Monday, October 09, 2006

WJZ: Healthwatch - ADD and ADHD - Harnessing the Power of ADHD

WJZ: Healthwatch - ADD and ADHD - Harnessing the Power of ADHD:

"With information about this disorder spreading quickly, many adults are suddenly realizing that their previously unexplainable childhood and adult problems may have stemmed from ADHD. Jergen, now in his late 30s, didn’t have a name for his problems until he was 22, and ironically, taking a class on special education.

But, as Jergen explains in his book, The Little Monster, the signs started much earlier.

'As soon as my eyes would pop open after a nap, the crib would start to tremble and [my mother] would always know when the little monster was awake.' says Jergen.

Growing Up Different
The nickname 'little monster' was bestowed upon Robert as he destroyed everything in his path; his parents just didn’t understand that he couldn’t control his actions. Jergen describes numerous situations where he would impulsively throw a knife, dismantle a lamp or toss lit matches at a model ship, each time thinking a moment too late, 'Now that wasn’t such a good idea.'

It’s not that Jergen didn’t know right from wrong; he just acted without realizing. And being hypersensitive, like many other ADHD children, Jergen’s head is still filled with his mother saying over and over, 'Jesus Christ, give me strength! You are such a rotten kid!' even though he is not entirely sure if she ever said it more than once.

It was the constant disappointment and scolding, both at school and at home, and constant comparisons to his athletic, intelligent, sweet brothers that caused a slow slide into depression.

'I always heard, ’Rob, I love you, but you don’t do what you’re told, you don’t finish what you start, you do things without thinking,’' he says. 'And what I grew up hearing was, ’I really don’t love you, but I would, if you would stop doing this.’'

By eighth grade, Jergen had twice attempted suicide.

The Lowest Point
Jergen’s outlook improved after meeting an accepting group of friends in high school, but the hopelessness returned in college when he fell in with a group who called themselves the 'All-American Drinking Team.'"
Jergen, typical of those with ADHD, found alcohol to be the one tool that could be used to quiet his head, which helped him concentrate in class, improve his grades and calm his constant anxiety over how he appeared to others. But alcohol also brought out years worth of pent-up rage. So, after an ugly night at a bar, Jergen realized he had to stop drinking.

Gee, I know someone with ADD who drinks alot...

With the drinking stopped, Jergen’s head became noisy again. And while he loved his job teaching adolescents with special needs, it was the quiet paperwork, long meetings and coworkers angry with his antics that made work miserable. The stress was quickly driving Jergen back to alcohol and depression.

To try to stem the tide, Jergen returned to school, where he last felt most comfortable. It would be here that he would receive an answer to all of his problems.

A Wall of TVs
At the beginning of a master’s program, Jergen’s condition became steadily worse. Rude comments would just pop out of his mouth without him even realizing.

Gee, I know someone with ADD who is rude and deosn't think about what she says.

He once poked his boss in a thin patch of hair and proclaimed "bald spot!" Unable to concentrate on any of his reading assignments, unable to control his actions or even his mind, Jergen was again considering suicide.

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