Motivational and inspirational writer, Bryan Hutchinson is the author of several books about life with ADHD including the highly acclaimed, best selling "One Boy′s Struggle: A Memoir" and the author of the hilarious eBook that went viral "10 Things I Hate about ADHD"

Is the burden of ADHD causing lost Childhoods?

I am not like everyone else, I have ADHD and my childhood wasn’t normal either.

Quite frankly, I don’t want to be like everyone else. I don’t want to conform to be someone better than anyone else or to be ‘normal’ and I certainly don’t want to be average. I have no such desire. I used to and it would drive me crazy. I like being me. I have some hard luck stories, I can tell you of all the mistakes I have made and the challenges that overwhelmed me, but sometimes the point is missed. I still have ADHD and many of the issues that come with it, but that is not my point.

The reason I have revealed so much about myself is because I have overcome many challenges, found some decent workarounds and I have moved forward to a more positive place. But, I didn’t entirely conform to do so, I didn’t become normal and I didn’t become what others wanted me to be

I became something far better: I became whole, as myself. I am free to be me, positive and hopeful for a better future, as matter of fact, a better: today!

Raised with undiagnosed ADD I got in so much trouble for not being like other kids, for not following the rules perfectly and, forbid, for not coloring in the lines. When I was in grade school it was a burden for me and my parents. I wished I could have gotten my act together and just, at the very least, behaved normally. I learned to flinch at shadows, I learned to disapprove of myself and, worst of all, I learned I wasn’t good enough. Living with my head in the clouds was disastrous, but it sure seemed a better place to be. Now I wonder if it was really me that was so wrong after all.

Today as an adult I have the freedom to be me. I had to go through a lot of therapy just to get back to being me. I have come to learn and understand that, yes, I had a great many difficulties as a child with undiagnosed ADD, but it wasn’t my fault, it wasn’t anyone’s fault, but there were far better ways to help a child in my situation. Unfortunately, I grew up in a time when ADHD wasn’t that well known, much less embraced. We’ve come a long way. But then again, we have a long way to go.

Even today kids with ADHD are expected to be something different than they are, to be better, to improve and to conform. They have ADHD after all. Be that as it may, there’s a hard lesson many of us who grow up trying to measure up must learn and that is: Sometimes we just need to be ourselves. We need time to have the freedom to goof off, daydream, hyper focus or, wander around without any destination just to let our minds drift here and there. We also need time to explore our natural talents and traits, whatever they might be. Some think that much talent has been lost in today’s world. Talent isn’t being lost, the freedom to explore it early in life, is – then later in life, sometimes it is just too late to rediscover it, much less use it to its full potential. Well, yes, I guess that would also mean talent is sometimes indeed being lost.

I remember back in elementary school, second grade, I was temporarily put into a special reading / writing class and the ONLY difference was that there were fewer students, the teacher spent more time on each of us and we had special, individualized learning methods. These things helped me stay focused and learn. In that environment I excelled beyond expectations. In that class I discovered I loved to read and write. I also discovered then, in that wonderful environment, that I had a talent for writing. Unfortunately, it would be over a decade or more before I would rediscover my love for writing. To me, this speaks clearly about the major problem for us when we are in the wrong environment for our individual ways of learning. Medication fixes that for some, but we can’t forget that in some ways medication may only be a substitute and I don’t think it is intended to be used that way.

It’s too bad that I did so well in that special class that I had to go back to the normal classroom environment only to have my problems again (you can read the story in One Boy’s Struggle). I can’t help but wonder what my school experience would have been like if it had been individualized as that special class was. For a short time, as a child, I felt smart and well able to accomplish my lessons. For a short while my mental and emotional outlook was healthy and positive, and when class time was over I was free to be. My experience in that class still benefits me to this day.

A proper diagnosis of ADHD as a young boy possibly could have helped so much, if properly treated. In the above example medication wasn’t prescribed, because there was no diagnosis or thorough attempt to understand me or the learning difficulties I was experiencing. For a short time when I received individualized instruction based on how I learn, everything was okay, not only okay, it was like I was brilliant and I felt good to be in school. I was free to be me, naturally.

I sincerely believe that kids with ADHD are more likely to grow up with lost childhoods simply because there is so much pressure to overcome, to attempt to be normal and to generally conform. All the while, too often, kids with ADHD are in the wrong situation, the wrong place and trying to obey rules which simply don’t work for them and the way their ADHD minds work. In my opinion, talent, hope and enthusiasm are being lost in early childhood. 

