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Hell and back.

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This is my personal story. It's not a rant, and it's not a complaint. I'm telling it how it is. I'm sharing with you who I am, where I'm coming from, and where I am now.

I was born in Woodstock, New Brunswick. For those who are unfamiliar, it's a small farming hub in the Saint John River valley. For as long as I can remember, I was fascinated with all things military. My favorite movies to watch while the parents drank themselves stupid were The Battle of Britain, Kelly's Heroes, The Dirty Dozen, and Devil's Brigade. I spend most of my time outside, biking and running about. I used to love sitting by the Trans-Canada and watch the big green trucks go by, on their way to Gagetown for exercises. I got my first fishing rod at age 4, and my first pellet gun at age 8. I was a smart kid, and would spend 2-3 hours a night reading. I excelled early at school, and was very proficient in math.

Like any young boy, I was exactly that. A young boy. Full of energy, and chomping at the bit to grow up and be a man. In the 4th grade, however, the teacher seemed to think that I, as well as most of the other boys, had ADHD. In the "good old days" I would most definitely have had a meeting or 10 with the headmaster, and would likely have learned to calm down. This was 1994, however, and Ritalin was the new strap on the wrist. My parents augmented that treatment with leather belts and wooden spoons.

After turbulent few years, dealing with abuse at home and school, and watching family kill themselves 1 drink at a time, I was struggling to cope. I was no longer the happy child I once was, I was now a 12 year-old misfit looking for attention. Life's funny like that. After a move to Ottawa at age 14, and a visit to a new doctor, ritalin was exchanged for dexedrine. This, combined with my new-found fondness for smoking up, was not a good thing. 4 years of my life were lost. I don't know where they went, or how I got a lot of the scars I bear, but I never gave up. Even in my chemically deluded state, I still found the strength to get up every morning and keep breathing.

After I didn't graduate highschool by age 19, I moved back to New Brunswick and began working. I kept reading when I could, and tried to be active. But this was hard as a new set of pills had bloated me to 240 pounds. I began to wonder, why? Why would someone who is supposedly this smart, need to be doing this? As it turns out, I didn't need to be doing that. I just needed to learn a couple things about myself, how I function, and self control. At age 20, I met with some doctors, and it was decided. No more meds. See if that works.

As it would turn out, it worked wonderfully. I quickly lost the weight, was working better than ever before, and decided to go back to school. At age 21, I began my new educational endeavour. I passed my GED with great ease. The exact marks I recieved are not important, but suffice to say, they were exceptional. I went on to Academic Studies, and once again, met great success. This whole time, I had always been pondering a career in the armed forces, but once I saw what I was truly capable of, I began to take the idea much more seriously. University wasn't the right choice yet, I found that out quickly. Back to the workforce I went, and began what has been a long process of applying for the military. I quit smoking the pot for good, as it is neither conducive to the military, or a truly productive life whatsoever. I began to take my health more seriously, and contacted the CFRC in Fredericton about becoming a Combat Engineer. I don't want to be a sniper, I have no interest in joining JTF2 or CSOR. Granted, I'm looking forward to the demolition aspect, but I'm well aware of the harsh realities of the trade. I'm not going to be Rambo Norris.

The trip to the CFRC quickly put to end a relationship of 2 years, but I'd already survived much worse in my journey through life, and as such, was NOT going to let that get the best of me. I chose not to share what memories I did have of the 4 hell years, but rest assured, knowing I could survive that gave me the confidence and means to take on anything and everything that the world could throw my way.

The recruiting process has been mostly encouraging, with a few bumps along the way. I had to wait 2 months after filling out the drug form as they require a full 6 months off the pot before continuing. I would love to have seen the look on the recruiters face when he read that. Granted, I had never touched another drug besides pot (unless prescribed), but I still filled out the form with complete honesty. This fact was mentioned by the recruiter, he said it shows a lot of positive character to be that honest. He gets tired of seeing the same kind of veiled honesty, the "I smoked it 2 or 3 times, but that's all" kind of "honesty" that most people seem to throw down.

