Recognize the signs – GIRLS + ADHD

Cover of "Wild Girls"

Cover of Wild Girls

I have to know…do you recognize yourself in the following article, The Truth About Girls and ADHD, taken from the ADDITUDE online magazine and written by Maureen Connelly?

My musings are first, then the link to the magazine appears, then the entire article has been pasted for you to read.  Hopefully you don’t get bored before you finish…my apologies if you do.

As a young girl, even as a pre-1 year old, I talked excessively about anything and everything that popped into my head.  Amusing and considered precocious before school age, it became a source of endless punishment throughout my school years as I was unable to prevent my thoughts from escaping through my mouth and was then considered disrespectful, confrontational and sassy.  I also engaged in reckless, thoughtless acts that could have killed a less resilient child.  I remained undiagnosed until the age of 56!!!  I did not repeat a grade because I outperformed everyone in the class on every test ever given to me until junior high/high school, where I stopped performing in the subjects that did not hold my attention thereby leading to a great deal of punishment for getting 99% in some things and 0% in others…no middle of the road 50% or 60% for me.  I just flat-out didn’t do it if I wasn’t interested.  I never brought homework nor a school book to my home.  By the time school was over each day I was OUT OF THERE like a rocket and there no possible chance that I would even think to bring something home with me!  I even often forgot my coat, boots etc. and a purse…forget that!  I lost more stuff by trying to carry a purse forced upon me by my parents with warnings for the dire consequences if lost than I can even begin to remember:)  And I will even admit that I often would get to school with the new purse, stuff the contents in my various pockets and toss that purse in the trashcan LMAO  Rebel without a cause, that’s me in a nutshell.  I was described as being “overly sensitive” by my siblings, heartless by people who disliked me and extremely moody, unpredictable and hard to handle by adults when I was a teenager.  I indulged myself with complete disregard for the rules, swallowed any street drug offered to me in an attempt to self medicate (so I’m told now) and engaged in some dangerous behaviour with harmful consequences to myself.  As an adult I was diagnosed with depression, PTSD, anxiety disorder and underwent unsuccessful treatments involving numerous antidepressants before anyone thought of testing me for ADHD.  As for social interactions in high school…well, lets just clarify that I was not part of a group, not even the misfits wanted me in their group.  I had zero friends in junior high and 1 girl who tried to be my friend in high school.  The “bad boy” guys practically lined up for a chance to go out with me, which only disappointed them all in the end because of my carelessness, thoughtlessness and complete self-involvement.  Hard for them to feel special to me when I wouldn’t seem to even see them as they passed by, even forgetting who they were if they suddenly appeared in my line of sight while I was “somewhere in my head”.  Poor guys.  All they wanted was to feel loved and cherished…and a piece of tail.  Sorry boys.  None of you were interesting enough to hole my attention long enough to get that involved.  So, in the end, the girls hated me and the boys were intimidated by me.  Which meant I was alone most of the time.

All of the above is now known to be directly linked to ADD/ADHD.  Back then, no one knew…everyone just thought I was BAD NEWS.  I knew something was different about me but not that something was wrong, imagining I was from some strange universe, separate and distinct from everyone else. A fish out of water.  I always believed everyone else was at fault, not me.  Think that is confidence?  Think again.  The only thing I was confident and certain about was that I WAS DIFFERENT.  That’s it.  Nothing else.  I doubted myself and my abilities my whole life.  Another ADD/ADHD trait, underachiever, never reaching my potential or even knowing what my potential was.  

Clicking the link below will bring you to the online magazine where this article appears.

http://www.additudemag.com/adhd-web/article/4896.html

Anyway, read on, recognize yourself and perhaps some of the younger members of your family.  Maybe, just maybe, you can help some young girl before they screw up their life.  Hey, it’s worth a shot, right?

“A Harris Interactive poll of 3,234 people conducted by Patricia Quinn, M.D., director of theNational Center for Gender Issues and ADHD, and Sharon Wigal, Ph.D., associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the University of California at Irvine, shines some light on the gender inequality around ADHD. Here are some of their findings…

  • Four out of 10 teachers report more difficulty in recognizing ADHD symptoms in girls than in boys, who they believe are more likely to exhibit behavioral problems.
  • Girls are more likely than boys to be asked to repeat a grade due to poor school performance rather than undergo an evaluation for ADHD or LD (and then seek diagnosis and treatment). “A year later, the girl is no better off because she still hasn’t figured out the source of her problems,” says Dr. Quinn.
  • Girls with ADHD tend to have more mood disorders, anxiety, and self-esteem problems than non-ADHD girls. And girls were three times more likely than boys to report taking antidepressants prior to being diagnosed with ADHD.
  • Due to social pressures and cultural expectations, girls seem more compelled than boys to get their schoolwork done. Generally speaking, they want to please more than boys, and they’re expected to do well in school. Therefore, ADHD symptoms may not become overly apparent until middle or high school, when the work requirements increase dramatically.

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