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Time to Come Clean

Today after I’d finished my lunch, I decided to pull my car into a shady spot and relax for the remainder of my lunch break. I had a ton of things that I should have been doing, (like editing the articles for this week’s newspaper) but I opted to enjoy the rare cool breeze that was coming through my opened car windows. As my lunch hour winded down, Nino Brown delivered an email from The Huffington Post to me that got my attention. It read: Study Shows Massive Rise In ADHD Drug Abuse Among Teens. Since I admittedly don’t read things thoroughly, I thought the article was going to be about an increase in the number of children being diagnosed with ADHD. But it wasn’t about that at all. It was about teens using ADHD medication to get high.

The article said there has been a surge from 1998 to 2005 in calls to poison control centers from panicky parents and children relating to children’s misuse of ADHD medication. It said calls relating to ADHD drugs in particular have increased from 330 to 581, with four teens having died from misuse of the drugs. That frightens me. Perhaps because the medicine is FDA approved, the children think it is safer than doing some type of illegal drug. But we know that is not true; any drug can be deadly if it is misused.

This brings me to my drug use. Believe it or not, I have NEVER used drugs of any kind. NONE! No weed, no x, no acid, no nothing. Even in college, I managed to graduate with a joint having never kissed these lips. I came pretty close once though… My sorors and I were hanging out with a ‘wild and crazy fraternity’ and the weed was being passed around liberally. I got very curious because everyone seemed to be enjoying it. I had it in my hand getting ready to give it a puff when a soror looked at me and said, “Uh-uh, Tee. If you’ve never done it, don’t start now.” That pretty much ended my curiosity right then and there. I don’t think I ever thanked my soror for that, but if she had not been the true sister that sorors are supposed to be, I wouldn’t be able to boast today that That Teowonna! is and always has been drug free!

That brings me to another point. Those of you who have meet me or have had friendships or some other type of relationship with me, may have thought was a little kooky and high strung; I must be on something. Well, I wasn’t on anything; I’m just naturally kooky and high strung. But I have been harboring a secret for about four years now that may explain my kookiness. Very few people know and those who do know, I forbade them from sharing. So here it is, once and for all. Here’s my big secret:
That Teowonna! has been diagnosed with adult ADD.
There, I’ve said it! I’m sure my friends and former paramours are saying, “I know something was wrong with your crazy azz.” As you will see from the symptoms below, I am a classic, text book case.

