by Annette Tabor
Each individual with ADHD sees themselves as having their own special qualities. Michelle Price calls herself an entrepreneur and after talking with her I agree with that description! She feels her diagnosis and experiences with ADHD make her story very different from stories she has heard or read by other ADHD adults!
As a child in elementary school and junior high, Michelle was identified as being extremely gifted. Growing up in the 60’s as a young African American child, she remembers people telling her mother she was “off the charts” when it came to intelligence. Because of this, Michelle was moved around to different schools in an attempt to find a teacher and curriculum that could challenge her. She did not like being smart, in fact she told her family she hated being smart and she did not like moving from school to school! She finally rebelled in the 4th grade, cried inconsolably and refused to get out of the car on the first day of school at the newest school. Her mother relented and took her back to the school she’d attended the previous year.
When she was entering high school, she had made new friends in her new neighborhood and was bused from her neighborhood to a really big school with people from every nationality and every walk of life. Michelle loved to take tests, and tested very high on her PSAT and SAT tests and started getting letters from prestigious schools and even Ivy League colleges offering full four year scholarships. But Michelle did not want to go to college. She felt like an impostor because her grades did not reflect her test results.
After graduating from high school, she married, went to medical assistant school, took a great job in the emergency room at the local university teaching hospital, and had a baby at 19. By the time she was 22 years old she had separated from her husband and moved back home.
Michelle was able to transfer departments at the hospital, where she also helped organize the new local AFSCME chapter, and became its first President. She ultimately gained the attention of management for her ability to train new hires, and won an internship to learn how to design curriculum and became the department trainer. She met her soon to be second husband, had another child, only to get divorced again eventually. Even though Michelle was earning a fairly good salary, she still had to work very hard raising her children as a single parent.
In 2003, having been laid off of two jobs in three years, Michelle bet on herself and started the internet consulting business she had been thinking about for years. Her very first client was John Assaraf, who hired her to market his new book. In one of their many conversations, he matter-of-factly mentioned that she had ADHD. In fact, he was the first person to tell her she might have ADHD. She was later introduced to Dr. Daniel Amen and also helped him market one of his early books. As so many other adults have done, she took Dr. Amen’s test, “Do You Have ADHD?” which she passed with flying colors! She was now convinced something was definitely going on.
Fast forward, and after a few years of taking a friend’s medication, at the age of 48, Michelle was finally formally diagnosed with ADHD – Combined Type. She had begun to reflect that even since childhood she had an extremely sensitive emotional component to her personality that she did not understand but after being diagnosed, learned this was actually part of her ADHD. In fact, upon learning of her formal diagnosis, she was so excited that she cried aloud “There really is something wrong!”
Finding the right doctor and the right medication, she has been able to overcome this thing called ADHD. Although some days she still struggles, she also feels there is no reason not to excel even if you have ADHD! She finds her inspiration in being a lifelong learner, and in helping the three generations of women in her family with ADHD stay positive, learn as much as they can about how to manage their brains, as well as the inevitable ups and downs and keep the faith… because the struggle is real!
Michelle is particularly interested in working with other women entrepreneurs with ADHD. She feels the most important piece of the puzzle that is missing is the emotional component which must be included to complete the whole picture! Michelle says that although the struggle is real on a daily basis, that having ADHD is the biggest gift she has ever received.