I've had this disorder all of my life and I still don't have a good grasp on it. Admittedly, it's not because I've been constantly trying. Hell, until earlier this year I had pretty much forgotten about it, until
started noticing some of my behavior and years of therapy came rushing back all at once in a moment of clarity. "Oh yeah, I have that thing."
Since then, I've been reading about it a little more actively, realizing that my only definition of my disorder came from my mother, a person who believes in ghosts and bought into the whole Indigo Children thing. Needless to say, she didn't leave me with the most informed view.
In any case, I've learned some things about ADHD and how it pertains to me. According to the person I went to see for my Adult ADD test, I exhibit classic symptoms of ADD (duh). Money out of pocket, slip of paper certifying borkedness in hand, I now take a low dose of college crack in the morning to combat my tendency to lose focus on sustained tasks.
There are other problems that the amphetamine and paroxetine don't adequately address, however. It is still difficult for me to focus on long term goals and ignore things until they become a crisis. Perseveration still occurs, though less than a week ago I knew it as "hyperfocus," a common bit of misinformation. Using the skills my therapist and mentor has taught me to deal with issues in other areas of my life is still a difficult thing, but I'm learning how to cope a day at a time.
It's tempting to use my diagnosis as an excuse for my behavior, and to a certain extent I'd be right to. The problem is that you could twist any shortcoming you have to fit into your excuse. "The reason I have trouble finishing things is because of my disorder." "I'm late to work because of my disorder." "God dammit, I didn't succeed and life isn't fair because of my disorder!" I have seen the depths to which people sink to justify their predicaments, and it is not a pretty thing.
In my mind, having a neurological disorder isn't an excuse to fail. It's an explanation for certain behaviors, but that doesn't mean we are doomed. Armed with knowledge of our shortcomings, we can start to devise strategies to overcome them, and deal with the world on terms that our quirky brains can understand.
For example, knowing that I won't deal with something unless it is a crisis is a monumental bit of insight. With a bit of creative planning, I can digest long term goals into manageable crises, and deal with each part with the urgency required to make me act. I haven't quite figured out how to deal with the perseveration, but I'm going to keep on searching.
At the end of the day, ADHD is just another adversity. We all come with our own mountains to scale, and this one is mine. I'll see you at the summit.