Reply To: Is it ADD or is he an A$$

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The original post author’s gotten some great advice from Penny and others, but I have to chime in on this thread.

I’m in my 60s and am not happy to say that I’m never on time for anything. The first thought in my head when my children were diagnosed was: so that’s why we were always late to church! That’s why my father would weed his garden – and then leave the weeds in a pile beside the garden where they rooted again. That’s why he would read something for the classes he taught, take notes longhand on what he read, and then describe the material to my mother while she was trying to pull dinner together. Today that’s called ‘multi-sensory learning’.

There’s nothing I can’t forget – my own birthday (twice), time to pay taxes (three times), my own age (yes, for real and I wasn’t trying to make myself a year older), my brother’s existence (twice, yes, can you believe it – as an adult!), and forget about paying bills on time. As a single mother of two, I didn’t have the cash flow to sign up for auto bill pay systems until just a couple years ago. I can know that today is Wednesday and yet forget that May 25th, Friday, is this week. If I wrote everything done in a book, no one would believe it. I surround myself with clocks and a watch and never know what time it is.

I hate that I’m virtually never on time in the morning. I would love to get to work on time! Possibly just like your son/everyone else, I try EVERY DAY but it almost never happens. I set my alarm as early as it’s reasonable for me to aim for, keep my clock far enough away that I can’t turn off the alarm easily, don’t wear make-up, don’t pack a lunch, comb my wet hair and dash for the door…and still.

It’s almost impossible to describe what it’s like to have ADHD to someone else, especially someone with a neural-typical brain. Yes, it seems cruel that this and depression and dyslexia are invisible conditions. And yes, I can’t let myself think about my children and my sister’s children’s futures because I’d never get over the worry and anxiety. But the good news is that they’re diagnosed and three out of four are medicated. Knowledge is power! ADHD, depression and dyslexia are sprinkled all over our family trees, probably for thousands of years, but no one had a name for them until my kids were diagnosed 15 years ago.

All I can do at this point is try to explain, flag, interpret and advise so that my kids will hopefully be better prepared to deal with the world than my generation. I’m so grateful that we can tolerate medication that enables us to function without as much anxiety, melancholy, and anger as we would otherwise. I’m especially grateful that I have a job with health insurance. I try to remember the words of the first educational advocate I had to hire, that ADHD isn’t about not knowing, it’s about not doing, and try to remain compassionate toward others.