Ian | Toronto, ON
“When I was in primary school, I was in trouble so often that my mom was on a first-name basis with the principal. Just little stuff, nothing too serious. My principal finally called my mom and said, ‘Colleen, it’s time.’ My parents took me for an assessment and a diagnosis of ADHD was confirmed. Eventually they moved me to a private school just so I could have the structure I needed. Looking back, I don’t remember feeling different. I also don’t remember struggling, but I realize that all of this was something that my parents had to deal with a lot more than I dealt with it myself. I’m really grateful for how supportive they’ve always been.
As an adult, it’s less evident, but that’s not to say that there aren’t some challenges. At work, my attention wanders pretty quickly on long Zoom calls. At home, I drive my fiancée crazy with my indecisiveness. My side of the bedroom also gets a little sloppy and, although I have a stack of books beside my bed, I haven’t finished one in a very long time. But it’s still not something I’ve ever thought of as a disability or a hindrance – it’s just who I am. And for every flaw, I feel that there’s at least one thing about me that makes up for it – like my compassion or my creativity.
“And I’m humbled to realize that sharing my own story, as ordinary as it may seem to me, can be a means to that end.”
Although I take medication every single day, I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘patient.’ It was a recent phone call that changed that. I was speaking to a friend of a friend whose son had just been diagnosed. She was scared and worried about what his future was going to look like. I was able to share my own experiences and to help put her mind at ease. I shared how I was able to create my own path and find success and happiness, and assured her that her son would be able to do the same in his own unique way. Hearing her relief at the end of that call made me truly realize that I had been underestimating the value of my own voice.
Building that personal connection and making someone’s life just a little bit better is what I live for. And I’m humbled to realize that sharing my own story, as ordinary as it may seem to me, can be a means to that end."