It was around eleven by the time I got home from school that night. As I opened the door to our two-bedroom condo my wife was sitting on the sofa with our second child in her arms.
“I have something to show you,” she said as she stood to put the baby in his crib. She seemed a little apprehensive, not so much that I was alarmed, but it was obvious she was worried about my reaction to what she had to show me. As she stood, the book she had been reading fell to the floor, and it was then that I had a pretty good idea of what was to come. A few weeks earlier her sister had given her a book about ADHD, and she had hinted a number of times that I ought to read it. She would read little excerpts from it to me occasionally and ask my opinion. Or suggest that so and so had such and such a characteristic, and on occasion even suggest that such and such a characteristic sounded like me. I would just humor her and agree, or act offended, depending on how close to home she was hitting.
When she emerged from the kids’ bedroom she walked over to the computer and turned it on. While she waited for it to boot, she began explaining that the author of the book had a website, and that she had been on it- and actually taken a test on my behalf. She explained that the author had categorized ADHD into six different subcategories, and that according to the test I fell into the “inattentive” category. I was skeptical. I had taken on-line tests before and… really? I doubted its accuracy, and… who was she to be taking a test for me anyway!?
We were using dial-up internet at the time- so it took a while for everything to load, which was okay because it provided her plenty of time to explain herself and reassure me that she was not trying to offend me in anyway. She knew this could be a sensitive issue for me, and she was very careful with how she worded everything. I think she had been thinking for weeks about how to have this conversation and the test provided for her the opportunity, that is to say, emotionally unattached proof.
Turns out that, as we sat in front of the computer screen my skepticism began to shrink. The test seemed legit, it was fairly extensive, and it needed to be down loaded from the authors’ web site- which was professional and well done. He claimed to be an expert on ADHD, and I had no proof to say otherwise, so… Here we go!
Although, I resisted admitting yes to some of the characteristics, it didn’t take her long before she could think of example after example for each question I wanted to answer no to. “Do you frequently misplace things?” for example, is one that I wanted to deny emphatically, but she had way too many instances to refer to, and soon, it was time for me to just face the hard cold facts, although mostly perfect in every way… I was flawed.
The idea took some getting used to. People thought it was funny and endearing when I would lose my wallet or keys. And people like getting teased… even when they say they don’t- right? Everyone gets distracted sometimes don’t they?
Then there was another set of questions to deal with. What will my family think? What will her family think? Is this something I should be ashamed of? What causes ADHD, and what are the treatment options? Why have I lived this much of my life without knowing? (I was in my late twenties at the time) I knew kids in school who had ADHD, was I one of them?! So, now what?
It was a late night for us by the time we made it into bed. We had fun going through the test a few more times, thinking of loved ones who matched the characteristics of this or that sub-category, and me coming to the realization that getting some help may improve my chances of actually finishing school, and being more efficient at work. I was especially glad for my sweetheart of a wife, who was very careful with me, and was able to help me come to the realization of my “condition” in a loving and caring way. Thanks honey!!
To be continued…