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In the late 50s and early 60s, there was not a lot of information from the medical community about the disorder called Attention Deficit Disorder (A.D.D.) I know because I fought with this disease all of my childhood and on into adulthood.
Most people I knew did not want anyone to know that their child might have it. There was a stigma that people felt about this disorder, kind of like having a child that was mentally retarded.
It was not until last year that it all came to a head. I had been struggling through life, working really hard, trying to make something out of my life and just never really getting anywhere. I had been through two marriages and both ended in divorce. I had tried to raise my four children as best I could.
One of the really crippling parts of A.D.D. is the depression that accompanies the lack of focus, and an inability to understand math. Numbers can create a type of dyslexia in people with A.D.D. You do the same things as other people and the result is always so different from what their results are. You start to sink into the dark world that is undiagnosed A.D.D.
The hardest part for me was to admit that I had it.
Sometimes after dealing with this disease for so long you just start to avoid doing certain things because you know you will fail and you just can’t deal with it anymore.
Part of the struggle is admitting that you have this disease and that it’s okay to have it. The other part is to accept it and work through it, altering your life to use the disease to your advantage.
Last September I was finally put on anti-depressants. This was, from a male perspective, just about the worst thing that they could do to a man and his large male ego.
I was sure my life, as I knew it, would end. I told no one but the immediate family about it.
After about a month and a half on the Prozac things seemed to be getting worse so the doctor raised the dose of Prozac to double what I was already taking, thinking that I was not taking enough.
Looking back now, that was the big mistake. My depression over the next few weeks seemed to really deepen and the doctor told me that it was normal when you changed your dose.
Last October, I turned 40. The day of my birthday was quiet. I was sitting on the couch watching television and it had gotten late, so I went in to bed. I laid there and could not sleep. The doctors had given me Zanax to help me with anxiety attacks that often go along with A.D.D. and they also help you sleep. I got up and figured that I would take a Zanax and go to sleep.
Funny how the brain works sometimes. I was standing in the bathroom in front of the mirror and looking back at myself, not really liking the reflection. It was then that I took the bottle and opened it and proceeded to pour all of the pills into my hand and put them all into my mouth and then swallow. This all happened so quickly that I did not even think twice about it.
I grabbed a cigarette and walked out onto the balcony of my apartment and sat down and started smoking. I thought to myself I have enough time before the pills kick in that I can have a cigarette and then I will go into bed. Looking back on this, this is not normal rational behavior. I did not even think much about the fact that I had just taken about 48 Zanax, and that this really would end my life. I was just as calm as if it had just gotten up out of bed and gotten a glass of water.
After smoking, I went back into the bedroom and crawled into bed and proceeded to go to sleep. At about 11 a.m. the next morning I saw a pin hole of light and tried to open my eyes and all that was there was fog. I had no idea where I was.
I had fallen off the bed in the night and I was lying on the floor next to my bed. I could not move any part of my body. I was fading in and out of consciousness, and kept seeing this bright white light.
When I woke up, it was to my wife’s voice telling me that I had better stay with her or she would kill me. This comment seems hilarious now, but it was not funny then. I blanked out and the next thing I saw was my Mothers face, with an expression on it that I will never forget.
I later found out that taking that much Zanax could have killed me twice over.
I now have a chance at a new life, and I am taking full advantage of it. I am enrolled at the college and I am nearing graduation and then on up to the University of Utah to get my bachelors degree. I live every day as though it will all end tomorrow. A.D.D is a very debilitating disease and, if left untreated, can ruin your life.
Part of what happens when you seek out help for this disease is that you find that you are not alone in this despair and that there are people just like you that have A.D.D and live a normal, happy life.
I know this because it’s happening to me.
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