Do you think the burden of ADHD is causing lost childhoods? Are children discouraged to daydream, to learn at their own pace, and to let their creativity shine? If you’re an adult with ADHD, how did it affect your childhood?

Bryan

Julie December 22, 2010 at 7:49 pm

For myself, with regards to a lost childhood, the answer is a resounding yes.

I wasn’t diagnosed until the age of 30, long after the years of believing what i had heard from my teachers, “She is SO very bright, if ONLY she would apply herself” and hour long…discussions with my parents, each and every time grades came out (yeah…THOSE were fun times.

I believed I was dumb. Stupid. Why not? if it wasn’t said directly to my face (it was) then it was certainly easy to draw my own conclusions, as it were. I MUST be dumb, was my thinking, as I try harder and harder, and fall further and further behind.

Consequently, the world in my head and in the thousands of books I read (whether they were scary or not, and they usually WERE) was far better.

If I could retreat to these places, I learned I could actually tune out whatever was being said to me in the present. Colors would fade, and away I would go, to a much brighter, safer, and HAPPIER place.

And so I did, not realizing (I doubt I would’ve cared, at the time) what I was losing, when I did. Social skills, success, life skills- you name, I probably STILL lack a sufficient amount of ‘em.

It was only through my unwillingness to conform, (more likely, STUBBORNNESS, as my Mom would say) though I think it was also due to a major trauma at a young age, that I continued to dream.

Hard experience and tough luck and later, after my diagnosis, meds (bye bye Julie, hello focus) have almost worn away all of that which is me, my inner light, my creativity, until just recently.

I worry (and this is where I might start a fire)that we, as a society, are too quick to put kids on meds, to calm them down, help them focus, SLOW them down, so they can…FIT IN. The loss of the child’s own creativity is viewed (my opinion ONLY guys) as collateral damage, and one that isn’t that important. i beg to differ.

As a parent who’s son is definitely taken after his mama, I refuse to even consider meds, until there is no other choice, all other alternatives have been tried.

To smother that which makes him unique, (and gawd knows, he can out think me most of the time)is unforgivable, in my eyes. But then again, I may be wrong, wouldn’t be the first time.

If we act too quickly, medicate and slow down our kids, then where will our next great thinkers come from?

If we stomp out the whole unique-ness, think outside of the box minds, in order to help them CONFORM, fit in, and be a shadow of their former self, it will be OUR loss.

But hey, that’s just MY opinion, and who the heck am I, anyway? LOL

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:11 am

Julie,

I think that is a very common theme amongst us who have grown up with ADHD, and to a degree, still today for many kids with ADHD: If only you would apply yourself! And then, naturally comes the feelings of inadequacy and that we aren’t smart enough, maybe even stupid etc. I certainly can relate to your experiences and feelings growing up! Unfortunately, much of the education system in grade school is like a conveyer belt and those who need more attention simply do not get it as much as they need it. I am not saying medication doesn’t help those students better ‘apply’ themselves, but that it shouldn’t completely be used as a substitute for their natural way of learning. I mean this much the same way that schools also should not be used as daycare centers, but that’s another story! However, you as the parent must make that decision and you know your child best. Your child though, is rather lucky to have a parent who does understand where they are and what they are going through, mainly because you’ve been there yourself. You also know what did help you and what could have helped you, what your pit falls were. Those experiences and lessons are invaluable to helping you assist him.

Bryan

Julie December 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm

My son, regarding himself lucky, to have a parent such as me, in his corner?

Er…right now, that may not be the case, but then again, he’s into his PSP and I can’t seem to separate the two.

But he has a max of thirty minutes before I perform surgery, and he KNOWS I can, will, and HAVE done it before.

What he DOESN’T know, is that I’m going to video tape him, to show him exactly how he acts when thwarted (like ME) and I’m betting the threat of posting it on You Tube will be enough. :twisted:

Having said that, I think he (and I) won the lottery this year, with his teacher. It definitely takes one to know one, and this teacher seems to know them ALL.

He is quick to email me with the laundry list of words/phrases my son has said that day, that aren’t appropriate ( I don’t know WHERE he gets it!) as well as he, SOMEHOW and SOMEWAY is able to keep a classroom full of kids interested and learn, despite themselves! :mrgreen:

Amazing and I’m in total awe. As well as grateful, as he has taught my son and me, actually, several alternatives to learn and get the job done.

I can only hope that the next teacher is half as good.

