Am I ADHD, or am a just a bit different?

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults Symptoms, Diagnosis & Beyond Am I ADHD, or am a just a bit different?

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    • #81430
      Casper82
      Participant

      Hi, I’m 36. For as long as I can recall I’ve felt out of step with everyone else, and I struggle to ‘get’ people – my other half often tells me I’ve been rude or inconsiderate to someone, and when I look at him completely baffled he’ll just say “You really don’t even see it do you?” I’m also leaping from one entertaining thing to another, either unable to focus or spending hours absorbed in something I’ll develop an overnight obsession with. At the moment it’s swimming, for hours every week, endlessly watching videos about it to improve my technique – and I get antsy and irritable and depressed if anything or anyone gets in my way of doing so, so is the way with all of my interests.

      I’ll not bore you with an extensive list of my personality traits, but I scored 17 (borderline 20, if I’d answered on a different day) on the online ADHD test. Here’s the rub, even if I got diagnosed, not a single person would believe me! They’d just attribute my interest with ADHD as one of my new passing fads. Is pursuing lots of interests and skipping between them all the time really a neurological condition? I feel like my mind is always running 1,000 miles an hour! Also, I work in advertising – so my constant need for doing something new and creative requiring plenty of energy seems to get satisfied during office hours, and my personality there seems to be beneficial. So, honestly, from where I stand I’m quite happy doing nothing about it, my way of behaving seems to work okay for me – but whenever issues flare-up in my relationships it upsets me terribly, and the root cause of the arguments often seems to be attributable to something a person with ADHD might have done. Trouble is, if I did seek a diagnosis a significant part of me would feel as though I were trying to get ‘a label’ and a reason to excuse my behaviour.

      Stuck between a rock and a hard place, so to speak!

    • #81438
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      Don’t look at it as an “excuse” but rather as an explanation. ADHD is just a physiological difference in the brain that makes individuals function different in some aspects. It’s different wiring, so to speak.

      Yes, it could be ADHD. I also thought about the possibility of “high-functioning” Autism as I read your story.

      What Does Autism Spectrum Disorder Look Like in Adults?

      You can speculate for an eternity. The only way to know is to seek an evaluation with a professional.

      Penny
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Author & Trainer on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

      • #81467
        Casper82
        Participant

        Thanks Penny,

        Yeah, I’ve been speculating for years. I guess that speculation has grown into a nagging doubt that perhaps I’m just imagining it, or that maybe everyone feels this way at times and so on. I’ve mentioned how I feel to some people (usually after more than a few drinks) but I’ve ceased raising it because the standard responses I got were:

        a) “No, you’re not… you’re just shy/introverted/into your hobbies.” etc…
        b) “No, definitely not, I know someone who’s like that, and you’re nothing like them.”

        I can associate with many of the points in the article you shared – there seem to be traits of both ASD and ADHD that I can see in myself daily. I can handle ambiguity and change just fine (I likely got used to it as I’m so disorganised) but I struggle like hell to relax and do nothing – which seems to really irk people who tell me take it easy for a while. I don’t think anyone had concerns about me as a kid, except for my shyness, but one of my school reports seemed to sum me up perfectly – ‘His work is always very detailed and wonderfully presented, but often not at all what I had asked him to do.’

        I think I’d better look into a proper diagnosis – otherwise I’ll spend the rest of my life wondering!!

    • #81883
      corlabu
      Participant

      I sign up just to address your post. I worked in advertising in a large city and can relate to your issues. It took me moving to a small town with no advertising or fast moving jobs to get diagnosed with bipolar depression II. I’m not saying that you have it, just sharing so you can look into different options. It was in this small town that my fast moving behavior (doing different things, obsessively focusing on the hobby of the moment) was recognized as not the norm. There were other issues (depression, relationship issues, reckless financial decisions). For me, getting a diagnosis allowed me to focus on managing my condition. I’m on this website because bipolar issues can be similar to ADHD issues. I’m not excusing my behavior, but treating it like any medical condition, where I have to manage it, like managing diabetes. It wouldn’t excuse my low sugar level, it would just explain it.

      Good luck to you.

      • #82940
        Casper82
        Participant

        Hi everyone – Sorry I was gone a while, to be honest I was waiting for some alone-time to have a proper read through everything and really focus on it. I’ve not told anyone about the forum or my thought process so far, I know it would unleash a flood of unsolicited ‘helpful advice’ or shut-downs. Good to know there are so many people who can relate to my mindset, and so many balanced level-headed thoughts about where my head may be at! It really resonates with me how a busy career can keep things in check. I’m definitely going to get a professional opinion, just to draw a line under it really.

        One other thing… how does caffeine affect you guys? Reason I ask is because everyone else I know drinks coffee/energy drinks to be more alert – I’m quite the opposite, I pretty much have coffee on an IV drip all day as it seems to slow down my pace and keep me calm.

    • #81945
      Uncle Dharma
      Participant

      Casper, I can relate to you situation.
      I was not diagnosed until late in life, so I managed to study and work for many years. To complete high school and two degrees I HAD to organise myself into a strict routine and timetable EVERY hour of every day.

