Comments on
OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!

By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

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.

20 Comments to
OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!

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  1. I have had times in my life even recently where i have suffered with troubles of suicide and other hard issues. I have my own medicine that if i do not take them i am a danger to myself. I am so thankful for people close to me that are a real God send and i am so happy for that. When i saw you and we had a moment of sharing today i felt so blessed and like i have a purpose apart from existing. Thank you for being in my life.

    • Jonathan, you’re a bright light in our community and must be congratulated on your own many contributions.
      Most of all, thank you for the big hug!
      I love you, bro!
      Z.

  2. You are braver than I am. I just pretend I’m a flake for no reason at work… And they buy it, which makes me feel doubly bad. Anyhow, I think you did a good thing, Zoe. A very adult way of handling what happened.

    • Heh heh…I guess time will tell, Amelia. Could turn out that I was foolish and brave in equal measure. I feel a follow-up post coming on! Hopefully it’s just as positive as this one, keep your fingers crossed, ‘k?!

      Thanks for the support, and PLEASE don’t beat yourself up over handling it differently. I don’t push my choices on anyone; they’re mine and mine alone. We’re all different, and besides, it took me a year to do this. It also took a mini-crisis to give me the impetus to follow through on my desire to be open and authentic at my part-time job. I may be older than you, too, and have less to lose (I tell myself this anyway – that I have nothing to lose – whether it’s true or not, because it takes some of the fear away).

      What I’m trying to say is, if it feels right to you, and you think you should also divulge: you will – in your own good time. If you’ve chosen a different approach, that’s perfectly valid, please don’t be hard on yourself after the fact. You have enough to deal with and besides, you know you’re not a flake, right?! And the smart, insightful ones at work already know that, too. It’s quite obvious when you make your contributions here at my blog that you’re an intelligent, insightful, and warm human being. You’re doing a lot of good by sharing in the dialogue. You should be proud of that!

      So, if you must think of yourself as a flake, make it “snow,” (beautiful, unique;) not “dandruff,” (yick) ok?! Do it for me. ;-)
      Hugs,
      Z.

  3. I’m sorry to read that you’ve had to deal with these challenges, however I am happy to hear that you are finally able to disclose to your supervisor that you have ADHD. Now he/she can get on with supervising knowing that you have challenges that account for some of the things you do or don’t do. That isn’t an excuse but rather an explanation.

    Wish I’d been there for you.

    I also wish I were as brave as you are!

    • Sharen, good grief! You are one of the most brave people I have ever met!

      I’ve watched you struggle and win your own personal battles; I’ve watched you wage huge battles not just for your family, but for our whole community. In fact your activism stretches out across N. America as you dialogue and work with our allies in the United States on environmental issues; honestly, I don’t know where you get the energy. You are one of my heroes.

      I guess it’s hard to see ourselves as warriors from inside the shining armor, eh? (Talk about Equine Therapy…ha ha…couldn’t resist!) CHARGE!!!!

      Thanks for your support, my friend.
      Love & a big hug,
      Zoë

  4. Wow, Zoe. I loved your recorded message as well as this article. I’ve never been diagnosed with ADHD, however I was diagnosed as bipolar. Took a while to be properly diagnosed because I only become hypo-manic, not “MANIC!”, but the symptoms, the challenges, the shame, the self-judgment….I could relate to all of it. In fact, the song you chose is one I’ve told my family to play at my funeral as an apology and explanation of WHO i really AM. It seems, from your description, that ADHD is so very similar to hypo-manic states. (I would personally prefer it, however, to avoid the nasty depressions. :) Good luck on your journey. I’m thinking that I would enjoy your book. In fact it may encourage me to write (and finish!!) one myself. Take care~Janine

    • Janine, you go girl!

      I get totally excited thinking about you writing your own book. You could start slowly with articles to magazines if you wanted. (I teach journalism, and let my students know that this is a great way to start honing your craft, building your confidence to tell your story, find your voice…etc., etc.)

      And I’m sorry you have to deal with the depression component. I have an extremely ADHD friend who also suffers terrible, debilitating depression (a frequent comorbid condition for ADHDers), so I know how horribly difficult that is. I count my blessings every day that I haven’t had to struggle with a major, clinical depression as well.

      I wish you strength and peace in your heart. And if you decide to use self-expression and writing as one of your coping tools and for self-empowerment, drop me a note and I’ll give you some pointers. (You can find my e-mail at my website, http://www.chickadd.ca).

