February 6, 2019 at 12:44 pm #108791
I’m upset just realizing how much this condition has held me back and how NO ONE when I was a little girl would have known since the diagnostic criteria used to be so male-focused. Even now, docs don’t inquire about ADHD with women…just depression or Bipolar. I’m 40. Furious at the fact that psych docs have treated my supposed bipolar disorder and substance misuse issues but never seem to put whether or not I thrive and achieve my potential on their list. Just one psych doc diagnosed me with ADHD, and the County of Los Angeles doesn’t even TREAT it. I can’t even tell you….not being able to focus to read, always getting the “doesn’t apply herself”, “when are you going to finish that book you’ve been talking about for years?” I’m a writer. I procrastinate on my fiction and can’t read and when I was on Adderall my mind worked. I can’t take it because it hops me up too much, I can’t sleep or eat and my anxiety gets worse. But the procrastination went away. I’m angry because our society touts discipline and hard work and self-regulation whilst never acknowledging that those who master such things aren’t necessarily exceptional individuals, they’ve just got great brain chemistry. Sure, we can FORCE ourselves to stay disciplined, but a neurotypical person with drive has a much easier time with it. We moralize discipline and success as though these are virtues. This is what makes me so angry. At any rate, there’s hope yet with some coping tools. I just wish I could focus while reading and writing. How can you be a writer if you can’t focus?
February 7, 2019 at 2:30 pm #108882
Have you tried a methylphenidate? There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both.You may not feel as “hopped up” on a methylphenidate.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
February 9, 2019 at 5:45 am #108999
I’M ANGRY TOO…..
I was tossed around my people who had no idea what ADHD even was…they didnt even consider it. they told me i was bipolar and gave me
medication that made me slow….and i’m in medical school for GODS SAKE! after a lot of research and work. I realized i have adhd….
i talked to an actual professional instead of these quacks and turns out….they dont even have this medication in my country, i live in
Ethiopia by the way….and i’ve had to deal with being ridiculed by my family for doing everything wrong, lacking so much self esteem that i never
even tried making friends…..suffering through self doubt every single step of the way all the way to 4th year of medical school….(which by the way
is taking its toll on me…) Its not fair…and i’m just 21 now, and i’m at a crucial point in my life where focus and hardwork could take me places.
i just dont know what to do.
P.S. i want to be a writer too….someday…and i love to read but i find myself unable to finish a book..(.i understand your frustration)
DOES ANYONE HAVE ANY IDEA HOW I COULD GET THE MEDICATION?
keep in mind…
no credit cards
nothing with online delivery
nothing too expensive ( i live in ETHIOPIA!)
This is seen as a ridiculous ‘woman’ problem. here….no one takes me seriously. PLEASE HELP.
February 18, 2019 at 11:29 am #109481
I am so sorry to hear that you are struggling. As an Ethiopian, I too understand what you are going through. I was even surprised to see a post by an Ethiopian person here. Our country lacks the infrastructure for Mental health services. I think it is also hard to explain to family and friends what you are experiencing.
Well done for recognizing and researching the symptoms yourself though and not ignoring it. I am 29 female and it is just now that I am coming to terms with the possibility that I may have ADHD (I highly suspect it- I am waiting for an appointment). I have struggled through University and work. But I am trying to put in place strategies to help me focus and plan better now. It is taking time.. but it is worth it. Please know that 21 is a good age to learn about this now and you can find ways to help you reduce symptoms. I am less likely to take the medication route-so I am learning a lot about the behavioural strategies to help with the symptoms. I’m happy to chat if you want and I am happy reccomonde podcasts that i find useful.
February 18, 2019 at 6:24 pm #109537
February 19, 2019 at 9:37 am #109459
It can be hard to take the time for it, but it is incredibly useful. Try taking Headspace 10 minutes every day for a week and see how you feel.
I had heard “meditation is good for you, you should do it!” from so many people, but I need the “why” to be able to care or follow through. This brilliant neuroscientist did so, meditation and science: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=La9oLLoI5Rc&
It’s free, doesn’t take that long, and is tremendously helpful for everyone – not just people with ADHD. You reclaim your impulse control and get a few extra seconds to think before getting distracted.
Theanine is another supplement that is quite affordable and helps with anxiety and focus. It calms the mind without making you drowsy. (It’s the active ingredient in green tea)
February 18, 2019 at 9:06 am #109468
I am so angry. I am 62. Finally diagnosed by neurologist. My life is a train wreck. Years of misdiagnosis, horrible meds. I still have no help.
