A story of success for adults with ADHD. If I can do it, you can too. Alyssa shares some lessons that helped her succeed.
An Interview with Alyssa Hole by Annette Tabor
Last Monday, I turned 34 years old. I have been reflecting about the years I struggled in school. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 12 years old. When I received this diagnosis, I was very happy to hear that there was a name for what I was experiencing and feeling! I always felt different from my friends in my classes. I had one or two friends I talked with, but most of the time I would rather be alone than go places with other people. Even today, I love to spend time with my furry children, my cats and dogs.
You’ve Got to Learn How You Learn
All through my school years, I struggled with my ADHD. I found it very difficult to complete assignments. I also have some learning disabilities, though I never could remember the names of them. It was hard for me to explain but I often couldn’t understand what was going on. I needed everything teachers tried to explain to me to be broken into smaller pieces. I also couldn’t understand what they were explaining without visuals! Seeing something made it easier to learn.
When I started middle school, I had an Individualized Education Program (IEP) written for me to follow. At times, I felt things were getting better, but I still felt frustrated, and I still fell behind in my schoolwork. Dealing with these challenges left me feeling anxious at times. The one thing that calmed me down was writing. I wrote stories, about myself, my adventures, and the things I liked to see and do.
Structure Makes Things Easier
I have developed a daily routine for myself. It is much easier for me to follow this routine when I write everything down. I now have a schedule to follow for all my chores and another schedule for appointments and other activities I do every day. I spend a lot of time on these schedules, and they are very neat and organized.
Though I struggled, I made it through high school but had no idea what I wanted to do after I graduated. After graduation, I worked a few jobs and did some volunteer work. One summer, my favorite aunt and I were talking about our family tree. I found this subject fascinating, so I started reading and learning about genealogy.
Keep Searching Until You Discover Your Passion
Later, I mentioned to my interest in genealogy to our good family friends. They could see how interested I was in the subject, and they offered to help me find an online college program in genealogy. I have since enrolled in this program and started my studies last September. My friends are also helping me with study skills and other things I will need. It makes all the difference when you’re learning something you’re truly passionate about. Finally, I have found something I am excited about. I can’t wait to start this program.
This past year has been great for me. I discovered my passion for genealogy, and I also found ADDA this summer. I have read about their many Support Groups for people like me with ADHD. I haven’t attended any yet, but I plan on visiting the Beginners Group they offer very soon. Maybe I’ll see you there.
Everything Works Better When We Encourage Each Other
Most people don’t realize what those of us who have ADHD go through every day. That’s why I want to share my story with you. I hope my story will encourage adults with ADHD like me to keep going and keep looking for things they love to do and where they can succeed.
And I encourage you to keep learning about your ADHD. Adult ADHD deserves to be recognized and understood, and it sure helps when you begin to understand your own.