Reply To: Marriage Heading into Separation before Diagnosed with ADHD

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kbWindmolen98
Participant

Hello there!

I’m a 20-something single gal who was diagnosed with ADHD at 12 years old, so I can’t imagine being your age and just now finding out; that has to be hard. The only reason I’ve been able to manage it (more or less) is because I knew what it was so I could just google “how to _____ when you have ADHD” or anything else I wanted to know about how to function in this society that was designed for neuro-typicals.

I couldn’t tell from your original post if you’ve been professionally diagnosed or self-diagnosed. If you’re really seeking support, my first piece of advice would be to get medically diagnosed if you haven’t yet. If you get medically diagnosed with the condition, you can then get prescription medication or referred to a specialized therapist/counselor.

I take 18 ml of Concerta (just started taking it after 2 years off; financial/insurance issues kept me off it that long), and let me tell you, I feel like I can accomplish just about anything. I get my uni homework done on time, I do chores/tasks when my mom asks me to (or actually remember to do them later if I’m busy), I don’t constantly impulse-eat anymore, and I’m generally more motivated and happy. This is because ADHD affects the amount of dopamine (the happy hormone) our brains get, which affects mood and motivation, and one of the many things meds does is supply the brain with a normal person’s amount of dopamine (YAY FOR HAPPINESS).

My mom noticed a difference right away too, without me mentioning it to her, so I know it’s not just me. I know a parent/child relationship is very different than a marriage, but as a young adult living in the same house as my parents there are a lot of relational issues I’ve experienced that were associated with my ADHD. Most of those are fixed/better now that I’m medicated.

If you do look into medication, be sure to ask for the “generic” brands; they do the same thing and cost WAY less (like hundreds less). Also start with a low dose and DON’T make the mistake of thinking that the goal is to be perfectly motivated and capable 100% of the time. I ended up over-medicating in high school because I thought meds were supposed to allow me to be an A student (I thought that other people got A’s all the time and the only reason someone didn’t get A’s was because they either didn’t try or, in my case, they had ADHD and weren’t medicated). So every med check with my doc I would say “you know I think I need a higher dose” and my pediatrician for some reason decided I, a 12-18 year old girl, was competent enough in my understanding of ADHD, education, and controlled prescription drug use to decide how much of a drug I should be taking. So I eventually became dependent on it to function as a normal human. This is also another reason I took 2 years off of meds, besides finances.
When I went off medication, I had been taking 72 mg of Concerta a day (or two 36 mg pills; the highest single pill they have is 54 mg). Now that I’m back on meds, I’m taking 18 mg a day (which is a good starting dose, but i think you can also start with 9 or 10, depending on the brand). 18 mg a day has literally changed my whole life, and it’s the first time in college I can remember not having a single assignment turned in late in the first 3 weeks of the semester. I don’t think I’ll need to increase my dose unless something drastic happens. So just start small and give yourself grace to not be a perfect human being because even neuro-typical people aren’t always A-students, fantastic spouses, or good at being organized. We’re all human.

Not everyone “agrees” with medicating for ADHD (in my experience they tend to either disagree with medication for anything OR they think ADHD is a made-up thing or an exaggeration or something you have as a kid that you out-grow..). If medication isn’t something you’d consider, I highly recommend finding a counselor who actually specializes in ADHD.

In addition to medication/counseling, I have found talking about my experience with friends who also have ADD/ADHD is SUPER helpful as well as encouraging. It allows me to share helpful tips and tricks that have worked for me and get new ideas from things that have worked for them. We can swap resources we’ve found, hold each other accountable for deadlines and tasks we need to get done, etc.

This last one probably won’t fix your relationship, esp. if it’s the only thing you do, but it has helped me SO much with managing my time and staying on-task:

***Get the app “Routinery”.***
It’s super simple, has a free version, gives you a free 7-day trial of the pro version and then is only $3/month or $21/year (which is SUPER CHEAP for the crazy ways it has saved me time, personally).
Essentially, you can set up different “routines” (aka, ‘Morning’, ‘Night’, ‘Work’, ‘Chores’, or literally any other kind of routine you want). Each routine can be set for a certain day/days of the week (or you can ignore that feature and just do them whenever), and you can set a reminder alarm for whatever time of day you want, reminding you to start the routine. Within the routine, you can add tasks (pre-programed AND custom options) and assign an icon and a length of time to each. For example, my morning routine starts with 1. MEDS (1 min), 2. Drink Water (1 min), 3. Arrange Bed (1 min), 4. Bathroom (3 min), etc.
once you “start” the routine each day, your screen shows the task title, icon, and a countdown timer showing how much time you have left to complete that task. If you run out of time and are not done with a given task, you can add 1,5,or 10 minutes to the task and keep going, or skip or complete the taste and move on. It also says how long the entire routine is estimated to take if you don’t add time or finish tasks early, and tells you what time the routine will be done. Honestly changed my life and I’ve had this app for like a week and a half. it’s worth trying the free version, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

I hope these are helpful! 🙂