Deb Toering is a Board Certified Professional Christian Counselor (BCPCC) in private practice at Trinity Family Counseling Center. In addition to working with a wide range of client populations and presenting issues, Deb is also an engaging public speaker. She has spoken in front of various groups across a range of topics including marriage, bullying, ADHD/ADD, and teen leadership.
You continue to battle the fog with every additional cup of coffee but it never seems to disappear.
You flit from one thing to the next, without accomplishing much. There are missed appointments, lost items, sticky notes everywhere reminding you to do things that you have little motivation to do. Your home is such a disorganized mess that an unexpected visitor would bring panic and shame. Your spouse is constantly upset and irritated that you don’t get anything done while he is away at work. He doesn’t understand that drawing and music are the things that bring you joy so you focus there rather than on the mundane tasks of running a household. More shame.
There is a nagging sense that you were meant for something more; you have somehow greatly underachieved. You are weary; feeling like a failure. You wonder why others accomplish so much more. All of this leaves you anxious and depressed.
You have been seeing a counselor for your depression and anxiety. As you share your symptoms, the counselor wonders if you know anything about ADHD. You identify with the symptoms and the more you read and learn the more you realize that this has been your life.
There is an “aha” moment of discovery that feels like such relief.
Finally, you can begin to make sense of your lifelong struggles, shame and guilt. You begin to realize maybe you really aren’t stupid and how your difficulty with focus and organization may have been the cause of your poor grades. Perhaps that “lazy” label your parents and teachers attached to you really isn’t true as you learn more about how your brain is wired and how it is lacking in those neurotransmitters that are related to focus and motivation.
Maybe this isn’t a moral problem (“you need to try harder and have more discipline”) but a neurological problem. There is great relief in this new way of thinking about yourself. Maybe you are not really a scatterbrain. Perhaps you don’t have to be the person who is always late, always interrupting and talking incessantly. The thought that perhaps you could actually get things done is so wonderful!
You try medication and in some miraculous way the fog is lifted. You can think clearly. You have motivation. You have arrived at least to the starting line with everyone else.
But there is a sadness, a grief over what could have been. What if I you had understood the ADHD while you were in school, maybe you could have achieved more, gone to college, had a better job? What would it have been like to accomplish what you intended and to actually plan ahead? Could you have kept those friends who left because you never reciprocated? What would life have been like if your home was well-organized, your children didn’t have to share in the shame of missed appointments or field trip permission slips not turned in? What books have you missed reading and what have you not learned simply because you didn’t have sustained focus?
Perhaps you, the reader can in some way identify with this story. A professional counselor can help. If you have ADHD/ADD medication alone is not enough to make changes. Coaching and counseling together with medication can bring about amazing changes so that the grief can pass and a new life emerge. There is hope for you to be all you were intended to be!