After a move back to Ottawa to have more steady employment, I continued the process and wrote the CFAT. They didn't tell me my score, but did tell me that I qualified for all jobs, NCM or Officer. I chose to stick with my choice, Combat Engineer, NCM. And now, the medical and interview. The interview part, in my mind, went fine. The medical part is my current obstacle. I was, once again, completely honest about the medical history. The "ADHD", the ritalin, the dexedrine, and the 4 years of pain and suffering. I was given forms to take to a doctor, and told to bring them back and await further instruction. Surely, I though, the past 3 years of my life would go to show that I'm not a threat to myself, or my future teammates, and will be a very prodictive soldier.

I had the forms completed, and returned them. I recieved a letter in the mail. Due to my ADHD diagnosis, I'm not considered up to par. As such, I'm not on the merit list (for now). This forum has been a wonderful source, both of information and inspiration, to me. I know what I have to do, and am in the process of appealing. This is where I stand. I'm not about to ask what to do, because most of my questions have been answered by the search function. If, however, you feel you have some advice, thoughts, encouragement, or simple prayers to offer me. By all means, it is GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you for reading this. Hopefully it's not deemed a rant, or irrelevant. I know I'm not special, and that everyone goes through hard times, many worse than my own. But like I said before, this is my personal story. It's not everything, but it paints a basic portrait.


A ADHD diagnoses is holding you back?  That sucks.  Considering how much it and ADD are thrown around these days, you wouldn't think that would be a big deal.  I'm interested to see what more knowledgeable people have to say about the Forces and its Medical standards.

Anyway, best of luck man.
Sapplicant said:
I don't want to be a sniper, I have no interest in joining JTF2 or CSOR. Granted, I'm looking forward to the demolition aspect, but I'm well aware of the harsh realities of the trade. I'm not going to be Rambo Norris.

If only there were more people with that sort of attitude. Well it seems that you've got your work cut out for you dealing with the RMO, but seeing how dedicated you have shown yourself to be in turning your life around they won't know what hit them. Good luck  :salute:
Great share! Most of us bumble around, while growing up, doing some crazy crap. Experimenting, testing the limits etc. I myself am certainly one of those. Luckily, nobody got hurt and I was able to turn things around. Sounds like like you have too. My experience shows me that I have to be honest with myself first. In a perfect world, nobody would need meds but hey, the reality is that some do. My son was in this ADHD predicament as well a few years back. He went off them, under his Doctor's guidance and was fine without the meds. This allowed him to join and he is now a Navy LS. Maybe one of the lucky ones but that's what Doctor's are for. You are young and have your whole life ahead of you and the way I see it, the Forces could very well have a real asset with you on board. If it is meant to be, it will happen! Go for it all!
ADHD diagnoses? Who actually said you were? I think you could probably go to a psychologist/psychiatrist and get a PROPER ADHD test done. You're part of the generation that it was a label just thrown onto any kid who didn't conform by sitting quietly in a chair.

Most boys don't sit quietly in their chairs at school. They fidget. They get up. That's what boys do. (I'm a teacher, I know!) haha...

Take the results of that test and take it back to have it reviewed with your file. So many parents and doctors just asked for/gave kids these drugs to placate them, make them quiet. It sucks... because, really probably only 25% of them actually need it... IF that.

So, if you're willing to fork out a bit of $$ for your own testing, I'd suggest going for it. You can claim this testing on your taxes I believe. I actually remember commenting once to someone else's thread (a very, very, very long response) a few years ago about this. Maybe try doing a search for it, see what you can find.

You show a remarkable attitude. Keep up the good fight and I wish you all the best taking on the mean green machine!
I am currently waiting for spots to open in April, and I have ADHD. I was diagnosed with ADHD 3 years ago. That was when I was 14. It took a lot of time for the Medics in Toronto to accept my doctor's note on me having ADHD back in December 2009. What I did, I weened off of the Concerta (methylphenidate), took 1 pill every other day, every 3 days, once a week. Then I stopped. My doctor kept up to date with my activities and what-not, and I am all set.

I have been off my medication a full 2 months, with great success!

Owa, you're right.

ADHD and ADD are being thrown around a lot these days.

