- Mental Health
Growing up with ADHD - My Story
Part Two of My Story
I managed to never do home work, get in trouble constantly for some small thing I'd done, or NOT done, and wrote more spelling words as punishment (as did my cousin), than I care to remember. He nor I went home a single day without having to write those blasted words. And still when it came the end of the week and time to take the spelling test...I failed. And my handwriting never improved.
I could tell you anything you ever wanted to know about herbs and plants and horses and anything that I found interesting. I could also draw. Very well. It never ceased to amaze my teachers that I could "know so much and do so little".When I did turn in homework from time to time, you could see the look on their faces, it was as if they had just felt the presence of the Lord, or something. Sometimes it was pure, unadulterated shock.
Middle school came...and went. Nothing got better. Actually, it got worse. Much worse. I was no longer a child and my antics were much less tolerable. Not to mention everything else that began (Abuse is all I will say and leave it at that). At the end of my middle school years, I had not done any better. Except, this year when I took the EOG(end of grade test) , I blew it out of the water. I did so well, I shocked myself.
When I was registered for my high school classes...I was put in all honor classes.They put with the 'smart people'??? Were they crazy?
Well, that's what happened. I did well at the start of the year and as usual, whatever it was that was secretly wrong with me, got the best of me. Homework became late, or nonexistent; I was tardy for every class. I was failing.
My teacher handed me a note that requested my presence in the guidance office. This is the part where they proceeded to tell me that a mistake had been made and that I must have been put there by mistake. There went what inkling of self-esteem I had.
Now, I was in the average kids class— for one semester—and again I got a request to the guidance office. It was apparent to them, that I had a learning disorder and I would need to be put in the class for the other rejects. So I went from all honors classes to the bottom of the barrel in one year. Did I tell them I had ADHD? Of course not. It was never mentioned after the third grade and we grow out of it anyway, right?
I not only have to suffer with shame and failure, but the problems of normal adolescence start to kick in. I start missing school, too tired to get up. Depression? What's that? I am achy. I think I must have the flu. Nope. Never gets worse or better, so I quit. One day I just decided I was not going back to school and I didn't.
I sat at home and did nothing. We had some family problems going on at the time, and so I was not the highest priority. Which didn't matter to me. I did my best to make sure I was no priority at all. I baby sat my brother while my mom worked and my dad was in the hospital. Everyone did what they had too. We were a pretty normal family...
Leaving a lot of info out about that particular summer and skipping ahead; I met the boy next door. To make a long story short, I married him. There were signs long before we ever jumped in to marriage. I chose to ignore them. Neither of us had enough common sense to split with a goose. A this point I will leave out a lot of history. He's not here to defend himself, not that he would have much defense anyway, but I'll just leave it at that. I will say that everyone told me not to marry him. I did not listen to them either.
Now married, my life got increasingly more difficult. The severe ups and downs of our relationship and thus my insecurities were rooted ad grounded. Some for no reason and others were very much justified. Regardless,I refused to see the truth, I loved him and I needed him and I thought he needed me. (something else I will write about later: Creating worth.)
The harder I tried to be a wife...the worse it got sometimes. There was so much pressure on both of us. The worst part is....no one saw my side. No one saw the secret struggles. The things I wouldn't dare utter. The days I didn't clean the house or cook. They also didn't see the times my husband would come home and go on and on about some woman he worked with like she was an angle from above. He would talk about how bad her life was and all she had confessed to him about going through. And here sits his wife....Oh, yeah, my life was the picture of perfect, right? He knew very well what all I had been through. He knew things no one else in the world knew, but it seemed some chick at work had worse problems. NOT EVEN CLOSE to mine. ( It makes me sick to think about it even now. And at this very moment he is off thinking he's saving some other woman and her children's lives. Ha ha ha.) Then one day, out of nowhere, my (then) pastor told me in front of my husband, that he had been told from a reliable source, that my husband had been cheating on me. And, he thought I should know. I was devastated. My husband denied it, of course. Our marriage was a roller-coaster. We both had problems and neither of us had the tools necessary to learn from it. Either it was me letting him down or him letting me down.
We were both guilty. In God's eyes sin is sin. But in man's eyes we graduate sin. We have kindergarten sins and PhD sins. When you graduate to PhD status, you are usually a convict on death row. As we progressed in life and our relationship, our sins graduated with us.
