Three years ago, I was laid off from my position of 20 years as an office administrator. I was very depressed. It was a real loss; I hadn’t realized how much that role had defined me until it ended.
One of my children, who also has ADHD, was in crisis. Severe depression, anxiety, and OCD symptoms had put him in the hospital a few times. Meanwhile, my husband (another ADHDer) was also unemployed and searching for work.
I struggled to find a new position, working a few short and horrible jobs over the course of the next year. It was so bad I could barely get through the day.
I found a therapist with a Ph.D. in psychology willing to work with me for a reduced rate. I hadn’t had much luck with therapists before, but desperation drove me to try again. He has been so helpful, and has taught me to let go of many of my self-destructive thought patterns. It turns out that not everything is my fault, and I’m not stupid!
I found effective medications for my ADHD and depression. Then I decided to go back to school. I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to get through the program. After all, I found being there overwhelming. But, I decided it was my best option for creating change. I would graduate or die trying.
For the first time in my life, with the help of my therapist, I asked for testing accommodations. It was hard to ask for help. I’ve always been a do-it-yourself kind of gal. Looking back I can see how feelings of shame around ADHD symptoms made me unwilling to admit I needed it.
Receiving extra time on tests made a huge difference. I was also lucky enough to have a sympathetic academic adviser who believed in and encouraged me. A year later, I completed a certificate program with a 4.0 GPA (my first).
It took a few months, but after graduation I landed a job in a new field I am excited about. My husband finally found part-time work. We helped our son find a qualified psychiatrist he likes, and he seems to be making real progress.
I am so much stronger. Life is lighter than before. I’ve learned a lot from all this:
It’s okay to ask for and accept help;
It’s essential to be persistent, even when there are setbacks;
Take small steps forward every day.
I’ve also learned I have the power to make things better for myself.
If you’re going through your own struggles and could use some support during your journey, consider an ADDA Virtual Support Group.