ADHD or Childhood Anxiety?

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    • #101461

      Hey guys!
      So this is my first post on the forums, although I’ve been reading other people’s posts for a while now trying to make some sense of everything. A few months ago I began to think that I may have ADHD because of certain childhood behaviors. So I began to do a bit of research, but the more I read the more confused I got and I’ve started thinking that perhaps I don’t have ADHD. But if not, then what?

      As a child, I wasn’t “normal”. For starters, I wet my pants up until I was about 14/15 years old. It was extremely embarrassing. My mother took me to specialists who looked me over and confirmed that, physically, there was nothing wrong with me. I always swore that I just wasn’t getting the signal that I needed to go to the toilet, or if I did get it I would forget almost instantly. I was also very forgetful. I forgot my lunch a lot and would end up with nothing to eat at school. I still do this but I have money now so I can just buy my lunch, so it’s not that big of a deal anymore. I forgot to give my mother permission slips for class trips and would forget to check for cars before crossing the road. I was a constant daydreamer as well, my family used to call me “Spacey”.

      I was a really sensitive/angry kid and would have temper tantrums a lot. One of my triggers was (and still is) being laughed at. Even if people are trying to laugh with me and not directly at me I still get angry.

      I’m now in my early twenties and I’m still having issues. I can’t sit through movies without pausing and getting up. I’ve dropped out of higher education 5 times because I got bored. I’ve quit jobs and/or moved away multiple times because I got bored. It’s become a running joke in my family that I never seem to finish anything I start. When I’m cleaning I’ll start on one room, get bored of that and move to another, and then another until I end up with all the rooms in my house only half cleaned. I’ll usually have multiple tabs open on my computer and go back and forth between them. I hate paperwork to the point where I didn’t even fill out the entry report for my current rental property; I’d literally rather just lose my bond. I cannot stand slow drivers and slow walkers. (Although to be fair I don’t think anyone likes slow walkers. I’m pretty sure even slow walkers hate people that walk slower than them.)

      I don’t know if this is relative but I also seem to have issues with verbal communication. I couldn’t tie my shoelaces properly (was still doing the rabbit ears so my laces kept coming undone) until I was thirteen because I couldn’t follow the directions given to me and people would eventually just give up or I’d get frustrated etc. I only learned to tie them with the loop when a girl from my class sat me down and explained it really slowly and calmly.

      So those are the reasons I thought I might have ADHD however I also have a few reasons why I couldn’t and now I’m all confused.

      For starters, I didn’t have any trouble in school. I didn’t have dyslexia or any other learning disabilities. I also can sit still for long periods of time (I’ve done plenty of long road trips and could go for hours without stopping). I am very rarely late to work. And I rarely lose my keys/wallet, etc. And all this has got me thinking that maybe the wetting my pants and the forgetfulness and whatnot were all just anxiety and not actually ADHD. I read an article that said that childhood trauma can mimic the symptoms of ADHD. Not that my childhood was overly traumatic but my parents fought a lot during my formative years and I’m thinking now that might have given me anxiety or something from a young age.

      Aaaanyway, I’m very sorry about how long this post is. I didn’t intend for it to get this long so hats off to anyone who manages to actually get through all this. And if anyone has any thoughts on what could be the matter with me, I would really appreciate your help.
      Thank you very much.

    • #101478

      Hey, I wouldn’t mind helping you out a bit.

      As someone who has ADHD, a few of your issues are an indication that you may have ADHD, such as your inability to sit still for an extended period of time, and your frequent “bouncing around” from one thing to another as you lose interest in it. HOWEVER, the LAST thing I would try to do is diagnose myself with ADHD. I would suggest that you get a medical evaluation which would ensure you if you have ADHD or not, because like you said, you’re going in circles trying to figure out your issues on your own.

      Hopefully this helps,
      -Kendall Boults Jr.

    • #101493

      Hey Kendall, thanks for the reply.

      You’re right, I do really need to go to the doctor but I’ve been putting it off for months now. I know it has to be done at some point but every time I go to book an appointment I end up thinking, “What if the doctor just thinks I’m a hypochondriac?” and so I don’t do it. To be honest, I’m kind of hoping that it is anxiety because doctors do seem to take that a bit more seriously, from what I’ve heard off other people.

      If you don’t mind answering a few more questions, do you have any tips on how best to approach a doctor about this? Should I see an older doctor who has been practicing for a lot longer, and so has more experience, or a younger doctor who might have more up-to-date information on mental health?

      Thanks very much,

      • #101576

        This is unfortunately where my inexperience keeps me from answering that question myself. I’ve been diagnosed since I was 11, and I’m 19 now, so I haven’t had the personal experience of making an appointment, but I do remember what my mom told me she did with me. It’s best to go with a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, or a Neurologist. These 3 specialists are best suited to diagnose ADHD since it is a neurological disorder. Searching for any of them in your area is a good first step.

        I don’t believe there’s a right or wrong way to approach a doctor about getting diagnosed for ADHD. The important part is that you made the appointment & you went in for the diagnosis. This is just me speaking on the situation (not from experience). You just make sure that you’re fully comfortable with your decision to get diagnosed (even while going through the awkward parts of actually going in and making the appointment/getting diagnosed), because I understand that it can be scary.

        And about the hypochondriac thing, doctors & medical specialists are the most non-judgmental people you can find. The last thing I believe they would do is question whether or not you’re a hypochondriac.

        Glad I could help,
        -Kendall Boults Jr.

    • #101510

      Oh boy. I can relate to this topic all too well. I guess from a science perspective anxiety and ADHD are both stem from frontal lobe dysfunction. Time to visit the dr. I know my son had AHDD and also some anxiety as well. Can’t wait until we are done with the bloodwork and set up next MD appt to actually start seeing if Medications can help. Trying essential oils, trying diet modification and yoga to all assist from a holistic standpoint. Really is a struggle for me to help my kid as much as I can w/ school performance but also let him just be a kid and have fun at the same time. I personally have struggled with anxiety and don’t really like how I feel on different meds. Exercise and stress relief are my own key to manage my anxiety in a healthy way. Hope you can get help for your anxiety soon. Can’t wait to get my son the proper help with his ADHD and anxiety as soon as humanly possible.

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