ADD, ADHD…whatever

Steve-0546I am not sure of the terminology here but I have been diagnosed with ADD (or ADHD, I am not entirely sure what the difference is or if there even is a difference). For awhile, I was more or less in denial driven by shame.

To start at the beginning, I was listening to a woman complain about her husband who, she said was ADHD and I thought, That’s me. So I went online to take a short test and I aced it.  Now the problem with ADD tests is that they are like Enneagram tests in that they are about self-identified behavior making it pretty easy to influence the answer in the direction you feel is right. Typical questions are Do you have an unusually acute sense of smell and sensitivity to touch? or Do you go off on tangents easily? Michele said Those tests mean nothing, if you really think you are ADD, you should talk to an expert.

I went to a Neurologist who has ADD and is an expert and he tested me. The expert also gave me a book about ADHD to read. One of the things the book said, in the preface and then the first chapter, or so, is something like, If you are ADHD, you probably won’t finish this book but you should read Chapter 11 and take the test in Chapter 4. Humm, the not finishing the book did sound like me and the stories even more so. After not finishing the book, I went back to the expert.

He prescribed Bupropion. Now I am not entirely sure that I even believe in ADD just like I am not entirely sure I believe in the Enneagram. But, I am sure that I am a Nine on the Enneagram, that I am not sure I believe in, and I am sure that my behavior is ADDesque.  But, when the expert prescribed Bupropion, I really went into denial. I have seen too many movies when somebody says Watch out, he is off his meds, and the whole thing sort of reminded me of Ann Hathaway just getting out of rehab in Rachel Getting Married or Bradley Cooper in Silver Linings Playbook. To say that there is a high level of shame involved, is an understatement.

According to the expert and the book, some of the symptoms of ADD are “zoning out” without realizing it, even in the middle of a conversation and struggling to complete tasks, even ones that seem simple. Over the years, I like to think that I have been good at covering up these symptoms, but I know they are there. Another symptom is a tendency to overlook details, leading to errors or incomplete work and I know that is the reason I had failed the so-called Louisiana literacy test. Both the expert and the book said that these symptoms could be alleviated by the Bupropion and hope and curiosity have led me to give it a try.

I figured, while I am at it, I might as well quit all intoxicants, none of which are supposed to help. So, here I am, a clean and sober, out of the closet, ADDer on  Bupropion.


11 thoughts on “ADD, ADHD…whatever

  1. And all of us who know you love you, and this probably contributes to your charm, humor, creativity and insights.

  2. Hi Steve:

    I love this post. I have no idea if I have ADD or not…I just figured I’m a seven on the Enneagram that neither of us is sure we believe in. Maybe these are just symptoms of our respective signs, I don’t know. I do zone out in the middle of things (thinking about something I’d rather be doing usually) and that goes double for when my (suspected) Nine boss is explaining something. She tends to give more detail than I need and then off I go…..

    I hope you’ll do a follow up and let us know how this progresses with the medication.

    Love ya!


  3. Somehow neither of these pictures look like the Steve Stern I know. I picture you either with a big smile or looking very serious, both ways looking intensely interested in the conversation. Top picture you look sorta vacant; lower picture, sorta depressed. Hope the new meds aren’t a downer.


  4. Hi Robin, it is great to hear from you. Thinking other people are going on too long and going off on a tangent while not getting to the point is supposed to be symptom. But who knows, Nines do ramble anyway.

    So far the Bupropion seems to be giving me more energy. I feel slightly caffeinated much of the day.

    Linda, the top picture is supposed to look vacant and colorless. In the bottom picture, if I look depressed it is an optical illusion, I was having a great time with my friend Gina at the Oakland Museum.

    As I am becoming more accepting of my ADD, I am starting to realize it is like almost everything, it has both a dark side and a bright side. I think Michele is right, people with ADD are often very creative and insightful. Often I know the answer to a problem but have no idea how I got there.


    1. Having the answer, or some insight, and not knowing how we got there, is very typical of us Body Types. Believe it or not.

  5. Steve, my son was diagnosed his junior year in college. It explained his entire life. He spent a week on Ritalin and was blown away by the difference in his focusing ability, but declined to continue, because he had just signed a contract with the USMC, and knew they would not allow him to fly if he was on it. I asked him how the hell he was going to get through flight school, and he answered that he would just have to dig down and make it happen. Which he did. He felt he actually was a better pilot because of his ability to “multi-focus.” He is still highly distractible, and has very high energy (the “H” part – hyper-active… he always played two sports every season, was a rower in college, and works out obsessively now.)

    The doc we went to explained that whereas dyslexia and some other “learning disabilities” could be compared to a hardware problem, ADD(H)D is a software problem. Such folks (predominately men) are typically very bright and creative. I prefer to think of them as “differently abled.”

    Mark suffered a lot of shame too, but has given that up. I recommend doing that.

    With love,

  6. Gail, I didn’t know that your son is a pilot. I somehow thought he was a grunt. What did/does he fly?

    The funny thing about going public is that it takes away the shame. It is hard to be outed when somebody is already out of the closet.

    1. Hah! So true. He is a Huey pilot. Now out of the Corps, but flying on a State Department contract in Afgh. But he’s home at the moment, and getting married on Sunday!!

    1. LOL! Yes, many he flew were indeed VietNam era, refurbished. She’s a real workhorse. They are now producing new ones though, but Mark says they don’t “sound right.”

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