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Old 06-18-17, 12:19 AM
ReeceTheR ReeceTheR is offline

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New to this forum! Coped with ADD all of my life...

My name is Reece. I'm 18 years old, and I have dealt with ADD for all 18 of those years. I was a carefree child, a mess of a preteen, and an artistic, emotionally intelligent, laid back teen with bad prioritization and practical intelligence. Though, I'm sure "intelligence" was auto-corrected in that last sentence with profound irony. I apologize for writing a novel, but hear me out.

As I start my first job and continue to learn about financial chaos as a legal, not so functioning, adult, The fact that a new era of my life is in it's humble beginnings is really starting to settle in. I struggled through high school. I had trouble turning in work, I couldn't grasp certain topics, and the environment of the United States school system in the context of academic competition and high standards for what's considered "successful", was just not an environment for me. So, I chose not to chase any college. And of course, as a fresh graduate, my answer to the question of "Are you planning on going to college?" is always met with the same reaction. You know, the "oohh... honey!" reaction. A lot of why it wasn't for me was because of the way my brain is wired. I'm an extremely, creatively active person. I drew cartoons and wrote comics as a kid. I, later, sparked a love for film-making and short video production. Later down the line, I gained a knack for acting and I've held onto voice acting as a dream job for years now. And in the last four years, I've been extremely passionate about comedy and writing music. I was on the improv comedy club team all throughout high school. The improv team was born in my freshman year and I was an original member from the beginning. Our team gained attention from professionals like the Upright Citizens Brigade from NYC and LA, allowing for me and the team to work with amazing comedians including the improv rap group, "North Coast". This coming weekend, my, now graduated, improv team of 5 will perform at DCM, which is a professional improv comedy festival in New York City.

I'm also a developing musician, something I never thought I'd be doing. In my adolescence, music was extremely personal and important to me. I would relate different music, emotionally, to different aspects of my life to the point where I just started writing my own music! (Here's a song that, for me, is what it sounds like to live with ADD- I've developed a progressive metal and ambient project called "Project R", with one album finished (with, admittedly, poor production/mixing) and another album on the way with a much better mix. My music, comedy, and film work is on my YouTube channel titled "RFR Films" including my current comedy project, "Reece Reviews". My second channel, "RFR Extras" is home to my many extra oddities, including my popular "YouTube Poop" videos.

So, I had to get all that ego stroking and shameless plugging out because, yes, it all has roots in my ADD. I was diagnosed with ADD in 2014 and with depression in 2016. I've been seeing a therapist and have been taking a prescribed stimulant. The medication really helps me focus and have a good grasp on my perspective. I was always aware of my ADD's affect on me, but I have never been more aware than now. That is because I've been objectively able to see the different versions of myself on and off the stimulant. I've noticed that a personality trait of me off of it is that I can't just like something, I have to obsess over it. When influenced by ADD, I always transcend my interests to passions.

Two things made me realize this: My creative compulsions, and my social life history (particularly with love). When I was in middle school, I liked a girl who was gay. But my fascination in her became a very unhealthy obsession. I later became friends with her, but made really destructive decisions and unintentionally did hurtful things as a result of my growing, unhealthy obsession. What I wasn't aware of, was that eventually, it wasn't her that I loved anymore, it was the idea of having her positively apart of my life in some way. I thought so much of her and I held her to such a high pedestal that I was obsessed with being a positive figure in her life because it made me feel like a good person. It was selfish, destructive, ignorant, and desperate. And most of the time, I was unaware of what I was doing. I just thought that I doing the best for her, when really, the best for her was to not force myself into her life. I should've gotten the hint when I first found out that she liked girls to begin with.

After too many "final straw" moments for her, she ended the friendship, and completely cut off me off from her life, all in the most unfriendly way possible... and I endlessly applaud her for that. I bring it up because that was such a significant learning experience in my life, so far. It practically changed the way I look at relationships, differing viewpoints, emotional integrity, and, really, my overall perspective on human beings and life itself. Through trying to figure out what went wrong in that whole thing, I had gained a sense of self awareness. This was the most significant process in my life regarding my emotional intelligence. When I became self aware, reflecting on that situation with that girl, I quickly learned that I was undoubtedly a terrible person. Manipulative, egomaniacal, and ignorant, to name a few words that came to mind. As a result, I quickly spiraled into a crippling, deep depression. I was a freshman in high school around this time when I was reflecting. I didn't have many friends, as I'd lost a lot of them in my fallout with that girl. I had spent too much time alone with my thoughts, which was extremely dark, twisted, and often frighting. But, not because I was insane, but because I was scared by how much I was finding out about myself, the world around me, and how I heavily impacted people that I cared about in a very negative way. When you have to live with knowing that you stomped all over someone else just to grow, that changes you.

It was also around this time when I was first diagnosed with ADD. It was freshman year and grades started to matter. I was falling behind and my emotional struggles crippled my ability to function healthily. Having ADD explained a lot about my strange behaviors and often compulsive nature. Of course, it wasn't an excuse to hide behind, but it definitely factored into why my efforts regarding anything in my life at the time was just failure after failure after failure. I was not treated and went for almost 2 more years, as I like to jokingly call it, "under the influence of a dangerous drug called ADD". I went the rest of high school analyzing and discovering, and just learning how to improve myself and become a better person. And it certainly worked. I've become pretty emotionally intelligent to a certain extent and I continue to learn new things and to learn positive lessons from mistakes.

In 2016, I opened up about my speculation that I had depression, and eventually I was diagnosed. I had gotten a therapist and we came to the conclusion that my depression is a result of my ADD, so we medicated that. As with everything that I enjoy doing, that self observation behavior became an obsession. It may seem like a good thing to be obsessed with my own emotional identity and emotional intelligence, but it's not. It often leads to over thinking things, insecurity, existential crisis' and etc. etc. I often see myself, currently, as pretentious, pseudo-intelligent, and maybe like I'm too worried with how I present myself as almost a "stage" personality. I feel like everyday is always me me me me.

