Yesterday, I was on Facebook and one of my friends posted that ADHD meds are like meth. I was so ticked off. Some ADHD meds are related to meth, indirectly, but they’re not the same. If I hadn’t had medication when I was diagnosed, I don’t know where I’d be today. Let me tell you the part of my story that I didn’t video tape on my Bio page:
Diagnosed at age 23
I lucked out. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder in 1980. I was only 23, so I didn’t have to go through a lifetime of not understanding myself and not appreciating my abilities.
However, at the time I was diagnosed the only literature out there was about juvenile delinquents. True story. My therapist and the psychiatrist could only give me articles to read about juvenile delinquents.
Lest you think I couldn’t relate, let me tell you about me confusing childhood:
I was a girl with hyperactivity. I lived for climbing anything and everything. My second home was the tree in our front yard. I danced, whether seated or standing, all the time, waving my arms around, twirling, and jumping up and down. My mother put a stop to these physical intrusions and, by high school, I had learned to sit very still. And eat sugar to calm me down. Yes, sugar sedates me to this day.
My ADHD didn’t just affect me physically; I had a lot of trouble relating well to friends my own age. I was never allowed to be in a group of three because I’d either team up with one of them and shun the other, or I would be the one shunned and I would get red-hot angry.
Social problems and illegal activities
I would very often say the wrong thing, not really understanding compassion or diplomacy or courtesy. I just figured that if you were talking to me I shouldn’t have to hide my thoughts or feelings. That made no sense to me.
I also lied, cheated on tests, and shop-lifted. I have since made amends for all this activity but it was pure luck that I was never caught. I don’t know how I did it but I was able to steal some fairly big items, considering I didn’t have a purse or back pack with me. I would go to the public library to do my homework for Honors English or AP History and then, at lunch time, I’d cross the street, walk into the grocery store, and steal my lunch. Every time I went to the library, I’d steal my next meal. And we weren’t poor. We lived in a nice neighborhood and I had a sizable allowance. I just wanted to steal. It made my brain buzz. It gave me a thrill.
Fast forward to age 23 when all but the lying had stopped years before: I chose to go on medication and it was a revelation.
I felt like a better version of myself. I felt like a missing piece of me had been restored.
But the thing that meds did the best was teach me how to be an adult. I started coaching and therapy very early on (before there was Coaching as we now know it) and I learned to be mindful of other people. I learned to shut up! I learned to compliment people. I learned to be a good friend. I learned to love someone and support him.
These were all things I didn’t know how to do. Literally, someone would ask me how my day was and I’d say to myself, silently, “Now ask him how HIS day was.” I didn’t do those things naturally.
My life changed with meds and coaching
Before meds and lots of coaching, I was often mean, afraid, critical, dramatic, and oblivious to other people’s needs. I said whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted to, whether it was kind or not. Unless I didn’t care about you – then I vehemently ignored you. If there was a way you could feel my disdain while I was ignoring you completely, I did it. People told me they could feel me fuming over the phone, without even speaking. I failed at love time and again and I failed at friendship too.
After meds and lots of coaching:
Today I went to a networking event for women business owners. At least 1/3 of the women there told me I had happy energy, that I was charismatic, kind, interesting, sweet, smart, fun, funny, super cool, and generous.
I thought, “Boy, have I come a long way.” I am unrecognizable from those early days.
THIS is why I coach – because I know that huge changes are possible and I know how to help you make them happen for yourself and for your kids.
I feel like I was blessed with a miracle and I want to bless you too.
Copyright 2017 Yafa Luria/Margit Crane All Rights Reserved
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