Reply To: Do I have adult ADD, am I in denial? is there a telephone/online specialist?

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Hi everyone,
I am a female, 45, working in media and have just recently suspected I have ADHD.
However, like 007, I love to read, in fact reading is what helps me relax ever since I was a kid.
I have a reasonably successful career and two kids. I’m the breadwinner – my partner has a chronic illness since shortly after I left college, sometimes the financial worries overwhelm me.
Like many of you I was bright at school but didn’t live up to my potential. I was called ‘dopey’, ‘giddy’ and ‘scatty’. One teacher even told me I was like the Seven Dwarfs rolled into one. School reports went like ‘could try harder’, ‘tends to lack concentration’ etc. I finished school with okay results, I mostly blamed myself for my lack of motivation, laziness, inability to pay attention. I didn’t do homework – I found it very hard to get started and tended to study for exams at the last minute.
After dropping out of a business course I took up a junior level civil service job – a temporary stop-gap until I figured out what I wanted to do. Many years later, suffering from severe depression and alcohol abuse I left that job and returned to college to study journalism. What helped me then was I took up yoga and meditation which balanced me enough to plan ahead.
Although this is a tough career I have found the deadlines actually helped me to finish things and because I find most of the work interesting.
Now as a freelancer I do struggle with the motivation and finishing tasks. I often feel overwhelmed but I’m reluctant to go back into an office – very stressful, long commute, kids, partner’s illness)
I did some contract days in an office last summer. It was a combined role of editing and writing with admin. I was working 4-5 days (3+ hours commute per day) plus keeping up with other freelance work in the evenings and weekends. In the end it was the admin work that made me almost lose it. The woman I was working for told me I needed to take a few days off because I seemed ‘scatty’. She put it down to my partner’s illness, my aunt was also very ill at the time, but apart from the commute, the admin work was the worst part for me.
I used to think I just had a low boredom threshold because others didn’t seem to feel the same level of frustration I would experience sitting in a lecture. Even recently taking part in a video editing workshop I was scolded for skipping ahead.
Here are the things I struggle with most:
Procrastination – has been extreme – even this post is an excuse not to finish something I need to.
Organisation – planning – I can be good about keeping a spreadsheet of my cashflow but my paperwork is a mess. I tend towards hoarding and clutter is constant battle.
Memory – I’m better at keeping appointments, being on time but it takes a huge effort. Old friends still expect me to be late when we meet up
Finishing – this is one of my biggest issues – I constantly begin projects all fired up at the expense of everything else – and then most of the time I lose interest
Attention – I find I drift off in conversations (esp groups), find it hard to follow verbal instructions (driving lessons/dance classes), miss conversation cues and interrupt without meaning to
Social – I still have friendships from childhood, early adulthood, but struggle to make new friends – see above conversation cues
Sensitivities – Is this related? I’m hypersensitive to noise, smells, bright lights
Hyperfocus – I can focus to the point of ignoring everything else, and become obsessed with a subject – which can be a plus in my career or a minus
I didn’t know much about ADHD until we started to suspect our daughter – age nine – has it. She’s bright and quite shy outside home so teachers haven’t said anything to us. But we’re fairly certain she has it. Very hyper talkative, flits from one thing to another, very untidy, disorganised, difficult to get her to finish things. Social anxiety, and sensitive. I don’t want to say oversensitive because whether or not her sensitivity is excessive is not for me to say. She’s a great kid, very creative, kind and thoughtful.
While we don’t want to her to feel labelled I don’t want her to grow up with low-esteem and an unfulfilling career.
If you’ve gotten this far thanks for reading.