There were things I'd always known about my husband and things I suspected. It was the suspect things I wish I had allowed myself enough time to investigate. I was young, and we had been dating since I was 16. I married him when I was 18. There were good times. But, when weighed in the aspect of how much of it was real...there wasn't many of them. I was never enough. That was one of the major contributors to our problems. I would find "things". Then get depressed. In turn, I would get sick with stress and depression. The fact that I already had deep seated insecurities made matters worse.
I was guilty of being sick all the time. Being depressed and not cleaning like I should, not cooking like I should and not generally being what I was hired to do as wife. I was not his helper. I was not a crown to my husband, as I should have been. I am guilty of not working a regular job. I am guilty of putting, or letting too much pressure be put on his shoulders. No matter what kind of husband he was, I had an obligation. I took a vow that I would be his wife and his friend and his help. I promised to God that I would be all that he would need me to be. I was not. Inevitably, I failed. I couldn't remember to pay the bills on time, even with the money in the bank. I would get hung up on doing something and let everything else go. There were times he had to come home and take care of me.
I could not see. I was blind to the load he bore. Not that I did not care, I did. I would have given my life for this man in the blink of an eye. I just could not see what my actions were doing. I could not plan or save for things in advance. I was impulsive. Often seeming extremely selfish, and stress did nothing for the mood swings.
Looking back I feel horrible for the things I wish I had done better. I struggle with myself over the things I am not.
I am guilty for the things I am guilty for. But, I will not take the blame for all of my ex-husbands actions anymore. He was prone to unfaithfulness when I married him. I knew this deep down. I chose to ignore my instincts. Granted. I will not lie. At one point in our marriage...I had had enough. And as ignorant as I was, I had an affair. I was the most horrible thing I have ever done. Horrible. Despicable. I have a regret that purgatory couldn't torture away. Granted, I don't believe in purgatory, but I do believe in hell. Add the ADHD impulsive nature on top of the affair. For a long time...I was numb, I couldn't feel anything. Always running from what I knew. Not being able to take a single step and put anything into action. I was stuck in the affair and the rut. I couldn't get out of either. It felt equivalent to the spin cycle of a washing machine. The spinning in circles part.
Finally, I did. Somehow with the Lord's help, I pushed past it. I got my life back in order. I was on my way. And the best part...We were together. And he, decided he wanted more kids. Our daughter at this time was almost grown. I thought about it and I agreed. For several months we tried and my "friend" stopped coming around. I was so excited. This went on for over three months. Yet,all my pregnancy test kept saying not pregnant. I was getting desperate to know why. I was taking a test a day and ovulation tests as well. All negative. And finally the day came. I felt my heart break and, something in me got the IDEA that God did not want me to have a baby. Great. Here comes the depression. Downward I go. It got to the point I wouldn't even leave the house. Rarely, did I get out of my pajamas. To me it was one more thing I failed to do. Always failing.
Got to love, yet another ADHD characteristic. We are so prone to failure, mostly because we live in the past littered with disappointments, not to mention we hold ourselves and others to such a high standard, that a minor setback is the equivalent of a catastrophe. We are unable to see past what we think we cannot do. Usually a very pessimistic lot is ours. Our glass is often half empty. We can only be positive... as long as things are going our way. We tend to fold at the slightest resistance. I fell like Goliath.
In his attempt to deal with me, my husband told me he wanted me to finish the book I started several years previously. He thought I had talent and that it would do me good. He was right...and wrong. Here I go. I dive into writing. I'm so into writing that I can't stop. That ADHD What many call hyperfocousing, but Dr. Barkley calls the inability to change direction. Like a scratched record. Needless to say, I lived in my book. Blindness sets in. I have a one way ticket to meet disaster and I board the train with a smile, all the while thinking this time my husband had my back. Here is something I can finally do, right. Right? Wrong. I thought he actually understood. 4 or 5 months went by. I finally finished the final chapters and emerged from my hobbit hole, thinking I could pick back up where I left off a few months previous. I did get a little better and I thought things were okay.
July of that year...I was looking for a file on my laptop...boy did I find one. And much more. I was crushed. In my oblivion, I had apparently pushed him away to the point that he was looking again. His little monster was rearing its ugly head again. Only this time...it was much worse. It had gone on for months. I knew him well enough to know if he had gone this far...he had most likely went farther. After all, his job allowed him to pretty much get away with anything he wanted and there was no way I could the wiser for it.
