So my situation is a bit different than yours, but it is pretty neat that we are both going through a fundamental problem of living with ADHD: it changes over time, it is confusing, and it can make you feel very misunderstood (even to yourself, at times).
I want to tell you my story of “Getting Help” just so you understand that you are not alone, and you are taking a big step in confronting the problem. And it is a problem that should be taken seriously.
It may get worse if you avoid it; not because your brain health gets worse necessarily, but because the weight of constant self-criticism and feelings of defeat can be crippling if you let ADHD run wild.
I am a 26 year-old man that has known about his ADHD for a looooong time. Since college graduation, a part of me knew that I was going to need more help as an adult with ADHD. But my brain, of course, has a mind of its own. It chose to get lost in all of this new-found sun-shining freedom of the adult world instead of addressing a duller, less-exciting reality. My ADHD brain doesn’t like the concept of “rules” or structure, so when the structure and jam-packed schedules dissolved, it was like letting an untrained dog off of a leash. I kept running after it, disillusioned in the thought I could keep up. As it got further away, so did my stability.
Out of sight, I ignored this for a while. I kind of enjoyed the break from routine. But over time, “Procrastination in the Face of Life-Altering Decisions” became one of my best skills.
It’s not the (ignorantly labeled) *lazy-type* or *unmotivated-type* of procrastination, though.
It’s Incidental Procrastination. Incidental to a disorder that needs further treatment if I am going to live a stable life, because just taking medication is not cutting it.
The ADHD brain has it pretty easy, whereas the ADHD person has it pretty hard.
My brain often thinks to itself:
“Why would I focus on something so enormous and scary if i could just focus on the birds singing outside instead? Or on the sound of the ticking in the AC unit? Or on the way that the sunlight casts ever-changing shadows as the tree branches move in the wind? Or on the beeping sound coming out of the fire detector because the batteries have been dying for two months? Why not just focus on one of those things instead?”
That, unfortunately, doesn’t work out for me when I am desperately trying to stick with one thought. It is exhausting.
Oddly enough, it wasn’t problems with “sticking with one thought,” or the problems in my relationship stemming from my unaccountability and “flakey” behavior, or my unstable jobs, or my unstable finances, or my unstable moods, that ultimately, that FIIIINALLY got my attention.
It was a suitcase that had been sitting half-unpacked on my closet floor for a month and a half.
I don’t know what my ADHD brain found so convincing in that suitcase, but it surrendered to the truth.
I need help.
TO THE ADVICE PORTION OF MY RESPONSE:
Whatever your “suitcase” is, listen to it. Get help.
Don’t say “tomorrow,” because let’s be realistic…..
I don’t know what time zone you are in, but if it is daytime I would say start with a phone call to GP [right now] to schedule an appointment. While you wait for your appointment, take some time to really think about *how things are* in life right now. If some things aren’t good, ask yourself why. Do that, repeatedly, until you find a common thread that ties all your issues together.
If you’re like me, it may be useful to right a bullet-list of things you struggle with before your appointment. It can be awkward if they ask you what’s up / what’s wrong, and your brain is rapid-firing the same answer “I can’t focus” over and over. Have some answers to obvious questions written down to remind yourself of your problems and their cause, because you may have trouble identifying them on the spot.
At this point, they may offer an RX or offer a referral to a psychiatrist or psychologist. I would push for psychologist, as they do not have the end-goal of “throwing stimulants” at anything that resembles ADHD.
I am not bashing stimulants–I take them daily. However, with that said, you absolutely should be nervous about starting medication. Take it from me, a misdiagnosis and improper medical treatment is NOT a pleasant experience. It is dangerous, yet it happens all the time — especially with people with ADHD. On paper, it can look like other severe illnesses that are treated entirely differently.
I’m bored of writing this (haha), and you’re likely bored of reading it, so I will leave you with my simple advice:
Get help today.