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ADHD Journal: Adult ADHD Life
ADHD made it hard in school and work, but now I own my own business.
Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I set you apart for my holy purpose. -Jeremiah 1:5
I have never told anybody about this before, but I have pretty severe adult ADHD. I knew I had it, my school knew I had it, and they urged my parents to get me help. But I was never formally diagnosed until now. My uncle Dale, who is a psychologist, came to our house this Thanksgiving and I had a chance to sit down with him and ask him for his professional opinion. He asked me several questions, gave me some tests, and went through the standard procedure. He confirmed what my teachers had suspected and I had known all along. We then had a long discussion about the impact it would and already has had on my life.
ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, also known as ADD) is a genetic neurobehavioural disorder that affects about 5% of the population. People with ADHD are born with differences in their brain structure that cause them to think differently than most people. It affects behaviour, learning, work performance, and social skills. Its three main characteristics are inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity.
Some common signs of ADHD include:
Inability to focus, short attention span
Lag in processing information, difficulty learning, does things slower, distorted perception of time
Impaired social skills
Poor listening skills, easily distracted, automatically tune out or drift off even when being directly spoken to
Daydreaming, drifting off, easily distracted (although at times can be hyperfocused-Get so wrapped up in some things I do that I can hardly stop to take a break or switch to doing something else)
Trouble sustaining friendships or intimate relationships, promiscuity
Difficulty falling asleep, may be due to too many thoughts at night
Difficulty coming awake (may need coffee or other stimulant)
Frequent search for high stimulation (bungee jumping, gambling, race track, high stress jobs, ER doctors, doing many things at once, etc. Needs a lot of stimulation from things like action movies and video games, new purchases, being among lively friends, driving fast or engaging in extreme sports.)
Skips around while reading, or goes to the end first, trouble staying on track
Restlessness, constant motion, legs moving, fidgeting, nervous energy
Prone to hysterical outbursts, outbursts of rage
Test anxiety, or during tests your mind tends to go blank
Performance becomes worse under pressure-The harder you try, the worse it gets (No matter how much I do or how hard I try, I just can (tm)t seem to reach my goals)
Periods of low energy, especially early in the morning and in the afternoon
Tendency to be immature, risk taker, thrill seeker, acts on impulse without thinking (like spending money, getting sexually involved with someone, diving into new activities, and changing plans)
Chronically late, always losing things
Not living up to potential in school or work, hard to finish anything
Trouble remembering things, following instructions, or completing work within time limits, absent-minded, starts lots of things but has trouble following through to the end
Easily overwhelmed by tasks of daily living
Poor handwriting, often prints
Switches around numbers, letters, or words, trouble reading or comprehending sentences in conversation or on paper, easily confused
Chronic procrastination, does things later rather than right away
Tendency to blurt out inappropriate comments, show their emotions without restraint, and act without regard for consequences
Behaviour problems, trouble with authority (Rather do things their own way than follow the rules and procedures of others)
Easily bored, impatience
Frequently feeling tired
Avoids group activities
Frequent traffic violations
Poor financial management
Poor organization skills, often have piles of stuff, messy
Mood swings, careless mistakes
Lack of talking in a relationship, talking nonstop
Trouble sitting still (such as trouble sitting in one place for too long, sitting at a desk job for long periods, sitting through a movie)
Say just what comes to mind without considering its impact (tactless, I tend to say or do things without thinking, and sometimes that gets me into trouble. I see myself differently than others see me, and when someone gets angry with me for doing something that upset them I (tm)m often very surprised)
Tendency to turn off or become stuck when asked questions in social situations
Get stuck on thoughts
Has to be moving in order to think
Self-esteem issues, depression
Often occurs along with, and more likely to occur in individuals with blood relatives who suffer from bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression, or substance abuse.
Not all people with ADHD have all of these symptoms, but I have nearly all of them. More symptoms do exist, this is not an all-inclusive description of ADHD, but these are some of the most recognizable signs that are used to diagnose it. People with ADHD think and behave differently than the average person due to the way they produce thoughts and process information. Depending on the severity, it can affect all areas of their life, especially their schoolwork, job, and social life.
50% of children and teens with ADHD are rejected by their peers, compared to 10% of those who who do not have ADHD.
Those with ADHD are more likely to develop alcohol and drug problems, get involved in criminal activity, and have trouble finding a job.
50% of students with ADHD never finish high school, despite special education.
Only 5% get college degrees.
Until now I never thought much about how it had affected my life over the years, I just knew it had. And I never told anybody about it. It was a problem that I just tried to sweep under the rug and forget was there. Every now and then, some stranger might make mention of my odd behaviour that would serve as a painful reminder that I was different. The reason I was here, getting a professional diagnosis, was because recently I started having recurring nightmares about it. It wasn (tm)t until I began having these nightmares that I realized how much it was bothering me, that I needed to confront it.
The dreams were reliving past experiences I (tm)ve had with people. A few times in my life people, whom I often didn (tm)t even know, would notice my strange behaviour and rudely point it out to me, so as to say What is wrong with you? Snippety people would get mad at me and say things like, Why are you just walking around in circles? When I was lost in thought, I wasn (tm)t really thinking about what I was doing, I was in my own little world. But when people said things like that, it shattered it. It was really hurtful and insensitive when people would say things like that or criticize me because of it, because they didn (tm)t know how much I (tm)d struggled with this, how much it was affecting my life, and how insecure I was about it. Every time somebody mentioned it, it just reminded me of every time I had failed because of it. I felt like I would never be able to function normally, like I was always going to be different and people would never understand me and I would never succeed in anything. I wasn (tm)t TRYING to be weird or inattentive to piss them off. I was trying really hard not to. All my dreams reflected these memories. Somebody would criticize me, I would try to defend myself and explain it to them and tell them how I had suffered a lot because of it. Then I would wake up whimpering. At that point, I decided it was time to confront the issue and get a professional diagnosis.
Highschool was a nightmare. Like most nightmares, I woke up from it and promptly forgot nearly everything about it. But the counselling session with my uncle brought it all back to me. It all made so much sense now.
