.
Then I found entrepreneurship, and it was like finding psychology and philosophy all over again! So I started the gym I currently own, I dove into education on all things business for years. Largely operating on it’s own gave way to start a podcast on community mental health to help incoming professionals. But it wasn’t enough, I was still called to do more: ADHD Counseling in the Roanoke Valley and this blog.
I am able to juggle a marriage, a gym, a podcast, a full time job and part-time private practice AND be happy every morning I wake up, only because of me ADHD.
You’ll hear me talk at length about superpowers and we’ll talk even more about your own! Together we can achieve everything you ever wanted. And now you know my story know that some of yours is written, but there is more that has yet to be. Let the rest be like a comic: challenges, overcoming them, and being the hero to yourself, your family and everyone may save.