Symptom: Difficulty getting and staying organized.
Teowonna: My house and desk are always a little unkempt. Ok, a lot unkempt. I count on TeeDee (my cleaning lady) to keep me organized at home. Unfortunately, I don’t have a TeeDee in the workplace.
Symptom: Frequently misplace things.
Teowonna: I loose my keys or debit card almost on a weekly basis.
Symptom: Chronic procrastination or trouble getting started.
Teowonna: Nothing seems really important until 5 minutes before it is due. I never pack for trips in advance. NEVER.
Symptom: Trouble in going through established channels and following proper procedure.
Teowonna: They just trying to control me!
Symptom: Many projects going simultaneously; trouble with follow through.
Teowonna: Here are my projects/talents – blogger, copywriter, communications specialist, newspaper editor, book editor, radio talk show producer, and plenty more. The things I get paid for are the things I am more likely to follow through on. Sad, but true.
Symptom: A tendency to say what comes to mind without necessarily considering the timing or appropriateness of the remark.
Teowonna: I’m just saying what everyone else is thinking!
Symptom: A frequent search for high stimulation.
Teowonna: Hence my recent bad, drama-filled relationship.
Symptom: An intolerance of boredom.
Teowonna: Going back to the bad, drama-filled relationship, even after I kicked him to the curb.
Symptom: Easy distractibility; trouble focusing attention.
Teowonna: That’s why I’m writing this blog right now instead of doing something that is far more important.
Symptom: Tendency to tune out or drift away in the middle of a page or conversation, often coupled with an inability to focus at times.
Teowonna: I can’t stand long conference calls or meetings. I have no trouble tuning people out who are saying something I don’t want to hear.
Symptom: A sense of underachievement, of not meeting one’s goals (regardless of how much one has actually accomplished).
Teowonna: Don’t let this confident façade fool you. I constantly replay things over and over in my mind, searching for things I’ve done wrong.
Symptom: Impatient; low tolerance of frustration.
Teowonna: I’m quick to kick a fool to the curb. Did I say good night? I meant good bye!
Symptom: A sense of insecurity.
Teowonna: Nobody loves me.
Symptom: Impulsive, either verbally or in action, as an impulsive spending of money.
Teowonna: Impulsive in action and verbally, for sure. In spending money? If I had it, I’m sure I could spend it impulsively.
Symptom: A tendency to worry needlessly, endlessly; a tendency to scan the horizon looking for something to worry about, alternating with attention to or disregard for actual dangers.
Teowonna: This is the worst for me. Even when things are good, I find something to worry about. All the things I worry about seldom happen… and usually never as bad as I imagined.
Symptom: Chronic problems with self-esteem.
Teowonna: I maul things over time and time again in my head. I replay conversations constantly.
Symptom: Mood swings, especially when disengaged from a person or a project.
Teowonna: If I don’t have a ton of projects falling off my plate, I feel useless and confused. Did I already say no body love me?
Symptom: A tendency toward addictive behavior.
Teowonna: That’s why I’ve never taken any drugs, weed, nothing (other than a little red wine). I might like it too much!
Symptom: Inaccurate self-observation.
Teowonna: Most people think they are better than they actually are. I usually think I am worse that I actually am.
Symptom: Family history of AD/HD or manic depressive illness or depression or substance abuse or other disorders of impulse control or mood.
Teowonna: On my paternal side.
Symptom: Often creative, intuitive, highly intelligent.
Teowonna: This makes everything else 100% worth it!



Ok, I think we must be twins because I have ALL of the symptoms as well! As I think back throughout my years of school, I am so glad I was naturally smart because sometimes I can't believe I was as successful as I was! I could never sit and read a book - even reading a chapter was excruiating! And studying? No way! I could never sit long enough to do it, so I always crammed!!

Even though I was never medically diagnosed, I know I must have some form of ADD. I started asking myself why I ALWAYS procrastinated, why I ALWAYS did everything at the 24th hour, why I'm so EASILY distracted, why the bad relationships, etc (like I said, I identified with every symptom). Even though it is a daily struggle to combat the symptoms, I do it with a smile because I know I'm not the only person who deals with this. It is true when people say, "Knowing is half the battle", therefore, I continue to fight the battle, knowing I've done it all the prior years without acknowledging it. As far as being naturally "kooky", it's what makes me "Angel", and everyone that knows me knows I will always be just that - ME!! I came clean about my issues a few years ago, and my mom told me about her similar hinderances, so we've come to understand each other better.

Thanks for bringing this issue to light, Teowonna...I can definitely relate. Delete Reply

This was a great blog. I know that if the diagnosis was popular when I was a child, they would say I was a classic case. I still am at 34. I have most of the symptoms now and constantly tell people that I know I am ADD. I am easily bored and if a relationship doesn't move in the right direction, well I just move on. I am also a procrastinator and can't get it together until the last minute. I'm so happy I am not the only adult running around with this problem. Delete Reply

Angel: thanks for your comments. We had a lot more in common when we were in school than I realized. Now that I think back, a lot of my behavior makes so much more sense. Like you said, knowing is half the battle. Now I can temper my behavior down with my new awareness. But I still have some things I just can't control, even with my awareness.

Tawanda: yes, there are many out there with this condition. Clearly it doesn't mean we can't be successful, we just have to find alternatives to reaching the same goals. Delete Reply

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