I've read a lot of stories over the years about how adults discovered they had ADD. Mine began in an Irish bar somewhere in Atlanta.
Eight years ago this December, The Employer sent me to Atlanta for a Monday morning meeting. For once, I didn't mind giving up my Sunday afternoon to travel, because I was going to get to see my friend J. who lived there. Shortly after I arrived, he picked me up at my hotel and gave me a tour of the city, which sparkled with twinkling Christmas lights. We then chatted nonstop over dinner at a Thai restaurant, and then retired to a nearby pub to continue catching up.
At some point while we drank our pints, J. set down his glass and unknowingly changed my life by saying, "I think I have ADD." His disclosure surprised me; after all, that's a kid problem, right? J.'s not the type to dart around restaurants like a banshee.
I asked him why he thought that, and he said that he'd been having problems focusing at work. He'd often get distracted and couldn't get anything done. If he heard someone in the next cube speaking, he'd lose his train of thought.
I told him that, to me, it didn't sound like he had ADD. Why? Because I was exactly the same way, that's why. In college, I always had to study in the library and keep away from the whisperers who would distract me. At work, I often couldn't focus on the task at hand, but I chalked it up to not being as interested in it as I was in, say, fashion magazines. But that wasn't ADD, I said. And you certainly don't see me running amok!
J. then told me about a book he'd read called "Driven to Distraction". He said that when he read it, he felt like the book described what he was going through at work. He also noted that ADD's not just a kid thing; it also afflicts adults. That surprised me, as I'd never heard that before.
J. planned to see a psychiatrist after the holidays to get an official diagnosis. To my knowledge, I didn't know of any friend of mine who had seen a psychiatrist, and so I wanted to be as supportive as I could. I told J. that I would check out the book he'd read in order to learn more about what he was going through.
When I came home from my trip, I borrowed "Driven to Distraction" from the library. Midway through reading the first chapter, I burst into tears. I felt that the book had been written about me.