ADD-like problems but maybe undiagnosable

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    • #115926

      Hi… first off, I’m not asking anyone here for a diagnosis. I’m just looking for a person or two to trade stories and sympathy, and maybe a few laughs.

      I have an attention problem that causes havoc in my life, and has been for decades at least, but I can’t remember much about my childhood, and I did well in school, so I may never be diagnosed with anything. I do remember notes on my report cards about daydreaming, and my parents telling me to stop dawdling, but how much of that is normal childhood? Some counselors I’ve seen say it’s probably ADD, and others want that childhood stuff.

      Today, and for decades, here are a few brief examples; the long ones are more agonizing but may be too long.

      I have had to make a few absolute rules for myself:

      1. Don’t leave the kitchen area if something is cooking on the stove. (Pots are too expensive and then there’s the wasted food. Timers? If I’m doing something else, unless I’m in the same room, I don’t notice them going off.)

      2. Never, ever, for any reason, leave anything on top of the car.

      3. Never, ever leave a cabinet door open. You *will* forget and be injured.

      A few other things:

      I’ve put nails up by the back door to hang my favorite necklaces on. That way I’ll see them on my way out, and also I hope I’ll put them up there as soon as I get home, rather than just dropping them absent-mindedly wherever I am when I think to take them off. I’m planning to put up something for my favorite earrings–whenever I find them.

      I make lists of all the missing things for when I get around to searching the house, but often, by that time, I can’t find the lists.

      I usually have 2 grocery lists because I keep losing one or the other–and when I get to the grocery store often I don’t have either one.

      Anybody in this situation, with or without a diagnosis, and wanting to talk about it? Laugh about it? Maybe I don’t have classic ADD because I do see the humor in it. My life goes pretty well, except for the times I get very annoyed with myself and think I am about as stupid as a person can be and still remember to breathe.

    • #115931

      I did okay in school, but I was a massive daydreamer. But because I was creative and loved art, my daydreaminess and struggling with exams and not being very academic was put down to that. I didn’t bounce off walls, I was polite and stayed in my seat. I don’t remember a great deal from childhood either, but I remember that I was never really happy. I always felt different, and that’s carried with me into adulthood.

      ADHD presents itself in many different ways and is different in males and females. I recently received an inattentive ADHD diagnosis. When I first started thinking about ADHD it was like a lightbulb going off in my brain. Suddenly everything made sense.

      I’m incredibly untidy, but can be amazingly organised at work. I have a million notebooks and organisers, and boxes for everything. But then I don’t put the stuff I need to tidy into the boxes. My things always end up in piles around my room, until they get too much. Then I find them a better, more tidy home, and the process starts again.

      I always forget something when I leave the house, and I’m always rushing to be on time. In order for me to get to work on time I will have had to skip breakfast, or put less makeup on. And then I’ll still have to go back for something, or realise I’ve forgotten something when I’m halfway there.

      I get bored incredibly easily with mundane tasks, I talk to myself, my brain is never quiet, it’s always thinking, remembering stuff I don’t want to think about and I hate spending long periods of time without mental stimulation. Sometimes at work when we have no customers, and there’s nothing to do I feel like I could rip my hair out it’s so dull. It’s like torture!

      I used to think my life was fine, but then I have never pushed myself to achieve as I was always scared of failure. When I got promoted the stress (and a bunch of other stuff to do with nasty work colleagues and a bad manager) meant I had to change stores and take a demotion and reduction in my hours due to being signed off work with stress and anxiety.

      I was really impulsive as a teenager and into my twenties, and did some really stupid things that I won’t go into here. Some people wouldn’t even believe that I would do such things.

      I always refer to myself as being a mass of contradictions. I’ve always known that my brain wasn’t the same as everyone else’s, and I’m also noticing that I’m drawn to other people who have similar brains to me. My boyfriend and I believe he has ADHD and I’ve also noticed the symptoms in some of my good friends too.

    • #115945


      Thanks for the reply. We have a lot in common. I copied a few things:

      I was polite and stayed in my seat.

