My long-untreated ADHD is rearing its ughly head.

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    • #90792

      I was diagnosed with ADHD in elementary school. I was put on Ritalin and then Adderall shortly after. I never did well in school and my parents realized that I would never graduate without divine intervention. After repeated complaints from middle school teachers about my not paying attention, not doing homework, etc., they sent me to a private high school that cost them about as much as an average college diploma. Why? Because though it claimed to be “academically rigorous”, the private school wasn’t going to flunk the child of parents who pay them 15k annually, no matter how much I shirked my homework and daydreamed in class.

      I got detention a lot but I didn’t mind. The dean also taught European History, one of the few subjects I was good at. He liked my in-class essays, even reading them out loud to the class as an example of what the rest of them should have written, and gave me top grades. I spent detentions debating and discussing the World Wars with him, and I thought at the time that we had sexual tension.

      Years later, he would get a slap on the wrist for hooking up with a student. Maybe I wasn’t wrong about the sexual tension.

      I stopped taking Adderall the summer after graduating high school because I wanted to drink copious amounts of alcohol. It’s not like I remembered to take my pill every morning anyway.

      I went to college right out of high school and floundered for seven years because I kept changing my concentration, couldn’t handle a full course load, and flunked a few classes. Eventually, I met a guy online when I was 25 and he was stationed in Hawaii. It didn’t take much convincing for me to impulsively hop on a plane to Honolulu and disappear for a while. This would be my second marriage. Screw school, screw New Jersey, I’m going to the South Pacific, I said to myself.

      Paradise was short-lived. He got himself an admin separation from the military and we moved to the mainland. Given that he had a very specific set of technical skills, he got an absurdly well-paying job civilian side. I didn’t have to work. I was a happy housewife. I could sleep in, get up, do housework or errands for a few hours, some household accounting, and then do whatever I wanted with the rest of my day. I was dependent, yet independent.

      I had my ex-husband convinced that, say, straightening up the kitchen and preparing a roast in the slow cooker was an all-day endeavor. He never asked. I spent most of my time cultivating hobbies, losing interest in said hobbies, and finding new ones to pursue. I spent a month growing succulents on the patio, then the next month learning pottery, and so on. My ex-husband bought me a beat up ’72 Duster and I fixed it up until doing so got old, and I sold it–for a small profit, but that’s besides the point. Then I became obsessively engrossed in another MMORPG.

      I made peace with my inability to maintain momentum. The marriage dissolved after a few years, but not because I was blissfully funemployed. We were both stubborn, and there was blame to share for the unraveling of both my failed marriages. It doesn’t help that I tend to bail out when the arrangement becomes too exhausting to maintain.

      Well, the quickest way to get over a man is to get under a new one, and that’s exactly what I did. I’m on my third and hopefully final marriage now. There’s just one small problem. I have to work. He was another recent cast-off of our mighty military (though thankfully on his own terms, honorably discharged, he just decided not to reenlist and walk away with his post-9/11 GI Bill). I don’t know why I’m a magnet for this “type”. Maybe it’s because I come off as a free spirit and opposites attract.

      He’s in state law enforcement, which is by any stretch a very comfortable career, but he doesn’t pull the high figures that my ex did. I can’t fault him for it. He’s doing what he’s always wanted, he has a stable job, and he works hard. I could quit, but we would really have to tighten our belts. I’ve cycled through several jobs since we met.

      I have a terrible work ethic but I’m charismatic enough to give a good interview. I start to resent every job. I skate by well enough thanks to dumb luck. By the time my employers realize I really don’t care, I already have one foot out the door. My alarm goes off at 6:45am Monday through Friday and I wake up in a quiet rage. This shit again? How does the rat race not drive everyone completely insane? I get to my desk and count the hours, the minutes, until I can go home. I space out. Somehow, my measurable results are still passable, but that won’t last forever. It didn’t at my old jobs. When something seems daunting, I don’t finish it, or I won’t even start (which was my problem at my previous job).

      And worse, it’s like all my mental energy gets expended at work that I can’t even remember to wipe my own ass when I get home. I forgot to lock the door once, and then when I realized in the morning, I adopted a ritual of checking the doors before bed, then I forget that I already checked, and I do it again a few times. I forget the stupidest, most routine stuff. And I’m crying as I type this part because last summer, I forgot to let the dog in from our fenced yard before going to bed. My brain is mush now that I’m a pawn in this awful work force. The next morning, he was at the back door looking unamused but I felt terrible. He could have gotten out. He could have gotten hurt. He could have been attacked by an animal. It could have happened in February and he’d be dead on the patio by morning.

      Every night before I go to sleep, I verify that he’s at the foot of the bed, then I forget that I verified his presence, and I do it again. Every time I leave the house, I verify that he’s inside, safe and sound, several times before I can depart.

      I get eight hours of sleep during the week, yet I wake up feeling like I got two, at most.

      This didn’t start happening until I started working full time. I want to stop working and become a normal person again, but my husband would resent me and we won’t have very much money. Last winter, I had this fantastic idea of going back to school in September and becoming a social worker. As soon as I got the ball rolling, the idea died on the vine like all my ideas do. I will fail spectacularly again; I hate academia. Now my husband still has this bug up his ass about me going back to school and he tries to be encouraging–“You can do it this time.”; “You’re older now, you know what you want to do, I would have partied and flunked out of college if I went right out of high school too.”

      I don’t like it when he says these things. I wish he would just forget about it like I did.

      It’s reached a breaking point, I think. There are no psychiatrists, neurologists, psychiatric nurse practitioners in my area who will see patients after hours. To get an initial appointment with one around here, you have to wait months anyway.

      No question here. Just a long, disjointed vent to those who might be able to relate. Sorry for the giant wall of text. I need help, but I don’t know where or how to start.

    • #91489
      Anni @ ADDitude

      Hi BeepBeep:
      Have you ever thought about writing for our guest blog? You’ve got a great voice and, though the gig is unpaid, it might open up some new possibilities for you… If you’re interested, ping us at Seriously!

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