Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is one of the most common neurological conditions in children and now in adults also. It is characterized by marked hyperactivity, impulsivity, and inattention. Over 5% of children worldwide have ADHD; new research and case studies show 4% to 5% in adults too. Fortunately or unfortunately, I am also one of them.
It was a typical ADHD journey. I was inattentive in kindergarten, I could read barely read 5 seconds nonstop, and I was very much dependent on my mother and her servants to perform daily routine activities. I was always daydreaming, and it took me very long to complete a simple task because there were oceans of thoughts flowing in my mind. When I started reading an English book, I remember there was always an urge to start mathematics, and it often left me with incomplete homework.
My elder sister had this mission impossible to make me complete my homework, but it always ended up completed by her instead. Due to my selective memory (I only retained what interested me), I excelled in specific subjects such as mathematics and religion, and I was last in others, with very inconsistent results. In class, I was restless, moving all the time. And I always had the same school assessments: “can do better,” “inattentive,” “incomplete,” and “poorly done.” I remember the day when I was diagnosed with ADHD.
At 12 years old, my school arranged a psychologist to identify the problem. She made me perform a psychological test, in which she notes that I have “excellent reasoning skills, but difficulty concentrating single-mindedly to complete any task. She concluded that I was suffering from ADHD.
Shortly after that, my first suffering was “from the school benches.” My emotional condition was poor, and even after trying, I could not get the work at an average speed. I had slow reflexes and was distracted quite easily. They called my mother and discussed my case in detail. She never took that seriously and blamed everything on my careless attitude for all the problems. She also blamed my school for making me look like a mentally disabled child. She changed my school shortly after that.
At that time, my emotions were at their peak, so I was easily offended by the people criticizing me. This impulsive character led me to do a lot of nonsense.
Deep in my mind, I started to feel so different from other classmates that I always thought they were making fun of me without even pointing their fingers at me. I thought that I was mentally disabled, and this disorder was constantly gnawing me.
I was confronted with trouble doing my classwork and faced massive difficulty in class for doing impulsive things. Hence, I was a turbulent though creative child with extremely chaotic schoolings, especially when I started my college degree. I was having great difficulty doing my home assignments. My inattention and hyperactivity ultimately resulted in many hours of glue and repeating a semester.
I was relatively withdrawn and had low self-esteem until early adulthood. So I continued to grow up with this feeling of being less than others. But I want to do something good in my life.
However, my life so far had not been the most pleasant because of my father’s side. It was difficult because he beat the hell out of me to respond to my behavior issues until I bleed sometimes. However, I prefer to avoid speaking because it is still too hard for me. I desperately needed help in determining my purpose in life.
My parents didn’t want me to make excuses for all my failures, so they blamed me. It took time to realize that I needed medical and emotional help. That was a turning point in my life as my mother was supporting me with everything she had. She realized that I had been gone through swear mental trauma that crippled my ability to perform even simple tasks. My mother became a shield for me after that. First of she convinced my father to help me seek medical help to recover my mental state. She kept that secret so that society did see me, a mentally disabled person. My parents gave me hope that God had provided the solution for every problem. I am really blessed that my parents are religious people, and the first thing they did was motivate me to seek help from the Lord God by performing daily rituals.
Soon after that, they took me to the psychiatrist and neurologist and started my treatment. It took over four long years of therapy and medication to make fit for society.
Luckily, I also had a scientific aptitude. I was studious and motivated by the physical sciences, which made up for my distracted and disorganized side, and I graduated as a computer engineer.
It was no coincidence that I chose this profession, just as I changed jobs eight times in my first 16 years of work. I have tried all types of positions (from sales to manager to consultant/trainer) + service business creation experience.
At work, I control my impulsivity quite well. My sense of duty and the discipline that I received from my upbringing compensates for my need to do only exciting things to stay motivated. The hyperfocus that IT exerts on me is working in my favor. Attention disorder works in both directions, and if we are lucky enough to focus on valuable things, we can go a long way. My sense of creativity (often present in ADDs) is also a good ally. Like several adults with ADD, I took refuge in work since it was the only place I was grateful (although I always felt like I wasn’t doing enough). I think my superiors were still sorry that I left so quickly!
I tried management positions, but that required too much organization and too much attention to many details. Also, many tasks were not very motivating. Soon I figured out that the administrative side of managing a team was not to my taste. Recently, I shelved any conventional career ideas, and today, thanks to the knowledge of ADD, I am a self-employed IT consultant, and I am living again (for now at least!). I can vary my activities to my liking always to be motivated and focused.
Apart from my professional life, which finally smiles enough at me, my love life was unsuccessful at first. I finally met my beautiful wife, and we have one sweet little daughter though my wife is expecting again:). I must say it’s hard to find the right spouse because I did not want a career-oriented wife as managing me is itself a hectic job. Even my mother is not alive to see my family, but I believe her blessings are still with me. My wife loves me for what I am as she accepts me with all my problems. She takes care of my small things and makes my life organized, even if she takes care of my old father, my tough hero. Because my father was strict, that only enabled me to fight in the difficult situation of my life. I remembered my sister, who was my crime partner, saved my butt many times. Whenever I did something wrong, she covered me up and took all the fault to herself! Well, sometimes you need people like that who make you feel important and precious. In the worst phasis of my life, she kept my self-esteem up with unconditional love.
Socially speaking, I am a good company, though not a very good participant in a long-term group. I’ve long been torn between boredom and risky activities. I now see a new balance with my knowledge of ADD and, therefore myself.
My hyperactivity makes me want to do lots of things without limits. I go until the exhaustion of my strength. Then I have to stop to recover. But I wish I could continue.
Somehow, I am disappointed with this physical limit where my body calls me to order. Sometimes I work out in the gym too hard that my body literally shattered. I am an overweight person, and you will not believe that sometimes I run straight 20 miles and reduce 11 pounds in a week.
It’s hard to resist the urge to “get high” in something (that may also be impulsiveness!).
How to calm down, to moderate oneself, when the energy is boiling in oneself???
Due to my ADHD issues, my life was full of weird stories. Sometimes, my variety of neurological, emotional, and social difficulties make me too much depressed.
I believe that a better knowledge of this syndrome is of great benefit to all of us. First of all, it allows us to relieve ourselves of the blemishes that annoy us and our loved ones (lack of listening or participation, procrastination, blunders, successive failures, etc.). Then it allows us to get to know ourselves better.
ADHD, also called ADD, is indeed complex, and even though we have long understood that we are different from others, it is difficult to describe ourselves without being drowned in details. There is much information that can be found, for example, through an ADD group. Nothing is better than listening to the journey of a person who has many disabilities in common with you.
I conclude this autobiography by saying that you cannot live alone and isolated; you need people’s support and give them back to live your life peacefully. I am not saying you need to be dependent on people, but sharing your feeling with your truly loved ones always give you a sense of relief in any form. If my mother hadn’t taken medical help to deal with my situation, I would have ended up with a major depressive disorder or maybe Alzheimer’s. Having ADHD is not the end of life; you need to get proper help timely. Self-knowledge is the key to wisdom, and if you are suffering like this, you need to be updated informed about your condition. I heard people often commit suicide due to acute depression, which is cowardly. People must think about the people living their lives with more chronic diseases like aids, cancer, or they may be entirely physically disabled, and they are fighting them because some things matter in their lives. To end my autobiography, I’d like to quote the phrase from my favorite film Rocky Balboa “It’s not about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”