99% sure I have ADHD, but scared

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Symptoms, Diagnosis & Beyond 99% sure I have ADHD, but scared

Viewing 11 reply threads
  • Author
    • #87123

      Hi, I’m new here. I have struggled my whole life and have never been able to figure out why. I was diagnosed with panic disorder, GAD, and depression (including major depression) when I was about 20. I was diagnosed with PTSD a couple of years ago (I’m 41 now). But something never felt right. It didn’t explain my lifelong struggle with employment, my lack of focus, and inability to make decisions. I’m very smart, and some say talented, but I’ve never been able to do the work involved to really persevere at anything. My interests are all over the place.

      When I look back now I can see how many problems this has caused in my life and with my relationships. And now I can see the problems it’s causing with parenting my daughter, who I suspect may also have ADHD. Every day now seems less and less manageable now. I can’t seem to focus on anything, I’m always exhausted, and the worst part is never feeling good enough to take part in life. I do the bare minimum every day to keep my family going. My husband has bad depression and we have lots of money problems.

      After reading so much and evaluating myself, I am 99% sure that ADHD has been the underlying problem in my life that has brought about all the other things (or made them worse). I want to be evaluated and diagnosed, but I’m scared no one will believe it. Because I’m definitely the inattentive type, I was always the daydreamer, in my own little world. And I’m also afraid of how my husband will react. I don’t think I can handle people being disappointed in me anymore.

      After so many years of learning not to trust myself, I’m having a hard time with this. What if it’s just one more dead-end and failure? I guess what I’m asking is so the symptoms I’ve described sound like it would be worth pursuing? I’m just so ready to make some changes in my life and feel good again.

    • #87124

      It sounds somewhat consistent with ADHD; however, I’m not sure how the difference in diagnosis will be helpful outside of medication. Adhd medications can be quite similar to those for PTSD, GAD and depression, except the ADHD medication carrying the extra pitfall of being highly susceptible for abuse.

    • #87126

      Hi Dandelion,

      I made an account just to respond to your question! Your story sounds 100% like my own and I wholeheartedly encourage you to follow through to a diagnosis. No offence to the response from Chris but I think as women we experience ADHD differently and don’t agree with his sentiments.

      I just wanted to give you a little background to my story – I was diagnosed at 8, I was taken off medication by my mother when my younger brother developed OCD from it. So I spent most of my life off medication. I have always known I’ve had a high IQ, I was placed in a class for “gifted children” and would get top marks if something sparked my curiosity, or would completely fail if I wasn’t interested. When I was 20 I got into architecture by studying for just 2 weeks, yet dropped out after 6 months as I lacked the confidence and ability to study at that level. As an adult I just thought if I worked a little harder I’d be able to overcome my inattentive ADD symptoms.

      It wasn’t until I turned 30 that I realized that I really wasn’t coping as well as I thought and I really had severely underestimated how it was affecting me. I’m now 32 and I’ve had more jobs than I can count, in hospitality alone at least 10 jobs, in professional business settings over 15 jobs, despite working my ass off. I finally realized ADD was affecting me in more ways than I knew and was also affecting my relationship with my husband, he felt he had to nag me into eternity to finish anything around the house, from projects to simple cleaning and I resented him for his insistent nagging and treating me like a child.

      I also have GAD and depression which are extremely common in ADD – you are 70% more likely to have a coexisting condition such as anxiety, ODD or OCD if you have ADD. In my experience I believe my anxiety/GAD has been compounded by my untreated ADD, so the older I’ve gotten the more I’ve felt anxiety as a result of my symptoms – for example being treated like you’re incompetent at work, being fired or not achieving to your potential despite doing everything in your power to succeed is an incredibly hard pill to swallow when you know how intelligent you are – yet you’re judged because you’re 5 minutes late to work every day – or you struggle to effectively manage your time/stay on task – or you interrupt people unintentionally because if you don’t get this thought out right now, you know it’ll slip your mind and you’ll forget it. We are so self critical and hard on ourselves over the negative aspects that it really damages our self confidence, further compounding the anxiety and depression. Even when we are successful we suffer from impostor syndrome or don’t feel like it will last.

