Taking an Unexpected Turn

I know life with attention deficit disorder is no simple task—but I didn’t know I’d be back at square one at 33 years old.
ADHD & the City | posted by Jane D.
Jane D.

In a bit of desperation, I decided to attend the open house of a tuition-free learning center for women. The words "tuition-free" made me smile. I went there and discovered that most of the women were either housewives with grown children, who needed to support themselves because of absentee husbands, or welfare mothers, who needed to attend to keep the checks coming.

I sat among the women like a black sheep, wondering who among us shared the ADD/ADHD diagnosis. I had on strappy black heels, a Banana Republic dress and matching jewelry, and I was the only Asian. A few of them looked at me as if I were a specimen in a petri dish.

The social worker was some young Jewish girl with a sparkling engagement ring and a gold wedding band. She spoke to us as if we were 12 years old, enunciating each word and giving very specific directions on how to apply. Step one, take out a pen. Step two, take out a piece of paper and write your last name first. I could feel my eyes rolling to the back of my head. Step three, attach a photocopy of your high school diploma. I almost laughed. I have a master's degree from an Ivy League. Why am I here? The snob in me surfaced, and the laugh slipped out.

Deep down I know that I am no better than these women. I'm an unemployed adult who has attention deficit disorder, I'm impulsive, I don't know how to budget, I am awful at math, and I don't know the rules of keyboarding. But a month ago, I never thought I'd be here. I thought that by the age of 33, I'd have a man, a house, a baby, a fabulous career, and weekends at the country club.

I sighed. I was back to square one again. It was as if my life had been razed by a tornado, and I was left to pick up the pieces on a deadline.

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