      I don’t remember a great deal from childhood either, but I remember that I was never really happy.

      I get bored incredibly easily with mundane tasks, I talk to myself, my brain is never quiet, it’s always thinking, remembering stuff I don’t want to think about and I hate spending long periods of time without mental stimulation.

      I have never pushed myself to achieve as I was always scared of failure.

      Maybe what you said about always knowing your brain wasn’t the same as everyone else’s is the same as my always being bewildered about what other people were even about, why they did the things they did, what they wanted from me, etc. That was worse in childhood so if that’s a symptom of ADD….

      Being only recently diagnosed, maybe you understand the craving to be diagnosed. It’s both about wanting to be part of a group, and wanting there to be a reason besides that you’re stupid and lazy–there was a book with that in the title, as I recall. There’s also wanting to get some tips on dealing with it, but I can read those here without the bloomin’ diagnosis.

      Do you have a favorite tip or two? A method for sorting out all the stuff there is to do that seems like too much to cram into one day? Or have you figured out how to not let it bother you?

      • #115957

        Before I had to change jobs (another long story 😉 ) and before my diagnosis my boss came to me and said she needed to talk to me as she was having trouble understanding how I organise tasks. She’d noticed that some things weren’t getting done.

        She gave me a good idea for organising my time and tasks for the day.

        She said to write down all the things I needed to do that day, and then look through them all and work out which one’s really had to be done, and which one’s weren’t a priority. She said to put a letter A next to all the important one’s that had to be done, and a B next to the one’s that needed doing, but didn’t have to be done that day.

        I started doing this, and I have to say it really helped. It stopped me from starting a task before I’d finished another, and getting sidetracked by other tasks that actually didn’t need doing.

        The ADHD brain does have a massive problem with prioritising and procrastination. I’ve found for the procrastination problems that I shut my phone away in a drawer when I don’t want to keep getting distracted by social media. If I don’t see it, I don’t pick it up. Also the screen time feature has helped a lot with that.

        Plus I try and work on rewards for myself. So if there’s something enjoyable I really want to do, but I know it’s not really productive or what I should be doing, like playing a game. I tell myself that I can’t do the enjoyable thing, unless I’ve done all this other stuff first. So I reward myself. Sometimes I find that actually I don’t need the reward, because once I’ve got started with the other stuff I didn’t want to do, I actually just carry on and move onto more jobs. My problem is often with the getting started.

        I also always forget when I’ve opened things in the fridge. Because i have food that only I use, and it has to be eaten/drunk within a certain time, when i open it I write on the top the day and date. If I don’t, I can’t actually remember when I’ve opened it, get panicked about something being bad or spoiled and end up throwing it away. It’s because I have difficulty remembering and judging time and day’s, so sometimes it feels like I opened something a week ago, when actually it’s only been two day’s. I keep a Sharpie near the fridge so I remember to write on everything.

    • #116153

      Hey, thanks for the reply. I already do most of them–I’ve been working at being me for 64 years–they say that people with ADD can compensate over time.

      As for sorting out all the things there are to do… just two days ago I was looking around and saw something that suggested writing down EVERYTHING and prioritizing. I started doing that and it was a confusing mess. But finally it’s done, and it seems to be helping. I’m not constantly running from one activity to another that I just though of that seems more important–I bet you know how that goes. THen you come back to the first one and find you can’t re-find the things you need to finish it. So far, not happening now.

      Maybe I can avoid the crashing boredom that usually comes a few days into any project. I think you know that boredom. It seems as though you can’t stand to do whatever-it-is any more, that your life is going by while you’re stuck here in a sort of trap or cage.

      Do you think I should post much on here? Being not diagnosed–and some other people are going through so much while I’m doing okay as long as I don’t break my rules. I can live without the earrings. Reading the forum is good, and maybe I can spot people in my position and just reply to them, since I can’t have much advice for most of those on here and may just annoy them and bump their threads off the front page.

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