Katherine Ellison, 53
journalist and author, San Francisco Bay Area
Katherine Ellison always knew what she wanted to do with her life. At age 11, she published her first magazine article, which ignited a passion for writing and put her on the path to becoming a journalist.
School was not always easy for Ellison, but writing enabled her to focus. "Writing helped save me," she says.
After earning a degree in communications and international relations from Stanford University, Ellison worked as a foreign correspondent for the San Jose Mercury News. The fast pace of the newsroom suited her talents. But her work was inconsistent: A Pulitzer Prize, at age 27, was tarnished by errors in some of her articles.
Ellison couldn't make sense of her inconsistency, so she sought a therapist. She felt she was sabotaging her own work. It wasn't until she was 49, and her oldest son was diagnosed, that Ellison discovered she had ADD/ADHD.
Ellison realized her work problems were due to ADD/ADHD. Ellison has tried a range of treatments to manage her ADD/ADHD symptoms – metacognition, neurofeedback, meditation, exercise, taking medication occasionally. These, along with plenty of forgiveness, have helped her most.
In the past, it was hard for her to listen to friends and family, but Ellison is now more aware of how she acts around others. She works hard to maintain the relationships in her life. Her book Buzz: A Year of Paying Attention chronicles Ellison's experiences of trying to connect with her son, in spite of their both having ADD. "Accepting ADD and getting calmer has helped me be less reactive to my son," she says. Ellison believes that finding one's passion is key to managing a life with ADD. "I chose to do something that was perfect for the way my brain works."