Adventures of the Attention-Deficit & What You Need to Know About ADD

My Story:

It was in second grade when I first thought something was different about me. Due to trouble with some of the kids in my classes, my dearest mum arranged for me to attend social studies with the third grade class instead of my own. It was in Mr. Beckstrand's class when it first happened, and I remember it quite clearly. We were learning about the geography of the United States, and needed to reference a textbook for some activity or another. I snaked in and out of desks with the other students towards the back of the classroom to pick up a book. There were only a few books left by the time I meandered my way to the table. I had been glaring holes into the floor as I walked, so when I finally looked up to grab a book I was rather startled. The text on the cover of the textbooks was floating. Floating, upside down, and jumbled. Yes, yes it was. I remember a rush of blood to my head, blushing furiously, grabbing one of those alien books and scrambling back to my seat. I felt light-headed, embarrassed, and, quite frankly, like I was a little crazy. I avoided eye contact with that book for the next few minutes, then asked to go get a drink. I've never told a single soul about that moment until I typed it out here.

Looking back, I realize that that was my first real experience with dyslexia. I have never been a good reader, always struggling with mixing up words and letters. I thought I was just lagging behind everyone else in school. That I wasn't quite as smart. I procrastinated everything. Literally everything.

My profession in struggling and procrastinating flourished through high school, and even the first year or two of college. It was extremely difficult for me to pay attention in class. On the rare occasion I did try to listen, it ended poorly. I would watch the teacher lecture, see their mouths forming words, even hear and write down those words on occasion, but it might as well have been Chinese (no, I do not know Chinese).

Long story short(er), I was diagnosed with ADD about three years ago, thanks to the encouraging chats with my husband, who happens to be ADHD. Shortly after being diagnosed, I found my passion in school. That, combined with being medicated and trying out various coping methods, my semester GPA's in college went from a 1-something's to 4.0's. I can only imagine how much more I would have learned had I been diagnosed earlier, not that I am blaming anyone.

I am here to tell you how awesome it is to understanding how and why your brain works differently than others (or your child's or spouses or best friend's or etc., etc., etc.). Attention-Deficit Disorder (ADD) or Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects both children and adults.

Facts You Should Know About ADD/ADHD:

  • ADD/ADHD is real. 
  • ADD/ADHD is a common, non-discriminatory disorder.
  • Diagnosing ADD/ADHD is a complex process involving a large number of persistent symptoms.
  • Those with ADD/ADHD often have a co-existing anxiety disorder (which are also real!)
I cannot express to you enough how crucial it is to be patient and understanding with those who have ADD/ADHD. Personally, I would not have graduated college without the help and understanding of my husband and family (though they still, lovingly, question my sanity once in a while). Teachers and parents: please, please, please be patient with those who have been diagnosed or who show symptoms. School can be an amazing experience, even for those of us with dyslexia, ADD or ADHD. We, like everyone else, just need to feel the love! 

Awesome Things You Need to Know About Those With ADD/ADHD:
  • We often fail to give close attention to details or make careless mistakes
  • Sustaining our attention is a difficult task. Good luck with that, truly.
  • We appear to be listening. . . but we usually aren't because we are too distracted by the funny way your lips look while shaping those words that are coming out of your mouth and traveling through time and space (light speed anyone?!) to get to my ear, which somehow translates what those weird sounds mean, how does it even do that anyway, aren't their little hairs involved, and do you think dogs hear the same way we do? Wait, what did you say your name was?
  • We over-think. Way. Too. Much. Our brains never stop. Ever. 
  • Instructions are the bane of our existence. 
  • Organization? Either we're very precise about where our things belong . . . or it looks like a tornado has destroyed everything. 
  • We. Will. Lose. Things. 
  • We know more than we say, think more than we speak, and notice more than you realize. 
  • We are easily distracted because our filters tend to not function correctly. For further example, view this article: If Your Friends Ever Say They Have ADHD, Just Show Them This. It is quite entertaining.
  • We tend to be forgetful. Even if we set five alarms, write sticky-note reminders, send ourselves texts or emails, etc. 
  • Sometimes we get a wee bit fidgety. By a wee bit, I mean a lot. Remaining seated for long periods of time is not our strong suit. Restless. That's the word!
  • Some of us talk excessively, and some of us just talk excessively to ourselves in our head. Or both. 
  • Commitment is not our friend. Though, once we do commit to someone or something, it tends to be in quite an intense manner. 
  • We can be impatient and have a habit of interrupting.
  • We tend to work best under pressure. Which is kind of a plus, considering we are the Kings and Queens of Procrastinationtopia. 
  • Chronic tardiness.  
  • We are well acquainted with mood cycles. Sometimes we are up; motivated, loud, confident, energetic. Sometimes we are down; unmotivated, inert, disorganized, insecure, anxious, overwhelmed, ashamed, sad, etc. We are sensitive and it is often hard for us to regulate our emotions. It takes extra time, please be patient with us. 
  • Getting started is the hardest, most daunting part of any task.
  • We often don't follow-through with tasks we have started, due to loss of interest, distraction, loss of motivation and enthusiasm, etc. Which is why we usually have two to fifty projects going on any given time. 
  • We have a lot of goals and good intentions . . . with very little focus. This often leads to feeling underachieved.
  • We are drawn to work that allows us to be creative and do things with our own flare.
  • Though we are easily distracted with most tasks, there is always that one thing or one topic that pulls us into 'hyper focus'. When something clicks, we can get drawn in so deeply that hours may pass without us knowing it, nothing can distract us. Don't even try to stop us once we enter the groove. It's a sacred place for us.
  • We become anxious easily. Though our impulsive comments, or lack of comments, may hint that we are not deep thinkers, we absolutely are. Little things can send us into what I like to call 'downward-spiral-end-of-the-world' mode. It's not a fun place to be, trust me, and it often takes time, support, and patience to come out of. Sleep or working out really hard usually helps me the best, but everyone is different. 
  • We need space to pace, we think better when we are in motion. It is calming for us. Which is why you will always see me walking around while I am on the phone. 
  • Social anxiety. Holding back feels safer. 
  • Our brains do not cooperate. When we need them to be loud, they are quiet; when we need them to be quiet, they are too loud. 
  • We are passionate about what we do, and passionate in our relationships. Patience and support is incredibly important from those around us. We succeed and believe in ourselves a million times more easily when we have people supporting us and trying to understand our daily struggles. You may get frustrated around us, but trust me, we are even more frustrated with ourselves. We are heroes for what we deal with. 

My intention for this article was to inform you that ADD/ADHD is real, and give you a peak of what it's like to live with ADD/ADHD. As I am ADD, I'm am confident that I have left out important details, and have probably confused you at some point. Hopefully you were able to get at least smidgen of understanding out of this. I have included a list of links at the bottom to several other websites that are highly entertaining, as well as informative. Please feel free to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, or comments! I'd love to here from you. 

What Is ADHD? Symptoms and Diagnosis

Happy ADHD Awareness Month!



  1. I wish I could find some of the notes we wrote to each other in junior high to look back and analyze them with this newfound knowledge of you. But even without seeing them I can think of so many ADD aspects--what with the lines and arrows and colors and drawings and nick-names and patterns...and that's what made them so interesting and entertaining and funny! Such good times!

    1. Oh wow, I haven't thought about those in a long time. I probably still have some lying around somewhere, they would be rather entertaining! We had some amazing times, didn't we?