OMG! What have I done? Zoë comes out with her ADHD at work...what's next?!I’ve been off my medication because I couldn’t afford it. It’s been about five days.

I thought I was doing fine.

But a couple of days ago, my boss called me out on a mistake I made. This just wasn’t like me.

Yesterday, I missed an important appointment. I completely forgot about it. I hadn’t done this kind of thing for several years. Now I was getting worried.

I’ve been watching myself carefully since I discontinued my meds. I asked a friend for feedback as well.

Strike 1… Strike 2… Strike 3…You’re OUT!

I told my friend about my unusual screw-ups, that I thought they could just be coincidences. I was afraid to wait until screw-up number three, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I’ve never resigned myself to being on medication for the rest of my life.

As though pre-ordained, screw-up number three happened today.

Not long after I’d arrived at work, one of my supervisors approached me with a strange look on her face.

“We’re $80 out on yesterday’s balance,” she said.

Zoë Comes Out ADHD at Work...What's Next?Turns out I’d input $119 instead of $199 on a transaction.

I burst into tears, and told her to take the amount off my next pay (which I could ill afford).

What she didn’t realize was that I was not crying because of my mistake. Anyone could have done that. I was crying because it was now obvious to me that I’d have to get back on my meds.

My brain hurts…as does my Ego

I relived that whole, “My brain is damaged,” and, “I can’t live a normal life without being medicated” hell that I’d gone through when I first went on a stimulant medication for ADHD.

I didn’t want my boss to think I was getting sloppy, or that I didn’t care. I resolved to talk to him and my supervisor.

I was scared.

Eating crow…yum yum

I met with my supervisor and my boss after my shift. I apologized adding, “I don’t think I’ve ever made a mistake this big before,” looking for confirmation.

My boss immediately replied, “Don’t worry about it, it’s not a big deal. Forget it.”

I said,

“What you don’t know is that about four years ago, I was diagnosed with ADHD. I even take medication for it.

“I know – I’m not a 12-year-old boy, but I sure am hyperactive (he smiled at that, which I’d hoped he’d do).

“I don’t know how much you know about ADHD but often people are surprised when I tell them I have it. We don’t expect adults to have it, and we sure don’t expect women to.”

I explained about my lack of medication.

“This is hard for me,” I said, “Because I’m more Miss Organic Food than Miss Amphetamines-for-Breakfast. But I’m going back on them.”

I took the opportunity to clear the air about some lingering insecurities I’d had about my ADHD-on-the-job, in particular one incident when I’d arrived late and made a joke about it to (I thought) clear the air. I felt like I’d blurted something inappropriate and misjudged the situation, because he was clearly not amused.

I affirmed that I took my job seriously, and that I’d been afraid that I’d come across as cavalier. He said he’d never thought that of me. *phew.*

One down, a couple more to go…

I also said,

“I feel like sometimes I come across like an idiot. I’ve got two university degrees, three college diplomas, and I’m smarter than average. But sometimes, when you tell me something, I just don’t get it. You might as well be speaking Martian. That’s another ADHD thing. I’m not trying to be difficult. “

Man, I was on a roll. I felt like I had this grand opportunity to not only come clean, but to do a little education around adult ADHD too. I was all over it.

All’s well that ends well…for now

I received reassurances that they knew I worked hard, that I was committed to my job.

None the less, as I descended the stairs to leave, I turned and said to my supervisor, “I might be too embarrassed to come back in for my shift on Tuesday.” She laughed.

I left.

I was shaken up, but relieved.

I admit to having some trepidation as to how I’ll be treated when I return to work. They smiled on the outside, but what were they really thinking? Did they still trust me to do my job? Was this too much for them? Did I make a mistake?

In spite of any consequences, I’m still glad I did it. I don’t really expect any fallout, and if there is – I expect it to be positive.

I’m proud that, when it felt appropriate to do so, I came forward to declare myself as having a mental health issue.

It wasn’t easy.

But I’m OUT!

For more on my struggles with choosing to use a stimulant medication for ADHD, please listen to my documentary, Jagged Little Pill.

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