Chris December 22, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Wow! Now thats a loaded question! Does ADHD make for a lost childhood? I think that it can severely impact childhood, but I dont think it’s impact is the same for everyone. Every ADDer is different, in turn, each individual is impacted differently.I can’t say it shadowed my entire childhood, but there were many other factors that did overshadow the joy of childhood…I am sure ADHD is a part of it.
I often wonder, “what if they knew I had ADHD?” “would I have been taught coping strategies and found supports?” If so, how much further would I have taken my education? I am sure Iwould have been more like “everyone else.”
That being said, discovering ADHD and being able to take control of it feels liberating! I have control to shape my experiences and relish in the happiness of adulthood….because I certainly know how difficult life can be.
I think we diagnosed ADDers need to make it better for the young. Education of ADHD is so important…especially for educators. They still don’t get it (many).
My son has been fortunate enough to have a truly gifted and dedicated teacher who fully understands ADHD. She has taught him so many skills and enabled him to to become a successful learner with a good self esteem ( a first for him).
I can’t think it will ruin childhood because I have at least 2 kids with it.
Brian, your website has educated me and also gven me solice when needed. It’s the beginning for ADHD coming out of the closet of the closet and educate anyone we can…to make it easier for all those who suffer..

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

I agree Chris, although we can closely relate at times and almost feel we have lived partially the same lives, we are still different and have different experiences. Still, your point and my point are nearly identical, I am so happy your child has such a dedicated teacher, that really can and does make a profound difference. The important thing is, you know what he is going through and to a degree, you know what he needs. This is so important, because as he moves on to different teachers you can help them understand him better and if he gets in a class with a teacher who simply doesn’t understand and doesn’t have the time, you can request a change. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

I am glad you enjoy the website. Oh yes, the closet can be dark indeed, but there’s light outside when we share and help each other.

Bryan

Dina Lawless December 22, 2010 at 9:47 pm

Brian,

Thank you for a great topic and for sharing your story. I’m a 43 year old woman who was finally diagnosed with ADD almost a year ago. I’m in the anger and grief stages of mourning what I consider my lost childhood. I grew up in a town that prides itself on its academic excellence. Unfortunately, I was failed and slipped through the cracks. The school system didn’t take the time to explore the reasons why my work was below average. I was tested in regards to my I.Q., but never for any learning issues. My parents were told my I.Q. was normal, that I “just wasn’t applying myself”, that I “needed to pay more attention.” They would get very frustrated and angry because I wasn’t living up to my potential. My self-esteem was shot at 7, and I would eventually quit high school at 16. When I look back at what could have been had the school system pursued more testing, had my parents realized that I wasn’t a screw-up, that there was an actual reason for why I was having such a difficult time, It makes me very sad and angry. The “could’ve beens” are painful and overwhelming. It took me 42 years to take a hard look at myself and figure out that there might actually be something beyond my control that had kept me from becoming successful all these years. I was diagnosed and put on ADDERALL. One of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. I went back to college and I’ve kept a 4.0 GPA. I graduate in July and I’m planning on entering a nursing program to become a RN. Before last year, I never would have believed that I was capable of being successful in school, nevermind pulling a 4.0. I’m new to this ADHD/ADD world, so my nerves are still raw in terms of sadness and anger. I’m coming to terms with the “could’ve beens”. It’s a process and I’m not rushing it. Thank you again :) .

Dina

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

THAT’S AWESOME Dina!! FANTASTIC.

I know how you feel too. When I was first diagnosed I did go through a grief period and I thought a lot about my childhood and how it could have been different. That’s kind of how my book came about. Medication didn’t work for me, there’s a reason, but I won’t go into that right now. Personalized cognitive behavior therapy did work and WOW, it worked wonders. For a long while there I had though that eventually I may find a medication that works, but now I don’t think it is still necessary for me. However, I have read and heard so many stories of how it helps as it has helped you.

I am so happy for you. Keep on keeping on, we can just make the future brighter, even if we can’t change the past, we can still help others understand us better.