I truly wish i’d never been born and hope this misery ends soon.
February 18, 2019 at 10:11 am #109475
is_shepherd I get angry sometimes too. It can be so hard to do anything. My son has ADHD too, and I feel guilty that I gave it to him. To you and everyone else on here, please know we all care about you. I feel like we are all in this together. To help one another is a duty and privilege in my opinion for everyone. Never be afraid to ask for help, even if you’ve already asked so many times. You were born for a reason, and I sincerely hope and pray you are able to find what works for you.
February 18, 2019 at 4:43 pm #109532
@Smb – Don’t feel guilty for giving it to your son!
Yes, it can be difficult to live with. I’m still struggling, not gonna lie. But I also feel it’s a superpower too.
Our creative powers are better than most. A lot of entrepeneurs and people in various creative arts has ADHD. And frequent episodes of depression, anxiety and whatnot that comes with it.
It’s nothing to feel bad or ashamed of. We didn’t decide to get it, it’s not our fault, nor our parents. It’s just how it is, and we should all be grateful we didn’t grow up in the 1800’s where it didn’t exist. Then we’d all just be weirdoes. On the other hand, it might not have been a problem without all that stimuli we’re getting in the internet era.
Anyways. It’s a superpower if the context is right. And a dreaded handicap if we try to force ourselves into society’s box. It’s all just BS anyways.
“Do well in school. Get an education. Get a job. Get married, buy a house, and live happily ever after.”
None of it matters. And it doesn’t make most people happy.
Take the required, difficult steps, and carve the path of being true to yourself. And then make it work financially.
Find a job you want to get up for in the morning. Something fulfilling. Create something. Help people.
If you do what drives you from within, that is what you have the potential to get best at. Doing that, you will be your most productive, happy self.
I really believe this is the key for people with ADHD and ADD. Intrinsic motivation. Contemplate a bit, and set a goal for what you want to achieve this year. Break it down into months. Put it up on the fridge so you can see it and feel it every day.
If you do this right, it will excite you to make steps in the right direction more often than not. Because you want to.
Recent studies have even shown that “willpower is a myth” for a lot of people. Willpower means fighting your urges, which takes a lot of energy. Better to avoid it as much as you can and rather do something that doesn’t require that much willpower to succeed.
February 18, 2019 at 9:47 am #109473
It’s normal to feel angry about how you’ve been treated in the past. But you have a lot to be hopeful about — you have a condition that is VERY well studied and every day there is some new bit of information about how the ADHD brain works and how you can try to harness the good aspects of ADHD (creativity) and control the bad parts (inability to focus/follow through)
MrZebra, I agree with the other poster that you should at least try some of the other ADHD medications – Adderall isn’t for everyone. It increases dopamine but also norepinephrine and it’s possible you need one but not the other. That’s an easy first step. You should also be looking at the many natural things you can do also (listed below).
Dixie, it’s ok that you don’t have access to modern ADHD drugs, there are many people successfully treating ADHD with diet and lifestyle changes. It takes some trial and error to find out what works and doesn’t work for your particular chemical makeup but you can do it! Some things to try: Always make sure you get enough sleep every night (No TV or phone screens for an hour before bed). Exercise every day for 30min – 1hr to the point of fatigue & heavy sweating. Make sure you are getting enough sunshine for vitamin D, eat more fish (omega 3), try to cut back on grains/starch/refined carbs and have bean/lentils or brown rice instead. This helps with blood sugar levels and also your Glx/GABA balance. Your local Teff flour is gluten free so that’s fine to keep eating. Eat eggs every day for choline. Make sure you are getting enough magnesium in your diet. Eat a banana every day. You have good coffee in Ethiopia and that’s fine, the caffeine may really help you focus- just don’t have it too late in the day so your sleep is good quality. No alcohol – it increases choline deficiency and depletes B6 which your body needs to make SAMe. Find ways to add folate to your diet — folate deficiency is a major public health problem in Ethiopia especially among women — look this up! Some of the symptoms of folate deficiency can mimic ADHD. Get it from spinach/collard greens/leafy dark greens, lentils, eggs, beef liver. Good luck to you!
February 18, 2019 at 11:31 am #109483
Grew up in Rhode Island in the 1980’s and ’90’s, no one took add seriously.
I also want to be a writer.
Can’t seem to finish anything.
February 18, 2019 at 3:14 pm #109510
I understand this anger, I was only diagnosed with ADHD in my mid-40’s. I had traits all my life, but there just wasn’t an understanding of the condition and all the different ways it can manifest.
