Adult ADH… Oh, look, something shiny
Red Card Roberts
April 11, 2017
Over Christmas I helped my mom organize my parents' storage/sentimental area that is also their cellar/tornado shelter. Among the collection of flashlights, first-aid kits, bottled water, old luggage, rarely used golf clubs and my mom's emergency backup stash of wine, we also found three baby books. Which I immediately abandoned my organizing duties to flip through.
My older sister's book was meticulously filled out, with milestone events dated and time stamped: first step, June 3, 1:03 p.m. First word, "mama" spoken Aug. 8 at 7:02 a.m. And far more trivial moments — first smile, first solid food, first poop — were also all noted in my mom's perfect signature cursive. There are clips of hair from Michele's first haircut, her baby teeth and pieces of a blanket in there, too.
When I got to my book, it was pretty obvious I was the middle child. The date of my birth is noted. Then it skips to my first words about a year later, which were "me do." Fast forward to age 3 and my mom notes: "Amy is really independent. She has a special bond with animals and never stops moving. Or talking."
By the next page I was magically in kindergarten. There's no entry from my mom, but my report card was stapled to a page with a note from my teacher and a polaroid of my pet turtle, ET.
"It’s a story my mom often likes to retell now when she thinks I’m moving too fast. 'Maybe it’s time for another pet turtle!' She’ll tell me."
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"Amy is a good student, but she has a hard time sitting still and focusing. She rushes through her work quickly so she can play."
A few weeks after my parents got this report card, I got a pet turtle. He was a bribe/metaphor from my parents in hopes I would slow down in class and focus on my school work. It's a story my mom often likes to retell now when she thinks I'm moving too fast. "Maybe it's time for another pet turtle!" She'll tell me.
Over the past few months, I've given a lot of thought to that day I flipped through my baby book; contemplating how much of my personality was essentially decided at birth. It's telling my first words were "me do." I've been self-sufficient my entire life, preferring to figure things out for myself.
Then there's the part about my connection with animals, which nearly 40 years later still defines me. And of course, there's my teacher's note on my report card. Which essentially states, "Your kid has ADHD."
But that report card was written in the late '70s, before Ritalin and Adderall were given to any child who couldn't sit still through a dissertation on ancient rock formation and its implications on today's geology. So I was just considered a fidgety and impatient and excitable/exhausting kid.
Over the years, I have often wondered if I actually had ADHD as a child and it just wasn't diagnosed back then. Because more and more, I'm convinced I have it as an adult. And, at least according to my baby book, the person I was at 4 is pretty much the same person I am at 41.
So I did what anyone who doesn't have the resolve to get through med school does: I consulted Dr. Google. Turns out, not only do I have Adult ADHA, I might also have Mad Cow Disease and be allergic to water.
The questionnaire to confirm my self-diagnosis went something like this:
• Do you have a hard time staying seated when it's appropriate to be sitting?
• Do you finish other people’s sentences?
• Do you zone out in the middle of one-on-one conversations?
• Do you procrastinate?
My answers were:
• You mean I shouldn't be doing jumping jacks in the boardroom?
• Yes, because they speak too slow.
• Huh? What did you say?
• Only on days that end in "Y."
I'm not sure what to do with any of this information now. Buying a turtle didn't work when I was 5 and probably won't work now. But if nothing else, I suppose I can confirm this: I sure haven't changed much since I was a kid.
Amy Roberts is a freelance writer, longtime Park City resident and the proud owner of two rescued Dalmatians, Stanley and Willis. The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer. Follow her on Twitter @amycroberts.
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