Bryan

Megan December 22, 2010 at 10:30 pm

I don’t know that I would say children are loosing their childhoods because of ADHD, but having it is an added factor to deal with. (Just as children from broken homes, or who loose a parent to cancer, or have a physical disability struggle at times.) Every child is different and their childhood therefore is different. That said for a child with ADHD I agree that medication alone isn’t the answer and so many parents (myself included) are unaware of the other aspects of ADHD and how symptoms affect their children’s friendships, self-essteem and ability to experience success. My son was diagnosed at 6 years of age, and with medication experiences success in class with grades and learning, but is still struggling with making deep friendships. He is now a tween with a budding interest in girls, but a very low opinion of himself and his ability to be seen as a potential friend or boyfriend. All children with and without ADHD struggle through some aspect or another of childhood and growing up, but it seems to me that my son is having to struggle more so because of his ADHD. I’m learning more and that helps me, but I still struggle with how best to support him in having the happiest, fullest, most successful childhood possible.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hi Megan, I feel for you and your son. Our social skills are typically late to develop and sometimes they simply do not fully develop because of all the missed social cues. Your comment got me thinking though, have you considered child therapy? It might help him understand himself better and I am sure he has thoughts about himself that he doesn’t share with anyone and it might help if they are aired out and explained by a good therapist. I know, therapy may sound odd for a child, but for a child with ADHD I tend to think it is a good idea and it may help him skip ahead in years of self-learning. Self-learning though is influenced by one’s self-esteem and inner thoughts, so I really think therapy might help. If you do consider therapy, as the parent you will want to interview any potential therapist to see if your child would feel comfortable with that person.

Wishing you the best,

Bryan

Megan December 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Bryan, and yes we are considering therapy. For the whole family~ my husband believes he has ADD too. He was never diagnosed, but having a son and adult daughter with the diagnosis got him thinking. The learning I have done to help our son, lead to us learning via reading about the affects ADD has on marriage and wow what a lesson that has been! My husband is going to begin to seek a doctor versed in ADD to help him and I really think as a family if we could find a therapist that could help each of us (even non-ADD me)learn to work smarter together and with the social end as you mention we could gain so much more than we can alone. My struggle is trying to find someone in our area and my lack of time to fully pursue this with all my other responsibilities. (I am the rock you mention in your post today.)

Again, Thanks!

Barb December 23, 2010 at 12:45 am

Did that ever bring back some feelings for me! When I thought about my childhood, one resounding expression for the way I felt growing up came to me. FRUSTRATION!

I do have many wonderful memories but my day to day life was one of frustration.

I did well in school but was considered a slacker who wasn’t motivated to work to my potential. I did in fact probably spend more time studying than any of my classmates.

I had very poor social skills so I didn’t have a lot of close friends I felt comfortable with. I was always waiting for the stupid thing I would do that would have everyone laughing at, not with, me or worse yet, mad at me when I didn’t know what I had said or done that was wrong.

I am one of the few people I know who doesn’t wish I could become a kid again.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

Oh Barb, I hear you! I remember the many jokes that were made at my expense. It got so bad that after a while I started making the jokes against myself just to cut others off, or to get to it first. Perhaps it was a way for me to show them they couldn’t hurt me with that, but alas, they did and it stayed with me a long while. I’ve written about that before, but I think with where I am at today I should write about it again. You’re not alone and thank you for sharing your story.

Bryan

Jem December 23, 2010 at 12:53 am

Hi sir Bryan,

Growing up with ADHD isn’t that easy for me. People push me around and they thought I’m “crazy” (because of my hyperactive personality), “weird” and “autistic”(That’s gotta hurt..).
My high school days were bitter sweet memories. Now that I’m in college, I’m also having a hard time socializing and concentrating on my studies. I have so many activities that I wanted to do. So I get easily tired.

Back in my elementary days, I thought I was dunce for failing many subjects. I took summer classes for my Math. Back then, I had discovered that I am not dunce but a genius. I got an average of 91%(all my scores in tests were almost perfect). The reason I got it was because there were a few students in the class (less disturbance).
My Math teacher was surprised for my performance and reported it to my mom (She knew I have ADHD). So they thought that I was just lazy. The truth is, I’m not really paying attention to class because I was day dreaming. Another reason is because I couldn’t stop talking with my close friend.

I really love your blog, sir. Keep up the good work! :D

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

Hi Jem, I am glad you love my blog
:)

There we go again, yes, exactly. The opportunity to see yourself in a different light during summer school gave you a whole new perspective because of the improved learning conditions. This is so important for kids and even adults with ADHD! I am not saying this will help everyone, but I hear stories like this so often and experienced it myself that parents of children should be give more access to this type of information.

However, you talk about too many activities in college. That isn’t too uncommon for those of us with ADHD. Try to limit how many activities you are involved in and try to remember how you learn best. I also know what you mean about the social skills. My advice is similar to what helped me. Find a hobby that you really love and find a group that is involved in that hobby because then you will also find people who have a common interest as you. Socializing will still be difficult, but the love for the hobby or sport, will help break the ice and give you something to talk about.

Thanks for sharing with us Jem and keep on keeping on!

