My foray into the field of ADHD began by chance. In 1999, I picked up a library book about the brain. And what I read changed my life, my husband’s life, and eventually many other lives. Funny enough, that book was Dr. Daniel Amen’s Change Your Brain, Change Your Life.
In that book, I read about something called Adult ADHD, and suddenly I had a clue why, as much as we loved each other, my then-fiancee and I were driving each other nuts! I showed the book to him, a neurogeneticist who as luck would have it could vouch for the authenticity of the material. “Doesn’t this sound like you as a kid?” I asked him. ” And, well, doesn’t it sound like you now?” He agreed.
In fact, he further opined that “something was up” with me, too, and I could not disagree; I was reacting to the inexplicable by trying to manage the unmanageable, getting more frustrated by the day. So off we went to navigate our mental healthcare maze. I quickly learned that if we left this up to the psychiatrist, we might never see the progress we hoped for. Surely other “partners of” were in the same boat, I imagined, so I started an online discussion group. (That group is almost 800 members strong now, with membership throughout the English-speaking world.)
It’s not enough to say that I was stunned at the widespread ignorance about ADHD, including among professionals. Frankly, I was outraged. There is quite enough suffering in the world that cannot be prevented. The suffering that comes from unrecognized ADHD is not one of them. We have a strong knowledge base about ADHD. We have good treatment strategies. All we lack is more people willing to step into the 21st Century and apply what we know.
Deciding to put to use my background as a print journalist, I became a persevering advocate for better awareness and evidence-based treatment standards—by lecturing, writing, and leading discussion groups in Silicon Valley and the international Internet-based group for the partners of adults with ADHD. Oh, and yes, you’ve probably seen my comments around the Internet. When you are an unpaid advocate for 10 years, you go to war with the army you have: your keyboard and a clear command of the facts. (No, I’m not a “pharma shill.” While I do support anyone’s right to take medication without stigma, I have never sought or received funded by pharmaceutical companies. You won’t see ads on my blogs, either, I’d have no control over the products place but their presence would imply my endorsement.)
After a few years, the need became clear for a nuts-and-bolts guide to Adult ADHD, especially as it affects relationships. A guide not only to understanding Adult ADHD symptoms but also the “emotional baggage” that comes with late-diagnosis—baggage carried by both partners in the relationship. I also wanted to empower readers with a consumers guide to Adult ADHD treatment strategies, including:
- the particulars of therapy to seek (and avoid)
- the medication protocol that so few prescribing physicians seemed to know about (and perhaps that’s why so many people had unnecessary side effects and gave up on treatment altogether), and
- that big deal breaker: how to get through a loved one’s “denial” (a topic not covered in any existing consumer book on ADHD before my book came out).
That’s why I wrote Is It You, Me, or Adult A.D.D? Stopping the Roller Coaster When Someone You Love Has Attention Deficit Disorder (2008, 1201 Alarm Press, San Francisco).
I am grateful to the many top experts who granted interviews, fact-checked chapters, and endorsed the book. It has won four national book awards and, last I checked, has 100 five-star reviews on Amazon. It’s a book I am thrilled to be able to hand to people who are struggling. (Because, after all, I couldn’t keep typing the same advice in our support group for another 10 years!)
You can purchase the book at:
- the book’s website, where it comes with free shipping and free PDF of the book — uploadable to some electronic readers and useful for printing out pertinent pages for a loved one, clinician, etc.
- Amazon.com, and Barnes & Noble.com
- Barnes & Noble stores. To locate a store near you, click here.
The book comes in several formats:
- audio (CDs and downloadable Mp3 files)
The book and my unpaid advocacy have been a giant labor of love for more than a decade now, and it is my greatest life’s joy to have connected with so many thousands of people and played a small role in elevating their lives.
This blog will contain a few book excerpts, which I hope will be augmented by readers’ comments. I will also share guest essays and updates on ADHD research and news in the popular press. So, please use this blog to share with the public your experiences and support. They just could change someone’s life.
You can learn more about my journalistic credentials, awards, portfolio, presentation videos, etc. at my personal website: http://www.GinaPera.com
Thank you for your interest in Adult ADHD, and please try to keep an open mind if you are just beginning to learn about it. One fact is clear: ADHD is real, and it affects real people’s lives. Maybe even your own or that of someone you love.
Email Gina Pera