Reply To: Diagnosis

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Beryl Fraser

Hi Cynthia
I am 62 years old female. For 30 years I was regularly put back onto various antidepressants, which sort of helped, but didn’t sort me out. My sister-in-law, married to my VERY ADD brother had been telling me for years that I was also (several members of my family are, as well as their children and my father) ADD. I pooh-poohed it until I read a book “Driven to Distraction” followed by “Delivered from Distraction” by Ed Hallowell. It could have been my biography!! right down to the depression diagnoses, bi-polar etc.
I discussed my discovery with my lady GP who said she asks patients who need to understand ADD to read this book. I had already been working with Bacopa Monerri and alternative health medications containing BM, as well as using herbal calming meds for when I was aggressive or struggling with anxiety etc. They had all helped a lot so she was prepared to give me a trial on Ritalin 10mg for a month.
The first day I took the medication was PHENOmenal. I still remember the feeling of sitting doing a “focussed” job, and being aware of incoming thoughts of things I needed to go and do, yet being able to fend them off until I had finished this particular job. It was a totally mindblowing sensation for me who assumed, as you have that ALL peoples’ minds work in overtime.
After two days I asked her to please give me a med that lasted longer than 4 hours, so I got Ritalin 10mg LA. Much better. After a couple of months we discussed how it was going and although it was much better, I felt that there could be improvement. I went onto 20mg LA. I found that at the end of the day I was becoming very aggressive and unpleasant. Again, I used valerian/passiflora herbal meds to calm down in the evening, and eventually I stopped taking the Ritalin due to the aggressiveness and the expense.
My work in running a 28 bed bnb in our farmyard was exacerbating my “attention” problems BECAUSE it is so multi-facetted. As a result I was starting to show serious stress symptoms and went back to the doctor about medication. This time I have taken Straterra 40mg as well as Brintellix (as a mood stabiliser), and there is definitely a calm, relaxedness within myself that is such a relief to experience. I am aware that I need to keep it up even if not working, as I find that I don’t stress so much in company as I have never done well in big groups, definitely preferring one or two people at a time.
Bottom line is that I was not able to access any professionals, but with reading books, reading ADDitude Newsletters regularly and an understanding doctor has been a life saver for me and my beloved husband and family.
I wish you well, and agree that the idea to approach the College Resource centre is an excellent one. All the best.