Women (and men) with adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADD/ADHD), take comfort in these stories from famous people with ADHD.
Roxy Olin, 25
actress, Los Angeles, California
Roxy Olin's parents nicknamed her "Rollover," because she did somersaults, nonstop, around the house. "I stood out because my brother was so calm and organized," says Olin, who appears in MTV's The City and The Hills.
"My parents knew that something was off with me when I was young," she says. "I struggled in school and got into trouble all the time. In third grade, I remember studying for an important test. I knew my spelling words backward and forward, but I got only one right because a classmate had hurt himself and had to get stitches. I was so distracted, I could barely remember a thing when I took the test."
Olin saw a doctor and was prescribed Ritalin, which didn't agree with her. She and her parents tried to manage her ADD/ADHD without medication), until she was formally diagnosed, as a teenager, and put on Adderall.
When she entered a drug rehab program that didn't allow her to take the ADD/ADHD medication, she fell apart. She got into five auto accidents in two months. Many of her friends insisted that there was no such thing as adult ADD/ADHD.
"My therapist stood up for me, telling the rehab directors that I needed Adderall. What's more, he told them that adult ADHD does exist, because he had it," says Olin. "He eventually taught me the organization and time-management tricks that helped him succeed in his career."
Olin uses those – and other – strategies to keep herself on track in her high-profile job. "If I have a call time of 11:30, I write down 10:30." When she's on set rehearsing, she taps into her ADD/ADHD to add dimension to her characters.
ADD/ADHD affects her relationships. "I'll talk about my ADHD when I'm out with someone. If the person doesn't understand, or grows impatient, he or she is not supposed to be with me. I've learned, at this point in my life, that this is part of who I am. You don't have to keep your ADHD a secret."
This article appeared in the Summer 2011 issue of ADDitude. SUBSCRIBE TODAY to ensure you don't miss a single issue.