An educator with attention deficit shares his journey from from late-in-life diagnosis to career success.
The day I knew I had attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was one of the best days of my life. I was in a CHADD meeting, and a man stood up and said, “My mind is like a wall of TVs, and I don’t have control of the remote.”
“Yeah, yeah, that sounds exactly like me,” I chimed in. Then someone next to me added, “I don’t understand. How can he be thinking all these different thoughts?”
“You don’t think five or six different thoughts at the same time?” I asked.
I realized then that I wasn’t like normal people. I figured everyone thought like me, but could handle it better. Now I understood that I wasn’t the screw-up everyone thought I was when I was growing up.
ADHD became an asset after I got my master’s and Ph.D. I think my students appreciate my ADHD because I keep things moving. I’m always doing something creative or funny, which holds their attention.
I’ve learned to manage ADHD symptoms. I do several things at the same time, multitasking to maintain focus. I have two computers on my desk. Sometimes I’ll be writing a paper and then, every three minutes, I’ll do something on the other computer. Exercise helps me, too.
We ADHDers are not all the same. What works for me may not work for you. The trick is to figure out who you are and what treatment helps, and make it work the best you can.