Bryan

Leah D December 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for writing this blog, as it resonated with me like no other. I am 67 years old and didn’t become aware of my ADD until I was about 60. I take Adderall but can’t say it does much for me, except help me to focus when I have to do boring work. My ADD, and a traumatic event when I was 3 years old, caused me to lose much of my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I do believe I had innate creativity which was squelched. By the time I was in jr. high I was in trouble a lot for not paying attention and talking to other kids in class. This got worse in high school. I was regarded as smart but “not living up to my potential.” In other words, lazy. I found it almost impossible to pay much attention to my teachers, because they were so boring. My social life, along with my self esteem, dwindled to the point my only friends were other outcasts, and that was pretty much the only thing we had in common. I barely graduated from high school with a D average. I wish I could focus more on the positive aspects of having ADD, but this is how I see it at this time. To anyone who wants to tell me to be more positive about anything, please keep it to yourself. Yes, I am definitely defensive about this. By the way, the only treatment available at my HMO is medication, and I can’t afford anything else.

Leah D December 23, 2010 at 8:35 am

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for writing this blog, as it resonated with me like no other. I am 67 years old and didn’t become aware of my ADD until I was about 60. I take Adderall but can’t say it does much for me, except help me to focus when I have to do boring work. My ADD, and a traumatic event when I was 3 years old, caused me to lose much of my childhood, adolescence and adulthood. I do believe I had innate creativity which was squelched. By the time I was in jr. high I was in trouble a lot for not paying attention and talking to other kids in class. This got worse in high school. I was regarded as smart but “not living up to my potential.” In other words, lazy. I found it almost impossible to pay much attention to my teachers, because they were so boring. My social life, along with my self esteem, dwindled to the point my only friends were other outcasts, and that was pretty much the only thing we had in common. I barely graduated from high school with a D average. I wish I could focus more on the positive aspects of having ADD, but this is how I see it at this time. To anyone who wants to tell me to be more positive about anything, please keep it to yourself. Yes, I am definitely defensive about this. By the way, the only treatment available at my HMO is medication, and I can’t afford anything else.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 8:47 am

Hi Leah,

It’s situations like you describe that brings out my inner anger and sadness. I completely understand why you wouldn’t want anyone to tell you about being positive, especially with what you reveal above and so late in life diagnosed. It does seem to me though, from your writing that you are finding yourself. I am sorry for your experiences and I am sure you don’t want to hear that either. Let’s hope that kids today get the help they need and this ‘lazy’ name calling and labeling eventually comes to a complete stop! How many of us are called ‘smart’ but not living up to our potential? It’s called ADHD and when treated correctly, the ‘smart’ part and the ‘talent’ part have the chance to shine and not be lost. I was diagnosed at 37 and already that is considered late.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Leah, it is so important. You are not alone with your experiences.

Bryan

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 8:47 am

Hi Leah,

It’s situations like you describe that brings out my inner anger and sadness. I completely understand why you wouldn’t want anyone to tell you about being positive, especially with what you reveal above and so late in life diagnosed. It does seem to me though, from your writing that you are finding yourself. I am sorry for your experiences and I am sure you don’t want to hear that either. Let’s hope that kids today get the help they need and this ‘lazy’ name calling and labeling eventually comes to a complete stop! How many of us are called ‘smart’ but not living up to our potential? It’s called ADHD and when treated correctly, the ‘smart’ part and the ‘talent’ part have the chance to shine and not be lost. I was diagnosed at 37 and already that is considered late.

Thank you for sharing your story with us Leah, it is so important. You are not alone with your experiences.

Bryan

Leah D December 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thank you so much, Bryan, for your understanding and compassionate reply. I am crying as I write this. I hadn’t taken part on your website for a long time, and this inspires me to come back. You and your website are a blessing. Also, of course, everyone who contributes.
I can only say thank you, but it’s really not enough.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Glad to have you Leah, you know that. I wish you and all the most wonderful holidays ever!

Bestest wishes to you and yours, one and all.

Bryan

Leah D December 23, 2010 at 10:02 am

Thank you so much, Bryan, for your understanding and compassionate reply. I am crying as I write this. I hadn’t taken part on your website for a long time, and this inspires me to come back. You and your website are a blessing. Also, of course, everyone who contributes.
I can only say thank you, but it’s really not enough.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Glad to have you Leah, you know that. I wish you and all the most wonderful holidays ever!

Bestest wishes to you and yours, one and all.

