June 29, 2018 at 11:11 am #87321Dev_shaw2981Participant
I slept outside for the first time last night in all my 3 years of homelessness. My difficulties coping with ADHD led me to homelessness
How I ended up slumbering underneath the midnight sky, you ask?
It’s called, ADHD karma.
Earlier this month, I ran a stop sign (typical move for adult adhd sufferers as we are all notoriously bad drivers, which has everything to do with our neurologically fueled propensity to be distracted easily). In this case, I ran the stop sign because I was eating a McDonalds oatmeal! Eating a McDonalds oatmeal. First of all, eating anything while driving for an adhd person is a recipe for dangerous distraction of which I already had been aware of but—as what happens every once in awhile—the adhd adult thinks that maybe just this once I can do this like a normal person and not get into any trouble. The whole, “what’s the worst that can happen?” scenario. Well, I guess I found out what the “worst” would be. Ran a stop sign, an elderly woman than plowed into my front passenger side door and totaled her car, while leaving mine, not totaled but severely damaged. That was a few weeks ago. Fast forward to today and the cause for last night’s pseudo impromptu “camping trip“ (inside an outdoor car garage attached to an apartment building, nestled between a cement wall and the front of an SUV to hide my sleeping body from view if anyone happened to walk by).
How I got to that, is because I have to pay for my cars repairs because I didn’t get collision on my insurance plan. Yesterday was when I was able to drop the car off at the auto body shop. Since I’m living in my car, I had to make a contingency plan for where I would sleep, so, I thought, I would just rent a car well, that didn’t work out because my credit is shittier than shit of which I found out last minute when I tried renting. I even tried to finagle a last minute opportunity to stay at a friend’s house but that did not work out either. Since no one knows I’m homeless, and that closely guarded secret is what is ruining me, I can’t bring myself to tell anyone even in a situation like this.
So, I slept in the garage of the apartment building that I am pretending to I live in (yes I lie to everyone about that too). I’m the person no one would ever think is homeless. I make it my life’s work to keep up appearances by dressing extremely well in clothing that I buy mostly from thrift stores but because I’m such a great stylist, no one thinks I’m doing that. As far as everyone knows, I am a successful Public Relations Consultant who is pretty attractive, extremely well dressed all the time and has money. However, NOTHING can be farther from the truth.
One person last night caught me sleeping in a corner if the ground in the garage and I promptly got up and went to go further outside and found a bench to lay on but that did not last as a lady drove up to my well-dressed self and asked if I needed help. I felt like saying, “no I don’t need your help, leave me the hell alone! All I want to do is sleep!!!” but I refrained from saying anything. I just stood up again and ventured back to the garage to find a more inconspicuous hiding spot for sleep. It sucked! I hate that my embarrassment has me feeling compelled to not tell a soul about any of this! Not best friends, family, ex boyfriends, anyone knows this horrible secret. I’m homeless, living out of my car now for 3 whole years and I still can’t believe it’s been that long. ADHD can be crippling. After lastnight, I’m depleted of all energy and hope. I just don’t know where to start but I know I need to do something to get right. So, that’s why I’m writing this. How I got to homelessness in the first place was all typical adult adhd. I forgot to pay important bills, then went through a series of not following through on important tasks. Then letting other distractions (like a brand new rich boyfriend, that I so desperately wanted to have him believe I was perfect and not in debt, facing eviction, etc, that I did nothing to help myself because all my attention and energy went into him and into keeping up appearances). Then I got evicted. No one knows to this day. I’m hoping this IS rock bottom. Please tell me some one here can relate!
June 29, 2018 at 1:47 pm #87346GunbugParticipant
I can relate. When I was a teenager I spent a few years on the streets. Slept in a park under a slide to keep out of the rain, found a tent and lived in that on public land for a while. Ate popcorn they threw out of the movie theater at the end of the night and took early morning showers behind a church with their garden hose. I’ve lived in drug houses, counting on a bigger “brother” or “sister” to take pity on me so that I was fed with somewhere to sleep. Taking up shelter with other runaways. etc.
This is going to sound harsh, but you need to put aside your feelings and ask for help. You’re at a point where it will be almost impossible to move upwards without it. I can’t say much to the ADHD aspect as I am newly diagnosed, but I can tell you from someone who has scraped bottom plenty of times in life that you cannot get out of your hole alone. Everyone needs help from time to time. Don’t feel like you’re being a burden, or that you are less of a person. Take strength out of the idea that you will prove to whoever helps you that you are determined to make it out of that situation. Prove it to them by taking steps forward. Food shelf, workforce center, resume, interviews, jobs, doctor visit. I’m not sure what state you live in, but in mine the health insurance is free for those with no income if you can prove you’re looking for work. Little steps. Let them add up and know that every step you take, even if it’s standing in line at food shelf feeling like a bum, is actually a step forward.
You must be willing to look like you’re not put together in order to get put together. Entrust your story to a friend or family member, let them help you stay on track. Tell them to remind you of what your goals are so that when your adhd brain strays away from what you want there’s someone to put your thoughts back to where they need to be. Don’t trust yourself to do it on your own. I’m sure you have it in you to do it, but from what I know personally about the way my brain works, and from what others have described, you just cannot let yourself do this alone.
I hope this helped! I wish you the best of luck, a full belly, and a warm place to sleep at night! Get out of that car! You can do this!
June 29, 2018 at 11:43 pm #87402JWKParticipant
You just took the first step towards freedom!
You asked for help!! Us add’ers are so used to fighting (, alone, because any other way is confusing and feels like we have lost the last piece of our self worth.) Accepting that I need help (and that’s something other people don’t seem to do) is the hardest thing I’ve had to do but also afterwards I found it was the most empowering.
You will feel broken but remember that you can’t get
life out of the egg unless its broken. Don’t try and put the pieces of your ‘old dry shell’ back together. It got you this far, which is what you needed it to do, now you can move forward with renewed goodness, a new team of supporters.
Keep loving yourself, you sound like a very intelligent person, use it to think your way out of
You may find telling your family gives them mixed feelings, but life can only get better from here!!
Theres bright days ahead…go get them warrior!!
July 2, 2018 at 12:28 pm #87460Penny WilliamsKeymaster
I agree — ask for help. Do what you need to do to get back on track. It is possible, but so much more possible with help. Try community resources first if you can’t tell family and friends yet.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
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