      I’ve been back on medication for 1.5 years now and I cannot explain how life-changing it has been for me. My ability to get motivated, stay motivated and stay on track is a complete 180, I really feel like a different person. It’s really helped with my depression, I get so much more accomplished rather than spending hours on the internet or social media because I’ve forgotten what I actually need to get done that day or I’m just procrastinating. Now, I take my medication first thing when I wake up and it will make the difference between staying in bed until 12 scrolling on my phone or getting up at 8am, walking the dog, cleaning the house, job hunting and making healthy food choices.

      If you already suspect (as I do too) that you have ADHD – then you have absolutely nothing to lose from getting a diagnosis, you actually have everything to gain!!! I understand that it would feel like a blow – another set of letters added to what you’re already going through GAD, PD, PTSD & depression, but I can promise you by getting treatment you will see a vast improvement to your other conditions, it’s proven that ADHD medication and treatment will help minimize your other symptoms.
      When it comes to your husband think of it this way – both of you will now have reasons to understand why you are the way you are and you can come up with strategies that work for you, not against you which in turn will lighten his load and I bet you will see an improvement in his mental health once you are getting treatment for your ADHD.

      I’m not sure what country you live in but I know in America and Australia you are protected under the disability laws at work, you can’t be discriminated against for your condition. I’m in Australia and have recently discovered I’m eligible for disability employment services so the government pays a third party to get me into the right career and will support and help train my employer/colleagues on how to ensure I’m provided with the understanding and tools I need to succeed which I’m still amazed at!

      I’m not suggesting medication is the cure-all, it definitely needs to have a hand-in-hand approach alongside behavioral changes which you can learn from your psychiatrist and doing your own research. You won’t just take a pill and magically be able to organize your life and be able to focus on the exact thing you’re meant to be focusing on, but over time it gives you the space to work on the areas you’re lacking and understand how best to organize yourself.

      I recommend reading a few books that have really helped me-

      ***The ADHD Effect on Marriage – Melissa Orlov (Your husband also needs to read this – written by a woman who is a Harvard educated therapist and whose husband has ADHD – it’s really great read for both of you)

      ***Taking Charge of Adult ADHD – Russell A. Barkley

      ***Secrets to Winning at Office Politics – Marie G McIntyre … Not actually an ADHD book but definitely beneficial if you’ve struggled in the workplace

      I really hope you can see that a diagnosis isn’t a bad thing – it’s a gift to unlock your potential in all aspects of your life, to play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses. It’ll be the best thing that has happened to you and you’ll wish you had a diagnosis sooner!!

      Best of luck xx

      • #87401

        Reaching out for help is the hardest thing for us to do because we are so used to fighting alone.
        Thanks for the book reference…now to action it…and pay…

      • #87876

        La bougette or adhd momma i couldnt agree with you more. Only thing missing and perhaps because i am much older is that immense sense of relief to know that there is an honest to god reason. One of the packages of brain wires is not functioning properly. We are short certain lubricants that make the brain work more efficiently. If we learn some better coping strategies we can perform better at almost everything. I can also recommend the same books but unfortunately read them to late to save any of my 3 marriages.
        If you were missing the fingers on one or both of your hands you would have trouble doing scads of things. Well this is the same but invisible. A diagnosis is the beginning of a different (and can be much better) life

      • #87852

        I can relate to that fear. I suspected ADHD when I was about 20 but let someone persuade me I was wrong. Similar story to yours and the lady above who wrote about her own experience and made an account just to come and tell you her story and encourage you. Knowing I have ADHD now (diagnosed 12 months ago after reading an article on this website which pretty much sounded exactly like my life) and my life is getting back on track. I understand now why I’m so intelligent yet couldn’t fallow through on anything. Forgetful,messy,blah blah blah. Affecting home and work life to the point I had to tell my boss I couldn’t keep up with my job. As soon as I said I think I have ADD,my boss goes “aaaah”. A lot made sense for her about me then too! Luckily my boss has stood by me and supported me in the 2 years it has taken to get on track. My mood has lifted significantly (I correctly diagnosed with depression a number of times, medication didnt work because I forgot it all the time but it also was not what I needed), my confidence has returned. I understand so much about myself and I’m a lot kinder to myself. People generally dont understand, including my own family. My husband had to do a lot of reading to really get it but knowing has changed out lives.