Bryan

Katy R. December 24, 2010 at 12:14 am

I wasn’t so great at being a child (I was extremely serious), but I think it had more to do with anxiety and personality than ADHD. It’s possible that some of the anxieties I experienced were ADHD-related, however, and so I can see where you might be coming from. It’s not solely the fate of the ADHD child though…we see this in many sub-types of children who can all be lumped under the “different” category. Whenever a person is just far enough off center they are generally forced to deal with life in more grown-up ways…for better or worse.

Katy R. December 24, 2010 at 12:14 am

I wasn’t so great at being a child (I was extremely serious), but I think it had more to do with anxiety and personality than ADHD. It’s possible that some of the anxieties I experienced were ADHD-related, however, and so I can see where you might be coming from. It’s not solely the fate of the ADHD child though…we see this in many sub-types of children who can all be lumped under the “different” category. Whenever a person is just far enough off center they are generally forced to deal with life in more grown-up ways…for better or worse.

Julie December 27, 2010 at 7:20 pm

Hi Katy, Sorry to be so late in replying ( I’m infamous for it) but I wanted to tell you, I think I know how you felt.

Oh I dreamed my a-…er, butt off, but was so very serious, still am, even when it comes to dreaming!

Being ME, when I was young, was a life and death experience and NOTHING was even remotely funny. After age 14, it became even more so, when I learned that even if you are young…you really WON’T live forever, and you CAN die.

Being lighthearted and well? easy of mind and body…totally foreign concept to me. Except when I write. that’s when it seems that all those missing pieces are finally present.

Reading what you wrote, made me remember that, and I just wanted to say….yeah, I understand.

Julie

tjp December 24, 2010 at 12:29 am

Lost childhood, general thoughts.

Of course many of us ADDers have a lost childhood in part or in whole. Definitely a time has gone by with no ability to get that second chance.

I come from an adolesence which took part in the 60s and early 70s. Everything was being challenged and many of the old rules were being thrown out.

I have a nephew who is in his mid twenties. He grew up in a different time. He had and has friends who openly admit and or talk about ADHD. Differences were discouraged in my day, and this was not even a difference in his circles.

He has tried medication and is now trying not to use medication. I believe he is much better with medication.

He knows the weak spots of ADD and is still trying to develop work arounds.

And when I first learned about my late diagnosis on my ADD, I was resentful that he had these connections and resources at his fingertips where all I had was chaos and self-doubt.

I would say that the childhood I lost was much more significant a chunk than what he may not have seen. I do not think that he missed any of his.

The time in which we grew up is definitely also a consideration, and then too, who we grew up around. I try not to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others, but I do that too. (they have it better, they have it easier, they are luckier..)

Understand it and your experiences, if you were flanked about, or by, your ADD as an unknown. It is good to look at the past, just do not stare too long.

Try to process through this, as quickly as possible. because you are only reprocessing yesterday’s of missing something.

If there is no further lesson to be learned from this history voyage, then you will only be using up today’s opportunities of/for experiences, where your interaction would matter. In the here and now, those experiences you have a part in and some control of now.

tjp December 24, 2010 at 12:29 am

Lost childhood, general thoughts.

Of course many of us ADDers have a lost childhood in part or in whole. Definitely a time has gone by with no ability to get that second chance.

I come from an adolesence which took part in the 60s and early 70s. Everything was being challenged and many of the old rules were being thrown out.

I have a nephew who is in his mid twenties. He grew up in a different time. He had and has friends who openly admit and or talk about ADHD. Differences were discouraged in my day, and this was not even a difference in his circles.

He has tried medication and is now trying not to use medication. I believe he is much better with medication.

He knows the weak spots of ADD and is still trying to develop work arounds.

And when I first learned about my late diagnosis on my ADD, I was resentful that he had these connections and resources at his fingertips where all I had was chaos and self-doubt.

I would say that the childhood I lost was much more significant a chunk than what he may not have seen. I do not think that he missed any of his.

The time in which we grew up is definitely also a consideration, and then too, who we grew up around. I try not to fall into the trap of comparing myself to others, but I do that too. (they have it better, they have it easier, they are luckier..)

Understand it and your experiences, if you were flanked about, or by, your ADD as an unknown. It is good to look at the past, just do not stare too long.

Try to process through this, as quickly as possible. because you are only reprocessing yesterday’s of missing something.

If there is no further lesson to be learned from this history voyage, then you will only be using up today’s opportunities of/for experiences, where your interaction would matter. In the here and now, those experiences you have a part in and some control of now.