I struggled in school, all 2 years of it. I had been homeschooled my entire life out on a dead end gravel road at the foot of the Bridger Mountains outside town. The only friend I ever had growing up was Zack Hoover, who had ADHD too. He moved away when I was 7. When I turned 16, I started my junior year at Manhattan Christian School, a little private school in the small town of Churchill. I barely finished it.
I was constantly late to school and class. I had a hard time concentrating in class and my homework was always late. Teachers would always yell at me because I wasn (tm)t listening. My mind would always wander and I (tm)d drift off into a daydream when I was trying to learn an important lesson or take a test. I could never finish any tests in time. My parents got mad at me, too. They thought I just wasn (tm)t working hard enough, I just wasn (tm)t applying myself. Everybody told me to pay attention! Just do your work! They didn (tm)t know how hard I was trying. No matter how hard I tried to listen and concentrate, I just couldn (tm)t comprehend the words they were saying, I couldn (tm)t keep my mind focused. It was like trying to tune into a fuzzy radio station. I couldn (tm)t pick up a signal. I got in trouble in school a lot for late homework, arriving late, not concentrating, wandering the halls or behaving inappropriately. I couldn (tm)t concentrate in class, so when I did my homework I couldn (tm)t understand it to begin with, and I (tm)d sit down staring at it for hours. I (tm)d try to focus on finishing it but my mind would always wander off and I (tm)d get distracted by my thoughts. Even when I did pay attention to something it took a while to process the information. Oftentimes I would have to read a sentence 5 times over before I could comprehend what it was saying. Homework took so much longer for me to finish than for anybody else, and I didn (tm)t have time to do anything else after school. I was exhausted.
Whenever I told my teachers I had spent all day doing my homework, they didn (tm)t believe me. Their response was always Everybody else had the same assignment, and they finished it in time. Why can (tm)t you? They just thought I was making excuses, but I wasn (tm)t. I couldn (tm)t understand how the other students were able to juggle their assignments so effortlessly and I could barely finish one. I would often stay up very late at night, sometimes getting little to no sleep, trying to finish my homework. And that just made it harder for me to concentrate the next day because I was so tired, and I would often fall asleep in class. Then I might as well have skipped the class, because I had to catch up on everything later. The sleep deprivation would make me do very strange things too, and I acted even weirder than I normally did, and it made me get into more trouble. Sometimes I literally felt like I was losing my mind. My social life suffered, too. Socializing was already hard for me because I (tm)d been isolated all my life, but ADHD made it harder.The stress I was under made it really hard to think about, well, anything, let alone my image. I was pretty much sleepwalking my entire junior year. Everybody in school thought I was on drugs because I acted so odd and they would avoid me because they thought I was so strange. I was misjudged a lot. I was yelled at a lot. I was under so much pressure. My dad was threatening to take me out of school and make me go back to homeschooling if I didn (tm)t get better grades, and I didn (tm)t want to do that. I wanted to have friends. But I found it hard to relate to other people. Making friends and maintaining relationships was difficult. It was hard to understand each other. It was hard for me to join in conversations with my classmates. I didn (tm)t know how to interact with them. People excluded me. Rumours started. I remember one that was particularly entertaining, people thought I was getting high every day before school. My hair and fingernails grow at a remarkable rate and I never had time to cut them, so everybody thought I was on crack. But by the time the rumour got back to me, it went that I was making some weird kind of drug out of my fingernails. Just goes to show you how things can get twisted around in highschool gossip. I (tm)ve never even done drugs. I (tm)m not going to come down on anybody; they knew how to deal with it just as good as I did. I understand that they were just highschool kids trying to stay out of trouble, which is good. But I do wish that everybody had handled the situation differently. I wish that the teachers had realized that I was doing my best and not been so hard on me, and I wish that the other students had been there for me, instead of just avoiding me or talking about me and not thinking about everything I was going through. Even if they didn (tm)t want to get involved-they could have just took me aside some day and said, Hey. I noticed you (tm)re having a hard time. Is there anything I can pray with you about? Just that alone would have shown that they cared and made things easier for me. Instead, it was like I was invisible or an inside joke, and nobody took the time to help me out or befriend me.
I always missed the bus, I was always losing or forgetting things, I was always late, I always failed tests, I constantly got bad grades, I was yelled at all the time, I got in trouble a lot, I was always in detention, I never had any friends, I was always bored, I was under a lot of pressure, I was miserable, but I was trying my hardest, but nobody liked me and everybody was telling me that I was never going to succeed at anything and it was all my fault. I felt like everybody was ganging up on me and everything was against me.
I got in trouble all the time in school. It was a disaster. Twice I got in trouble for leaving school to go for walks without permission, once for climbing on top of the vending machine (which I still don (tm)t understand why it (tm)s not allowed), and for breaking the dress code or skipping class or being late to school, not listening or wandering around between classes. I just got bored and did stupid things (which didn (tm)t necessarily stop once I graduated.) Once I got in a fight with some girls in study hall and cussed them out, threw my homework at the librarian, and stormed out of the school, ran down the road and hid in the ditch. The principle found me a few miles down. I got in trouble on a road trip for being too hyper in a museum and trying to jump over stuff. (I wasn (tm)t allowed any sugar from them on.) Once I was giving a presentation on how to make icecream and accidentally electrocuted myself, and began to cry in front of everyone. One of the scariest moments I remember is when I had to give a speech, but I had stayed up all night the night before, and I felt like a zombie the next morning. I had my speech on a flash drive and I had to print it off still. So without thinking I got up in the middle of somebody else (tm)s speech and walked in front of the whole class to tell the teacher that I needed to print it off. She yelled at me to go sit down and told me that I didn (tm)t need to give my speech today. I went back to my seat and sat down, promptly forgot everything that had just happened, and stood back up and walked out the door. The teacher asked what I was doing, and I said I (tm)m going to print off my speech.
I was in serious trouble for that, and I think from then on that teacher had it out for me. I had just humiliated myself in front of everybody, too. I went to study hall the next period and told the librarian that I seriously needed sleep. She could tell, and although it wasn (tm)t technically allowed, she let me lay down on the couch and take a nap, telling the others to be quiet. I really appreciated that kindness. I silently wept, but it wasn (tm)t because of the consequences of what had just happened. I was afraid that I was losing my mind.
