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Nancy Alpert

There are so many things I would like to do—like keep the house organized, clean the kitchen and empty the garbage before it’s an emergency, and remember to do the things I promised myself. But I have no motivation whatsoever to do those things. Those little things in life that most people just do reflexively, because they are part of life, don’t come easily to me. Sometimes, they don’t happen at all. Just about every boring (to me) project I have started has not been completed without a strict deadline, or a great deal of structure. 

I have AD/HD, and it’s not a mild case. 

In my mind, I had the most boring childhood ever. In reality, it was traumatic and I stopped paying attention. I struggled to get through high school, but I got through. As an adult, I tried college, got kicked out 3 times, and talked my way back in twice. I had multiple jobs, and if, over time, I found them boring, I couldn’t perform well. I’m pretty sure I would have been fired from a few, except I always quit first.

Finally, I found a job that worked for me: TV News Producer. It was deadline driven, creative, and social. I excelled. People with AD/HD are excellent at things they find interesting. I was learning more about myself and the types of jobs that worked for me. For example, it became clear to me that paperwork does not become me.

I still did not know I had AD/HD. 

Eventually, I met the man I would eventually marry—the love of my life. His younger son, my stepson, was diagnosed with AD/HD. I read a book about AD/HD and I was shocked that it sounded so much like me! I was 40 years old.

I found a psychiatrist who administered the (extremely boring) test. After he scored it, he said, “It’s not a mild case.” I started crying. It explained everything: I’m not stupid. I’m not lazy. He prescribed medication and the first day I took it I couldn’t believe it: I actually completed a number of tasks! It was mind blowing. 

Today, I am a college graduate. I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree (summa cum laude) when I was 49, and earned a master’s degree in social work when I was 50.

I still have all my symptoms, they are just more manageable because I take my medication. I am still unorganized, distractable, and unable to complete projects. I wish I could be organized enough just to make lists, let alone remember to refer to them. 

Knowing and accepting I have AD/HD has helped me become the person I truly am. Having someone as a partner who accepts and loves me for who I am (and who I’m not) Medication has helped too.

I have AD/HD. I am not AH/HD. I am a daughter, wife, stepmom, grandma, and friend. I am kind, caring, loyal, funny, and empathic. I am wise. I am trustworthy. I am creative. I am unable to stop doing the things that are interesting to me in life. For example, people fascinate me. Seeing people clearly is one of my gifts. 

Life is a struggle for me every single day because I have AD/HD. And I wouldn’t change it because it has made me who I am. 

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