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ADHD: Betwixt and Between

ADHD: Betwixt and Between, after treatment and before...what?
Photo: ©Zoë Kessler, 2012

Now that I have my ADHD (more or less) under control, who am I?

I’m not that girl who was always late; who forgot appointments; who was anxious and overwhelmed most of the time; who worried about when she’d shove her foot in her mouth or, you know – all that stuff.

But without my pre-diagnosis self, the one I lived with for nearly 47 years, I’m not quite sure who this new person is.

Is my life better since ADHD diagnosis and treatment? Oh yes. Definitely, yes.

I’m still me. But I’m a different me.

My new home is a good metaphor for my life. Take my neighbors: two individuals with distinct, and very different personalities and styles.

On the left lives a quirky, warm, friendly female around my age. Her yard is dappled with all kinds of colorful kitsch: fake deer grazing; candy-cane solar lights lining her back yard; lit-up angels in the front yard; Christmas lights and huge paper silhouettes of a howling coyote and a red cardinal pasted in her front window.

Her home strikes me as the home of someone who knows who she is.

To my right, an immaculate, perfect yard with everything in its place, its owner an elderly retired man with a penchant for vintage vehicles.

There’s a huge warehouse-like garage in his back yard full of antique cars he’s refurbishing. In the double garage at the side of his house, there’s a hoist where he also works on cars. A huge black pickup truck sits in the interlocking brick driveway: here too is someone who knows who he is.

Like my home, my life is under renovation.

Then there’s me, in the middle. Outside my front door are buckets of trash, pieces of flooring, discarded lumber, tools and sawdust thick as a carpet. Like my home, my life is under renovation.

I know who I am, but who am I?

Who will I be when the renovations are finished? Will they ever be finished? I don’t know.

There are vestiges of the former me:

I still worry too much about things I shouldn’t worry about.

I still have (controlled) piles in my office.

I still have difficulty with (big) transitions.

I still (sometimes) anger too easily.

I’m still (a little) gun shy of romantic relationships.

I still (mostly) dread the minutiae of life and procrastinate on filling out forms, etc.

I still find I’m (often) exhausted by the end of the day just trying to keep up with day-to-day life.

I still can’t (won’t) write anything I find boring (and can’t tolerate boredom).

I feel like I’m in limbo.

ADHD: past, present, future

I watch my (untreated or semi-treated) friends with ADHD and see so much of myself before my personal renovations. I find it easy to understand what they’re going through, but it’s no longer where I live.

On the other hand, I see those who are so much further along the path: the high achievers, the olympic gold medalists, the best-selling authors, the successful entrepreneurs, and I think: how did they get there?

I realize, like my humble little house, I’m not building a grand mansion. I’m building a home that’s comfortable, welcoming, warm, and that encourages all manner of creative flight.

I don’t need a medal. I don’t need to be super-famous or super-rich. A best-seller would be nice (writing is my chosen field), but if my next book helps others, it doesn’t matter if it’s a best-seller or not, it’s done its work.

I suppose, just as I have to be patient with my house, I have to be patient with myself. I think I’m settling in nicely to both.

So how about you?

Has anyone else out there gone through this stage? Is this a stage one goes through in ADHD treatment, where you’ve made enough changes in your life that you don’t quite recognize yourself?

I feel like a butterfly out of her cocoon but not quite yet prepared to fly.

Maybe you’re a therapist who works with adults with ADHD: have you seen this stage? If you have experiences and advice, they would be most welcome!


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ADHD: Betwixt and Between

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. (2012). ADHD: Betwixt and Between. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 24, 2020, from


Last updated: 2 Dec 2012
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