Mary's Diagnosis Story​

When I was young my dad told me I could be anything I wanted. And I truly believed him. But, as I got older I began to see unexplainable contradictions between my abilities and my performance that starting me down a road to doubt. 

In middle school, I could find any tool I wanted in the natural disaster that was my dad’s work shop – but I was always losing my own things, especially my shoes. I could make all the kids laugh by acting up in class but had trouble making and keeping friends.

In college, I could solve complex mathematical equations but would be reduced to tears in trying to reconcile my checkbook to a bank statement.  I was a science major on the Dean’s List and I failed my second semester of Physics. Yet when I retook the course, I made an A with no trouble.

At first, I thought of these things as nuisances and nothing more. But as my life took on more responsibilities – career, marriage, motherhood – these inconsistencies seemed to cause as least one failure of some kind every day. Things like missing deadlines at work, forgetting to go eat lunch at school with
my child, flying into a rage when my kids didn’t act like little adults and even forgetting conversations with husband the day before.

I began to believe in my weaknesses more than I believed in my strengths. 

At 35, my husband found me with a half-packed suitcase ready to leave my family behind – I didn’t think I was of use to anyone.  He had seen the downward spiral I was on and had tried to convince me to talk to someone about it.  I had been too prideful, too fearful and refused. It was then I realized, “I need some help”.  

I was diagnosed with a depression/anxiety disorder. After a few months of medication and talk therapy I was feeling better but something still wasn’t quite right.  My therapist suspected the root of my depression was undiagnosed Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, ADHD.  I didn’t think adults could have ADHD.  The more we talked about it, the more it seemed to make sense. My inconsistencies and many of the things I struggled with lined up perfectly with the symptoms for ADHD.

I was relieved with this diagnosis but foolishly thought just putting a name to it was enough for me to get better. Again, I was prideful and refused help until… I forgot to pick up my son Quinton from his first day of kindergarten! It was a classic ADHD failure.

I worked from home and the daycare was to pick him up at 11 o'clock and keep him for the rest of the day. He told me was very nervous about riding the bus so I promised him, “I will be there to watch you get on the bus and make sure you are ok”. 

At 1 o'clock, my husband called me and asked, “How did it go?” “How did what go?” I said. “With Quinton?” I sat there stunned, heart-broken and barely able to breathe.  What kind of mother forgets her child on such a big day? Right then and there I realized, I had to do something to manage my ADHD better – not for me but for my whole family. 

For me that something was a combination of therapy/life skills coaching and medication.  It sounds simple but at 35 years of age I had to learn things like:

  • How to make lists to get things done
  • How to organize so I don’t keep losing my things
  • How to put important events on a calendar
  • That children aren’t adults – it is wrong for me to expect them to act like  adults
  • I, however, am adult and I am not allowed to act like a child anymore
  • I have to wait my turn
  • I can’t interrupt others when they are talking
  • I can’t yell because I am frustrated
  • And above all, I can never hit someone

Today, at just shy of 50 years old, I have learned to manage my life with

ADHD.  I know I have weaknesses but I discovered that I have strengths, too! Everyone is different and I have learned to be comfortable and embrace my differences. In short, I found happiness and contentment and yes, even success!


Mary has completed 91.5 hours of Basic ADHD Life Coaching with ADD Coaching Academy (ADDCA – Albany New York) and 30 hours specialty training for coaching Teens and College Students with JST Coaching (Alexandria, Virginia).  She has also earned 52 hours of Continuing Education credits and logged over 250 coaching hours.

Mary currently holds the foundational certification of AAC (ADDCA Associate Coach) and is working toward the next level of certification. 

Mary has served as a Leadership Board Member for the ADHD Coaches Organization (ACO) and is a member of CHADD (Children and Adults with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder).

 Mary E. Smith, AAC


Mary Smith is a Christian, wife to Chris for 22 years, mother of five children – two with ADHD, and grandmother of two.  She received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry from Texas Tech University and spent 13 years with Celanese Chemical Company.  She left Celanese to own and operate her own print and promotional products company.  After 10 years she decided to sell the business and focus on finding an opportunity to combine her God-given talents for encouragement, discernment and teaching with her passion for ADHD advocacy.

Mary is a self-confessed geek – loving anything that remotely resembles science. She is proud to say she has seen every episode of “How It’s Made” and the “The Big Bang Theory”.  She loves to travel and no matter how rustic or elegant the destination, you will usually find her hunting rocks, walking around water or gazing at architectural patterns. She loves puzzles and will take on any Sudoku challenge.

Mary is also confident and proud (now) to admit she also has ADHD!