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I Have Adult ADD...Yippee!

Updated on May 21, 2018
Karen Hellier profile image

Karen Hellier is a freelance writer and eBay entrepreneur. She happily lives in the mountains of North Georgia with her husband and her dog.


The night that I found out I had Adult Attention Deficit Disorder, I went home and sent out an email to my close friends and family with the title,"I have ADD, Yippee!" People, especially my teenaged children, thought I was crazy for being happy about this and proclaiming this fact to the world. But to me, it was a reason to celebrate, and in the following story, I will tell you why.

Growing Up

When I was a child, growing up, I did not have very good self-esteem. I procrastinated a lot, and my room was always messy. I hated to do chores, but if I found one I liked, cleaning out my closet, for instance, it would take me hours. I remember my Dad calling me lazy quite a bit. Especially because I procrastinated about doing chores. I ran late a lot, and my mom would come to my rescue, ironing my clothes in the morning or before my shift at McDonald's because I had forgotten to do it. She would often help me type a paper at the last minute because I had so much trouble focusing and getting the work done in advance. This really did a number on my self-esteem.

The First Job of My Career

It wasn't until I got my first job in social work, and often stayed later than most of the other workers, doing extra little things for the young children on my caseload, writing extra thorough notes in records, etc. that I realized I wasn't lazy, and I was a hard worker, at the things I really loved to do. That took 23 years for me to learn.

The office was on three floors, and I worked in Child Welfare, so there were four units on each floor, each unit being set up only with desks huddled together, each unit of desks facing each other. There were phones ringing all the time. There were no dividers, no privacy or quiet areas to write reports. People would walk by all the time and stop by my desk starting up conversations. I had trouble focusing back on my work.

Although I worked with a lot of students who required Special Ed services, I had no idea I had any issues myself. What I did come to understand though was that there were times I would get behind in my reports and that I was also easily distracted by other workers in a busy office. With the approval of my supervisor, I would seek out empty offices to use so I could have quiet and focus. Once I remember even sitting in a closet for the day to get reports done because there were no empty offices! Once I could get into a quiet area, I was able to churn out reports, but I needed a quiet place to be by myself with no distractions.

My Married Years

After getting married, and having three children, the messiness continued. I didn't see the mess like a lot of people did. I saw card table forts, or piles of coloring books and crayons where my children had been happily playing, not messes that needed to be cleaned up. I ended up running around a lot at the last minute before company came and trying to get the kids and my now ex-husband to help clean up.

Mail would pile up in clutter around the house because I would start to look through it, get distracted by something else and forget where I had put the mail. I would start to clean a room in my house, walk into another room to put something away, and get distracted by something in that room, and never make it back to the first room I was supposed to be cleaning. Before I knew it, it was time to start dinner, and I would have a few different rooms I had started to clean, and never finished any of them.

I was late a lot for meetings and appointments, sometimes because I didn't plan my time well and wanted to give the kids a few more minutes at the playground, not realizing this would make me late. Being late and constantly having to apologize was embarrassing.

I did try to get organized and started using a calendar system. But that only works if you remember to look at the calendar! And sometimes I started to trick myself into leaving for a meeting...planning to leave 15 minutes before I had to, so I would leave at the time I really needed to. That worked if I remembered to do it.

About ten years ago, the neighbor across the street arrived on my doorstep with an article about Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. After a brief chat, she handed me the article, and said, "I think you have this." I looked at the title and thought it was very insulting of her to accuse me of having a disability. But when I actually sat down and read the article, my eyes were opened. Here they were talking about people who were disorganized, always late, messy, had clutter everywhere, in their homes, cars, desks, ex-husband had trouble starting and finishing projects, daydreamed a lot, had trouble focusing on conversations, blurted comments out without thinking that sometimes hurt other people's feelings, although they hadn't meant to, had racing thoughts with lots of projects they wanted to try always running around in their heads, zoned out in the middle of conversations and had trouble focusing. I began to think maybe she was right. I showed the article to my then husband, and he laughed it off, telling me things my father used to tell me ...that there was nothing wrong with me, I was just lazy and messy, and didn't want to bother to finish projects I started. (This attitude over 17 years is part of the reason he is my ex-husband!)

After the Divorce

After the divorce, I started to work at a high school with Special Education students, I learned a lot about disabilities, and some of the students seemed to be struggling with the same things I had struggled with over the years. They had ADHD (Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity), or ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and I began to relate to them and talk to them about ways I had learned to cope with similar issues.

