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I’m mostly a lurker here, but I saw so much of myself in you that I just had to respond.
I don’t really have much for you on the diagnosis, though, having been diagnosed with a fair few things myself, I think it’s safe to say that, yes, you’ve been given a diagnosis. But just so you know, that’s not the end of the world. What that means is that they actually have a name for whatever problems led you to the doctor in the first place. Even better, they actually have treatment available for it to help you be able to manage the issue.
I’m actually in the process of trying to get diagnosed ADHD myself- I’ve got an appointment with a specialist in December. Where I see myself in you isn’t in the fact that you’ve been diagnosed- it’s the things I attribute to my own (I’m pretty damn sure) ADHD- Abusive relationships, bullying, and being eternally isolated. It’s hell, isn’t it? The problem with your friend- and most people who don’t know a damn thing about ADHD- is that they think ‘well, that happens to everyone from time to time’ and ‘ADHD is just an excuse for bad parents and lazy children’. They don’t see the distinction between occasionally being a little scatterbrained because you’re flustered, or stressed, or in a rush, and someone who’s doing everything right, but still winds up putting the milk in the cupboard and the sugar in the fridge. Every. Damn. Day.
I had the same worries as you about being ‘less myself’ if I was put on meds, and the way one guy described it to me is that it’s like being given more time to think things through, to let you make informed decisions about being impulsive. So, while right now you may jump up and decide to go for a hike in the forest, forgetting that you need to clean the house, on meds you could be more like ‘HIKE! Wait… I need to finish the house, too… So I’ll clean half now, then do half when I get back’, instead of forgetting completely. It also helps you notice more things around you. Generally, with meds, the advice people give is that if you start noticing you’re a different person (in any sort of negative way), then you’re on the wrong meds, or you’re on too much of it, so you need to try another prescription.
You don’t have to tell a soul if you don’t want to. If you go on meds, and find you have a positive response, or get therapy and find that your techniques help you, then you’d probably feel more comfortable discussing it with people. At this point, everything is up in the air and you clearly don’t know whether you’re coming or going. I’m not saying that to diss you, I’m just saying that you’re obviously suffering from low self-esteem right now, and you’re worried about your family and friends not accepting you. Which is why I’d recommend seeking treatment first. With work, you don’t have to tell them a damn thing, but if you do, there’s a chance that they might try to accommodate you, either by being more accepting when you’re having a bad day, or adjusting your duties to minimise your symptoms.
As for whether or not to go on meds, I too am ‘just about functioning’. I have a loving fiancee, a full-time job that pays well, no drug or alcohol dependencies, and no criminal record or gambling issues. On the surface, that looks FANTASTIC. But every single day is about ten times as tiring as it should be. My life is an interlinking system of strategies, coping mechanisms, and backtracks. I keep overreacting to emotional stimuli, I forget things every single day, I get distracted and overwhelmed by large tasks, and I make decisions ‘in the moment’ that I often shouldn’t. In the past, ADHD symptoms almost lost me my chance for a degree, kept me in a physically and emotionally abusive relationship that made me underweight, got me bullied throughout my childhood, and makes me feel alone in a room full of people I like. Medication could help me with all of these things. If I didn’t think it was a problem, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor to begin with. Hell, if I’d been diagnosed earlier in my life, I might have still ended up going into Physics.
It’s your decision whether or not to medicate. And even if you do medicate, you might be one of the, what, 3%(?) of the population who don’t react to ANY ADHD meds. But even if you do decide to medicate, there’s nothing stopping you from coming off them at a later date. There’s no shame in turning to medicine to try to help you, if it actually helps you. Fast forward half a year, on meds. Best case scenario, everything you’re struggling with is reduced massively, and you can cope with it all much easier. Worst case, meds have no effects, or adverse effects, on you, and you come off them, so you’re in the same situation you are now. I know what self-esteem and anxiety issues are like, which is why I always ‘best/worse case’ scenario things. Anxiety only has power over you for as long as you leave it undefined. If you have options for what you can do if the ABOSLUTE WORST POSSIBLE THING that you have control over happens, then you are CAPABLE of surviving anything else that could happen. It’s not like you’re gonna die.
Sorry for the wall of text- I ramble a lot more than I mean to. But I hope that this advice from someone who’s been in a lot of the same boats you have might shed some light on the subject 🙂 Whatever your decisions, don’t let any setbacks get you down. They’re only temporary, after all 🙂