From my perspective a couple years down the road, I think it’s like the anger in the stages of grief – you know, denial, bargaining, anger, etc…
On the one hand, many of us have to grieve past mistreatment or losses (opportunities, relationships) that we could have avoided if we’d known. And the loss of years spent in struggle that didn’t have to be.
We also have to grieve the loss of our self-concept. Sometimes we have invested in an identity as a person who is just flaky, or eccentric, or “fun”, and shoved the difficult parts to the side. Or sometimes we have taken years of criticism to heart and have built an identity as broken, stupid, incompetent, less-than.
Either way, letting go of that identity is a loss. And replacing it with a more complex and realistic identity as a smart, capable person with a specific set of brain difficulties, is hard and time-consuming.
So feel the anger. Talk it out or write it out like you did here – that’s important! Let it motivate you and give you energy to seek help or appropriate treatments. Anger is a fantastic brain stimulant!
But don’t let it consume you. Be prepared to let it go when it’s served its purpose. Anger makes us feel powerful, so it can be addictive all by itself. But it’s not a “sustainable energy source.” It creates too much emotional “pollution” to rely on long-term.
FWIW, we all seek stimulation because that makes our brains feel right. But there are some kinds of stimulation that give us temporary focus at the price of mental peace (like OD’ing on caffeine). And others that bring focus and peace (like detoxing from electronics, learning meditation, sleeping more, and partnering with friends to work together.)
Look for the signs that you are ready to keep moving through grief stages. And look for a positive source of power. I know navigating the health system and finding the right treatment is hard, even when it’s available where you live. I wish you all the best.
February 18, 2019 at 3:26 pm #109513
So am I. At 42 I realize that hard work won’t get me anywhere. I work hard, 80% of my waking day, but I do it all wrong. I don’t work “smart” like the smart people do. I am constantly confused, options keep me pondering for minutes, every decision has a thousand possible outcomes and I alone am responsible to choose the right one. Every word has hidden meanings. I try to orden them. I try to get hold on a pattern ( for combining clothes the correct way or folding laundry or doing make up or my hair, but I can’t!) As a freelance designer I should be able to be a master of the trade but I forget the basic principles, I say yes to projects that pays too little or that I have no clue what to do. I have my lists. Every other day a new and better one! I read the articles and try very hard to DO IT RIGHT. I try not to get confused. I TRY TO start with one thing AND finnish it, all in one go! I stopped the medication for anxiety and focus because it made me feel like all-smiling-clown. Friends shake their heads and give good advice…just plan, just pray, don’t overreact, because if you REALLY had a ADHD problem you would have struggled at school…and I didnt…..( but but but studying and reading is MY THING, that is my HYPER FOCUS thing, the only thing that I can actually do for hours! But the rest is mess!) And I am TIRED to explain to people that I am exhausted at the end of the day trying to KEEP IT ALL together up there. I am also a single mom of a child on the Autism Spectrum and between me and him we have “an evening to do list”, a “morning to do list”, a “Staying over to do list”, and dosen reminders on my cellphone making sure we end up on time for school. I feel ashamed and ANGRY, I should have been so much further in life, and yet every morning feel like starting at kindergarten.
February 18, 2019 at 3:39 pm #109519
I can identify with every one of you. People tell me to just get over it and do the work, but they don’t understand I can’t just turn on my brain that way. A lot of the time others don’t think ADHD is real. They think it’s a motivation issue and that since I “lack the motivation” I’m lazy. I so desperately want to be organized in every facet of my life (and be able to maintain it) and know I just need to find what works. However, finding what works can take a lot of trial and error, and that is too overwhelming most of the time for me. It does help me relate to my son, who struggles with the same things as me. Praying all of you can find a path through the madness!
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Smb.
February 18, 2019 at 5:13 pm #109534
You are not alone, my wife was treated for depression and generalized anxiety for years until it was discovered that she had ADHD. The issue is the system and its male centric diagnosis, and outwardly women tend to compensate much better than men. Nonetheless, things are changing but I feel your anger and disappointment. Her doctor recommended co-therapy of Adderall XR twice a day and Clonidine at night. That regiment has worked well for anxiety and ADHD conditions; perhaps you can talk about it with your provider.
February 18, 2019 at 9:03 pm #109540
Like you, I am a woman who was mis-diagnosed my whole life and only found out I had ADHD when I was 43 due to having my daughter diagnosed. When I was filling out her questionnaire all the “yes” answers for her were also “yes” answers for me. I got my own diagnosis and my daughter and I were on Adderall on and off as insurnace allowed.
