Tuesday, July 6, 2010

John and Abby: Solving the "Problem with No Name"

This July 4, my husband and I celebrated our 12th anniversary.  Compared to couples married 30, 40 or even the 50 years of my parents' marriage, 12 years is hardly remarkable unless you figure in unrecognized ADHD.
     As I joked to my friends on Facebook: "We can credit the fact that we're still married—and happily so—to equal parts brutal honesty, teeth-gnashing, affection, shared interests, sense of humor, and inertia."  
     Mostly, though, we can credit keen ADHD awareness. To see our wedding photo and read my interview with a reporter from Health.com, click here. (Notice in the photo that I am clearly in the dripline of the double-umbrella my new husband is holding; let's just say that is rather symbolic of the early days of our marriage, when his ADHD was flying well beneath the radar screen yet still having an impact.)
     In many ways, we are like the couple whose story I share below, John and Abby, excerpted from Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D.?:

Thirty years ago, at age 13, John set his sights on becoming a computer scientist. Despite almost flunking out of high school, he went on to earn his doctorate. It required Herculean effort, though, and tanks of ulcer-inducing coffee, not to mention a tunnel-vision focus that eclipsed a social life and other healthy habits. [Note: That's a caffeine IV in the illustration at left.]
      Sure, John noticed that other students, many less intelligent than he, didn’t suffer concentration problems like his. But he thought it was just his nature, something unchangeable. Upon finally leaving academia’s structure for the business environment, John found himself constantly on the outs with managers for missed deadlines, miscommunications, and an uncooperative attitude.