Reply To: Is it ADH, or the Consequences/Effects of Abuse?


alexfragos11, I am so sorry for what you’re going through. I saw your post and had to reply because it reminded me so much of my situation growing up. I also grew up in a chaotic, dysfunctional home environment with a Mum with a fiery temper. I also tried to keep the family together with kindness and patience, which is not necessarily inherent in ADHD but if it’s a coping strategy you have to have and you get stuff thrown at you etc otherwise, then patient is something you have to be. People with ADHD are often very generous and caring and tolerant of others with their issues. They’re less likely to ask for help themselves even when struggling and often get told off for being lazy, slow etc.

Reading your post, it is hard to tell if this is depression, anxiety, cPTSD, ADHD, somthing else or a mixture of different things and only a professional could tell you for sure. If issues with concentration, foggy thinking, distractability,
executive functions and motivation are recent, then it could be depression or worsening of your symptoms related to lifestyle. Or if they’re things you’ve struggled with your whole life, it could be more likely ADHD and depression could be a reaction to the ADHD and difficult home situation. The fact that you said you’ve got told off whilst growing up for being a ‘slow learner’ suggests these aren’t just problems you have at the moment and they have been going on for long enough for ADHD to potentially be the culprit. A lot of the issues you mention having very much fit with ADHD but also depression and trauma. But ADHD may also be a cause of some of the trauma or a contributor, eg: I got into an abusive relationship and can see that my ADHD had a big part in the trauma of that and why I stayed.

Here is a link to an article that another member of the forum gave me which may help you pinpoint the cause: I found this helped me realise ADHD was the cause of my issues over depression. But if it’s a mixed picture, it will be more awkward to figure out the root cause of your problems, and a trained professional will try to de-tangle everything to figure it out.

Trauma definitely won’t help your problems and it sounds like you’ve been through a hell of a lot. You should give yourself the biggest hug and hold your head up high for surviving it all so far and still being the lovely caring, kind person it sounds like you are. Please be kind to yourself and patient with yourself while you wait for some support and answers. You are stronger than you think and sound very resilient (a lot of people with ADHD are because they have to be but can also struggle with emotions and be sensitive to criticism).

It sounds like you could potentially have primary inattentive ADHD which can make your mind more foggy and make you think more slowly. This is what i’ve been diagnosed with recently and I also had great trouble reading textbooks and taking things in. I also find it hard to develop and stick to healthy routines and massively struggle with organisation. I got through uni with the help of friends but it was a struggle. I moved away from my chaotic home environment. I also wondered if I was bad at household chores etc because I’d grown up not doing loads as my family don’t really do a lot but I’ve been living away from home for 6 years now, trying to emulate how the rest of the world lives their life and be normal but I’ve realised no matter how hard I try I can’t be normal and I’m glad I can get some help now. Another point is, it is possible ADHD could be a contributor to a chaotic home environment if one or both of your parents has it. It is highly heritable and if your mum sees a lot of your Dad in you it is possible you both have it and this contributes to family conflict.

Regardless of whether you have ADHD, you need to live your life for you and do what makes you happy and it sounds like your chaotic home life has been pretty toxic. I always used to put my issues down to the chaos at home, but since I’ve been away from home so long now I’ve realised the source of chaos is myself and not just my home environment. I lose things all the time, I have the worst sense of time management and am constantly late, I miss appointments and massively struggle to organise and prioritise and I spread myself too thin with family and friends, even now although my family is a lot better than they were. I’ve struggled from social isolation at times but I’m lucky that I’ve now found friends who understand me and who I can be myself around. I am sure you will find friends you have stuff in common with too and I swear this makes the biggest difference to happiness. I hope you can get out into the world away from home and make a positive future for yourself as this is the thing that will help you more than anything, although adequate support from a professional will help you cope with the everyday challenges of life.

I am now 25 but I wish I’d known what I know now when I was 18. I wish I’d known why I struggled so much. And I could’ve got some proper support rather than coping with family issues with impulsive drinking etc. And maybe I wouldn’t have felt so alone. You are not alone and there are other people who have gone through and are going through what you’re going through and they have come out the other end of the tunnel or can see the end of the tunnel and it is a lot more manageable.

Before I go, here’s a link to a self-care video that HowtoADHD posted which might be useful for when you’re feeling overwhelmed: Self-care is so important and you need it most when you’re probably wanting to do the opposite like self harm or something. Try having a hot chocolate or a cup of tea or meditating next time you’re feeling overwhelmed. Or yoga is also amazing. Teaches you to be kind to yourself.

Also, if you want more info on ADHD to help you figure out whether you might have it, I massively recommend ‘Delivered from distraction’ by Dr Hallowell. You can access chapter one for free here: He has it himself but has managed to be successful and is pretty inspiring 🙂