        My 4yo son is recovering from the 2 years I spent stressed etc and this is my biggest regret, that my spiralling affected him. However I highly highly encourage you to get assessed. My GP (general medical doctor on New Zealand) did not want to refer me to a specialist for assessment but I insisted. Best thing I ever did.

        I’m 31 and feeling so much more positive about life because I KNOW myself. I dont have to wonder why I’m so smart but cant keep up with “the basics” of life,that others do so effortlessly…

    • #87128

      I learned about my ADHD after my college age kids were diagnosed. The medication helps all of us and the college accommodations help them. Don’t wait, get evaluated by a psychologist experienced with ADHD. There’s a lot to learn about ADHD that can help guide parenting, and it really helps to have a framework to understand what’s happening. ADHD effects everyone differently so maybe also check out executive function disorder to see if anything sounds familiar, and then related strategies.

    • #87152

      Finding out that ADHD is the underlying problem for my depression and “all the things I hate myself for and disappoint my people with… ” was very empowering for me. That I didn’t have to continually try to prove my capabilities and then drag up some pathetic sounding, blither-blather to explain why I failed yet again…only to be met with that same disbelieving eyeroll and tight lips that rub the salt in to raw wounds. The only addiction from the medication was wanting more of the the benefit of being able to think straight to get more than the bare minimum done. I would like to encourage you to chat to your Psych about it. You have made an amazing effort so far, and are well on the way back up and out of your ‘dark pit’… to learning to love yourself again, and rediscovering that life is not just about how much you do compared to everyone else, but what you do with what you have.

      I discovered http://www.organisedhousewife to have some fantastic daily job lists all ready to go..just try to stay focused on the jobs for the day rather than trying to do “all the things”….consider sharing the cost and resources with a friend.

    • #87291

      Sounds like it could be. It’s worth talking over with your dr. for sure.

      I was diagnosed in college after failing a few years in a row, never being able to keep up, struggling with planning, time blindness, scheduling, impulsivity. Discovering I was not just lazy or stupid was so eye-opening and empowering. Feeling lazy and stupid, failing when you’re trying as hard as you can is miserable. It crushes your self-esteem. Knowing that you have a name, a label for all those struggles, knowing you can treat them and make them better, and getting permission to accept your flaws as a part of who you are, can be life changing.

      When talking to your psych, I’d ask about other treatment options in addition to the medication. It’s like putting on glasses after being fuzzy for years, but you still need to know where to look. Getting help figuring out the finances, learning to trust yourself again, and learning how to set and meet goals will help just as much.

      I feel like getting tested is usually worth the risk. Most people I’ve talked to who want to get tested are usually pretty certain that they have all the symptoms. It explains what they haven’t been able to explain yet, and ADHDers tend to stand out a little. We’re quirky? We see things a little differently. Nobody wants to have ADHD. But honestly, if you do have it, a diagnosis is such a blessing, because it gives hope. It gives a reason, an explanation for the struggle so far. And it means you’re not stuck in the struggle. It can get better. 🙂

    • #87421

      Dandilion – yes it is scary – have just been through the journey of wondering…self-testing…and detailed Psych assessment. And I ‘was’ ADD! I’m looking back on my life (now over 50) and thinking ‘all those struggles may have been averted by knowing what i was dealing with and maybe having the right meds! So go You for coming to this site! There are a mix of emotions along the way, but you sound so similar to my description of myself when I began the process. and part of me ‘didn’t want to know. I haven’t started the meds yet and really hoping beyond hope that they do what my research indicates they’ll do! Good luck!!