Looking back now, I can laugh at these stories, but back then I was scared. Everybody was telling me that I was going to fall flat on my face and fail at everything in life. I just barely finished school.
Because of my bad experiences in highschool, I decided college would be like hell. So I opted not to go. I thought that after school, my problems would be over. But I continued to have the same problems in the workplace that I had had in school.
After I graduated, my dad urged me to start working. He was a senator at the time and told me he could get a good word in for me and get me a job working as a secretary or something like that in the legislature. Although I wasn (tm)t at all interested in such a job, I wanted to appease my dad, so I agreed. He told me that it would look good on my resume since I was not going to college.
There is something very gloomy and depressing, atleast for me, about the capitol building. It was cold and snowing when we arrived and the whole town of Helena was covered in white. I walked into the building in high heels that I could barely walk in on normal ground, let alone ice. The cold icy wind nearly blew my dress up as I ran across the parking lot. Then I was inside the enormous building, looking up at the old painted ceiling, my every step echoing loudly throughout the room. It was like the perfect setting for some gothic murder/conspiracy novel, atleast I thought it was, and the whole time I was there my imagination kept me preoccupied with this horrific plot about a page that murdered one of the senator (tm)s son with the jagged edge of the lid off a tin can (because there was a secret drug dealing operation and they were fighting over money, you see), tried to frame me for it, and then I fell in love with him and he tried to kill me because he thought I would tell his secret. I was much more interested in writing this mystery story than the work I was supposed to be doing.
I hated my job. It was so boring and routine. I was doing little menial tasks for the people over me, like sealing envelopes and setting up committee rooms for meetings and stuff like that. Stuff that should have been easy, but I was actually really bad at it. And that was weird, because I thought I was doing a good job. I felt like I was doing what the job required, I thought I was doing well, I knew I was working my hardest. To my surprise, they started complaining about the same things I used to get in trouble in school for. They said I was wandering around, and not following instructions, or not finishing things on time, not working fast enough, coming to work late, going for walks without permission, or disappearing for long amounts of time. I didn (tm)t even realize I was doing it. I thought I was doing pretty good, but I was getting yelled at a lot to work harder and I didn (tm)t know why. Soon I was demoted until all I was doing was going from room to room, checking to make sure the coffee was still hot. I hate coffee.
I was always getting lost in that big old building. I was so depressed and I felt so out of place and I was really homesick. I couldn (tm)t wait until it was over. But I was still crushed when they fired me. I lost my first job and my first boyfriend (or kinda-bf) on the same day. True story.
That year was one of the worst in my life. Everything just seemed to go wrong at once. I was so heartbroken and crushed from everything. I couldn (tm)t understand why I was trying my hardest and it still wasn (tm)t good enough. I couldn (tm)t hold down a stable job, I couldn (tm)t do well in my studies, I couldn (tm)t maintain relationships with people, and I was misunderstood by everyone. I felt like a total misfit. I couldn (tm)t even keep up with sealing some stupid envelopes.
This is the first time I have ever talked about this. I never told anybody what I was going through, about how tough it was for me in school or at my job or my ADHD or how hard it was making things for me because I thought it didn (tm)t matter. If I have it, I have it, and I didn (tm)t want to take any medication, so what difference did it make?
It did matter because if I didn (tm)t have ADHD, I would have gone to college like the rest of my classmates. I probably would have studied paleontology and got a job working at the museum. I would have kept my job at the legislature or found another good paying job somewhere else. I might have gone into politics, or become a real estate agent. I would have had a job, maybe a family, a normal life like everybody else.
I thank God that (tm)s not what I did. Instead of going to college, or getting a regular job, I started my own jewelry business and immediately hit the road, selling from town to town at fairs and festivals, rodeos and concerts and other special events. I made 6X as much the second summer as I did the first, and twice as much last year as the year before. I am only just starting and my business is still expanding, but I (tm)m already making enough to make a decent living and more than anybody else I know my age. I made enough money this summer to buy my own piece of property in Texas, a bamboo forest down on the Gulf Coast, where I plan to spend my winters sipping margaritas, tanning in the hammock under my banana trees next to the swimming pool. It (tm)s the kind of bliss I used to daydream about on a bad school day. All my dreams came true in just a few years, I have my own place on the beach, I own my own business and I (tm)m doing what I love, I get to wear diamond jewelry every day and I (tm)m actually doing pretty well while everybody else I know is struggling in this tough economy. I have a bright future ahead of me and I wouldn (tm)t change a thing, I don (tm)t regret anything that happened. I don (tm)t say this to brag, but to show how God in His mercy blessed me despite my obstacles, or perhaps because of them.
If I must boast, I will boast of the things which concern my weaknesses. -2 Corinthians 11:30
God used my ADHD to steer me in the direction He wanted me to go. I would have hated working for somebody else, if I was able to find a job in this economy at all. I would have hated college. I would have kept working menial mundane jobs under other people just hoping for a promotion, probably not making much or enjoying myself at all. My life would have been vastly different. But as it is, I was forced into working for myself, doing something that I love, and living out my dreams. My life is everything I (tm)ve dreamed of and more.
It was clear that God was directing me, and I was thankful. But after I faced my challenges, and confronted what had haunted me in my nightmares, I found out more about it:
8 out of 10 college graduates never use their college degrees.
Adults with ADHD are 300% more likely to start their own business.
Many entrepreneurs have ADD i.e. Paul Orfalea who founded Kinkos, JetBlue Founder and CEO David Neeleman who attributes his creativity to ADD. Both are Billionaires.
A lot of people with ADD/ADHD find enormous success in more than one career- just look at Suzanne Somers or Joan Rivers. Suzanne Somers is a huge Hollywood TV star turned entrepreneur (she has highly successful fitness, clothing, and jewelry lines), turned best-selling author. Like wise, Joan Rivers is comedienne turned radio and TV star, turned entrepreneur (her jewelry line is carried by QVC).