Zach McCurdy, Age 17
CF Applicant
Great story man. Thanks a lot for sharing this as It's good to find people in similar situations as myself. Best of luck to you with joining the forces and continuing with the road your on.
BearPusher said:
If only there were more people with that sort of attitude.

... To life in general.

Good luck, Sapplicant. That is one of the more encouraging and mature Personal Stories posts, and first posts, that I've seen.

I'll add that it was also refreshing to read something coherent, with decent sentence structure, grammar, spelling, and punctuation - thanks. Whatever you've been through doesn't seem to have harmed your communications skills.
To Loachman;

Thank you very much for the encouragement. Like I said in my post, I'm nothing special. I may have a strong aptitude for the maths and sciences, but I'm just a guy from a small town. I've gone through some very bizarre things in life, and they may or may not exclude me from a life in the Canadian Forces. I just hope that I am found to be a suitable candidate for the forces, and that I can walk the path that I want to in life. Cheers,

Like most have said, if you weren't offically superly properly tested for and diagnosed with ADHD...chances are it was just the old fad doctors had for "curing" energetic children.  They said I had ADD, but never put me on ritalin or any of the drugs.  A few years later, when I finished elementary school I went back to see my fam doctor and he basically told me and my mom there was nothing wrong with me.  I just had a lot of energy and should enroll me in a sports program or some sort of program to keep me active.  I was in soccer...got bored so I started martial arts, then moved onto Army Cadets. 

About 11 years later, now in the present, i'm only 3 weekends away from completing my PRes BMQ.  Not only am I close to graduation, not tooting my own horn, but i'm doing pretty damn good academically and practically.  So my advice to you is back track with all your paper work and do whatever financially and humanly possibly in a timely fashion to get re-tested and re-cleared by a professional doctor so you can be on your way.  I can honestly say this career choice so far is the best choice I have ever made and the only regret I have is waiting so long to do it.

Judging by what you say about your aptitude test, to me it seems as if you're switched on mentally and you know you want it.  So take it.  I too had a difficult coming up and suffice to say, the hard times only make everything easier to endure.  Pain is weakness leaving the body.  So good luck and I hope you get everything sorted.

Superbe Militare
Your story is very touching and I find you to be a strong man but most of all you know what you want. You aim for one goal and you've decide to reach it. This is amazing.
I have no advice to give you... I only want to say that reading your story gives me hope and shows me that I too, am on the right road :)
Keep smilling, keep reading and PLEASE let us know about the outcomings of your file.

P.S.: Sorry, english is not my first language so you might find a lot of mistakes ;)
Thank you for sharing that.
I only wish that there were more applicants as resolute and realistic as yourself. The reason I say that is having read over a great many of the questions posted on here by applicants such as myself, a great deal of them hover around such topics as "Am I too fat to join the army?" "I still use drugs, is that a problem?" "Should I get in shape before I join?" and so on and so forth... basically it seems like a lot of people's concerns are based on something they can very easily change. You on the other hand have come through a tough background, none of which you can change, but you've done so with the character to pull through and aspire to a career in the armed forces. Good on ya. I wish you the best, and if my own application is accepted, I sincerely hope to serve with individuals as dedicated as you.
My best advice would to get some papers from a psychiatrist to PROVE that your fine. That way the doctors back in Ottawa can protect themsleves and would not seem irresponsible for accepting you. But its not over yet, so you may still be able to get in, dont give, our thoughts are with you!! Best of luck!!!
Hello everyone, just an update for all of you who may have been wondering where I stand.

Well, I survived yet another messed up, cold, hard winter. Got hurt at work and had to do physio for 2 months, but am back to 100% now. Had some financial issues though, the company I worked for refused to cooperate with the worker's comp claim. Personally, I just wanted the physio paid for, and that's it. I had enough money saved in the "rainy day" fund to cover cost of living. Well, having to pay the physio bill broke the bank (and then some) and I got a bit behind on debt payments. As well, I had to again save up more money for my assessment with the specialist. It took a few months, but I got caught up and now have my appointment booked for June 22. Definitely more of a f**karound than I was hoping for, but every now and then life throws you a couple speedbumps, telling you to slow down and make sure you're doing things right.

