A Touching Story About ADHD, Loss, and Personal Growth

A Distraction Podcast listener by the name of Carolyn recently wrote in to Dr. Hallowell sharing her story about ADHD and the daunting impact it had on her life. We were so moved by what she told us that we got permission to share it on our blog. And don’t worry, the ending is one of acceptance and hope for the future.

Below is an edited version of Carolyn’s story.


Carolyn’s Moving ADHD Story

I began listening to your podcasts in April when I finally realized I had adult ADHD. Once I realized this was the cause of all my issues for the past 58 years, I needed to know why. You are helping me answer these questions. In the last two to three years the symptoms have been undeniable now that I know where they come from.

I lost my best friend and unofficial mentor in 2010 to lung cancer. Not having that daily communication, accountability, or friendship affected me hard. I drank to calm the noise in my head and for that dopamine rush that allowed me to be myself without judgment.  The next year I got sober, but I still, I couldn’t understand why I could not make any friends in Alcoholics Anonymous either.

Then in 2014, I lost my other best friend, my Miniature Pinscher Tundra, who was a ball of energy and one of the few who could keep up with me. I had her for 12 years.

In 2016, my remaining group of girlfriends that I’d known since grammar school dropped me from their social circle. These were my best, best friends. I have not spoken to one of the seven friends since last year when they sent me a text — a text; was that all I was worth to these women? — telling me to stay home instead of joining them for our annual girls trip. We had been doing this since 1999 and I’m the one who initially arranged it. When I think of how high I placed them in my life, it’s truly disturbing that they never felt that way about me.

I was absolutely lost. I knew something was wrong, but I could not explain it. In the past year at my job, I had three anger explosions and each time was threatened with termination. I needed help, so I began my therapy last September, and it has opened my eyes to my disability. In fact, it used to be a joke. “Oh Carolyn has ADD,” people would say. I wish I was smart enough at least 10 years ago to just Google it.

Last night, I became very depressed while meditating out by my pond. I reached out for a few friends, but nobody answered. I started to cry. I feel so ashamed of my past and all the things I’ve done. If only I knew…

Then, I put on the podcast where Dr. Hallowell went to get lunch without his cell phone. It was just what I needed. Nothing too heavy, just a nice little cast. Thank you.

My job granted me the accommodations I asked for once I found out I had ADHD. I now have a flexible schedule (I’ve never been on time in three years anyway) and I have my own office without distractions.

Today, I see my therapist, which I’m looking forward to. I have a lot to get through, but now I’m on the right path. Thank you so much for your information, education, and personality. At last, I can begin dealing with my changing behaviors and implementing tips on how to accomplish great things in life.


If you have questions, feedback, or want to share your own story with Distraction Podcast, please get in touch by emailing [email protected]

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1 Comment

  • Pamela McDermott Posted January 8, 2019 11:12 pm

    My son who I believe has ADD and is aged 38 and has experienced a lot of trauma in his life, also suffers with Body Dysmorphic Disorder. Can this also be a part of ADHD? He is a chronic worrier, procrastinator, his head is full of ideas but getting started is a problem . He struggled at school especially High School. The trouble is getting the right diagnosis, because as soon as they hear sexual abuse or armed holdup (both of which he has experienced) he is told PTSD, Anxiety and Depression and that’s what he is treated for, however the BDD is one of the most debilitating. We live in Australia

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