      Take care!
      Z.
      P.S. – the opening song, btw, is by fellow Canadian Alanis Morissette, from her first album Jagged Little Pill. I’m totally pumped about interviewing her about the lyrics to that song, which is a CLASSIC history of ADHD from childhood and through adulthood. Makes me wonder…hmmm….is she or isn’t she? I’m on a quest to find out…stay tuned!)

  5. I can understand dealing with the high cost of medication!

    Have you looked at something like this yet:

    http://www.goodherbalremedies.com/adhd2

    Best wishes to you and I hope that things get better for you.

    • Thanks for writing, Dave, and for your good wishes.
      I do have to say to everyone – I’m not endorsing this product, don’t know anything about it, but whatever works for you, that’s good enough for me.

      I went back on my medication today and feel infinitely better already. Hurrah!
      Z.

  6. You are my hero! I’ve been reading your blog for the last two months after finding out that I had ADHD in November (at 47, no less). I went off medication two weeks ago and thought I had enough awareness to deal with the ADHD goofiness. Wrong!

    Went to an interview on Thursday and was distracted by the employer’s cat. Couldn’t keep my mouth shut and said, “Your cat is SO distracting!” Ugh! Then forgot a word in the middle of a sentence. Forgot a key piece of information the employer told me earlier in the interview, then embarrassed myself by asking a question related to that key piece of information, as if I had never heard him (I hadn’t). Tried to cover up for it by saying, “Oh, you already told me that.”

    Anyway, I know exactly what you’re going through and I’m glad to hear you’re back on the meds. I am going back on them too. (We’ll see if I get the job.)

    Take care -

    Cathy

    • Wow, Cathy!
      I can relate to everything you said!! (And thanks so much for saying it, and for reading my blog). I too was diagnosed at age 47. I bet you’ve been through a LOT since then, eh? You might find my post on late diagnosis interesting, if you haven’t stumbled upon it already, here’s the link: Zoë’s Pet Peeves: Late Diagnosis of ADHD. And maybe the one on being the last to know: Me & My Bros, and Being the Last One to Know

      It’s so interesting (and distressing) to have the experience of being on / then off meds. Sometimes I think that although it’s a painful experience, it sure does give us some invaluable information about how the medication is actually working for us (or not), and then we truly are making an informed decision when we go back on.

      I just wish I could REMEMBER these lessons! *sigh* It’s not the first time I’ve been off, and I’ve paid for it both times. According to one of MY heroes, Dr. Russell Barkley (who wrote the excellent book Taking Charge of Adult ADHD), difficulties with learning from past experiences is a very common ADHD scenario, and of course attributable to our unique brains and the way they process information, the way our memories work (or don’t), etc. etc. I’d highly recommend his book if you’re so inclined. He’s amazing, and puts the symptoms into context in a way that makes you have an “Aha!” moment reading nearly every page, if not paragraph.

      Anyway, GOOD LUCK ON GETTING THE JOB! If it’s meant to be, you will. If not, we’ll root for something else that’s EVEN BETTER to come along for you.

      All the best,
      Zoë
      P.S. – and welcome to the tribe!!

  7. Good for you Zoey!! I understand the screw ups as I sometimes forget to take my medication leaving a burning trail of f**k-ups behind me. I admire your courage and honesty in this situation and your willingness to explain everything. You made advances for all of us with this small act. Thanks!!!

    • Neil, you are very welcome.

      Be forewarned: if I lose my job next week, I’m going to pass around a collection plate to all of you, ok?!
      LOL (I hope I’m still laughing next week…I admit I have butterflies in my stomach. Except that I know there’ll be a LOT of pissed off people if the guy fires me or makes my life so miserable I want to quit…NO!! ZOË…STOP…IMAGINING…DISASTER!…!!! Aaaaaaarrrrgh…)

      Sorry about that. Just letting you know where this brave soul is now, quaking in my boots (or is that, quacking in my boots like a duck? A SITTING DUCK?!!! Aaaaah…STOP… FANTASIZING..DISASTER!….)

      ‘k. ‘Nuff said. Good thing the Oscars are on tomorrow. I’m going to bury my head in some mindless drivel, endless bling, and dresses and figures that are SO FAR BEYOND my means and measurements that they’re in another Galaxy…Cinemas, that is. Big Screens. Movie Stars…y’all come back now, y’hear?

      GO COLIN, GO!!

      Oops…where was I?

      Oh ya,

      Take care Neil, and thank you so much for writing.
      (As you can see, the meds have not curtailed my creativity, wild imagination or ability to wander off track. Thank God for that – ha ha).

