ADD, ADHD and Hugs

By Rick Green

“Thank you, that was so informative. Our son has ADHD, and I think my husband might.” I nodded to the woman and said, “ADHD is driven by genes and as heritable as height.”

I’d just finished a presentation at the Tourette Syndrome Foundation Canada conference. Several participants took turns asking questions as I packed up my computer. 75% of Tourette kids also qualify as having ADHD. It’s a big overlap. One man shook my hand. Another woman shared, “I found myself laughing. That’s healthy, right? I mean, this is a medical disorder….”

Eventually, only one woman was left. As she spoke, she was fighting to control her emotion. “I heard you speak last year and I was stunned. I thought, this is me. It’s ADHD, not Depression.” I nodded again, “It’s common. Unless your doctor asks about what you were like as a child, they assume it’s something new.” “Exactly! I was always tuned out. Always disorganized. Always feeling like I wasn’t enough.” Her eyes were moistening and she had to pause and breathe, “But with the kids grown, and less to do, it’s gotten worse. So I went to my doctor and he listened to my thoughts on ADHD. It’s been a year and now…”

People were filing in for the next presentation. We stepped to one side and she continued, “I’m off Depression medication for the first time in 12 years and I can feel things fully again. I’ve started taking ADHD medication and now my house is tidy, paperwork is done and I’m finally finishing my degree.” I beamed. “Wow…” She cut me off and swept me into her arms.

When she finally let me go, she continued. How angry she had been about struggling. I nodded, “It’s this unseen saboteur. The whirlwind of emotion is normal. Relief that there’s a better explanation than, ‘I’m stupid, weak-willed or lazy’. Then regret over lost opportunities. ‘Why didn’t someone spot this sooner?’”

She talked about how the Forums on our website,, made her realize that thousands of adults are on the same journey. Through the site, she learned that a holistic treatment plan can quickly turn things around. It’s exhilarating. We hugged again and she headed off to the next workshop. I was beaming, knowing she’d found help.

Lost in the moment, I almost didn’t see another woman waiting by the door as I was leaving. “Hello, I hope you don’t mind, but I heard you speak last year, and I had this feeling that I’m not depressed….” Similar story. And I’ve heard it many times since. If this resonates for you or someone you know, please share this. Bridge the gap and get ready for your hugs.


Rick Green is the Producer of the award-winning documentary ADD & Loving It?! and the follow up ADD & Mastering It! currently running on PBS.  He is the recipient of the 2009 Celebrity Transforming Lives Award from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) Foundation, as well as Co-creator, writer, director and “Bill” in the long running series The Red Green Show, part of many successful series like History Bites and Prisoners of Gravity and part of the comedy troupe The Frantics.        

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