Dismay, Diagnosis, and Delight
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” – Joshua 1:9
You probably wouldn’t notice the first time you meet me, because I typically have a bright smile and an upbeat demeanor. There is no way you could know that my mind is racing and I may not be fully focused on what you are telling me. And I’m too embarrassed to tell you because I want you to think of me as a professional, intelligent woman. What you don’t know is that I have been diagnosed with Adult ADHD. And it’s likely you don’t know much about it, or that ADHD affects adults differently than it does children and can be misdiagnosed as “only” depression or anxiety. In fact, I was on antidepressants for over 12 years for depression that was brought on because I wasn’t able to sleep—and the sleeplessness was a factor in my ADHD. And the older I got, the worse my symptoms became. Now that I’ve been properly diagnosed and medicated, my anxiety is minimized and I seldom get depressed—unless I don’t sleep enough or eat regularly. But if you meet me on a day when I’m under more stress than usual, or I have several deadlines coming up, or I am overtired, you may notice my inability to recall words or I may ask you to repeat what you’ve said until I can really understand.
I wasn’t diagnosed until I was 66 and in seminary. I nearly had to drop out because my performance was being affected by the ADHD. I was confused, worried, and afraid that I would be judged as incompetent. Thank goodness for the young women who sat me down and told me firmly and lovingly I needed to get an appointment with a psychiatrist to get diagnosed. The Lord God was definitely with me that day! At nearly 70 years old I have been recently ordained as a minister in the UCC and I’m serving as a hospital chaplain. I’m giving thanks that, even with a disability, my gifts have been honored by others in the church, just as God has honored me with this Call to Ministry.
Prayer: Loving Creator, you are with me wherever I go—often in forms I haven’t anticipated. I am so grateful for the loving encouragement of friends and the blessing of ever-improving medical support. I give thanks that I have been able to answer my Call to Ministry, so that I may offer loving encouragement and spiritual care to those who live with challenges or who suffer trauma, serious illness, or loss. My heart is filled with your Grace. Hallelujah! Amen!!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rev. Dr. Nadyne Guzmán is an ordained minister in the Rocky Mountain Conference of the UCC. She has served on the UCCDM Board of Directors and begins service on the UCC Board of Directors October 2017. She is a chaplain at Sky Ridge Medical Center, Lone Tree, Colorado.
Dismay, Diagnosis, and Delight is one of the devotionals written in honor of Disability Awareness Month 2017.