For all of her 70 years, Sydney Metrick claims she has never been “normal.” In fact, the lakeside resident, coach, teacher and author – and misfit – says she was “all over the map.”
Metrick has Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Described as an executive function disorder of the brain having to do with neurotransmitters, it is a chronic condition marked by persistent inattention, hyperactivity, and sometimes impulsivity – the most commonly diagnosed mental disorder of children.
“Wild things can pop into the minds of those with ADHD,” says Metrick. “Sometimes things that are inappropriate and ought not be blurted out.”
She likes to quote Sir Richard Branson, the entrepreneurial billionaire who founded the Virgin Group: “The most talented, thought-provoking, game-changing people are never ‘normal.’” Branson also happens to have ADHD.
Not only has Metrick figured out how to live with the the mental disorder and see its positive side, she also coaches others with ADHD to do the same.
“As a kid growing up in Chicago,” she says, “I couldn’t sit still for very long. I was clumsy. I even rode my bike with my eyes closed. I was a risk taker. Constantly criticized, I was given the message that I wasn’t good enough. My parents would say, ‘Why can’t you be like your friend Karen, next door?’”
While in college, Metrick flunked out after two years. She couldn’t hold a job for longer than one year, and her relationships didn’t last over two years – until now. (She’s been in her current relationship with Thomas Banks for 14 years, and they married last August.)