Going Home for the Holidays with ADHD

The reality of anxiety and depression from the job loss sets in.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

Managing symptoms of attention deficit disorder (ADD/ADHD) seemed to have lost its immediacy and focus during the holidays. With the turning of another birthday, another year, another season, and with the sudden loss of a job, life suddenly becomes black and white.

It is as if the lens zoomed into the most pressing things—finding a job, finding direction, and being forced to go after what is most important to me. The men who I loved and lusted after, who did not love me back, don't seem as pressing.

I spent the last week moping, crying, pouting about the layoff and life, as I knew it. I'd go from being okay to feeling like complete crap. The usual festivity and the stress of gift wrapping and tree trimming disappeared, and the noise and static of the season morphed from loud to total silence.

The city, too, seemed to lose the spark that usually comes with the holidays. The tourist throngs and Rockefeller Christmas tree were still there, but the icy weather became depressing, and the headlines and talk are all about unemployment, and job cuts and layoffs.

Since losing the job, I’ve taken the ADHD stimulant medication on and off. I woke up at 9 a.m. (or was it 10) and kind of rolled out of bed, always in a stupor. What was the meaning of life? Had I acquired these degrees and worked like a dog since I was 20 to join the breadline of unemployed? Indeed, everything has seemed very dark.

A friend once told me that a woman's success hinges on a great job or a great man. I never really had the first, and most certainly never had the later, and over the course of a week I was certain that I had neither. And I am not sure if I will ever have one or the other. At the age of 33, I don't have a job and I don't have a man. I went home on Christmas Eve and tried to put on a smile for the sister, stepmother, and father, who are frustrated at the turn of events, too. Everyone is having a tough time this year, even the wealthy have had their billions cut in half.

Behind the tanking economy is the chronic reality of ADHD. I dragged myself to the weekly group pow wow the other night, and discovered that half the group was gone. A couple weren't here because they had gone home for the holidays, but I learned that one member had lost her job; she was either fired or the victim of a layoff, too. Another member of the group had her hours cut back by half. It is certainly the economy, but at the same time I always wonder if ADD has played even a small part of these unfortunate circumstances. If I were more organized and focused, might I have survived another year or been spared? Only God knows.

This is the first time that I will truly live life on my own, by my own rules, my own structure, and the first time that I will be driven by the strength of my own dreams. Overnight I have been thrown from co-pilot seat into pilot seat. It is refreshing but also frightening.

Perhaps the best Christmas card I received this year is, "Merry Christmas, and remember a free mind cannot be held captive." It was from the geeky guy who I met at church about two months ago. I believe he has ADD, too.

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