Thrive Global

Monica Taylor/ Business Coach/On Air personality

How I learned to Survive and Thrive with my life long ADHD

It wasn’t until My divorce and I started dating and making new friends that i truly realized how different I was. New friends would jokingly make comments about my at times over the top energy, switching topics and extreme multitasking abilities. Apparently having a friend with ADD can be a blast! What i had for years considered normal (having being married for years to a person who also lived with ADHD and two children who were just like us) was really very different and noticeable.

I acknowledged my experience in school growing up was “interesting” and “challenging” but they weren’t as quick to label or diagnose 35 years ago. I went to private school and spoke 4 languages conversationally by 4th grade BUT could not do basic punctuation or write readable notes for class. I could teach myself how to read music but couldn’t pass test in history because that required reading comprehension on a topic I didn’t care about. I spell so badly I often lie and tell people I am dyslexic (no seriously). I would sit down to do Homework and daydream or doodle for an hour not being able to focus. I quickly learned to cram to pass my test. Retain information the night before a test to pass and never really ingest the information. I learned to cope. I hated not getting great grades in most subjects but I found other ways to make myself feel special and smart. College was a lot easier for me because I could use my opinion more instead of facts, i had more time to prepare and I could learned to simply paraphrase what professor taught in those little damn blue books.

I became what you call “a jock of all trades but a master of none” I could pick up and learn quickly most things considered creative. That was language, music and sports and of course my personality. I learn mostly through experience as many people with ADD/ADHD will tell you. We don’t always function so practically, so we often tend to be more fearless and crave experience to learn because we don’t learn or obtain information as well in traditional ways. This trait allowed me to live what i consider an interesting life.

I loved activities —Dance, gymnastics and Ice skating which was my sport of choice, because i could learn at my own pace and on my own scale. 5 years ago I returned to sports and found a place with people similar to me. I played soccer and women professional football (yes just like the NFL) and many of the women like me take drinks and supplements to help with focus and control energy. They also crave the excitement and freedom of expression sports can give you. If I was literal and practical and void of my ADD Im not sure I would be so fearless or search for a place to feel good because I can’t always excel in places society considers “Normal”.

The other side is not as pretty. I leave a trail of projects and opportunities unfinished, I crave excitement and dread boredom. I often feel like I’m in a constant FOG, its a challenge to follow directions, and having patience is painful for me. Simple task send me into a tizzy (you don’t want to see me at the Post office, I hyperventilate) If a task takes many steps, and those steps are dependent on each other and there are rules to how to complete the task….. I promise you I will pass out (or at least pretend to so I can get out of it). Having children has made me face and find ways to deal with my ADHD Kids have a way to inspire us to do better.

Although I was never diagnosed, I knew i was different but i adapted on my own. I became a television producer. A career where I could excel with my strengths. Reading people, talking, persuasion, each week started a new episode, topic or idea. This allowed me to be creative, never get bored and to be hyper focused on a new topic constantly. Later i started my own Production company and was able to hire people to fill in for my major deficiencies. Spelling, keeping on schedule and reeling me in from doing 4 things at once. I use tools to help me like tonics and aids for focus. Everyday I have to have an outline for my day or I will just wander through the entire day. I definitely have to work hard to complete task and bring things to a close. I also have learned that people like me tend to have best friends who are very much like us, making it easier to deal with our sometimes overbearing traits.

Although I was never diagnosed until I was an adult, I understand why some may need medication to help them function and fit in better. Medication has helped during challenging times in my life, but i choose not to take medication regularly. Its a personal choice. Maybe I’ve learned (and am still learning) how to embrace what makes me different. Bottom line is you have to learn to deal with yourself.

Everyday is a challenge but I wouldn’t change a thing about who I am ADD and all, maybe because I don’t know anything else. (or maybe i cant focus long enough to be regretful 🙂