ADHD often endows children and adults with gifts such as creativity, intuition, imagination, and a sense of adventure.
A diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADHD) usually indicates a number of challenges, but a new study suggests there may be benefits as well. As reported in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences, psychologists discovered adults with ADHD enjoyed more creative achievement than those who didn (tm)t have the disorder.
For the same reason that ADHD might create problems, like distraction, it can also allow an openness to new ideas, said Dr. Holly White, assistant professor of cognitive psychology at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida and co-author of the paper. Not being completely focused on a task lets the mind make associations that might not have happened otherwise.
White and Dr. Priti Shah at the University of Michigan gave 60 college students ” half of them with ADHD ” a series of tests measuring creativity across 10 domains.
The ADHD group scored higher across the board.
Entrepreneurs, research scientists and engineers, trouble-shooters and inventors all depend on creativity, as do artists and designers. These fields are often suggested as good occupations for people with ADHD.
Professor Michael Fitzgerald, MD, of Dublin (tm)s Trinity College, has examined the lives of notable achievers including Thomas Edison, Kurt Cobain, Oscar Wilde, Lord Byron, Jules Verne, Che Guevara, James Dean, Clark Gable, Pablo Picasso, Mark Twain and Sir Walter Raleigh. Based on his research, the professor believes all these high achievers had or displayed symptoms of ADHD.
Professor Fitzgerald says: The same genes that are involved in ADHD can also be associated with risk-taking behavior. While these urges can be problematic or even self-destructive ” occasionally leading people into delinquency, addiction or crime ” they can also lead to earth-shattering breakthroughs in the fields of the arts, science and exploration.
People with ADHD have symptoms of inattentiveness, but they often also have a capacity to hyper-focus on a narrow area that is of particular interest to them. Clearly ADHD is not a guarantee of genius, but the focused work rate that it produces may enable creative genius to flourish.
For example, Kurt Cobain ” who we know was prescribed the anti-hyperactivity drug Ritalin as a child ” had an amazing ability to focus on writing music.
Professor Fitzgerald (tm)s research has led him to identify ADHD as a recurring factor in the creative genius of many historic figures.
He argues: The best evidence we have suggests that Lord Byron had ADHD. He had a turbulent life ” at school he was often in trouble, and as an adult he engaged in criminal activities and was eventually forced to flee the country.
But he was also the greatest lyric poet in the English language. Similarly, Sir Walter Raleigh was a reckless character. But his insatiable quest for new stimulation and risk-taking behavior also made him a famous soldier, adventurer and explorer.
There is a considerable stigma surrounding ADHD, and people tend to focus on the negatives of the disorder. But we should balance this by remembering that ADHD can, in the right circumstances, be a fertilizer helping to generate a seed of untapped potential in a person.
Pablo Picasso, Vincent Van Gogh, Salvador Dali, Alfred Hitchcock, Oscar Wilde, James Dean, Britney Spears, Walt Disney, and Thomas Edison had ADHD, as well as many famous inventors, writers, artists, actors, and entrepreneurs.
My dear Russell ¦for ever so long I have been wanting to write to you ” but then the work has so taken me up. We have harvest time here at present and I am always in the fields ¦when I sit down to write I am so abstracted by recollections of what I have seen that I leave the letter. For instance at the present occasion I was writing to you and going to say something about Arles as it is ¦instead of continuing the letter I began to draw on the very paper the head of a ¦little girl I saw this afternoon whilst I was painting a view of the river with a greenish yellow sky. I enclose the slip of scribbling, that you may judge of my abstractions and forgive my not writing before as such. I must hurry off this letter for I feel some more abstractions coming on and if I did not quickly fill up my paper I would again set to drawing and you would not have your letter.
Look, I start here with the intention of going there in an experiment, say, to increase the speed of the Atlantic cable; but when I have arrived part way in my straight line, I meet with a phenomenon and it leads me off in another direction ” to something totally unexpected. -Thomas Edison
I begin with an idea and then it becomes something else. -Pablo Picasso
Thomas Alvin Edison is cited more often than any other historical figure for exhibiting classic hyperactive ADD behavior. ADD has even been dubbed The Edison Trait.
He attended three different schools between the ages of seven to nine, and none of his teachers had the patience to deal with his apparent inability to sit still, his lack of focus on the matter at hand, and his talkativeness.
Thomas (Al) Edison (tm)s schoolmaster, angered by the lad (tm)s inattentive dreamy, (tm) distracted behavior, frustrated by his tendency to drift off during recitations, to draw and doodle in his notebook instead of repeating rote lessons ” cuffed and ridiculed Al in front of his motley classmates. One day, (tm) Edison recalled with bitterness many years later, I heard the teacher tell the visiting school inspector that I was addled (stupid and confused) and it would not be worthwhile keeping me in school any longer. I was so hurt by this last straw that I burst out crying and went home and told my mother. (tm) His indignant mother brought [him] back to the school and angrily told the teacher that he didn (tm)t know what he was talking about, that I had more brains than he himself. (tm) Mrs. Edison pulled Thomas out of school and began home-schooling, determined that no formalism would cramp his style, no fetters hobble the free rein, the full sweep of his imagination. Her faith in his natural abilities was at odds with the rest of the world. Even his father seemed to think he was stupid. As a result of that one mother (tm)s efforts, the world is a very different place.
Thomas Edison started working for the railroad at age 13. During the next several years he was fired or quit numerous jobs in various fields. His first termination occurred when a chemistry experiment he was working on set fire to the train. Throughout his teens he landed and lost many jobs, but he was inventing the whole time. As a railroad signalman he had to clock in every hour by telegraph. Al invented a way to transmit his hourly signal automatically, and was fired when he got caught. The invention, however, eventually led him to develop the first automatic telegraph and the first stock ticker.
Similarly, as a young child, Einstein got bad grades, was nicknamed the dopey one and was kicked out of school. His teachers said he would never amount to much.
Edison-gene children have their own strengths and limitations: they don (tm)t do well in the school environment of repetition. auditory learning, and rote memorization that has been set up for normal kids, and they don (tm)t make very good bookkeepers or managers. Genetically these kids are pioneers, explorers, and adventurers. They make great innovators, and they find high levels of success in any field where there (tm)s a lot of change, constant challenge, and lots of activity. Such personalities are common among the rank of entrepreneurs, explorers, and salespeople.