In the past, my ego was channeled through destructive and socially unhealthy behaviors. But now, my ego is channeled through how I present myself, my control over my emotions, my creative projects, how I articulate myself, and just generally being that pretentious hippy nerd who plugs his ambient music on Bandcamp and has a colorful nebula with some stupid quote as his Facebook cover photo as he posts nothing but emotional song lyrics. We all know a guy like that. I'm that guy. I'm obsessed with myself.

As I transition into adulthood, I feel afraid. I'm not exactly sure how my personality translates into the adult world and I often feel like I don't have a place in society. as a kid, I wanted to be a cartoonist. as a preteen, I wanted to be a filmmaker. Then I wanted to be a voice actor, and then after that yet, a musician or a comedian. I found that the reason I do so many different things with my creative ambition instead of focusing on and developing one skill, is because of my ADD. Someone described ADD as starting a project out of a passion for it and then immediately starting a different project out of a new passion for that before even finishing the first one. Rinse and repeat. I know that I want to be in the entertainment business, and I wanna make a living doing something that I love.

I've gotten my first job recently at a hardware store. I'm realizing that I bit off more than I could chew. I know absolutely nothing of home improvement and hardware, and I have no interest. But suddenly, it's my job to know, and I feel like I can't provide. But I only have these heavy worries when off of my stimulant. I often fear the "blue collar" lifestyle in these moments. My family doesn't have a lot of money and I'm skipping college. Where I want to take my life requires a lot of breaking the status quo and doing things big and risky. I just want to be happy, and I'm happy making a living doing something that I love. I can often get caught up in the present or the current state of everything that I lose sight of the big picture. There are good and bad aspects of the two versions of myself on and off of my medication.

I've currently come to the conclusion that I have to properly utilize these two mind states at their appropriate times and moments. If you've read this far, I applaud you for getting through this ego trip. I'm open to feedback on this. I want to hear your thoughts.

Last edited by midnightstar; 02-28-18 at 11:38 AM.. Reason: paragraph breaks only, no other edits
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Old 02-27-18, 05:51 PM
Hyperactive2005 Hyperactive2005 is offline

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Re: New to this forum! Coped with ADD all of my life...

Can you give me any tips for surviving middle school?
I am new to this forum, and have SPD and ADHD
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Old 02-28-18, 06:30 AM
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Kaia.S Kaia.S is offline
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Re: New to this forum! Coped with ADD all of my life...

Wow what great self awareness you have at such young age! I may not have tips for you surviving middle school, but maybe i can inspire you a little on the bigger picture. I see so much beautiful assets in your post! It's tempting to have the mind focus on where you're 'off', but it can be so healing to focus on where you are ON!

I know it's scary when you feel you can't fit in, especially in middle school where you're expected to move towards a certain life like everybody does. But the world needs more people like you, even when you don't know how yet. In my experience it's a good thing to have trust that you will find ways to be your unique expression, without too much attachment to any outcome. I'd try to finish school so you have that one in the pocket to begin with, even though i know it's not an easy one. Your time to break free into who you really are will follow when you're up for it i'm sure.

It can be very confusing and distracting to always be something you're not, because you feel you're 'different'. I've tried to fit in and lost myself in the proces. I was just getting by or worse instead of living my life fully and from that i was more into the fascination of being crazy traumatised me instead of making a difference to others. You can't be unhappy when you don't have the focus on yourself. So find out what makes your heart sing most and don't hold back, as you already have so many beautiful creative things, and that will be your gift to the world. Gather teachers and people in your environment that will support you on that, instead of the ones supporting thoughts like you're not good enough or should be this or that. We don't have to live like sheep, we can be anything we want if we put our intention on that, i wish that someone told me that sooner. The most interesting people i've met, have things like ad(h)d!! We just have to learn to deal with that, and that takes a little more effort because the world is not built around that yet.

I hope i don't sound too weird, because i've done many things to come here and that might raise some questions for the ones that are not familiair with this kind of thinking yet. I'm still learning myself of course (and my late diagnose has been a game changer as well) and am not very experienced yet in how to bring these things across. I think it's wonderful that you're reaching out so profoundly, even when my adhd mind felt some resistance in reading through the big text at first, and i might have skipped some parts, but thank you for the applause i love that I have the feeling that you're going to be something big and i take that intuition to be one of my adhd assets. Don't get too cocky about it though yet
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Old 02-28-18, 07:20 AM
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sarahsweets sarahsweets is offline

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Re: New to this forum! Coped with ADD all of my life...

All three of my kids hated middle school. My tips: Most middle school kids are A-holes(not you!) DO not listen if they tease. Report bullying. DO not care what they think. Do your best with school work and if you do not get it ask for help. Its important that you get the work because you will need it for highschool. Try and make friends. Pack your lunch cafeteria food sucks. Take a mental health day every now and then if your parents let you. Thats about all I can think of for now.
President of the No F's given society.

I carried a watermelon?
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Old 03-04-18, 08:16 PM
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jonsonville jonsonville is offline

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Re: New to this forum! Coped with ADD all of my life...

I'm pretty sure the middle schooler isn't the OP.

To the OP:
You're doing pretty well for an 18 yr old. Keep the job for money you need at the moment, and focus on your creative passions on the side, and hopefully they'll evolve into something that will take you where you wanna go. Having a boring unfulfilling job is unfortunately par for the course in our society, whether you have ADD or not. Try to use your obsessive nature as an asset in your creative endeavors.
"one original thought is worth a thousand mindless quotings" - diogenes
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