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OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!

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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OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!

Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.

Zoë Kessler is an award-winning author, journalist, and speaker specializing in women and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD / ADD).

A frequent contributor to ADDitude Magazine, Kessler has also created video, standup comedy, and guest blogs on ADHD and Marriage covering ADHD-related topics.

Zoë, an internationally recognized ADHD expert, has been interviewed on radio and featured in magazine articles, documentaries, and books on the topic of women and ADHD across North America.

Her newly-released memoir ADHD According to Zoë - The Real Deal on relationships, Finding Your Focus & Finding Your Keys (New Harbinger Publications, 2013) about life with ADHD is now available.

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APA Reference
Kessler, Z. (2013). OMG! I Came Out at Work Today!. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 26 May 2013
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