  8. Hang in there Z. You absolutely rock.

    (Personally, I could never come out at work – well, perhaps to HR under difficult circumstances. But there is a senior executive where I work who has been quite public about his belief that ADHD is a myth and an excuse for just not trying. I have no doubt that if he knew I had been diagnosed, he would move quickly – and covertly – he is very politically astute – to get me out the door.

    If you’re ever looking for a reference, I’d write you a glowing one in 60-point type!

    • Thanks Jerry, you’re a doll! A steadfast doll.
      I’ll let you know if I need that reference. (fingers crossed).
      ttfn,
      Z.

  9. Z, one reason a I appreciate your blog – why I initially started visiting after receiving a Glert pointing me here was specifically because I had been undiagnosed for most of my adult life.

    As I began to explore many of the ADHD support sites, I found them either focusing on children/parenting or populated with younger people whose experience was significantly different than mine.

    But this blog was different. You and many of the regular participants here share the ‘years of living undiagnosed’. I needed to connect with people I could related to in this respect.

    Many here have interesting careers they have built dispite not knowing what the source of many of their difficulties were. This site has helped me to see not only how I am similar in many but perhaps even more importantly, it has helped me to not ‘pidgeon-hole’ adults with ADHD. They are not ‘all this way’ or ‘all that way’. Understanding the rich diversity has been very helpful.

    You are also skilled as a creative writer. Combined with your ADHD, it means I never know what to expect in your next post. But chances are good you’ll take me in some direction I’d never considered before – perhaps even one that you’ve never considered before! I like that. It’s fun.

    Perhaps it is only because I have ADHD myself but one observation I’ve made is that adults with ADHD, diagnosed or otherwise, are seldom if ever boring. They are usually interesting people doing interesting things.

    • Jerry, thanks for your input and endorsement of my blog – I’m glad it’s filling an important niche, and that you find some value in it.

      As for:

      “…I never know what to expect in your next post.”

      - me neither!

      “…But chances are good you’ll take me in some direction I’d never considered before – perhaps even one that you’ve never considered before! I like that. It’s fun.”

      Absolutely. While many of my posts are derived from personal experience, some are also from books, films, and other resources out there. The most fun for me, I think, are the topics that are derived directly from reader input (such as your giving me a heads-up about the link between ADHD and obesity), from comments on Facebook, and at large, so I’m grateful to everyone who sparks an idea for another exploration for an ADHD from A to Zoë post. I’m learning all the time, and I agree – it’s fun!

      But from where I sit, it can also be extremely emotionally draining (witness last Friday’s post on coming out at work). I recently received a response to that post from a friend who, I’m sure, intended to be loving and supportive, but whose comments had quite the opposite effect. I’ll be posting about that next week. Grrrr…. (gotta calm down first).

      But I’ll give you that: there’s never a dull moment!

      Take care,
      Z.

  10. Once again, I’m notoriously tardy and playing catch-up. (For someone with no patience, you’d think I’d be more prompt, but …)

    I haven’t read on yet but I hope your revelation did not have anything near the dire results you displayed which probably magnified themselves even more in your head. Mine always do anyway. I seem to be able to hyperfocus on the worst possible “what if” and then blow it 100 times out of proportion in my over active imagination.

    I’m also out at work, it was necessary after slipping into a nasty depression that nearly cost me my job and my life 5 years ago. My supervisor was actually open minded enough when I went to him with the depression and then with the out of the blue ADHD that he told me to just bring him copies of whatever I found in my research and together we’d figure out the best way for me to manage at work. He has been my guardian ever since. I don’t know what in Hades is going to happen to me when he retires in Sept.

    • Hi Suzz.
      Wow! Amazing testimonial!
      Thanks for sharing your story.
      First, I will say that I have tried to be as objective as possible since my “self-outting” and – my boss has been warmer, kinder, more open, and more relaxed with me ever since, and it’s been a couple weeks now. I’m thrilled. And in return, I feel more relaxed around him, and at work in general too. It’s like a big weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

      As for your situation – I have to say, just keep believing in yourself and keep working on strategies and ADHD management and I know you’ll do fine. You’ll come to a place where it just won’t make a difference. After all, we have to remember – EVERYONE ELSE MAKES MISTAKES TOO! It’s the human condition!

      I’m wishing you all the best and celebrating your bravery, authenticity, and thanking the universe for supporting you in that. You are a role model for us all.
      Take good care!
      Z.

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