Hi there! Here's my ADHD Story

Hi, I’m Kelsy!

I’m 28 and just got diagnosed with ADHD a couple weeks ago. My doctor put me on Strattera, and I’m doing so much better now! I feel like the lead blanket that has been weighing me down for years has finally been lifted.

My Story:
My mom was a single mother and Type 1 Diabetic with vision loss and kidney failure, so I grew up basically being her 24/7 nurse. When I would fall asleep in class, be disorganized, space out, pick at my friends during lessons, or spend the whole class doodling, my teachers attributed it to the fact my mom had a chronic illness and I was having a rough time of it. I do remember that I had to leave class every day to take a special reading class that was more hands-on and interactive, and that was honestly the best part of the day. To this day, I’m definitely a hands-on learner.

When I was 14, my mom passed away and my dad (who had been out of the picture all this time) received custody of me. He still didn’t want to take care of me, so he pawned me off on his parents, who later adopted me. But they were horrible narcissists who abused and assaulted me for 10 years, until I finally got the courage to call the cops on them and press charges. I now haven’t talked to them in 3 years.

My whole time with my grandparents, I struggled in high school and college. I’ve always been disorganized and “spacy,” even when I was with my mom, but it ramped up 1000-fold with the abuse and trauma my grandparents were putting me through. As bad as they were, I think I only made it through college because they watched me do all my schoolwork and made sure I did my homework every day.

Once I was out on my own, however, I struggled to get my Masters degree. (I have a Masters in English and taught writing classes at a university for 3 years.) It always seemed like everyone else was far more skilled than I was, and while they were writing 20-page papers, I was struggling to write anything at all. I never did any of the assigned readings because I couldn’t focus enough to sit down and read that much in one sitting, and always thought there was something wrong with me because I couldn’t do what everyone else was doing. Only recently have I felt that I truly did earn my Masters, and I didn’t just “cheat” my way through college.

I taught at my alma mater for 3 years as a writing professor, and for 2 years of that had a mentor and boss who was very familiar with my struggles. He would check in on me every few days, without me having to ask him to, and always gave me gentle correction and guidance. When he retired, my next boss only checked in on me once during the beginning of the semester, purposefully gave me the toughest class to teach (where the students usually rebelled because it was a very challenging course), and then gave me a negative evaluation at the end of the year because the students had given me bad reviews. That year, more than ever before, I struggled with grading student work in a timely manner, keeping in touch with my teaching partners, giving concise directions to my students, and even making it to my own classes on time. Needless to say, my contract wasn’t renewed…

In March of 2021, after I moved to Ohio to be closer to my mom’s side of the family, I suffered a stroke from unregulated hypertension and temporarily lost mobility. I was unable to work and applied for government assistance. That was the first time I’ve ever had proper health insurance. I started going to the doctor to get my blood pressure under control and started going to counseling. After getting my depression and anxiety symptoms under control, and after regaining my mobility, I still found it difficult to do things. All the struggle I’d felt before during school, that I had attributed to “school stress” or “mom stress” or “trauma stress” was still there, even though I was physically and mentally so much better. At that point, I scheduled an appointment with my psychiatrist to be evaluated for ADHD.

I’ve been watching the How To ADHD channel for the past year or so, and every video has resonated with me in one way or another. What I thought was a personal failing turned out to actually be my untreated and undiagnosed ADHD. Ever since receiving my diagnosis, I feel like all my struggles for the past 28 years have been validated. I’m not broken, I just think differently. And my Strattera has helped SO MUCH. I’ve felt so guilty because I haven’t been able to do things around the house, but now I’m able to do the things I need to get done without having to argue with myself about doing them. I don’t have to berate myself or bribe myself with abstract rewards. I can finally just get up and Do The Thing!

I’m so happy to be a part of this community and hope to meet some new friends along the way. :slight_smile:

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Well hello @LaAdelita , and welcome to the HowToADHD forums!

Thank you for sharing your story. You’ve been through a lot, that’s for sure.

I didn’t get diagnosed with ADHD until just a couple of years ago, at 45 years old. (I started suspecting that I had ADHD a few years before that, but didn’t seek a diagnosis until I got totally overwhelmed with anxiety.)

I’m on a generic of Strattera (also atomoxetine, but from another pharmaceutical company, and for a lower price). It’s really helped me!

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I’m on the generic atomoxetine, too. But “Strattera” is just easier to spell, lol.

Thanks for the welcome! My grandparents always suspected I had ADD (before I found out it was called “inattentive ADHD”), but they didn’t believe in pills or counseling, so I never got diagnosed. I’m so happy I finally got diagnosed, tho. It’s helped me focus more on my strengths than constantly focusing on my symptoms.

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hello & welcome.

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