Reply To: Is it ADD or is he an A$$

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I don’t have time to read everything in this thread, but I’m responding to your original post:

First of all, he has what they call “time optimism” or something. I have that for sure. I very often find myself rushing to make it to an appointment.
People without this usually say things like “just leave 10 minutes earlier” “Then just start earlier” “Take a bus before the one you need to take” etc. BUT, you simply cannot trick your own mind.

If I try to plan ahead and give myself more time than usual, I find that I suddenly have a lot of extra time on my hands. And start doing something else until I’m in a hurry again. It’s a vicious cycle, but it’s hard to fix. I’m pointing this out as you mention he had 1.5 hours to get ready and still wasn’t. Which understandably enough doesn’t make sense to people without ADD or ADHD.

“He was late – I lost it! It is so disrespectful to me, my husband and the professor.”
Let me add that he is probably not trying to be disrespectful at all, and I’m pretty sure he feels bad about it. At least I always do. I hate it with a passion, but it keeps happening still. Over time, this will feed on his self-esteem.

I am also terrible at getting up in the morning, and have a pretty bad insomnia on top. I’m extremely slow in the morning, but fast in the evening.

“Son will not use any of the techniques and is constantly “forgetting” to take medicine.”

Maybe… He gets some side effects from his current medicines? Or what could be the reason for him “forgetting” to take them? Also, are the meds really helping him then? Techniques I can imagine are a bit more hard to get motivated for. He will need some drive and intrinsic motivation to make progress with this. Why does he go to college? Is he studying something he finds interesting? Probably not.

“He was diagnosed with mild depression (doctor says its situational since he failed out) and anxiety.”
Same here. It can make minor things like responding to a text or email feel overwhelming. It paralyzes you, feeds the anxiety, and ends in more depression. Depression messes up your seratonin levels, making you feel less joy, care less, and drains your energy. The combination eats your self-esteem over time if you are unable to fix it.

“We have been told that we have our expectations to high. I am sorry at age 20 you should be able to get yourself up and keep a calendar of events. Truly that is my only expectation – be on time for one day of his life! My only thought now is that it is not ADD, but a serious case of laziness. We have coddled and accommodated him to long.”

You sound like both my dad and my girlfriend. They have zero understanding for mental health issues whatsoever. I completely feel your frustration, but doing the same thing for 8 years with no results also doesn’t sound very smart to me. If you keep telling him he is lazy, he will push you away for sure, it will lower his self-esteem (also happened to me), and he will start thinking that he might actually just be lazy as well. I am just going through this myself. I just recently realized I have ADD. I (am trying) to run my own business, but I have failed to make much progress over time. I set goals, make todo-lists, plan, plan, think, plan, make some steps, fall back, crash, get depression back, more anxiety and rinse and repeat for 2 years. I also started to think I might just be lazy. Maybe I’m not cut out for this. Maybe I should just get a normal job. Maybe I’m not as good as I thought.

Tell him he is lazy over and over, and it’s bound to happen with him as well. He will believe it more and more over time, until there is zero ambitions left in him.

My suggestions

1. Have a proper talk with him about what he wants in life, and how he plans on getting there.

2. Try to make new routines that work. It seems like nothing is working now, so it’s worth a shot.

3. Reward instead of punish. He’s a millenial. And has a depression and anxiety. Punishing him will only make things worse. Try finding a little reward for being on time for a whole week. – Yeah, I know. “I shouldn’t have to do this, he is 20 years old for Christs sake!” Eliminate the “shouldn’t have to do this and that because x”. If he gets motivated by the reward, maybe he will be able to find systems that might work for him, on his own.

4. Consider finding a new career path.

5. Help him find something he gets excited about and loves doing. Possibly something creative.
– I knew I get easily addicted to things. I used to be addicted to playing video games, tried to stop, but ended up getting hooked on making music instead. Better to be addicted to doing something productive, right? I struggle with focusing on boring things, but when making music, I can go in a state of deep focus for hours and hours at a time.

6. Reevaluate the whole situation. You’re spending lots of money on things that aren’t helping. It’s not sustainable. Tell him it’s extremely expensive doing what you are doing, and that you consider stopping with a lot of it since it’s not helping. Ask him what he thinks might help.
Also, look for alternative solutions. Like a life coach or something similar. Because to me, it sounds like he lacks motivation for doing anything.

7. Try a different diet. Have him stay away from sugar and carbs, especially in the morning. I stopped having breakfast, and replaced it with “bulletproof coffee”, and it’s working quite well. On a general note, “fixing” his diet and keeping him away from sugar and carbs, only works if he wants to make progress himself. This applies to the techniques as well. You need to make him want to make progress himself.

P.S. Keep in mind that a lot of entrepeneurs probably have ADD ;o)