Failed marriages, my kids hate me (they do not believe in ADHD and think it is an “excuse” for all of my failures. Lots of jobs. Deeply in debt. Depressed and overweight. And now completely alone at 62. No friends close enough to socialize with. No communication with family. I tried to find an adult ADHD group near me but they are only geared towards parents of ADHD kids
Now I am over 60 and the doctors will no longer prescribe Adderall saying it can cause heart problems in older people. I have been at my wit’s end without medication and recently started on Strattera (only one 10 mg tablet at bedtime because it KNOCKS ME OUT). I also take Buproprion (Wellbutrin) during the day.
I am doing better at work. Feeling hopeful. Actually doing some cleaning and organizing at home! I am supposed to increase the dose but I cannot afford it as it costs $200 (for 60 10 mg tablets) and I have horrible insurance where I have to completely satisfy the deductible before coverage kicks in.
Please try some different medicine. Adderall is not the only thing out there.
February 19, 2019 at 12:19 am #109549
Oh gosh I’m a published writer and I’m 40 too 🙂 and just recognised my symptoms last year. I’m having the same problems and I’ve writing my ‘magnum opus’ for the past 12 years, re-written it 3 times and started all over again this year. The thing is that as much as ADHD is against us we also have hyper focus to achieve ‘flow’ with our work, and the book by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi tells us how to achieve that, and why. (Apparently immersing ourselves in high concentration activities leads to fuller and happier lives) Perhaps ADHD is holding us back with basic tasks, but it is a two edged blade, and perhaps we can all learn to use it because it’s easier for us to exploit our ‘hyper focus’ and turn it instead into ‘flow’. Don’t give up, read Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s book, I’m finding it helpful.
February 19, 2019 at 8:11 am #109553
As one published author to another, send that dang manuscript out. Give it to betas, give it to an editor, do their feedback and SHIP, dammit.
12 years and 3 complete rewrites – you have to get that out of your way, even if it winds up in the dumpster. It’s never going to be perfect. Ever.
Your personal growth affects how & what you write, and vice versa. Working on one piece this long means you are already a different person than when you started. So you need to be writing a different book. Trying to turn the book you needed then into the book you need to write now is going to keep you frustrated.
You can’t get the growth you need from this book until you declare it finished and move past it. Get other eyes on it and let it go.
It’s terrifying but such relief. Best wishes.
February 19, 2019 at 10:01 pm #109685
“Your personal growth affects how & what you write, and vice versa. Working on one piece this long means you are already a different person than when you started. So you need to be writing a different book. Trying to turn the book you needed then into the book you need to write now is going to keep you frustrated.”
You are absolutely right! I had a sneaking feeling this was what was going on, thanks for putting it into such sensible words. If I finish writing this book at 60 it’ll probably be a completely different book! I’m saving your advice in my bujo as I write.
February 21, 2019 at 1:50 pm #109806
Hey everyone, I feel all of you. I’ve been here – I was diagnosed at 25, after stumbling through my formative years during which everyone around me was barking up the wrong tree – I was pegged with depression/anxiety, possible Asperger’s, possible learning disability, being rebellious and acting out, simply having bad study skills, etc. ADHD was never a serious consideration, because this was the 90’s, and ADHD was the thing that hyperactive, disruptive boys had (and not a thing that smart, well-behaved but aloof girls like me had), and my parents understood Ritalin to be a harsh horrible drug that would turn you into a zombie, so they never pushed for further evaluation. I just got used to being accused of laziness and not applying myself, or just forgetting things.
After somehow barely flailing my way through a tough university (D is for diploma, amirite?), I still sucked at life and couldn’t stop shooting myself in the foot. By this point in time (2012 or so), inattentive-type ADHD in girls was much better understood and recognized. I went to a psychiatrist known for treating adult ADHD, brought a bunch of old records and evaluations from when I was a kid/teenager. He questioned me about my symptoms and history (which started with me getting kicked out of multiple preschools) and reviewed the docs, and was like, “Oh my god how did they miss the ADHD??” He wrote me prescriptions for Concerta+Ritalin and it pretty much changed my life. Felt AWAKE for the first time ever, could finally remember things and follow through and it was mind blowing.
