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It took 43 years to find out I am ADHD, and... I'm glad.

Updated: Sep 14, 2022

Rear View is 20/20

That title may strike you as a bit odd, but, it's true. I am glad I wasn't diagnosed with ADHD until I was an adult.

Oh sure, when I heard the news at 43, that after what seemed like a whole life of struggle and wasted opportunities, I was finally being diagnosed as ADHD with severe executive functioning disorder, I was mad.

Not just mad, though. I could best describe my anger as incandescent, burning rage. A type of anger that invaded my every thought, burned deep in my soul and had me plotting revenge against every teacher, my parents, my family, and everyone else, who either missed the signs or otherwise berated me for my many pre-diagnosis failures.

For decades, I got myself in financial ruin, lost my home, failed at business and had a career as a sailing captain, when I was supposed to have a career as a journalist. And I can point every one of those things at my ADHD. It had me seething with anger, hate, and I'll say it again, a desire for revenge.

The ADHD Mind

I wanted pay back for every time I had a teacher who failed at their job and blamed it on me. Every time, my Mother rebuked me for blowing money and not being able to manage my finances. Every time, my Father called me "pecker head" for failing to complete the United States Coast Guard Academy. Every time a woman looked down on me because my mind was awash with thoughts I couldn't control, and emotions I had no clue how to manage.

Now, I'm not saying I would have avoided all the pitfalls of my life, had I been diagnosed and taught to handle the way my mind worked when I was a kid. But I dare say, I might not have quit my newspaper job at the age of 22, to teach sailing, had I gotten the proper treatment.

I did what I did and screwed up all those times on my own accord. I did that stuff, and I lived to tell the tale. So many undiagnosed adults don't get to tell the stories of their ADHD, but I can.

I can now write a novel, make a movie, be a journalist and do a bunch of other things that I couldn't do without diagnosis, medication and therapy. I got the treatment I needed, and I can now do a host of things like listen to my wife talk and pay attention to a really technical conversation like Writing Code in Python.

Furthermore, I can see the world in a new way and know what it was like to work the midnight shift at the local washing machine plant, wait tables at a restaurant and paint a house to make a living. I did all those things because I didn't know that I could sit down and write for a living.

It is my hope that soon, I will get a full time job with benefits and a stable paycheck, which is also something I could never do before.

And it is because I lived the life I did, that I can appreciate the life I soon will live, with a special understanding and opportunity that has been given to me by virtue of my late diagnosis.

Oh, I am still very disappointed at the failings of my parents and teachers over the years. But that will make the success of The Crypto Nightly News and that first paycheck where I can pay my rent, and feed my family and enjoy this new-found life that the Lord has given me, all the more sweet. And the best part is, I can pay attention long enough now to enjoy it.

Looking Back

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