“Angel, you have so much potential,” said everyone I ever met before I was thirty years old. Words that once lifted my spirits and made me think to myself yes! you are right! I am destined for greatness, and you, great giver of self-esteem, you see it! Through the years, however, those same words would cause me to hang my head in shame; discomfort; embarrassment at my own lack of awesomeness.
I had troubled relationships and rarely felt like I belonged anywhere. I got by, but I always felt unfulfilled. It was following the birth of my first son that things really started to deteriorate. I was heartbreakingly unhappy. At a time when I should have felt joy and gratefulness, I often only felt stuck. Worse than that, I felt trapped – like a wild animal locked in a cage, roaring for the great wonders that I knew lay beyond my domestic confinement.
Thankfully, my husband begged me to go to counseling with him. It wasn’t easy for me to do. Along with pride, I was also in full-blown, feet-planted, onmywayoutthedoor, just-another-wrong-relationship mode. What helped me move my feet to his wishes was simple: I remembered that I had loved him dearly. I remembered that what led to our marriage was that we liked each other so very much. We were truly friends and we had a baby together. I knew better than to just walk away from that.
This next moment is pivotal: during our second visit with the counselor, she interrupted my speaking and asked me if anyone had ever suggested that I had ADD. I laughed out loud and so did my husband. Obviously, but not reeeeallly! “Seriously,” she said and recommended that I read Driven to Distraction by Edward Hallowell. Reading it the next day, I cried as I realized I wasn’t quirky, but apparently just another diagnosis. Genetically or environmentally or experience induced, I may never know, but I’ve been working through that discovery for almost thirteen years.
Frustrating, yes, but also incredibly helpful. Understanding the root of my shortcomings was discouraging at first, but it has since become liberating. I have adopted a phrase that I heard Oprah Winfrey repeat multiple times during one of her SuperSoul podcasts: “When you know better, you do better.” It also helps that I have a compassionate husband. The friendship and mutual respect that we started with, followed by our desire to put in the effort to retain our relationship has served to bring us closer. I feel emotionally safe with him, so about once a year, when I feel unable to sort through the clutter of my mind, I tell him. He kindly dismantles the teetering piles I have somehow built around the house and we move on.
As I enter a new phase of my life (more about that later), I intend to continue to grow and learn and live the life that I have always imagined – without the baggage of guilt and resentment that ADD often fosters. Make no mistake, I do get distracted and I can be inconsistent. I am sharing this because I recognize that I am not the only person in this world who feels this way: sometimes sad, sometimes angry, sometimes SO CREATIVE, sometimes so incapable of stringing two thoughts together in a cohesive manner. I am hopeful that as I make my way on my continued journey toward personal inner peace, you will find comfort and inspiration as you venture forth on yours as well.
Good luck! And hey, remember that having ADD has its up sides. This page took me hours to write, but only because I’ve been successfully multitasking. Yay! It’s one of those days!