Dealing with the past

Posted: August 30, 2013 in Ramblings
Tags: , ,

Anyone with ADHD, or who is raising a kid with ADHD, has probably knows what it’s like.  A good kid with ADHD is convinced they’re really a bad kid.  This was the story of my life.   It was particularly bad because my father was a cop who would often tell me how long I could get in jail for some of the idiotic stuff I did as a kid.  I was convinced that I would be in prison by the time I was 21, despite my desire to stay out of jail.

Luckily, that didn’t happen.

However, ADHD people make a lot of mistakes.  We don’t mean to, but it happens.  I can’t tell you why it happens, but it does.  I’ve experienced it, and I watch it with my son as well.  The answer is “I don’t know”.  How can you not know?  Well, for us, we really don’t.  It’s not a cop out.  We’re still responsible for our mistakes and all that stuff, but you just have to accept that we really don’t know why we just did that.

I’ve been reading a lot of ADHD blogs lately, and this theme is pretty common.  Tons of parents report their kids thinking this same thing, and it brought back how I felt at that age as well.  I’d actually forgotten – or should that be “repressed” – the memory of all of that.  Of course, some folks never have.

This is a message I received from my first cousin.  On that side of the family, we are the closest in age.  This comment follows a back and forth exchange where she was giving me crap for my current financial situation which has caused problems for some other people unfortunately. This is after buying a business two years ago that has never turned a profit for us despite making money for every previous owner.

I always knew you were a sorry ass. All you have done is proven it.

Now,  the other person is my mother, who believed in me so much that she invested heavily in the business.  Neither of us believed it would fail.  Never in a million years would we have thought that.  It was the second largest newspaper in town and had been here since 1939.  We were convinced we would be fine.

We were wrong.

That quote above, it hurt.  It hurt a lot.  What’s weird is that I don’t even like that cousin.  I haven’t since the day she went through my grandmother’s house pointing out all the stuff she wanted shortly after my grandfather died.  Her opinion of me actually doesn’t mean anything to me.  Despite my efforts to bury the hatchet in my own mind, she’s always been stuck up.  I know this, so why does the comment hurt?

Probably because I’ve said the same thing to myself a million times.  The fact that I had been looking for a job for over a year didn’t help.  The fact that I had just taken a job that I didn’t really want, but needed, also didn’t help.  However, the worst part was that it was just the latest in a long string of people acting like I was a “sorry ass”.

Seriously, I’m really over my cousin’s opinion of me.  Unfortunately, she’s not alone.  There are people who have a similar opinion of me whose opinion actually does matter to me.  Only I can change that, and hopefully I will someday.

It just goes to show that any aspect of ADHD can follow you into adulthood.  And just how badly it sucks.

  1. I think I speak for the community when I say, we’re with you all the way! Just keep doing you, and the rest will fall into place.

  2. tawnysea8888 says:

    This sounds like a scene from our home after we ask our 7-year-old son with ADHD why he’s repeated a bad behavior for the 50th time:

    “However, ADHD people make a lot of mistakes. We don’t mean to, but it happens. I can’t tell you why it happens, but it does. I’ve experienced it, and I watch it with my son as well. The answer is “I don’t know”. How can you not know? Well, for us, we really don’t. It’s not a cop out. We’re still responsible for our mistakes and all that stuff, but you just have to accept that we really don’t know why we just did that.”


    And because the kiddo got the ADHD brain from ME, for the longest time, before he was officially diagnosed, I was the only one who believed him when he said, “I don’t know!” Other adults thought he was lying or trying to cop-out on telling the truth, but I saw the fear and bewilderment on his face and knew he wasn’t lying. I understood that feeling because I’ve lived it. He truly didn’t know why he kept repeating the poor behavior. And it scared him.

    We have an appointment next week with a child psychiatrist to try to get him medication to help with impulse control so he can feel like a “good kid” again at school, but in the meantime, we tell him he already IS a good kid, and his brain is wired differently, and different isn’t bad. It’s just different. Everybody is different. I told him that if you gathered up everybody in our neighborhood and took a good, hard look at their brains, every single one of them would have something they need to work on strengthening, too. (I say strengthening, and not fixing, because fixing implies broken, and he’s not broken… I never want him to feel like there’s something “wrong” with him.) I tell him we all have our issues, and this is one of yours, and we’re going to work on it, just like everybody else has to work on their own issues. No big deal.

    And I make a point of telling him that I have the same brain, and will be trying medication to help strengthen my brain, too, so he doesn’t feel alone, because after reading stories from other adults with ADHD, I’ve become inspired to call my psychiatrist and make an appointment to try ADHD medication myself for the first time in my life. Because I grew up feeling like a failure, and not really understanding why I couldn’t focus or do what I was supposed to do.

    Anyhow… thank you so much for sharing your experiences, Tom. It helps other people with ADHD not feel so alone, and it helps me understand the more “male version” of ADHD that my son exhibits (I got in trouble for not focusing in the daydreaming constantly way, rather than impulsive behavior way. I actually have report cards from grade school with “Tawni daydreams too much in class” written on them.)

    I’ll be sending good luck and big profit vibes your way, hoping the business picks up in a major way soon. And mentally sticking out my tongue at your mean cousin. Sounds like somebody hates herself and is trying to share the self-loathing. Don’t let her. You’re not a sorry ass, you’re a good person who is doing his best. A sorry ass is someone who puts down a family member who is genuinely trying to succeed at something, so she can point her nasty comment right back at herself. 🙂

    • Tom says:

      Thanks so Tawni. I appreciate all the good thoughts.

      As for the mean cousin, it’s all good. I’ve always found that success is the best revenge anyways 😀

  3. iamjjstone says:

    I can totally relate to this. I spent years self-loathing and didn’t find out I was severely ADHD until my 30s. Once I got over the anger of being diagnosed with it, I started doing lots of reading and my life started to make more sense. I’m looking forward to catching up on your posts and getting new ones.

    • Tom says:

      Thanks for reading! A lot of us feel the same way. Hell, I was diagnosed as a kid but I didn’t know what it meant until only a handful of years ago.

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