Those carrying this gene, however, often find themselves in environments where they (tm)re coerced, threatened, or shoehorned into a classroom or job that doesn (tm)t fit. When Edison-gene children aren (tm)t recognized for their gifts but instead are told they (tm)re disordered, broken, or failures, a great emotional and spiritual wounding occurs. This wounding can bring about all sorts of problems for children, for the adults they turn into, and for society. Some Edison-gene adults face the same issues, carrying the wounds of school with them into adulthood, often finding themselves in jobs better adapted to stability than creativity.
There are many areas in which such people can excel-especially when they make it through childhood with their belief in themselves intact.
What if Walt Disney had no creativity? What if Thomas Edison wasn (tm)t inventive? What if Einstein was just a normal person? What if James Dean didn (tm)t act like James Dean, or Picasso, Dali and Van Gogh didn (tm)t paint in their own unique style? WHAT IF BRITNEY SPEARS DIDN (tm)T SING?? That would be a terrible world to live in.
And what a terrible life I would have, but that God knew ahead of time who He wanted to make me into, and despite my challenges, blessed me with gifts that would help me accomplish my dreams and goals.
Medication helps some people to an extent, but not all. That (tm)s an option that should be considered by the individual weighing the pros and cons. I have heard some good things about it, but in my case I didn (tm)t feel the need to take any, as I am not in school or work, there are some side effects and my uncle told me that I was already practicing some good compensatory skills. Training is considered as effective in managing ADHD as medication. I had already started following my own system that helped me compensate for the challenges that it introduced in my life, which mimicked the advice that doctors and trainers give to their clients (that I hadn (tm)t even heard yet, it was just a sort of natural response to it). I printed off a very detailed schedule checklist which I taped to the back of my bedroom door. Then I would set my alarm clock on my phone to ring to remind me to do chores like get up, brush my teeth, take a shower, get to work, etc. And I would give myself a specific time limit to finish them in and set a timer. I had a keychain that I (tm)d clip to the loops on my jeans so I didn (tm)t lose it that had the keys to my bedroom and a little notebook so I could write my to-do list in it and carry it with me as I go. I would get up at 7 AM and drink strong green tea to help me come awake, then I would take a hour long hike up to the top of the mountain. I didn (tm)t know why, but I knew this helped me to think . When I got home I (tm)d do yoga. And then I (tm)d take a nice hot shower, get dressed (I had all my clothes picked out for the week on saturday and color-coordinated to match my nail polish and jewelry that week, and numbered and filed on a computer in a really complex system that made picking out my clothes super easy and fast and efficient, and I always knew exactly where everything was) and then I (tm)d do my hair and make up, go to my workshop at noon, and work for the rest of the day, listening to relaxing music that inspires creativity (like Owl City, etc.) update my website at 10, get ready for bed and drink a hot cup of chamomile tea to help me wind down and fall asleep which helped immensely with my insomnia, and I (tm)d be asleep by 12 and ready to get up the next day.
Although the first years of my life were chaotic and confusing, when I started making jewelry, everything seemed to fall into place. The most useless, obscure, random skills that I never thought would do me any good suddenly became useful. I (tm)ve always loved collecting oddities like 4 leaf clovers, rocks, and fossils, catching butterflies and bugs, pressing flowers, hunting and hiking, travelling, fashion, and art. I also insisted on going to every single local event that was happening. Suddenly, they all had a common link; a purpose, a part of a process, something I could utilize in my career, not just just a hobby to pass the time. It was a career that combined everything I loved to do and everything I was good at and everything I dreamed of doing, and I accomplished so much more so much faster than I ever thought I would. Not only did God direct me into it, but He also blessed me with the gifts required to be successful at it. And I didn (tm)t even realize it until now.
Although earlier in my life it had made things more difficult for me, ADHD gave me some specific traits that helped me to succeed in the specific business I was now in. I was a risk taker, which is essential to being an entrepreneur. It made me more creative, which I needed to be an artist. It helped me be original, which set me apart. The way my thought process worked, I was always coming up with new ideas. I could quickly come up with selling points to sell my products and writing, which helped me to write this blog. I loved my job, and I was good at it. And it made me a thrill seeker. I craved and thrived on the high intensity, action-packed exciting enviroment that quickly wore others out. The 3 months of nonstop travelling from June to August is the most intense, action-packed adventure I have ever experienced. I loved driving all night from town to town to go to festivals, carnivals, concerts, rodeos, and other events. I (tm)d go to all the parties and concerts, ride all the roller coasters, flirt with the carnies, go out dancing, see the whole town. I got to party for a living. It was like perpetual spring break. Take a shy naive country girl who lived on a dead end gravel road in the mountains of Montana and has been homeschooled nearly her entire life, whose biggest social interaction so far has been going to a little private Christian highschool for 2 years in a small town called Churchill, and throw her into a world where she has to do this to make a living and you can come out with two possible outcomes. Either your good upbringing will keep you grounded in your faith and you (tm)ll keep your distance from bad influences and situations, or you (tm)ll do what I did and hire your brother to look after your stuff for you while you go out and be totally irresponsible and immature and make a bunch of bad decisions. In the following 3 years, I went through many unexpected twists in my life. I met so many new people, I made a few mistakes, I fell in love, I got my heart broken a few times, I got engaged, I got unengaged, (3 times) I built a workshop, I spent a few summers in Alaska, I got arrested for something I didn (tm)t do, I got in a car accident on the way back from court and had a near death experience, I survived a tornado, I bought a bamboo forest down on the Gulf Coast and decided to move to Texas to forget it all. I might say more about this later, I might not. Maybe the past is just best left alone. The important thing is it (tm)s over, and I learned from my mistakes, and now I am very thankful to God for the life He gave me. I had to go through those things to become the person I am now, and I am glad I did. But it might not have happened this way if I hadn (tm)t struggled with ADHD, rejection, heartbreak, and all the doors that were slammed in my face. But now I see the reason for all those closed doors. God wanted me to go through the right one. Else, I would have gone through the wrong door and I would not be writing this to you now.