Kim January 12, 2011 at 2:37 am

Hello, Bryan,

I just wanted to express my gratitude in sharing your story. It’s meant the world to me. As I read about you, I also read about myself, both as a child, and an adult. I am a 51-yr-old, who has just had the diagnosis of bipolar II removed, due to misdiagnosis, and ADHD in its place. This has just happened over the last year.

I was in therapy for a while, but couldn’t afford to keep it up, and we never got to scratch the surface of the ADHD itself. We were too busy dealing with some rather horrific events throughout my childhood, and the resulting PTSD from them, before I got to the point of not being able to keep up the appointments.

The shame, the guilt, everything, it’s all there right in front of my eyes, and I didn’t realize until now that it could have come from the ADHD as well as the PTSD, and the resulting depression from it.

I did lose my childhood in many ways because of undiagnosed ADHD. I was told many a time, in many ways, to apply myself, but never could. I was told that I was intelligent, and had more than enough brains to do so, so to quit acting so stupid. From there, the cycle went to giving up, and you can probably imagine what happened from there – in the end I landed with PTSD as well. I have never known a safe place in my life, not internally, or externally. I was an adult long before I became an adult in many ways, yet have recently realized that I am still very much a little girl, because there was so much in my childhood “adulthood” that I missed out on learning.

I started working very hard at a very early age, yet have never been able to hold down a job for similar reasons – being told that I was being stupid, or because I work so fast and multi-task so much and fast as well, that I miss things, a lot of the time without realizing it.

I have some very strong self-defeatist tendencies. I always have had, even through childhood.

The only thing I can do, without being able to get counseling at this time, is implement some of your suggestions. We’ll see how it goes.

My mirror image, thank you so much, again.

Kim January 12, 2011 at 2:37 am

Hello, Bryan,

I just wanted to express my gratitude in sharing your story. It’s meant the world to me. As I read about you, I also read about myself, both as a child, and an adult. I am a 51-yr-old, who has just had the diagnosis of bipolar II removed, due to misdiagnosis, and ADHD in its place. This has just happened over the last year.

I was in therapy for a while, but couldn’t afford to keep it up, and we never got to scratch the surface of the ADHD itself. We were too busy dealing with some rather horrific events throughout my childhood, and the resulting PTSD from them, before I got to the point of not being able to keep up the appointments.

The shame, the guilt, everything, it’s all there right in front of my eyes, and I didn’t realize until now that it could have come from the ADHD as well as the PTSD, and the resulting depression from it.

I did lose my childhood in many ways because of undiagnosed ADHD. I was told many a time, in many ways, to apply myself, but never could. I was told that I was intelligent, and had more than enough brains to do so, so to quit acting so stupid. From there, the cycle went to giving up, and you can probably imagine what happened from there – in the end I landed with PTSD as well. I have never known a safe place in my life, not internally, or externally. I was an adult long before I became an adult in many ways, yet have recently realized that I am still very much a little girl, because there was so much in my childhood “adulthood” that I missed out on learning.

I started working very hard at a very early age, yet have never been able to hold down a job for similar reasons – being told that I was being stupid, or because I work so fast and multi-task so much and fast as well, that I miss things, a lot of the time without realizing it.

I have some very strong self-defeatist tendencies. I always have had, even through childhood.

The only thing I can do, without being able to get counseling at this time, is implement some of your suggestions. We’ll see how it goes.

My mirror image, thank you so much, again.

Kim January 12, 2011 at 2:50 am

Oh, a question I have, does ADHD also prevent reading comprehension? The reading itself I can do very well, and I am a champion speller, but my reading comprehension is very low, so I have to keep re-reading things over and over for them to sink in.

I have wondered this for some time now. Any feedback on this is very much appreciated.

Kim January 12, 2011 at 2:50 am

Oh, a question I have, does ADHD also prevent reading comprehension? The reading itself I can do very well, and I am a champion speller, but my reading comprehension is very low, so I have to keep re-reading things over and over for them to sink in.

I have wondered this for some time now. Any feedback on this is very much appreciated.

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:18 am

I agree Chris, although we can closely relate at times and almost feel we have lived partially the same lives, we are still different and have different experiences. Still, your point and my point are nearly identical, I am so happy your child has such a dedicated teacher, that really can and does make a profound difference. The important thing is, you know what he is going through and to a degree, you know what he needs. This is so important, because as he moves on to different teachers you can help them understand him better and if he gets in a class with a teacher who simply doesn’t understand and doesn’t have the time, you can request a change. Thank you for sharing this experience with us.

