Moving out! …Aaand Moving Back

The downward spiral of premature freedom. (reboot)

I’m moving out!  The excitement that comes with this statement the first time we achieve freedom and independence is one-of-a-kind.  I remember I was 19 or 20 when I first moved out.  My parents had been well versed in the needs of an adolescent with ADHD, and I had a well-structured childhood.  With their divorce in high school, I lost respect for that structure and for my parents.  I began my rush to get out shortly after graduating.  I was living with my dad at the time, trying to go to college but constantly dropping all my classes.  I couldn’t handle the freedom that came from college.  No “all day, attendance mandatory or I get suspended, report cards sent home to parents” to keep me in line.  I would get bored and stop going to class, eventually dropping them all.  In the meantime, I would pick up more hours at work.  I soon realized that I could earn a decent income just working, and opted out of school altogether.  My dad was less than pleased when I announced I was moving into an apartment with my girlfriend of two months, and looking back, who could blame him?  No degree, working two part-time jobs, and moving out.  I was excited!

So I mentioned structure. No school, full-time employment, or rules was not the life for the unprepared ADHD twenty-something.  I was regularly late for work, when I wasn’t calling in sick.  I dabbled in drugs, partied often, ate poorly; I generally took poor care of myself and my life.  When things weren’t working out with my girlfriend, my best friend took her place as my roommate.  Of course, I wasn’t the greatest friend anymore, with my newfound freedom and taste for fun…
Eventually, my lease was up and my dad said to come home.  He wanted my life to get better.  He would pay for school, I would have no housework.  The catch: I needed to get back on Ritalin.  I accepted his offer.  With the new arrangement came some freedoms I didn’t have before.  I did not have a curfew, but was required to tell my dad where I was staying if I didn’t come home.  Otherwise I needed to be home when I said I would be.  I was free from housework, although he did “hire” me to take care of the lawn.  Essentially, the terms of our arrangement were:

  • I take care of myself
  • I never put myself in a situation where he couldn’t take care of me if necessary.
  • I stay in school
  • I work enough to pay for my car, insurance, and gas.

I learned to develop my own routine, and my own schedule.  By the time I moved out again (this time to my mom’s to pursue employment) I had a good jump-start on a clear path to a successful future.

Moving back home was the best decision I could have made.  Moving out for the first time had not been a mistake; rather it was a learning experience.  Coming home, I got my life together and got a lot of school taken care of before moving out again.  When I did get off the medication, I did it with the help of my Dr.   It pays to have patience and do things “the right way”.  Always consider the opinion of those people with more life experience than you.  They value your independence as well, which is why they are giving you their feedback.

Update: I am 35 years old.  I am back in school, and will be graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in General Studies from Northern Illinois University next spring.  I have had the same job for the last 8 years, and perform well.  My boss and several other members of leadership know I have ADHD, and that it is currently untreated.  I have been without Ritalin since 2009.

Read the original post here.


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