I used to be so confused about my life and felt like I had nothing to live for. I had no friends and no job and no money, I had no boyfriend and I felt like I was worthless and I had no purpose and I just made mistakes all the time and I could never do anything right. There was one time, I was so heartbroken, I literally didn (tm)t get out of bed for a week or two because I thought there was nothing to get up for. When I was younger I was a little chubby and insecure about myself then too, but now not at all anymore. I went through a lot of things but they helped me to grow. Even if this isn (tm)t where God wants me to stop, and if He has something else for me, now I know I can trust Him with my life and whatever happens.
I don (tm)t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection ¦ No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead -Philippians 3: 12-13
Around here we don (tm)t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we (tm)re curious ¦and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. ~ Walt Disney
Life was so much better and different. I practically forgot everything that had ever disappointed or frustrated me. I forgot all about the people who had put me down. My insecurity faded away and I became confident and happy. Although I still only have about 3 close friends that I have kept over the years, I was meeting new people every day, and had lots, like hundreds, of new temporary friends that would come and go with the town I was in, and honestly I can (tm)t remember all your names, I (tm)m sorry. (Although a lot of them weren (tm)t very good people to hang out with.) In school I was an outcast, a failure, and a joke, in the world I was in now I was like a superstar. Most of my life guys had just ignored me and I had never been asked out until I was 18. Now random guys would bring me flowers and ask me out like every day, even fight over me, or grab a ring from the table and propose to me on the spot. I actually had a life now. And I loved my life.
My handicap became an advantage. The very thing that had made me a failure in highschool was what made me a success afterwards. It all made so much sense now.
A man (tm)s heart deviseth his way: but the LORD directeth his steps. -Proverbs 16:9
God works in mysterious ways. Sometimes we can (tm)t always understand. Think of the way a pearl is formed in an oyster. It starts as just a tiny piece of sand stuck in the tender flesh of the oyster. The sand irritates the oyster (tm)s sensitive skin and makes it very uncomfortable. The natural defenses of the oyster gradually coat the irritant with nacre, the shiny substance that turns the speck of sand into a pearl and makes the sand less irritating for the oyster. The bigger the irritant, the bigger the pearl. If there was no irritant, there would be no pearl. Maybe you (tm)re just a speck of sand right now, but God is forming you into a beautiful pearl.
Diamonds are just made of regular carbon, which is found in every thing on earth. It (tm)s one of the most common things on earth. It (tm)s just regular pencil lead, nothing special about it. But when carbon is heated in the center of the earth, put under tremendous pressure for a certain amount of time, an incredible transformation takes place. Common pencil lead is changed into a strong, beautiful, valueable diamond. It (tm)s the same with people.
Think of how muscle is built. The heart is a muscle. Every time you try to lift something that is too heavy for you, your muscles tear. But when it heals, it gets stronger. Your heart does the same every time it breaks.
We (tm)re all like pieces in God (tm)s puzzle. Some of us are corner pieces, some belong on the side. We (tm)re all different shapes but God has a place for us all. Don (tm)t change yourself to be like most of the other pieces in the center of the puzzle or you (tm)ll never find the place where you fit in. God made us all with our unique shape and a specific place in mind.
In Texas Hold em poker, the worst hand you can get is a 7 and a 2. It (tm)s the lowest hand you can have without being able to get a straight and thus the most mathematically likely to lose. Many people will fold if they get this hand before they even see the flop (the next 3 cards that determine who will win the game.) Even though the odds were stacked against me, I have won with this hand many times. I remember once I got a two pair with a 7 and a 2 and from then on my motto was to never fold before the flop. It (tm)s the same way in life. If you have been dealt a bad hand, just remember that the game isn (tm)t over yet. It doesn (tm)t matter if everybody else has pocket aces and kings in their hands, it won (tm)t do them any good unless the flop is in their favor. Only God knows what (tm)s in the deck. God can take your bad hand and turn it into a good hand. He gave you your cards for a reason; He knew you would need them. Never fold before the flop. If the odds are against you, don (tm)t give up. God has plans for you that you don (tm)t see yet.
For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11
Josh, who used to go to school with me, had this to say about his own experiences: I believe that the people I went to school with just didn (tm)t understand who I was as a person, nor did they make an effort to figure it out either. The main way I wish it would (tm)ve been different is that it would (tm)ve been a lot better even if people would (tm)ve at least tried to get to know me before they judged me and mistreated me. The way I was treated definitely had a large impact on my academics. My adhd made it very difficult to focus. Also, the hyperactivity part of it made a lot of people think that I was just annoying. They didn (tm)t understand that it was nearly impossible to control. Also, I was supposed to get an easier educational program with smaller homework assignments and shorter and easier tests in order to combat my lack of focus. I was guaranteed that it was supposed to go into effect, but the administration never helped me out.
What I have noticed more often than not the main cause for people to be rejected and mistreated is jealousy. What I have personally noticed is that the most talented people and the people that have the most amazing personalities are the ones to be rejected and mistreated. Also, many of the problems with bullying could be solved very simply. What it comes down to is that if bullies take the time to get to know people instead of mistreating them, it would solve the most problems. The way I was treated caused me to get into such large bouts of depression that it caused me to become suicidal. I actually attempted suicide 4 times because of how I was treated and since then, I (tm)m haunted by my memories of how I felt back then. It has also caused me to develop insomnia over the years. I believe that my insomnia developed from a fear of the stress I had, literally killing me in my sleep. When I fell asleep, I (tm)d have horrible nightmares that I could literally feel what was happening to me even after I woke up. At this point in life, the nightmares don (tm)t happen as often, but they do still happen for about a week straight every summer about a week or two before school starts. The insomnia still effects me every day. How I was treated taught me to be as kind as I possibly can and to get to know people without judging them. Lately, life has been a lot less stressful and my grades have actually shown that. Currently, I (tm)m an a and b student taking 16 college credits.
