Joined: 02/05/2010
My Story:
I was diagnosed with ADHD at 37 and OCD/Anxiety at 38. I grew up in Florida. Quit school at 16 when I failed the 9th grade and gave up on the school system. I have a high IQ, a short attention span and an uncanny ability to put my foot in my mouth at the exactly the wrong time. Actually, I usually make people laugh, but sometimes I make them REALLY angry without trying at all. Most of the time I don't even know why.

It's a gift.

I left home at 16 or 17 after an argument with my dad that ended when he said "My house, my rules. If you don't like it you can leave." I didn't get a drivers license until I was 21. I have a GED, my very own set of U.S. Army jump wings and an I'm an expert marksman even though I'm afraid of heights and don't like guns. I married got married and divorced in 10 months. Turned out we were both looking for a nice woman to settle down with. I spent the last half of my 20's at two bars, one for the booze, the other for the dancers.

That ended just in time, when I finally met someone who convinced me to stop smoking, drinking and staying out late. We got married and have been doing fine ever since. We have a daughter whose a lot like her dad, in a good way, and two cats. Eleven years and still going strong. Though, sometimes I think she should be the one getting mental help for staying with me so long.

We've never purchased a used home or a used car. We have a decent life and I do my part to keep it that way. I've been a "computer guy" for most of my life. When we moved in to our first house, my dad visited. I asked him to take of his shoes. He said, "Why do I have to take off my shoes if I don't want too?" I said, "My house my rules. If you don't like it you can leave." We both smiled and he said "OK." We all wished he'd kept them on shortly after that, but by then it was too late. I still have nightmares about that stinky monopoly game.

My advice to parents is RELAX. Let your kid be who they are. Work with them not against them. Meds are a great tool, but life skills are where you get the most bang for your buck in ADHD terms. I take my meds, but only because they help. If they didn't I'd be happy to skip them. If you don't trust your doctor enough to do what he says, FIRE HIM and get one you do trust. That's the only way to get medical help. Trust is crucial.

I grew up with untreated ADHD and I didn't do too badly, if I do say so myself. However, I think things would be even better if I'd started treatment in 3rd grade. So, keep that in mind about your own kids. The earlier you start ADHD treatment, the better once they start school.

It's not a disease. It's how we're made. It won't go away and you can't beat it out of us. Do your best to build your kid up, not knock them down.

ADHD is a real gift if you know how to handle it. We're great fun to be around and have a quirky outlook on life. Just don't ask us to balance the check book or get you to the airport on time 'cause it probably ain't gonna happen the way you expected. But it might be fun anyway. :)

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