I then found a few tests online at different websites I learned about from work about ADD. I took the tests, and low and behold, the tests all came back that I was in the low to average range of Attention Deficit Disorder. I still didn't totally believe it, because of the attitude of my Dad and my ex, somehow still believing that maybe I was just lazy.

But things came to a head when I was talking to a counselor one day about some issues with one of my children, and she suggested I take an official ADD test. A professional has to administer it, and she offered to. I took the test, laughing about some of the questions they asked that described me to a T. When she tallied the results of the test, she looked up at me and told me that I was right in the middle range of having Adult Attention Deficit Disorder. I began to cry. Tears ran down my face. I reached for a tissue, and we were both surprised by my reaction. When she asked why I was crying, I realized that I finally had validation for my actions, or sometimes lack of action. I wasn't lazy, or messy on purpose, or distracted because I didn't care. There was a legitimate reason for these things, and why I was the way I was. And it made me SO happy. From that moment on, I began to accept myself more, for all that I was, and for the things I wasn't and had struggled with all my life and even today.

Since My Discovery

That was two years ago this month. So what happens after a person finds out they have a disability? In my case, I looked up everything I could about it on the Internet. I wanted to know all about ADD, and what I could do to live better with it.

I found out that there's medication a person can take, to help them stay more focused. I don't like medication, though, and it turns out because of another condition I have, I can't take it.

So the next thing to research was behavior techniques to use. There are quite a lot of them, and most involve helping yourself to stay organized. Using planners well, making very detailed lists and lots of them, keeping a notepad and pen next to your bed so you can write things down before you go to sleep, hanging things you need to bring with you the next day near the door (or in my case on the doorknob) so you don't forget them on your way out, etc. I found a very helpful list of 50 tips at this link, and that has helped in a big way:

But I found out some really interesting and positive things about having Adult ADD. People who have Adult Attention Deficit Disorder are very creative. They have lots of ideas always flying around in their heads, and it's important to write them down, and if there's a goal you want to accomplish from these ideas, write the steps down, so they don't get lost in the chaos of flying ideas. Also, when people with ADD find something they love to do, they can focus on it well, and that's a very positive thing. For me, I think that is writing, and I am having a lot of fun with writing articles for HubPages. For years I have written newsletters in different jobs I have had, and truly enjoyed that. People with Adult Attention Deficit Disorder also have a high energy level...probably due to all the ideas flying around in our heads!

Well, that's my story. I have Adult ADD...yippee! I do love the positive aspects of this condition and am constantly trying to do better regarding managing the not so positive ones. One of the best books I have ever read for people with Adult ADD is the book You Mean I am Not Crazy, Stupid or Lazy? It helped me understand Adult ADD and not make me feel bad about it, even though many other people had made me feel this way my whole life. You can purchase your own copy of this book below.

Copyright by Karen Hellier, 2012.

Attention Deficit Disorder

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As you can see, I had a good relationship with my students in my previous job, but my work area was not exactly neat!!!
As you can see, I had a good relationship with my students in my previous job, but my work area was not exactly neat!!! | Source

I Love This Youtube Video with Katie Couric About Adult ADD

© 2012 Karen Hellier


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    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 2 years ago from Georgia


      I am glad you finally finished this article. I can definitely relate!

    • Jennywrites429 profile image

      Jennywrites429 6 years ago

      Ok, I kid you not when I tell you I started reading this hub 2 days ago, and I read a bit and had stuff throw me off track. Then I went back into my own hub, and saw your hub again, so I went back to it, and here I am FINALLY finishing it.. I'm sure you've guessed, I have ADD. I feel my life is always very hazy... I don't see things cleary. I miss the finer details of life. I'm sure you understand.. ADD sucks.. I am going to look up the things you spoke about.. thanks for a great hub.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia

      Dear Giselle,

      That's not a bad idea. I will give it some thought and try to write something up as a hub. Thanks for the idea. I am away on a college exploration trip with my daughter so can't get to any hubs for a bit but will work on it when I get back. Thanks for commenting.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 6 years ago

      Karen, have you ever thought of writing a hub about ways that adult friends of those with ADD can be supportive? Some things friends might like to know are striking the balance of how to understand and accept the very real symptoms and consequences of their friend's ADD, yet also not, on the other hand, running their own lives around their friend's ADD? Or any other tips you may have. Maybe something from the perspective of things you wish your friends would know/understand about your ADD, etc.

      I know you are probably really busy and I understand that you may already have other topics you prefer to write about.

      But if you do happen to sometime or other write a guide to adult ADD for adult friends of those with ADD, I think it might help a lot of people (myself included).

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia


      Thanks for the comment. Good luck to you.

