One day, when I was 7 years old, my parents decided to take me to a psychologist in order to understand why I was so hyperactive and why I couldn’t concentrate well in school. After a few sessions, the psychologist told my parents that I had ADHD which stands for “Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.” Since that moment, I started to feel different from the other kids, taking a pill that would make me act like others. Talking too much, interrupting others while they were talking, having more energy than most, losing concentration easily-those were a few of the things I used to experience.
At 15 years old, my parents decided not to give me more medication because they believed that I would be able to have more control over my behavior. It was true-I was able to better control my behavior but I started to have some difficulties in school, including studying for exams and interacting with people. As a solution, I realized I could study in groups rather than alone. I learned to be quiet even if I wanted to talk, and in that way I found a solution to my problem.
The positive sides of adult ADHD are often overlooked: many adults with ADHD have a high level of energy, enthusiasm, creativity, and a passionate commitment to things which interest them, which in turn helps them excel in many occupations. Each person has their own particular blend of strengths and weaknesses, of course; however, many adults with ADHD do well in careers which involve creativity and fast change, such as sales or marketing, and in many jobs which require troubleshooting skills. When ADHD is properly treated and managed well, it very often ceases to be a serious handicapping condition.
At times, things were rocky at home also, due to continuing conflicts over things not getting done when they should have been. Sometimes my partner interpreted my failure to carry out household responsibilities as a lack of caring. My boyfriend saw how hard I worked though, so he knew that I was not lazy. Heart to heart talks and promises made never seemed to last very long. He could see that I was tense and on edge much of the time, frustrated with my life and losing confidence in myself.
Being in a group where I was different socially, culturally and in many other ways was kind of overwhelming. However, luckily, I always had people around me who believed in me and supported me no matter what. I started to read books about ADHD, so I could learn more about myself and I started to copy and improve some behavior that seemed to work for other adults like me, and things started to get better.
Nowadays, I am working with a therapist to help me better understand my behavior and, more importantly, to learn coping skills which help me manage the ADHD symptoms. I am better organized, more productive, and my moods are more on an even keel. The good news, as I am proving every day, is that ADHD can be managed very well. So for all those people who have a friend like me, you can learn things about the disorder that you didn’t know before and you can support him or her to become a better person.
Written By: Ruben Rios