Growing up with a cocktail mix of neurological disorders (in my case ADHD, major depression, auditory learning disability, latent frontal lobe development, and general anxiety) is a catalyst for academic failure, low self-esteem, and an elevated suicide rate. Doing so undiagnosed in the 50’s and 60’s with no educational accommodations was brutal.
By the 6th grade I was an established C- student and headed in a slow downward spiral. In my senior year in high school I had evolved into a D/F student. As my grades dropped, so did my social standing. Eventually I became a social outcast. That coupled with my diminutive size, latent puberty, and marginal athletic ability resulted in progressively constant teasing and bullying.
Despite my atrocious high school grades, I had above average SAT scores and was accepted to college. I gave it my all – was passionately committed to earning passing grades. I predictably flunked out in my freshman year.
In the Summer of 1973, I was an unemployed college flunk out with no girlfriend or close friends. I had been getting stoned daily for the past two years and occasionally tripped on LSD and Mescaline. I had zero self-esteem which was a high hurdle to overcome to attract interest from girls/young ladies. I viewed myself as a complete failure and thought that I was on the low end of IQ curve. From the 10th grade on, suicide was a regular thought process, an act of last resort. I never shared my secret with anyone.
My pain threshold was exceeded. It was time to check out by means of suicide. I stole my dad’s pistol and walked down to a secluded bank of the Potomac River. I stepped into the river and put the pistol to my temple and started to squeeze the trigger. At that precise moment, I was startled by hearing a couple of kids playing in the woods headed my way. Some would call it extraordinary coincidental timing. I believe it was divine intervention. Anyway, you look at it, I came within a fraction of a second and a couple of millimeters on the trigger pull of killing myself.
My life journey has been a wild one with very high peaks and valleys. I survived that low point and rebounded in ways that astonished my family, friends, and myself. I learned ways to overcome my neurological disorder cocktail and became successful in family life, academic achievement, and a professional career. Ultimately, I became a successful hi-tech entrepreneur, patent holding inventor, and reached the top 2% income level.
It is my great hope that my memoir proves to be beneficial as a message of encouragement to adolescents and young adults facing similar struggles with neurological disorders. It includes many stories that should trigger smiles and laughter. Humor was an important coping mechanism throughout my life journey. I hope it continues to do so for quite some time to come.