From outside the classroom to a life of learning!

woman with headset

Hello. My name is Clare, I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 47, but the tsunami of difficulties that ADHD gifted me started at an early age. I just couldn’t focus. Or concentrate. People talked too slowly, things never happened quick enough. SO I made my own entertainment and often was sent out of class for being the class clown, or for just creating my own entertainment. Creativity. ADHD has gifted me with a lions share of creativity, I loved books and could skim read one in record time, extracting just the data I needed to pull the story together. As I got older I realised this wasn’t how books should be read and struggled to focus my eyes across every line. I managed to get decent grades, but now see how much better they would have been if I had been diagnosed and treated earlier. At 47, I started methylphenidate and suddenly I could focus like never before! Thats it in a nutshell!

Clare Knighton

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I’m Alex, and I have an ADHD diagnosis

boy on swing

For me ADHD is a superpower. With the right medication it’s super helpful. It takes away some privileges but did you know I love having an ADHD diagnosis even though it takes those privileges away?

It makes me learn so fast that I am in the gifted class on Thursday’s. It also makes me moody in the mornings and evenings. Did you also know that when I haven’t had any electronics I act amazing and am super respectful? I also love to read and ADHD boosts that and makes it a good habit. Having a diagnosis helps my mom realize these things and so she forgives me easily.

The next thing I want to share with you guys is just like any other kid I want people to know me. I am Alexander, a 9 year old kid from Thomaston, GA. I have been diagnosed with ADHD since the age of 5. I like to collect different kinds of trading cards like Yugio and Pokémon. My favorite colors are gold, silver, and bronze. I love metallic colors because they are used in the Mycenaean period.


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Losing My Shame

Sherri Duggan

For so long, I bought into the labels given me – “space-cadet,” “blonde,” “day dreamer,” “inattentive,” and “careless.” I heard the words of my father in my head, “Sherri, remember to engage your brain BEFORE…” If only it were that easy. I continually lost and misplaced things, forgot important dates, and left projects half finished and started new ones.

I have totaled at least three cars and been involved in so many other accidents I’ve lost count. Most times this was my fault.

My hateful self talk changed one day when a co worker labeled me as ADD. That is NOT me, I thought. However, when I looked up all the traits, it WAS me. I was looking at a chart that explained me.

Now, I give myself grace as well as implement coping strategies such as the timer on my phone, digital calendars, not eating, drinking or texting while driving, taking mental breaks before a long project, and visual reminder cards. I no longer call myself names. I am just me, perfectly imperfect ADD me.

Sherri Duggan

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Knitting for Attention

When I was younger I had trouble focusing in class. Even if I was interested I just couldn’t pay attention. Everything was too long, and had too much or not enough detail. It became more of a problem in Uni where you had to sit like an adult and not play on your phone.

After an anecdote a lecturer told about a French obstetrician knitting in births, I started to knit in class. I suddenly was able to concentrate. By keeping my hands busy my mind could focus – finally! I continued all through Uni and then took it with me into the workplace. Whenever we have education days, out comes the knitting. It’s a lifesaver.

Every now and then you get someone who isn’t familiar with my technique and they frown when they see me bring it out. By lunch they’re commenting on how amazing it is I can knit and pay attention, since I’m always asking questions/involved in discussion. I patiently explain that I have ADHD, and knitting is actually the only way I CAN pay attention. It really is a lifesaver.


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Diagnosis can be the start of a brand new chapter in your life

Before I was diagnosed, I was on this slow ship in the middle of nowhere. I was constantly confused and I felt like a failure because I couldn’t understand nor live up to the neurotypical expectations placed on me.

It all came to a head at university where I just broke down, I couldn’t cope with the pressure and I just didn’t know why it was so hard for me to manage myself. I went from having regular confirmation that I was on the right track from peers and teachers to being almost entirely independent with no standards to compare myself to.

Until I got my diagnosis. Afterwards I had a period of grief, thoughts of what could’ve gone better and situations I could have avoided.