Good thing too, because a few friends and I managed to land a couple of prohibited weapons charges in november (police came to my friends house while I was there in september and took his knife collection. Illegal entry performed, they had no reason to be there, no warrant, and no permission to enter. Apparently someone called the police because they looked in the window and THOUGHT they saw someone holding a gun. Long story short, no guns in the house, just a few old WW2 knives that apparently aren't allowed in Canada anymore. Sad because they've been sitting on his mantle, untouched, for YEARS. We aren't the kind of people who feel the need to carry weapons, or stab people, etc..). Well, after a lot of hassle, these charges are being dropped, no convictions, no criminal record. Which is good, because if I didn't have this ADHD issue, and had gotten the call in november, well, the picture ain't pretty. Luckily, as I said, there are no convictions or records being handed down, so I should pass my security clearance no problem.

So, back to the here and now. At the moment I'm roofing to keep money in my pocket and debts up to date. As well, it's VERY physical work, as I am a simple labourer and not a shingler. This extra time has essentially allowed me to continue to improve my physical conditioning, and try to get more distance on the runs (if anyone out there is considering taking up smoking, DON'T DO IT. TRUST ME.)

So, to sum it all up, I'm still in a bit of a holding pattern, and will be waiting a little while longer. However, this is not a problem with me, because I believe that the best things in life are DEFINITELY worth the wait. I will update you all once I get my assessment done, and know more. In the meantime, all I can tell anyone out there loking to join is stick with it. If you give up on your application at the first sign of trouble, odds are this job isn't for you anyways. But if you stick with it, and keep trying, and put forth the effort necessary to convince them that you are the kind of person they need, then odds are you'll get in. That is what I've been told by currently serving members, that is what I've read on this site time and again, and that's what I'm banking on as my way in. Life is all about perseverance. You are never a loser, until you try quitting. That's my  :2c:

Today's the big day everyone. I'm going in for the ADHD assessment from a professional, and have 2 hours of testing to do. Wish me luck!!  :camo:
Sapplicant said:
Today's the big day everyone. I'm going in for the ADHD assessment from a professional, and have 2 hours of testing to do. Wish me luck!!  :camo:

Good luck.  Hope it goes well.
Never never never give up, and you certainly understand that rule for life. Good for you and I wish you all the best.

Keep us informed!
K Mo said:
Never never never give up

Keep us informed!

So, here's the latest....

I'm back in my hometown, decided to come here so I could spend some time with my father and baby half-brother before I go off to start my new life. Figured it could be a while before I get to spend much quality time with them again. Searching around for jobs here, and downriver in Fredericton.

I'll be visiting the CFRC in Fredericton to get my file transferred back down here, but I'm STILL waiting for my final written ADHD/Psych/IQ report to be done up so I can take it in. It's a little frustrating because of the amount of money spent to get this done (which subsequently put me a couple more months behind on student loan payments, FFS  >:( but in the end, it's worth it.) Once that's done up and sent down to me, I can take it in and give it to the recruiter.

Once that's in THEIR hands, everything's out of MY hands and I have to hope... no.... BELIEVE that I'll get a congratulatory letter on my medical category re-assessment, thus placing me on the merit list. Once that happens, it's a matter of waiting for spots to open up for combat engineers, getting sworn in, then off to Quebec for the daily 5am5km. Keep me in your thoughts, and, if you're at all spiritual, prayers.

Thanks again to everyone on this site who has offered advice, and especially to Loachman. You know why.

Also, any recruiters reading this, thank's for what you do. I know that you can only do so much, and the rest is up to the applicants, but you people TRULY deserve my recognition and praise. Your kind has made this process a lot less stressful, and encouraging. Letting me know what I needed to get done to get the rest of my body through the door really made a difference, and helped me to learn a couple things about prioritization. Potential recruits, make sure you get lots of face time with the recruiters. As good as this site is, reading from a screen really doesn't compare with one-on-one chats with the people who have direct access to the answers to any and all questions you have.




(edited for proper use of past tense)
Best of luck to you, Sapplicant!  As you said, out of your hands now, but the work you've done up to this point will most certainly have helped your case!

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