    • travel_man1971 profile image

      Ireno Alcala 6 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

      Admitting a deficiency is really a 'yipee'!

      I think, I getting near to this kind of 'yipee-inadequacy' due to lots of distraction around me (like friends, children and family, LOLs!).

      Thanks for opening it up to us, Ma'am KH! You're not the only one, I think; there are lots of us out there.

      P.S. Come on! Please leave comments and be counted! :)

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia

      Oh Giselle Maine,

      I am so glad the article has helped you understand your friend better. Being late is one of the worst parts about ADD. We aren't doing it on purpose. And there's a lot of guilt associated with it. My husband usually tells me that we have to leave to get to a certain function about 15 minutes earlier than we really do, to make sure I am ready on time. I don't question him about what time we really have to leave...I tell him to just tell me when I need to be ready by, and it works for us. He likes to be early so if by chance I AM ready at the real time, we get to the place early. You may want to suggest that to your a suggestion from it doesn't get you in hot water. If she plans to leave 15 minutes earlier than she really has to leave, it gives her that extra time so she can make it on time. Thanks for your comment. It made me feel good that I could help someone else.

    • profile image

      Giselle Maine 6 years ago

      Ohhhhhh, this is such a big eye-opener for me. I have a friend I met within the past year who mentioned she has ADD. I didn't know really what it entailed. I asked her about it once, and she kind of said the same things as what you did in the hub, but I admit a lot of it didn't really sink in for me at the time.

      I also would be puzzled how come she was late to stuff a lot, would sometimes mix up playdate days or times for our boys to hang out... I has starting thinking she was being inconsiderate, but now I realize it is all part of her ADD! Thanks for enlightening me. I feel a lot better about the friendship too now, knowing that it is not that she can't be bothered keeping on schedule, it is just that it is harder for her to do so because of her ADD.

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia


      You're welcome and I am glad you saw the humor. People tell me I am a bit weird at when I was happy about having ADD.

    • profile image

      cmarlia 6 years ago

      Great hub! I hope this helps others receive validation the same way you did. Very funny too! Thanks for sharing!

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia

      That's funny Moonlake! Send that man back to work!!!

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      I think my problem is a retired husband! ha ha

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia


      Some people say that as our lives get busier with marriage, children, etc. that we become overwhelmed and stressed and things seem a bit out of control.That could be it for you.I don't know how old your children are, but teens take more work than little ones, at least in my opinion! There are evaluations you can take online by googling ADD evaluations or ADD tests. I have struggled with these things all my life, but didn't realize it till I was an adult.

    • moonlake profile image

      moonlake 6 years ago from America

      Great hub. I can understand that your happy to know what you have better to know than wondering all the time.

      I also wonder about having ADD but after reading your hub I don't think so. I do get lots of ideas always flying around in my head and I start something don't finish. I am so forgetful. I will start cleaning in one room and head to another and start. One thing I always do is pulling things out looking for this and that then leaving them out and completely forgetting about it. I feel very disorganized at times. When my children were little everything was done. Maybe it's old age.

    • justateacher profile image

      LaDena Campbell 6 years ago from Somewhere Over The Rainbow - Near Oz...

      After years of teaching children with ADHD, and filling out forms for their doctors I honestly believe that I have it, too. You hub could be describing me (right down to the ex husband!)I haven't been formally diagnosed, mostly because I don't think I would take the medication - and I know some tips on how to deal with it...maybe someday I will talk to my doc about it...

    • Karen Hellier profile image

      Karen Hellier 6 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for your kind words Jamie. I would suggest if you want a little more insight into whether or not you have ADD, google ADD tests and there are some free ones out there. You will get a better idea after you take the evaluations. That's how I started to delve into it.

    • Jamie Brock profile image

      Jamie Brock 6 years ago from Texas

      Thank you for sharing your story.. I honestly have wondered sometimes if I have adult ADD (but not ADHD) but anytime I would ask a doc they would blow it off. I'm not hyper at all but I do have a whirl wind of ideas all the time especially about arts and crafts projects. It bothers me because I never can get the ideas out of my head and to actually happen, know what I mean? I start lists of things like Hub ideas but I always lose the list and start another one. I probably have about 50 started lists of good hub topics in various piles of paperwork. About the craft ideas, I think of so many things I would like to do and I have done some but the majority of them just stay in my head. It gets bothersome. Anyway, thanks for sharing your story. I am so happy for you that you have found an answer. God bless!

    • profile image

      cjhellierIII 6 years ago

      It took a lot to write this and I appreciate your honesty. You have a right to say "yippee"!


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