I confronted him with what I had found. He confessed just enough to make me think it was all right. I knew that we had made it this far and I tried to put it behind me. In the mean time...little whispers would float up. I would get those horrible feelings and that little voice that was always reminding me of how I was never good enough,and would never be good enough, filled my thoughts. I held it all in, like I usually did, until I blew up. We went on vacation that summer. Probably the best one we had ever had...
I came home and went to work. I was working for about two months and during a misunderstanding, I lost my job. I say misunderstanding. My boss hired me as an assistant manager, and hired another girl as just a cashier. She was impossible. She was confrontational in front of customers...and not very professional. She snapped at me one day, telling me what to do. I was technically her boss. I calmly handled my business and then I went to speak with my boss. I explained to him that this could not continue. Everyone who worked with her was miserable. He ignored me. I finally told him. "If you don't do something, I'm giving my notice." He wasn't paying a bit more of attention to me than a man-in-the-moon. He took it that I was telling him I quit, and called someone to take my place the next day. That is very much how it happened.
So here I was. No job and fat and ugly and it must be because, I am so worthless that all this bad stuff keeps happening to me. That's the way it felt at the time. You can say "stop feeling sorry for yourself and do something." That's the point everyone continues to miss. If we were able to...WE WOULD. Negative patterns continue to repeat like a broken record and we are powerless at times to correct them. I did not have the right tools to be effective at changing that behavior. I'm still working on it.
I'd gained a few pounds. That all changed after I found my husband's little secret back in the summer. I'd started immediately even then trying to lose weight. I did, too. And with the weight-loss and the stress...my hair was falling out by the handfuls. I thought I was going bald, yet, I refused to quit.
Another thing about ADHD... When we get knocked off track—we can't just jump back on. Not all of us anyway. ADHD is different for everyone. No two people have the exact same difficulties, but many of us do have very similar ones. Once distracted, I find it almost impossible pick up where I left off.
Not long after I was let go from my job, my husband and I had a huge argument. He proceeded to tell me how much I had wasted his life. How much he thought I was a liar, and how I never intended to have a baby. He accused me of faking it and honestly...he had never talked to me with such contempt.it was at that point I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt..there was someone or more to the point...he really was on the look out again for another woman. I could hear the hate in his voice. After the holidays...I moved out. I went to stay with my parents,
I'm getting off track with this. I do apologize. In conclusion to all of this, we tried once more to get back together. We had both grown so far apart. We had hurt each other to much. And I found a letter he had written to a woman at a convenience store. He told her how she had stopped his heart, and how he had to catch his breath. It went on talking about how he was such a Christian man, how honest he was, and how he had been talking to God when he saw her....he told her how beautiful she was and how he knew she was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with.
To hear those words coming from your husband to another woman...ADHD has no bearing on how much that hurt. Whether he meant it or not...it was written to another woman. I did confront him. He said it was really meant for me and that he cared so little for her that he met another woman the same night after he wrote the letter and took her out McDonald's. I have often thought about posting that letter. After all, he did say it was written to me. (I think to myself and give a false smile, as I am accustomed to doing when I feel the least bit emotional, with a hint of resentment and a tid-bit of a sense of humor.)
I don't know about anyone else...but I knew at that moment, it finally clicked.It really was over. You never know where you will be or what you will be doing when some obscure fact finally hits home. And then it seems so simple, you wonder how you could have missed it all this time. it's your ah-ha! moment. Since then, he has lived with a couple of women and I feel sorry for the one his is with now. But hey, he is her problem.
The thing that hurts the worst...facing the fact that you have a disability. I could write pages upon pages and never scratch the surface of the devastation that this has had on my life. I can look back and see the tragedy that is; my life. And I'm angry. More than that even.
Since learning about this and finding out that this could have been helped, that I was not crazy after all, and that my life could have been different if I had known; I have screamed, I have cried, I have even considered killing myself in numerous ways. I have been told this NORMAL for ADHD people. I have hated, I have blamed, I have lost faith and prayed. I've hit the bottom...hopefully. The only place I can go from here, is up.
In my grieving for lost opportunities and a life I could have had...In the middle of my pain and hurt, I met a wonderful person. We started as just friends. We never talked about our problems. We laughed at each other, and talked about movies. He was funny, but more than anything he's sincere. He knows my difficulties, and is willing to work with me on them, knowing I'm not ever going to be perfect no matter how much I try, I know I will still forget to pay the electric bill, go to the grocery store without my list, lose my keys, and try his patience. After all that, I have a chance to be loved by someone who knows up front I'm flawed..it's a scary place...but I have enough curiosity to want to know where it goes. He's good to me, what more can I ask for? Well, I could ask for a lot, most of it would be things I really would want anyway, and I like him just the way he is.