Looking back at all the misery and difficulty I faced growing up, I think I feel bitterness rather than anger. Also some vindication. No, I wasn’t repeatedly shooting myself in the foot on purpose, I was doing it because I didn’t have the brain wiring that enabled me to not repeatedly shoot myself in the foot. But then I wonder what it would have been like if I’d had the Ritalin during those sucky years. Maybe my parents wouldn’t have been so profoundly disappointed in me all the time. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so strung out and miserable all the time. My mom has expressed guilt that she blew off the ADHD possibility so fast and ended up doing me a disservice. I eventually landed on my feet so it’s all good. I try not to dwell on what could have been. At least I have the diagnosis and the meds now.
February 23, 2019 at 10:50 pm #109921
Yes of course we all get angry, we have these dreams these ideas…ohh there gone again…
Im about to take my last medical board exam in about 15 days. I am self diagnosed and am waiting to finish this huge step to have a breath and finally become properly diagnosed and treated. Anyways, I almost didn’t make it through medschool, I have always thought I am not intelligent enough to be a doctor. Looking back, I was the most hyper child I knew. As an adolescent, I was careless and didn’t have many goals for the future. All I wanted to do was play soccer, and I was damn good at it. Represented my country since I was 14 all the way to full scholarship in college at an IV league business school. I guess we are good at what interest our mind… Unfortunately I struggled with many aspects as I a progressed from elementary school to adolescence and adulthood. At 15 I was introduced to marijuana and developed a nasty habit. Im 34 now and still depend on it, so you can imagine the toll this has taken on my life and family. BTW, I was arrested for smoking and kicked off that cool college soccer team and lost my scholarship, but thats how I got to medschool (blessing in disguise).
I really gotta say, its hard being an student intern and trying to capture everything your Attending doctor says. Ive noticed eye contact really is not good for me and capture more if I dont even look at a person. I used to focus so much on looking at the person so I could demonstrate I was paying attention, yet got nothing at times. (try it, maybe works for you)
These medical board exams are timed and about 9 hours long, so you really cant stop and reread the question again. Its very frustrating to see that you fully understand a concept and failed the question because you didn’t read something right or fast enough. But like I said, Im ready now, after studying 100x harder than everyone else to get an average or slightly above average score which dictates your future basically. And btw, its not easy for me to study when my body wants to be doing sports and entertaining things all day. Family medicine will be great for me with a fellow in sport medicine. This way I can do both sports and address people with ADD. I dont want people suffering the way I have when there is great treatment out there.
I tried wellbutrin (buproprion: an atypical antidepressant also used to treat ADHD) and woau, that first dose was spectacular! I was in the car driving and all of a sudden I could follow the songs on the radio. I was so happy, I could do this! Unfortunately, that effect faded away and increasing the dose did help a little but never like that first time. Probably had something to do with the smoking. I have managed to stay clean for 1 week now since the test is getting closer and really hope I can stay this way permanently. Also, I will be seeking professional help after the test. I am confident that this substance abuse problem is related to the ADHD. Im really exited to see what I will be capable of!! If I made it this far already with ADHD and a substance abuse problem, I cant imagine how life changing proper treatment will be for me.
I really want the help, specially relationship wise. I have trouble initiating conversation for fear of freezing up as it has happened many times and have developed a rejection sensitive dysphoria. This is even worse because I have that hyper entertainer type personality and people cant even contemplate me having such issues, specially my family. I feel I have no one who understands this except you guys.
I wish you all the best of luck and find a doctor who really understand the importance and has the proper knowledge to treat and monitor the condition. For the new friend from Ethiopia, I would try to find out if wellbutrin is available. This drugs is also used to quit smoking tobacco and is also approved for weight loss. There are many drugs to treat ADD and ADHD. L-tyrosine is precursor of dopamine and is sold as a supplement.
February 25, 2019 at 7:55 am #109708
I am a little curious about your statement, “County of Los Angeles doesn’t even TREAT it”…
I think that your issue may be more of an issue of getting proper access to the right people.
It may be more of an issue dealing with gatekeepers blocking your access to good folks.
I worked in Los Angeles county for 11 years.
There are a TON of folks in Los Angeles County that work on this. (Maybe not in the Antelope Valley (Palmdale, Lancaster, Littlerock))
If anything, my experience many over diagnose and over-prescribe.
Also, there are a ton of, in my personal and professional opinion, quacks.
If you can tell me more about where you are and which bureaucracy you are dealing with… is it County Mental Health, your funding network, etc.?
They are in San Diego, but you may want to reach out to the United Women of East Africa.
I know that they have had speakers from local mental health clinics to work on dealing with stigma and how to advocate and access services in the community in a manner that respects and understands the culture.
They may even be able to help you find a similar, local support network.
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