While selling jewelry at a gospel festival down in Texas, I met a preacher by the name of Brian Arnold. He talked with me a little bit and asked me some questions about my life and how I was doing with my business. This was during a time in my life when I was just starting out and not doing very great, I wasn (tm)t making a lot of money, I was going through some things in my personal life, things were just not going very well. I told him what I was going through and he gave me $20 and a copy of his book. I think the book was worth more than the money. It was called From Victim to Victory and it was one of the most compelling stories I have ever read. It told of how he had lost his legs as a young child in a lawn mowing accident, and later paralyzed one of his arms after crashing into an oncoming semi truck. In addition to all this, his personal life was a wreck too. All his hopes and dreams were shattered. But all these tragedies transformed him into what he is now: A one-handed piano player, gospel singer, and preacher. He has a powerful message to preach now because of all the things he has been through, encouraging others to get through their difficulties.
The dream that had begun as a child listening to the Statler Brothers, and then seeing the Blackwood Brothers in concert, was finally becoming a reality. For the first time in my life I began to realize the gift that God had given me. I had grown up under the shadow of my artificial leg, but now I could see the light bulb shining brightly above my head.
What the enemy meant to harm me at the age of six, God turned around and caused to be a blessing. Romans 8:28 says: And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose. (tm) The devil wants you and I to believe that we have no hope, but with God there is ALWAYS hope. We have to learn to wait upon the Lord. It takes trusting the Lord and waiting on Him, because in His time and in His way, He WILL make your dreams come true. No matter how bleak the situation may seem, God really does have a plan for your life. (You can buy his book here, and I strongly recommend it. It (tm)s one of the most interesting books I have ever read)
I categorize the levels of heartbreak. Level one, a simple letdown. Level ten, total heartbreak. A letdown is worth a few songs. A heartbreak is worth a few albums. -Taylor Swift
It was a really lonely time in my life, Taylor explained to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Taylor was very hurt by the rejection of her peers and she couldn (tm)t figure out what she needed to say or do to get back in with the other kids. I was not included. I would go to school some days, a lot of days, and not know who I was going to talk to. I (tm)m not quite sure how it affected me to lose all my friends and have to walk into school and go at it alone, she admitted to CosmoGirl!, But I can only hope that it made me a stronger person. Since she didn (tm)t have any close friends to hang out with all the time, Taylor threw herself into her music. Then one day when she was twelve, Taylor (tm)s computer started acting up. So she called a repairman who turned out to be much more than a computer geek. I learned to play guitar when this guy came over to fix my computer. He saw that I had an acoustic guitar in the corner, and he goes, Do you know how to play that? You want me to teach you some chords? I was like, Yeah, sure! So he taught me three cords, Taylor told GACtv.com. When she strummed that guitar, it was as if everything clicked into place. After the computer repairman left, Taylor sat down with her guitar in hand and wrote her first song using only those three chords. It was called Lucky You. The song was about a girl who didn (tm)t fit in and she didn (tm)t care and she was different than everyone else. Taylor recounted to Rolling Stone. Sound familiar?
Songwriting came naturally to Taylor, and she soon found that writing was the perfect way to express herself. She could pour out her emotions, events of the day, and her dreams into the music and lyrics and feel better, no matter how badly she had been feeling before. Freshly motivated by her newfound talent, Taylor set to work practicing guitar every chance she could get. She would rush home from school every day, race through her homework, and then practice as long as she could. When I picked up the guitar, I could not stop, she told Rolling Stone. I would literally play until my fingers bled-my mom had to tape them up, and you can imagine how popular that made me: Look at her fingers, so weird. (tm) That didn (tm)t exactly help Taylor (tm)s popularity at school, But for the first time, she explained, I could sit in class and those girls could say anything they wanted about me, because after school I was going to go home and write a song about it. Another of Taylor (tm)s early compositions is called The Outside, and was one of several songs she wrote about feeling alienated from her classmates at school. I found myself watching their reactions and their emotions mostly to figure out what I was doing so wrong. But then I realized if I could watch these people and write it all down, it would make a good song, Taylor explained to GACtv.com.
Eighth grade hadn (tm)t been any better socially for Taylor than seventh had been. She was still alone most of the time and very few of the girls at school were even friendly to her. A lot of kids would have turned to destructive habits like drugs or alcohol to deal with those feelings of rejection and loneliness, but that was never an option for Taylor, no matter how bad things got. As she explained to the Toronto Star, The thing that I found to escape from any pain was writing songs. She soon realized that the fact that she wrote and performed her own music was what could set her apart from other artists. But Taylor wouldn (tm)t trade those difficult years for anything in the world, because it was going through that rejection that helped her find her voice in songwriting. Taylor Swift topped the Forbes richest person under 30 list for 2012, with $57 million annual earnings.
The two most important days in your life are the day you are born, and the day you find out why. -Mark Twain
For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother (tm)s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:13-16
The reason I am writing this is first, to explain it to my friends and family. And second, and most importantly, to encourage others who are going through the same thing. You might be going through an awkward transitional phase right now, and you don (tm)t know what (tm)s wrong with you, you don (tm)t know why you (tm)re here, you don (tm)t understand why something is happening to you. There (tm)s nothing wrong with you, it (tm)s not your fault, and God has a plan for your life. It took me 20 years to figure it out, but now it (tm)s clear to me God has a plan for my life. No matter what happens ¦. always trust God with your life. No matter what you lose, what obstacles you face, what odds are against you, what hand you are dealt. No matter what, always trust God. He knows what he (tm)s doing, and he knows you a lot better than you do. No matter what challenge you are facing in your life right now-whether it be ADHD or some other disorder or trouble in school, a handicap, rejection, heartbreak, bullying, unemployment, difficulties-whatever it is, know that God has a history of taking the underdog and turning the tables around.
