Dear Annie: I am in my late 50s, the proud mother of two grown men who have families of their own. I’ve been successful in my career and always accomplished whatever I set my mind to. But I always had a secret. I have ADHD. I was diagnosed in my late 20s. I never told anyone aside from my husband because it’s so embarrassing. But the condition has affected my life in so many painful ways.

For decades, I took ADHD medication prescribed by my psychiatrist and, with the help of this medication, was able to keep my life under control. But about five years ago, I lost my job and my employer-provided medical coverage. I had to go on state medical insurance, which wouldn’t cover the dosage I’d been prescribed for the previous 20 years. As a result, I’ve not been able to have the dosage I need in order to lead a productive life. My income has plummeted. I’m making about a third of what I used to make, when I’m able to hold down a job at all.

I saw another psychiatrist who told me the dosage that I needed wouldn’t be approved. They made me feel like a drug user. But this narcotic is a legal drug to me. It doesn’t get me high. It slows me down so I can function.

At my last job, I was having trouble grasping the new systems they were teaching me. I asked for a little bit more training. I was let go because they didn’t feel like I could keep up.

In addition to my career and financial struggles, over the past few years, my marriage has suffered significantly.

I have two questions for you: How do I make myself feel worthy again? I just feel dumb. Secondly, what do I tell prospective employers about why I was let go? I can’t tell them that my previous employer thought I was too slow.

ADHD has controlled my life. I want to fight back, for my livelihood as well as my dignity. — Severely Struggling

Dear Severely: First, know your rights. ADHD is recognized as a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act, meaning people diagnosed with it may be entitled to accommodations in schools and workplaces. I recommend checking out the article “Your Workplace Rights with ADHD” on to learn more.

Additionally, if you haven’t done so already, have your previous doctor release your medical records to your new doctor to demonstrate that you were on the higher dosage for many years. In the meantime, continue taking the lower dosage prescribed by your new doctor.

Medication is a major component of ADHD treatment, but counseling can also be helpful. It can inform healthy coping mechanisms for living with the disorder in a world not particularly well-suited for it. See what therapy you might have access to under your current insurance, or look for therapists who offer sliding-scale payment at

Lastly, quit seeing ADHD as the enemy. It might make life more difficult in a world not particularly well-suited for the neurodivergent, but it doesn’t make you defective. I encourage you to try virtual support groups through the Attention Deficit Disorder Association ( and Children and Adults with Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (


Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie” is out now! Annie Lane’s debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to

Ask Me Anything: A Year of Advice From Dear Annie" is out now! Annie Lane's debut book — featuring favorite columns on love, friendship, family and etiquette — is available as a paperback and e-book. Visit for more information. Send your questions for Annie Lane to

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