National Alliance on Mental Illness
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My Story: Barbara French
I am 72 years old, but at age 7, no one could get me to sit down. Because I couldnít focus, I was flying all over the place; I would fidget and school was very difficult. I did not get good grades in elementary school or high school. School was a disaster; so I educated myself. I loved to readóI still doóand I read a lot of books. Thatís where I got my knowledge.
Many people think that ADHD stops after a certain age, but it doesnít. All my life, I have been forgetful. I will be sewing a dress and think about a word that I donít know the definition of, then go look that word up in a dictionary, and that leads me to something else. I always have three or four things going on at once.
As for jobs, at first I mainly worked in offices. But I didnít last very long anywhere because I would forget where I would put things. The more stress and pressure from my job, the more I would forget. I would flip from one job to another usually after six months to a year and then I realized that I wasnít looking for the right kind of jobs. I needed something that was good for me, so I worked at a library for eight or nine years. It was heaven.
Before I started working in the library, I thought I was a flop and that was bad for my self esteem. At the library, I was in my glory. From there, I discovered NAMI and found out about my disorder.
I live with ADHD and bipolar disease, but I only take medication for bipolar because of the interactions of the medications. I am used to it, I live with it. Itís not easy, but I learn to go with the flow.
There are many things I do very well. I am a great entrepreneur. I am unorganized and I may have to do something twice, but I just look at the great things that I can do. Everyone has talents, you just have to find them. If the job doesnít fit who you are, you have to find another job. Find a job that works for you, motivates you. Something that you love that way you can focus.
ADHD is a gift because you can think of more than one thing at a time. To me, thatís an attribute. Finding the right job was a turning point in my life, and, in life, doing what you love means itís going to be a success story.