As I read Tracy Boyarsky Smith’s story about ADHD on The Mighty, I had such a flood of emotions. There were so many different things I could relate to, and I wanted to jump up and give her a high-five.
I began to recount the opportunities I’ve had to put a new face to attention deficit disorder (ADD) in my community. I remember the time I was on a field trip with our son’s first-grade class and his teacher asked, “What are you reading?” I showed her Dr. Edward M. Hallowell and Dr. John J. Ratey’s book “Driven to Distraction.” I proceeded to explain I had recently been diagnosed with ADD.
“You? But you’re a doctor!” she said.
“Yes, and now I’m learning about me,” I replied.
“Wow, that’s so commendable of you.”
“Yeah, well it’s time to take care of me.”
The other life moment that came to mind may be a simple one, but for me, it was huge. My husband and I were having a conversation with my mother-in-law about my recent diagnosis and how I had elected to start medication. She asked if I would need to be on medication for the rest of my life.
“If need be, yes,” I said.
My husband’s response: “I agree. Over the years, I have seen how it takes such a Herculean effort for her to concentrate to get from one step to the next, especially when it comes to transitions. For example, getting herself and our little guy dressed and out in the morning. The support this medication gives her, the focus she now has and the need to expend less energy to get certain tasks accomplished is significant in her and our lives.”
From that response alone I had already fallen in love with him all over again. However, it was our private conversation later that I started seeing myself through the beautiful colored glasses of ADD.
I told him I was pleasantly surprised at his response, because at the beginning of our journey toward my diagnosis and my medication adjustments, he admitted in our podcast conversation he was very skeptical.
But then he said, “If you had diabetes or hypertension, no one would ask if you had to take medication for the rest of your life. If you needed glasses, they would tell you to get glasses. If you broke a bone, they would expect you get orthopedic care. So why should I expect any different when it comes to you?”
And it was here in this moment that I began to have more stable footing and start loving my beautifully touched ADD mind.
Now, don’t get me wrong. It wasn’t like a fairy godmother just waved her magic wand, and it was all smooth sailing from there. Since September 2012, when I was initially diagnosed, I have dug around to find a myriad of gems to place in my tool box. I watched the documentary “ADD & Mastering It!” I talked about Dr. Hallowell and Dr. Ratey’s book earlier. Dr. Daniel Amen’s book, “Healing ADD,” is one of my go-to reads. I have found some great ADD and ADHD thought leaders on Twitter. And I visit the ADDitudemag.com community for free webinars and podcasts.
These communities allow our voices to be heard.