I am glad you enjoy the website. Oh yes, the closet can be dark indeed, but there’s light outside when we share and help each other.

Bryan

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:25 am

THAT’S AWESOME Dina!! FANTASTIC.

I know how you feel too. When I was first diagnosed I did go through a grief period and I thought a lot about my childhood and how it could have been different. That’s kind of how my book came about. Medication didn’t work for me, there’s a reason, but I won’t go into that right now. Personalized cognitive behavior therapy did work and WOW, it worked wonders. For a long while there I had though that eventually I may find a medication that works, but now I don’t think it is still necessary for me. However, I have read and heard so many stories of how it helps as it has helped you.

I am so happy for you. Keep on keeping on, we can just make the future brighter, even if we can’t change the past, we can still help others understand us better.

Bryan

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:33 am

Hi Megan, I feel for you and your son. Our social skills are typically late to develop and sometimes they simply do not fully develop because of all the missed social cues. Your comment got me thinking though, have you considered child therapy? It might help him understand himself better and I am sure he has thoughts about himself that he doesn’t share with anyone and it might help if they are aired out and explained by a good therapist. I know, therapy may sound odd for a child, but for a child with ADHD I tend to think it is a good idea and it may help him skip ahead in years of self-learning. Self-learning though is influenced by one’s self-esteem and inner thoughts, so I really think therapy might help. If you do consider therapy, as the parent you will want to interview any potential therapist to see if your child would feel comfortable with that person.

Wishing you the best,

Bryan

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:37 am

Oh Barb, I hear you! I remember the many jokes that were made at my expense. It got so bad that after a while I started making the jokes against myself just to cut others off, or to get to it first. Perhaps it was a way for me to show them they couldn’t hurt me with that, but alas, they did and it stayed with me a long while. I’ve written about that before, but I think with where I am at today I should write about it again. You’re not alone and thank you for sharing your story.

Bryan

Bryan Hutchinson December 23, 2010 at 7:46 am

Hi Jem, I am glad you love my blog
:)

There we go again, yes, exactly. The opportunity to see yourself in a different light during summer school gave you a whole new perspective because of the improved learning conditions. This is so important for kids and even adults with ADHD! I am not saying this will help everyone, but I hear stories like this so often and experienced it myself that parents of children should be give more access to this type of information.

However, you talk about too many activities in college. That isn’t too uncommon for those of us with ADHD. Try to limit how many activities you are involved in and try to remember how you learn best. I also know what you mean about the social skills. My advice is similar to what helped me. Find a hobby that you really love and find a group that is involved in that hobby because then you will also find people who have a common interest as you. Socializing will still be difficult, but the love for the hobby or sport, will help break the ice and give you something to talk about.

Thanks for sharing with us Jem and keep on keeping on!

Bryan

Megan December 26, 2010 at 1:45 pm

Thanks Bryan, and yes we are considering therapy. For the whole family~ my husband believes he has ADD too. He was never diagnosed, but having a son and adult daughter with the diagnosis got him thinking. The learning I have done to help our son, lead to us learning via reading about the affects ADD has on marriage and wow what a lesson that has been! My husband is going to begin to seek a doctor versed in ADD to help him and I really think as a family if we could find a therapist that could help each of us (even non-ADD me)learn to work smarter together and with the social end as you mention we could gain so much more than we can alone. My struggle is trying to find someone in our area and my lack of time to fully pursue this with all my other responsibilities. (I am the rock you mention in your post today.)

Again, Thanks!

Julie December 27, 2010 at 7:31 pm

My son, regarding himself lucky, to have a parent such as me, in his corner?

Er…right now, that may not be the case, but then again, he’s into his PSP and I can’t seem to separate the two.

But he has a max of thirty minutes before I perform surgery, and he KNOWS I can, will, and HAVE done it before.

What he DOESN’T know, is that I’m going to video tape him, to show him exactly how he acts when thwarted (like ME) and I’m betting the threat of posting it on You Tube will be enough. :twisted:

Having said that, I think he (and I) won the lottery this year, with his teacher. It definitely takes one to know one, and this teacher seems to know them ALL.

He is quick to email me with the laundry list of words/phrases my son has said that day, that aren’t appropriate ( I don’t know WHERE he gets it!) as well as he, SOMEHOW and SOMEWAY is able to keep a classroom full of kids interested and learn, despite themselves! :mrgreen:

Amazing and I’m in total awe. As well as grateful, as he has taught my son and me, actually, several alternatives to learn and get the job done.

I can only hope that the next teacher is half as good.

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