Three years ago, at 41, I was filling out an ADHD rating scale for a student and I thought to myself, “I have that problem too…” but didn’t think much of it. Then the parent told me after the child was prescribed Adderall that the dr. wanted to give her a prescription too. I had just been learning about how it’s hereditary and my mind just went nuts. I thought of my father, who had passed, and realized he checked every box! I started reading more about it and listening to some podcasts, and the thing that most resonated with me was the emotional part. I have never been able to stop myself from interrupting people and I hated it, but I literally had NO control over it. I was always shoving my foot in my mouth and it caused me so much anxiety to the point I would avoid interacting with people. In school, I did well, but every report card said, ‘Talks too much.’ I would finish my work quickly and be bored and start talking to whoever was next to me. My emotions were always to the extreme about everything. I wouldn’t be surprised if I had Borderline Personality Disorder too. I had been prescribed every antidepressant and anxiety pill out there since my teen years, but they only masked the issues and I never felt they were really working. I was prescribed Klonopin at the time, but still had panic attacks and anxiety at times. I decided to make an appt. with a new dr. and he sent me to go through the whole battery of tests. The first time we talked, I guess I looked past him at a painting on the wall and started talking about it, and he said, “That’s ADHD.” I couldn’t believe it. I did that ALL the time to people:-(
Everything came back to me from growing up like a flood hitting me. How I wouldn’t do any studying in high school and college until the night before something was due and I would read everything and get an A. I wrote my master’s thesis the week before it was due. I could only get motivated when I had a huge looming deadline and then I’d stay up all night. I thought everyone did that. I would have piles around my classroom as a teacher and go from one to another, never really finishing anything unless it was pressing, but I would come up with a fascinating lesson in the shower that morning in 10 minutes. I had the hardest time sleeping at night, so much that I’d just lie there with my mind racing and thinking about everything I needed to do.
Once I started Adderall, my life instantly changed. No longer do I have to worry I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth, as I can listen to others and think about what they’re saying before I respond. My husband doesn’t have to come looking for me after I’ve wandered off for 20 minutes during a project we work on together. His complaint now is that I get too focused on work. But the anxiety is completely gone and I fall asleep the minute my head hits the pillow. I don’t have to have 50 post its everywhere reminding me of what to do and my brain is quiet and not scattered. I wish I had figured this out in my 20s. I’d have kept more friends. Now, I am not known as the bossy one, but rather the teacher my colleagues come to for help with planning and organizing.