      • #87609

        By the way, get on those meds asap, it takes quite a while to get dose adjustments correct…not easy for us people who didn’t like waiting…but the difference it will make in your life will be amazing.
        On the other hand, there is no magic fix, its still hard work and lots of Cognitive behavior therapy is still necessary, but meds definitely help get over the mountain of overwhelming responsibilities.

    • #87595

      Your post sounds as if I could have written it – and I ended up getting diagnosed at 48! Getting the diagnosis totally helped me to make sense of my life. I had a reason for all the crazy stuff that had happened – all the things I put my family through. It was as if a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Interestingly one of my daughters had had issues throughout childhood but wasn’t diagnosed until she went to uni. Her psychiatrist felt I should be seen after she gave him the family history. Life is very much a struggle, particularly as I try to support my adult daughter as much as possible whilst dealing with my own stuff. xx

    • #87610

      Hi Dandelion,

      Thank you for your post. I am 41 years old and was diagnosed with ADHD when I was around 20 years old. It was a huge relief. While being treated, I was also diagnosed with depression and anxiety. Because I am seeking to get treated again, I obtained medical records from my last psychiatrist. One of the last notes was that I no longer needed my anxiety or depression meds because it was gone. And I remember that. I was in a very good place.

      However, at the age of 33 or so, I moved out of the US and then stopped taking my medication. It sounds silly, but I guess I just forgot about it and then, well, thought I could cope. But then slowly, the symptoms of depression, anxiety, distraction, boredom, excessive fatigue etc begin to show and pile up slowly over the years. Now, I am at the point of KNOWING without a doubt that it’s time to be treated again. Not only has it been causing issues in my marriage, my career and most importantly my quality of life, my depression and suicidal thoughts have been more profound again. There are many many reason why I am seeking to get treated asap. I just can’t go on coping anymore.

      When I was on mediation with therapy, my life changed.I felt “normal” for the first time in my life. It was amazing. I was able to be happy, make friends, work properly, and felt like I was going somewhere with purpose. The circles I was running in just stopped! I was able to break free and see the forest for the trees and do what I needed AND wanted to do. The only regret now is that I did stop taking the medication and being in a different country have to go through being rediagnosed etc.

      Seriously, just like what they are saying above .. go get tested cause you have nothing to lose. Nothing.

    • #87827

      ADD is a reason, not an excuse. The thing to be scared of is getting a diagnosis, then not doing what you can to manage ADD effect. You owe it to yourself to understand the things that affect your behavior. ADD treatment works!

    • #87879

      As a woman with ADHD to a woman with possible ADHD I would definitely recommend you go and see your Dr and get referred to a psychiatrist asap.

      I thought no one would believe me either. I did say to a psycotherapist once “I think I have adhd” to which i was promptly told “no dear you’re a drama queen it’s different”. Needless to say I’m really glad I ditched her at once and I saw a decent and very sympathetic Dr and was sent to see a very good Psychiatrist who spent a lot of time talking to me and asking a huge number of questions to reach a diagnosis.

      I felt much much better just for someone taking me seriously and being listened to and you will too once you go and talk to someone. They may well brush you off. Just keep going until you find an expert who will take you seriously and actually talk to you about it all before they reach a conclusion. Then if you have it great, if you don’t have it, also great, because you’ll at least know!

      Along with the other books that people have recommended, my psychiatrist asked me to read The Brain that Changes Itself by Norman Doidge. Its a great book when considering how much of your behaviour you can potentially change yourself and when thinking about ADHD in terms of meds being only half the solution and you being half the solution. Or at least that tends to be true for me. If it doesn’t help you, you’ll at least be entertained by the amazing story of the “wobblers”.

    • #87894

      I could have written this post.

      Except that I brought ADHD up briefly with two different doctors now, and I just got a lecture on how most people who mention adult ADHD are just “med seekers” and was totally dismissed. And I don’t live in a very large metro area, so doctors are limited anyway.

      Now I have to find the energy to attack this issue and not back down, and frankly I don’t have that kind of energy anymore because everything else in my life just drains me.

      I hope you find the help you need, and I hope I do.

Viewing 11 reply threads

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.