See, you can have a happy ending. Well it's a happy ending to this blog post. Now I'm off to write about something important. I just hope my story....that's what it is, helps someone. I hope you can look at it and say, "Hey. I don't want to end up this way." And don't.
I have found that things are worse when I don't have structure. Tony is a structured, habitual person. That is very good for me. :) I hope that never changes.
What I think we as ADHD people need the most, is understanding and for those around us to be patient. As difficult as we can make that, it is important. I just want to be understood. When I make a stupid mistake or say something off the wall, (that i most likely didn't mean anyway) that those around us can take it for what it is. People with ADHD can fly off the handle one minute and then forget we were even mad 5 minutes later; depending on what happened, that is. Trivial things bother us. What we sometimes don't understand is that those around us do not forget so easily. If I snap at you, in a minute I will be fine. It's not something we can control, but I do try. I hate the feeling that I have disappointed someone and so most of the time I will not even try for the simple fact, I might be a disappointment. I don't like to fail at anything. This can sometimes manifest in competitiveness. We compete with everything around us without realizing it. That's sometimes why we have difficulties making friends. There are just so much about the way we rationalize things that seems a bit odd to the average person. One of my problems, is communicating what I actually mean. If I'm trying to say something important and it gets lost somehow, I will end up on a different track and the person I"m talking to is left standing there, either mad or confused. As am I. I completely forget what point I was trying to make, therefore, nothing I have said makes any sense to the listener and possibly myself.
I know I will keep messing up. Chasing my tail. Lose important papers, be ridiculously late at times, get off track going the post office and end up in the grocery store scratching my head trying to remember what I needed to get. THE MAIL DUMMY. lol. I'm sure something crossed my mind that I needed, only now I don't know what that was. I will still have days, weeks...maybe months that I do not want to leave the house. Insecurities. Mostly about the way I look and dread wrinkles. So, then not only am I having to face outward imperfections, I'm getting WRINKLES. What next! :) ADHD is consuming. It is hard for us to focus on anything outside ourselves. It takes so much work just keeping what control we have, that we often miss body language and expressions and to even just show concern. Our thoughts are fleeting. If we see someone having a difficult time, our hearts go out to them. This lasts for a seconds and then our mind is on another path. We will often revisit that sympathy over a period of time. This confuses those around us and causes them to think we are callous. Contra ire. We are very emotional people. Extremely sensitive...but again everything is internalized. It's hardly ever outwardly expressed. When it is outward expressed, it's usually like a hurricane and out of control. I personally think that may be a reason we seldom show our emotions; we can't control them.
I guess my point is...even after knowing what is wrong with me, I will still suffer the effects. Finding out is not a cure all. It's just a place to start to learn how to stop a negative cycle when you notice it's happening. The scariest part about any of it...knowing no one around me knows the struggles I am having. Every day life is a war. I fight from the time I open my eyes to the time I pass out from exhaustion. And I will do it all over again until I'm no longer breathing.
I'll keep you (the readers) updated on my progress....whether you want me to or not. LOL. I think blogging and writing is some how healing. The need to connect on some level with someone who understands is very important. If you have made it this far, I appreciate your time, I know you most likely had other things you could have been doing.
Now I am really off to write on something more important.
Other Links of Interest
- Hypersensitivity in ADHD
What is considered a true hypersensitivity and what is a perceived hypersensitivity in highly sensitive people are not the same thing. Hypersensitivities are often referred to as allergic reactions in which...
- Cogantive Behavioral Therapy for Adults with ADHD - Book Review
If you are curious about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, I will try to give you brief summary of definition and how it is used. CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) is a psychotherapeutic technique...
- ADHD Is Not A Gift
ADHD Is not a Gift. I have heard "ADHD is a gift" many times. Regular lay people, advocates and other ADHD people talk about the benefits of ADHD. I have had it all my life, and not once have I felt gifted....
- ADHD Criteria for a Diagnosis
History Questionnaire (This is the first in a series of steps to determining if ADHD is a possibility.) Welcome. In this post I hope to address questions you have about the criteria for diagnosing ADHD. You...