Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Realities ADHD - A Different View

This is in response to the article The Commercial Reality of Attention Deficit Disorder.

As an adult with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), I can tell you it's no laughing matter. However, I agree the medical community is overdosing our kids. They deduce that if a child has a problem in school, they must have ADHD and proceed dish out some Ritalin. We've gone from one extreme to the other, here's my story.

I wish someone had recognized I had ADHD when I was growing up. I can't begin to explain the educational and social difficulties I encountered. I especially hated English because if the work involved reading I was going to fail. I distinctly remember almost failing my 7th grade Reading class. The teacher used the reading machine. If you don't know what that is, the entire class reads a story displayed on a projector. But it only displays one line at a time, and the teacher can set the speed at which the lines are displayed. It was a nightmare, and no one during that time (about 1976) had a clue about such disorders.

After high school I joined the Army. I was always at the bottom of my classes. Not that I didn't excel at my jobs, but any academics were extremely difficult. It wasn't until I took college English that I broke a small hole in the barrier of concentration. But it was a slow and agonizing process. I had to teach myself to think and concentrate, and focus. I did not read books, unless it had lots of pictures. I read magazines and newspapers, only the first part of the article. After that it lost my interest. (I'm still like that).

When I was 34 years old and getting out of the Army, I was finally diagnosed. And you guessed it, I got time-released Ritalin. Funny thing is that it has an opposite effect on adults. I've never taken any illegal drugs so I have no point of reference, but been told it's like Speed. But let me tell you, I could focus like never before. I only took it for a few months though.

A few years ago I was prescribed Strattera. I can't say it did anything for me, besides cause me headaches.

As I am now in my mid 40's I'm just now realizing how my life is different, and how my relationships were and are different because of ADHD. All of my life's experiences have been affected by it. There are times I feel regret and remorse about things that happened 10, 20, 30 years ago because, in an epiphany, I'll remember something and the fine details will all come together. Really stupid things we will not discuss.

You see, those not afflicted with this just see people like myself as weird. We can be rude, obnoxious, blunt, lazy, crazy, eccentric, brutally honest, fearful, loud, overbearing, pig-headed, all-knowing, stupid, messy, disorganized, and many other not so good things. People who get rubbed the wrong way by us don't say "Oh, he has ADHD, I understand" or "I know he has a learning disorder, so it's OK". We are judged by the standards of normal or acceptable, whatever that is these days, just like everyone else.

It continues for me even now. I get an email from someone, and I'll put it aside so I can respond. Then I forget, and never do respond. Then I get another email from that person asking what's wrong, why didn't I write back, or call back.

Then there's job hunting. I was once told that hunting for another job is the hardest job you will perform. In today's world recruiters don't usually call first, they email. And when they do call or email I'm very bad about calling them or emailing them back. ADHD linked with procrastination is a formula for disaster. I can attest to that.

The bottom line is that ADHD is REAL. While I agree the ADHD label is over used, it does have it's place. The simple capability to sit and write even small articles like this is still quite difficult and draining on me. What's important is that it not be used as a crutch, although I do joke about it occasionally.

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John Crawford

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1 comment:

clairelouise said...

Hi can very much relate to this. It is no laughing Matter. My husband has ADHD and my son is on the autism spectrum with Aspergers and has been assessed for ADHD.
A very Interesting post.

Do you believe vaccinations cause or contribute to autism?