Seniors With ADHD
A lifetime of misdiagnoses
When I was three months old, I caught measles from my older siblings When I got into kindergarten, my teacher told my parents that she suspected I had a hearing problem. I was tested and I was found to have a moderate hearing loss caused by nerve deafness. They didn’t have hearing aides for kids then. I was placed in the front row in all of my classes and attended lip reading classes with a boy my age. I’m guessing this teacher came to my school once a week, in elementary school. Throughout school, it was hard to pay attention. I found myself daydreaming a lot. It got worse in junior high & high school. I was often the butt of jokes, not being able to understand what was being said, coming up with the wrong answer, etc. I didn’t really fit in. I had trouble doing homework & taking tests. I could not remember things & didn’t do well in history, math & some other classes. I was very happy to be out of school, & going to college was out of the question. My parents were not in favor of going to college, anyway.
Having a hearing impairment caused me emotional and self-esteem problems, made worse by having no support or understanding. What I didn’t know or understand, was, not only was I having hearing problems, I had comprehension and concentration problems. As hard as I tried to study, information wasn’t sticking in my brain. This was very embarrassing, but I didn’t know what to do. Mentoring was never suggested. I just didn’t know “what was wrong with me.” I knew I couldn’t hear “normally” but I didn’t know what “normal” was, never having experienced it. And somehow, other problems I was having, like not remembering, being impulsive & depressed, didn’t really go along with having a hearing impairment, but it was all I knew as an excuse. Subconsciously, I must have known, because I kept asking myself what was wrong with me? I spent most of my life trying to solve a mystery.
Although I tried to get help by seeing therapists, they only diagnosed me with depression and I was given antidepressants which I took for many years. I was never given any tests which might point to something that was wrong in my brain. “Happy Classes” didn’t do anything for me. I always lacked a sense of motivation, except when I was forced to get things done, or when I was extremely interested in something.
Many memories of things in the past would completely escape me, which my husband found very hard to comprehend. Disorganization was always a problem as well. Just another thing to try to comprehend. Things started to come to light when Dr. Gabe Mate was being interviewed on T.V. about his newly published book, “Scattered.” He describes some of the same problems I had. I immediately became interested and read many books on the subject. One in particular I could really identify with, “Women & ADD” by Sari Solden.
I took an online test for ADD and it was positive. I realize that, in the past, only boys supposedly had ADD. But “Women & ADD” was written in 2005 and “You Mean I’m Not Lazy or Stupid?” was written in 1993. There may be others written earlier. So, professionals knew about women having ADD as least since 1993. That’s 21 years ago! A big delay for people suffering from an unknown disease! Dr. Russell Barkley has been working on this subject for 25 years.
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