## I wasn't diagnosed until 25 that I had ADHD, but I want to let people know that treatment is life-changing ##
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net
I remember teaching myself to read at four – my first book? “Green Eggs and Ham”. However, I couldn’t tie my shoelaces by myself and a lot of other tasks that required physical co-ordination came with difficulty to me. I remember it was reading that I loved the most.
However, in childhood, I lost things more than the average kid would. I remember quite vividly being berated by the school headmistress that my mother had to keep buying me more school jackets. My desk was untidy and disorganised.
I could flow through books – that was still okay. I loved them and devoured them each week at my primary school library. However, there was still as sign that something was wrong. In Grade 3, I was told off very thoroughly for not understanding the concept of a grasp – when it came to teacher’s awareness that I should have known this by October.
Half the time during primary school I think I felt I was somewhere else. I was given homework, but often didn’t have patience to complete it. I felt fidgety and restless and couldn’t concentrate for long periods of time.
By Grade 7, the mathematics the teacher was explaining was a meaningless set of numbers and symbols.
However, teachers never expressed concerned to my mother (my father died at 5) that I wasn’t learning. I certainly had the distinct feeling that other kids were taking in more than me. Surely it wasn’t normal to feel so totally absent-minded during school.
I left with a fairly good OP (4) from high school despite suffering from additional depression as well as very poor concentration. I hadn’t heard of ADD or Attention Deficit Disorder at that age and my mother certainly wouldn’t have. Because I was doing okay, it wasn’t suspected. It did contribute to my unhappiness I believe that at about Grade 7, I stopped being able to enjoy books, because I could no longer focus on them.
After my Pharmacy degree, and this is hard to admit on a public forum, I was sacked from my first job. I am doing this (admitting my learning disability) because I want people to know that ADD can persist into adulthood and go untreated in childhood. If you feel you aren’t concentrating, or most importantly, reaching your full potential, don’t feel ashamed to be checked.
I was the only pharmacy student happened to. It still affects me today, him telling me that it was because I kept making stupid mistakes, and probably had a learning disorder.
I saw a psychiatrist, who sent me to a neuropsychologist. I could only remember 3 digits backward, yet my verbal IQ was 130. I was prescribed stimulants.
And the world became alive. I got a job. I made no more stupid mistakes. I became organised, I could enjoy the beauty of books again.
There’s still things I find difficult – for example, mathematics. I was in the bottom 25% of statistics when I decided to quit. I am not good with practical things either.
I feel shame at my learning disability but I am glad it was detected because now I can actually do things again.
Thank you for writing this article from personal experience Jussie. It is so useful and encouraging to those going through something similar to read a first hand account rather than just an academic article.
The most wonderful part of your article is that it gives both hope and direction to others who are starting to suspect they have adult ADD. Thank you for explaining which professionals were able to provide the help you needed as this information is useful to others.
Do not feel shame at your learning disability. Would you feel shame if you had been born unable to see or hear or had another disability of a physical nature? Feel pride that you got your disability diagnosed and are making the best of your life plus you are helping others who read your articles. Keep writing and sharing your experiences, Jussie.