But then I realised, I finally know what standards to hold myself to, I have a recognisable condition that makes me different but it’s totally okay. I feel comfortable, I know my limits and I even know how to exploit things like hyperfocus to my advantage. For the first time, I felt like I was thriving.


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woman overlooking beach

I am an adult woman who was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 25. My entire life, I felt like I wasn’t doing enough. But when I tried harder in one area in my life, another area would suffer.

Finally, my partner (who also has ADHD) suggested I get tested. I was initially reluctant – how could I have ADHD? I did so well in school, I didn’t need to run around all the time – I clearly knew very little about it. 6 months later, I was sitting in my psychiatrist’s office where the diagnosis was confirmed.

Finally, my life’s pieces fell into place. I’m not lazy. I’m not a failure- my brain is different. Getting the diagnosis was the most empowering and freeing feeling. I have learned so much about how ADHD displays in women, and have been able to share this with others. My work is no longer a chore. I’ve found ways to manage and adapt because I was no longer looking at myself as though I were a failure or broken. Treatment has been a life changer. Life has changed since diagnosis for the better.

Stephanie C

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ADHD can be a Tool

When I first got diagnosed with ADHD, I actually thought I was useless to society. Once starting in my current profession, I learned that my ADHD is a useful tool. We do a sort of processing at my job, and the work is very repetitive. Where my ADHD causes me to hyperfocus on tasks that actually seem soothing to me, I am able to do my processing quicker than anyone else.

I have received many a praise come my way. My manager has called me a superstar. For so long, I looked down upon my ADHD but now I can see that it can actually give me an advantage. This has also caused me to look at life in a more positive light! Life isn’t useless or meaningless. Life is a gift! Not everything about it is perfect, but if you really look at the small things, you realize that life is a beautiful and amazing thing.


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The Power of Knowing

I’ve talked to many people who were hesitant about exploring an ADHD diagnosis. They didn’t want the label that comes with it but what they didn’t understand is that when you avoid one label, worse ones take their place. Growing up with undiagnosed ADHD I was labelled as being ‘lazy’, ‘unmotivated’, ‘abnormal’, to name a few. The worst part was most of these were labels that I had given myself because I couldn’t understand what was ‘wrong’ with me.

It wasn’t until I was 20 that I got a label that actually fit me: ADHD. Just knowing who I was freed me from the negative self-image I’d had for my entire life. “If I’m not a horrible, broken person then maybe I CAN do all of the things I thought I never could.” My life began to improve in different and wonderful ways, and I hadn’t even started treatment yet.

I tell that story whenever I talk to one of those hesitant people because I feel there is so much power just in getting a diagnosis. Power to have a better life.


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Diagnosed at 40

My mother and I cried when I was diagnosed.

Her, because she had punished me my whole life for “not trying”, being hyper, etc.

Me, relief; I had tried, wish I could tell all my tutors, teachers of every course tried. I’m 68 now and it’s debilitating.

I’m on medication but I still struggle every day. Last week I found out I also have Dyscalulia. Again, relief, but a lifetime of failure; jobs, relationships, computer courses. I pray that now 2021 there is help available. But to find that specialized type for yourself is almost impossible. The majority of Drs. I think, just do not want to take the time to deal with it and definitely do not understand it. God Bless to us all.

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Nobody noticed my ADHD

I remember as a child growing up that I would daydream a lot. I was terribly afraid of math but was above average in reading and writing.

I avoided taking algebra and higher level math in high school. Didn’t score very well on the SAT and had to take remedial math in college. Before entering college I enlisted in the Army and started drinking coffee. I noticed that the coffee helped me to concentrate and focus on the tasks.

I finished college, medical school and post graduate training. I’m currently a board certified foot & ankle surgeon. My son was diagnosed at an early age with ADHD. It was at that point when his psychiatrist said “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree!”

Apparently I developed coping skills and was able to deal with it without medication ( I still drink coffee) however my son has been on medication for 7 years. I now understand his behavior in earlier years wasn’t deviant but purely impulsive due to his ADHD. I’m now a better parent!


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