Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) were still relatively unknown when I received my diagnosis during my childhood. At the time, it was often perceived as a parenting disorder, and the approach to treatment was markedly different from what it is today. This journey of discovery, acceptance, and ultimately embracing my unique way of experiencing the world has been a profound one.
A Childhood in Transition
My early experiences with ADD/ADHD were quite unconventional. I underwent rigorous testing as my parents attended mandatory workshops on parenting techniques, believing that they were an integral part of the disorder’s management. In addition to this, I attended learning development programs and speech therapy to improve my clarity of speech.
As a child, I recall some rather puzzling aspects of the research conducted at the time. Researchers even measured testicle size as part of child development studies, a fact that struck me as particularly odd. It was a period of uncertainty and experimentation as the medical community grappled with understanding this relatively new condition.
Puberty and the Misconception
There was a prevailing belief during my adolescence years in that puberty would miraculously cure ADD/ADHD. Consequently, the medication I had been taking, Ritalin, was discontinued by the medical experts. Interestingly, when medicated, I transitioned from the child who was always asked, “Have you finished ruling up the page yet?” to a student who excelled academically.
I was selected for the Primary Extension Academic Classes (PEAC), a program reserved for the two brightest students in the class, one male and one female. This initiative allowed us to attend a different school entirely to partake in extended academic classes, such as LOGO graphics, electronics, and topography. My experience during this time seemed to challenge the misconception that ADD/ADHD would simply fade away with age.
Navigating Adulthood and Medication
As I entered adulthood and encountered new challenges, I decided to revisit the idea of medication. I was eager to prove myself academically, and college seemed like the perfect opportunity. This marked the resumption of my medication journey, which turned out to be a bit of a rollercoaster.
Initially, I took too much medication, and I experienced sleepless nights that lasted for days. My focus became superhuman, but it was unsustainable. My body eventually adjusted, and things stabilized over the course of a few months. Despite this, my academic struggles persisted, leading me to drop out of college.
A Lifelong Quest for Answers
My journey led me to a book that would play a pivotal role in my understanding of ADD/ADHD: “Healing ADD/ADHD” by Daniel G. Amen. This book was one of the few I read cover to cover, as I obsessively sought answers to the questions I had carried with me for years.
I began seeing a team of psychiatrists who offered different perspectives and various treatment options. This process was a lengthy and sometimes frustrating one, as I explored different avenues in search of what would work best for me. My experience was further complicated by a turbulent personal life, marked by relationships filled with arguments and conflicting viewpoints.
Reframing ADD/ADHD: A Gift, Not a Curse
As time passed, I began to view ADD/ADHD through a different lens. I realized that it wasn’t a curse or a joke, as it was often portrayed in popular culture. Rather, it represented a unique way of living and seeing the world — a different reality that didn’t conform to society’s standard mold of “normal.”
In time, I came to see ADD/ADHD as a gift, a divine talent that offered me the ability to perceive the world in ways others might never experience. Yes, I might struggle with organization and cleanliness, but I also possess an innovative spirit and an innate ability to see and connect disparate elements.
In the business world, this has proven to be a tremendous asset. I’ve surrounded myself with individuals who excel at finishing tasks and maintaining order, complementing my own strengths. It’s been a remarkable journey from a childhood diagnosis to an adult realization that my unique perspective is a divine gift, allowing me to see and create in ways that enrich my life and the lives of those around me.
ADD/ADHD is not a condition to be ridiculed or dismissed. It’s a different way of living and thinking, a gift that should be celebrated for its extraordinary potential.
My journey with ADD/ADHD has taken me from the bewildering experiences of childhood diagnosis and misconceptions to the challenges of adulthood and an ongoing quest for understanding and acceptance. Ultimately, I’ve come to see my unique perspective as a gift, offering me a distinctive way of experiencing the world and enriching the lives of those around me. ADD/ADHD is not a limitation; it’s an extraordinary form of perception to be celebrated.