Our ADHD Story
When we met, my husband, Duane, didn’t know he had ADHD. We met on a blind date and followed that with a whirlwind romance.
Courting, Duane was attentive and hyperfocused on me. One day he surprised me. He skipped school and whisked me away for a day exploring the quaint shops and cafés of Old Montreal. It shocked me when, exactly one month after our first date, he asked me to marry him. Though not as surprised as I was when I responded, “Yes!”
But that wasn’t the end of his recklessness and thrill seeking. He was impulsive in every area of his life. They threw him out of the army, and he roamed from job to job – sales, clerk, programmer, teacher, project manager…
Neither of us recognized the signs of ADHD. His quirky sense of humor. His sense of adventure. His ability to hyperfocus on something new and exciting (our relationship!) These, combined with his impulsivity, marked the beginning of a lifelong journey.
He’s brilliant, and more than capable. He throws himself into anything that interests him. But he followed a consistent pattern. At work, he’d get bored, or worse, get promoted. When he’s bored, he quits. And after a promotion, he’s soon overwhelmed. He still leaves, but not by choice!
The first time he quit his job, I freaked out! I was home with our 3-month-old daughter. I had no idea how we’d pay the mortgage! I felt terrified, vulnerable, and helpless.
Duane is laser-focused in a crisis. That’s the only time! So, he scrambled and landed three part-time jobs to keep money coming in. But I was a wreck anticipating his next “career suicide.”
He kept jumping from job to job. We moved across the country (twice) chasing his latest “opportunity of a lifetime.” Finally, I put my foot down. I told him he had to pick a job and stick to it!
He loved his new job, but they promoted him! Overwhelmed, he couldn’t deliver. He worked day and night, but couldn’t plan his time, get organized or follow through. Despite all this work, they demoted him. He felt shame because of ADHD
At home, things weren’t any better. Duane didn’t pull his weight. My full-time job and caring for our two young daughters were already overwhelming. When I asked for help with household chores, he seemed sincere when he’d say Yes. But then he wouldn’t deliver. I didn’t want to nag, so when reminders got no results, I’d do it myself. It felt like I was the only adult.
I also noticed my youngest daughter was struggling with school. She couldn’t pay attention; she couldn’t sit still and so on. In 1994, she was diagnosed, at the age of six, with ADHD and severe learning disabilities.
As devoted parents, we did what we could. We read everything we could but there wasn’t much at the time. Duane found a book by Dr. Hallowell and Dr. John Ratey, “Driven to Distraction”. We discovered ADHD is genetic and continues into adulthood. And Duane could have been the poster child for adult ADHD! We finally had an explanation for everything we’d gone through.
Duane’s diagnosis in 1997 explained his many job changes. Our terrible financial issues made sense. We knew why he couldn’t manage his time. His constant struggles to keep his commitments and deliver… anything. It explained his poor memory. It also explained his emotional volatility. He lived with guilt and a huge amount of shame. But we found out he was not alone.
Despite our financial issues, we knew we needed specialized help. He learned more about his ADHD. And found out about coaching to help solve ADHD issues. After starting with an ADHD coach, things started to look up for us. It was slow going – you can’t change everything at once. But the improvement I saw at the end of a month gave me a glimmer of hope. I made sure we “found” the funds for him to continue coaching.
Then we “cracked the code.” Duane realized he had to work with his Creative Genius brain instead of against it. It was a real breakthrough. It didn’t happen overnight. We read every book there was on ADHD. We followed several different ADHD experts. I trained to become an ADHD coach myself. We went to conferences, webinars and more. I continue to stay up to date on new research on ADHD and to sharpen my skills as a coach and trainer.
Duane not only had a plan to achieve his goals, but he also had the tools to put that plan into action. At work things turned around. Within two years, he became Vice President of Production. He also became a present father and a true life-partner to me. Our relationship grew and, not only are we best friends, he’s my soul mate.
And his improved productivity allowed him the time needed to pursue his passion: art. Duane is a talented creative artist.
Duane and I now work as a team. We’re committed to helping other adults with ADHD reach their potential. We now know what it takes. And so, we offer training, ADHD group coaching and community. Everything a Creative Genius needs to grow.