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. -Psalm
The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone. -Psalm 118:22
Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things “and the things that are not “to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him. -1 Corinthians 1:26-29
Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. Blessed are you when men hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, because great is your reward in heaven. -Luke 6
Just look at the biblical story of Joseph. Joseph was hated by all his older brothers, but blessed by God. God knew all the plans he had for him. Joseph was not only hated by all his brothers, but they sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused and thrown into prison for something he didn (tm)t do. A stranger in a foreign country, hated, falsely accused, a slave, and a prisoner, he stayed in that dungeon for 14 years before God brought his dreams to pass. At any time, he could have turned his back on God and given up, wondering why all these bad things were happening to him. But God used the situation he was in to bring his dream to pass. It (tm)s a paradox, really, a self-fulfilling prophecy. God gave him a dream that all his brothers would bow down and serve him. The dream caused his brothers to hate him. If his brothers hadn (tm)t hated him, they wouldn (tm)t have sold him into slavery. If he hadn (tm)t been sold into slavery, he wouldn (tm)t have been falsely accused and thrown into prison. If he hadn (tm)t been thrown into prison, he wouldn (tm)t have met the two men who worked for the king and if he hadn (tm)t met them and correctly interpretted their dreams for them, the baker would never have told Pharoah about him and he wouldn (tm)t have become ruler of all Egypt, and his brothers wouldnt have bowed down to him and the dream wouldn (tm)t have come true. The irony. But it took that series of events at just the right time to cause to happen what happened. If it hadn (tm)t, then many people would have starved to death because of the famine, including Jacob and all his sons, and Joseph with them.
Or the story of Ruth and Naomi. Naomi (tm)s husband and two sons died, leaving her and her daughter-in-law Ruth widows.
Don (tm)t call me Naomi, (meaning pleasant) she told them. Call me Mara, (meaning bitter) because the Almighty has made my life very bitter. I went away full, but the Lord has brought me back empty. Why call me Naomi? The Lord has afflicted me; the Almighty has brought misfortune upon me.
Ruth began to work in the fields picking up grain. There she met the owner of the field, who just happened to be a relative of Naomi (tm)s. They got married and Ruth and Naomi moved into his mansion, and Ruth had a baby.
The women said to Naomi: Praise be to the Lord, who this day has not left you without a guardian-redeemer. May he become famous throughout Israel! He will renew your life and sustain you in your old age. For your daughter-in-law, who loves you and who is better to you than seven sons, has given him birth.
Then Naomi took the child in her arms and cared for him. The women living there said, Naomi has a son! And they named him Obed. He was the father of Jesse, the father of David.
God took Naomi (tm)s life and made it pleasant again. And that child grew up and had a son, Jesse, who became the father of David. If Ruth (tm)s husband hadn (tm)t died, David would never have been born. He became the greatest king in Israel, and one of the greatest heroes of the Bible. But he wasn (tm)t always that way, either. He too faced great obstacles.
Now God had told Samuel that the next king of Israel would be one of Jesse (tm)s sons. So he went to Jesse, who showed him all his sons-except for David, who was the youngest. He was just a shepherd boy, and they didn (tm)t even bother to bring him before Samuel.
When they arrived, Samuel saw Eliab and thought, Surely the Lord (tm)s anointed stands here before the Lord.
But the Lord said to Samuel, Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.
David later became the greatest warrior in the history of Israel. But as a young man, all he did was tend his dad (tm)s sheep.
Now Jesse said to his son David, Take this ephah of roasted grain and these ten loaves of bread for your brothers and hurry to their camp. See how your brothers are and bring back some assurance from them. They are with Saul and all the men of Israel in the Valley of Elah, fighting against the Philistines. David left his things with the keeper of supplies, ran to the battle lines and asked his brothers how they were. As he was talking with them, Goliath, the Philistine champion from Gath, stepped out from his lines and shouted his usual defiance, and David heard it. Whenever the Israelites saw the man, they all fled from him in great fear. David asked the men standing near him, What will be done for the man who kills this Philistine and removes this disgrace from Israel? Who is this uncircumcised Philistine that he should defy the armies of the living God? The king will give great wealth to the man who kills him. He will also give him his daughter in marriage and will exempt his family from taxes in Israel.
When Eliab, David (tm)s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.
Now what have I done? said David. Can (tm)t I even speak? What David said was overheard and reported to Saul, and Saul sent for him. David said to Saul, Let no one lose heart on account of this Philistine; your servant will go and fight him. Saul replied, You are not able to go out against this Philistine and fight him; you are only a young man, and he has been a warrior from his youth.
But David said to Saul, Your servant has been keeping his father (tm)s sheep. When a lion or a bear came and carried off a sheep from the flock, I went after it, struck it and rescued the sheep from its mouth. When it turned on me, I seized it by its hair, struck it and killed it. Your servant has killed both the lion and the bear; this uncircumcised Philistine will be like one of them, because he has defied the armies of the living God. The Lord who rescued me from the paw of the lion and the paw of the bear will rescue me from the hand of this Philistine. Saul said to David, Go, and the Lord be with you.
Then Saul dressed David in his own tunic. He put a coat of armor on him and a bronze helmet on his head. David fastened on his sword over the tunic and tried walking around, because he was not used to them. I cannot go in these, he said to Saul, because I am not used to them. So he took them off. Then he took his staff in his hand, chose five smooth stones from the stream, put them in the pouch of his shepherd (tm)s bag and, with his sling in his hand, approached the Philistine. He looked David over and saw that he was little more than a boy, glowing with health and handsome, and he despised him. He said to David, Am I a dog, that you come at me with sticks? Come here, he said, and I (tm)ll give your flesh to the birds and the wild animals!
David said to the Philistine, You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. This day the Lord will deliver you into my hands, and I (tm)ll strike you down and cut off your head. This very day I will give the carcasses of the Philistine army to the birds and the wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel. All those gathered here will know that it is not by sword or spear that the Lord saves; for the battle is the Lord (tm)s, and he will give all of you into our hands. As the Philistine moved closer to attack him, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet him. Reaching into his bag and taking out a stone, he slung it and struck the Philistine on the forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell facedown on the ground.
So David triumphed over the Philistine with a sling and a stone; without a sword in his hand he struck down the Philistine and killed him.
Without Goliath, David would have never become king.
David chose not to wear the King (tm)s armor because it felt cumbersome and unfamiliar. David was comfortable with his simple slingshot, a weapon he was skilled at using. God will use the unique skills he (tm)s already placed in your ha