      After diagnosis, I used dexamphetamine. This enabled me to focus and concentrate on one thing at a time. The change was dramatic – my output as a programmer doubled. I was taking a tab every every 3 hours, and by about 3 1/2 hours I noticed that I was starting to daydream. It really was that noticeable.

      NOTE that one change in my behaviour was that due to the focus on boring stuff and less day dreaming, that I was not as creative. So I did not use dex after work, and not on weekends.

      A lot of people worry that an amphetamine is addictive. Not with me. I have to set an alarm to remind me to take it.

    • #81948
      rhena.mccormick
      Participant

      It sounds like you have symptoms so why not just go get checked out? I was diagnosed long after my adolescent years and chose to get checked out because I remembered my struggle as a teenager but was seeing it all over again with my daughter. Everything I was seeing in her and reading about was all too familiar. It just made sense to get checked. I always knew something wasn’t right or different but I didn’t know what. I wasso relieved to know that I wasn’t wrong and that it is treatable. Being diagnosed really helped me understand the struggles I remembered having when I was younger. Even though I have challenges, I feel so much better because I know whatI’m dealing with.

    • #81949
      pampollett
      Participant

      Oh my!! You are living my exact life! I’m about to turn 50 and finally “officially” was diagnosed with ADD
      I’ve lived my life with everyone else telling me i had it but just thinking it was my personality. Always a little bothered by people that would say i had it. It wasn’t until these last few months that i haven’t worked that i finally went to the doctor a bit more anxious than what i have been my whole life ( although I’m always anxious)!! She said because i had been in the restaurant business my whole life i was in the perfect environment for my ADD it wasnt until i was not working that i started to get anxiety and floundering!! Once i was put on meds i was a different person~ really the best day of my life! I was upset that i had not tried
      anything before-would have been such a better spouse ( my husband seriously wanted to divorce over the fact that i interrupt him when We have conversations!! I just get excited- he thinks I’m being rude and don’t care about his thoughts or feelings!)
      I hope you get your diagnosis and get to see the difference it Makes my being on meds! I just wish it would not have taken me 30 plus years to get to this point! Good luck
      Try focalin extended release!!
      The extended release is the best- doesn’t bother your stomach!!

    • #81968
      busisk
      Participant

      Hi Casper, If you get diagnosed you can harness your knowledge to make the ADHD (or whatever) work for you. Be careful who you tell before you get the diagnosis, and who you tell afterwards, as you will get varying reactions, and your focus has to be on yourself, not on what other people think or say – few really understand it.

      I was diagnosed at 65, after I had retired from work. It would have made a huge difference to many aspects of my life if I had had this knowledge earlier, because there are ways of compensating for many of the symptoms but nobody tells you this until you get the diagnosis. But it is now making a huge difference to this part of my life, with the help of meditation, some excercise, a few books and coaching. I took meds for a few years, but gave up for a few reasons and prefer to be without them. Being on the meds made me aware of how ‘normal people’ think, which has been of value since I stopped. I can fly off the handle with certain people, but I became more conscious of this when I found the meds reduced it – and now I am better at stopping myself when I feel the temptation to lash out suddenly. I find my whole life easier, but this was since the diagnosis – and I waited a number of years before seeking it.

    • #81990
      Calibizaro
      Participant

      Hi Casper,

      Honestly, I would just see your Primary Care Provider and list your possible symptoms. If they feel it’s warranted, they will then refer you to someone who can do a more thorough testing. Your particular kind of struggles sound like you mainly struggle with “mindfulness”.

      Basically, you need to practice being more observant and mindful of other people’s reactions. I struggle with this too, but it’s usually the opposite way for me… I’m TOO mindful and end up assuming the worst rather than what is really going on which frustrates other people just as much.

      I often jump from obsession to obsession… it’s a typical trait for a variety of conditions but can also be attributed to intelligence too so it isn’t significant by itself. Again, this can be addressed by practicing more mindfulness about your actions and the amount of energy you are putting into something. Interests are good… lots of interests is still good… but perusing any interest so thoroughly that other important aspects of your life, isn’t healthy for anyone and definitely leads to strained relationships.

      So I would talk with your PCP and read up some material about what “mindfulness” means and how to start improving it. Even if you don’t have ADHD, mindfulness is a huge skill that everyone can benefit from.

    • #82941
      Casper82
      Participant

      Hi everyone – Sorry I was gone a while, to be honest I was waiting for some alone-time to have a proper read through everything and really focus on it. I’ve not told anyone about the forum or my thought process so far, I know it would unleash a flood of unsolicited ‘helpful advice’ or shut-downs. Good to know there are so many people who can relate to my mindset, and so many balanced level-headed thoughts about where my head may be at! It really resonates with me how a busy career can keep things in check. I’m definitely going to get a professional opinion, just to draw a line under it really.

      One other thing… how does caffeine affect you guys? Reason I ask is because everyone else I know drinks coffee/energy drinks to be more alert – I’m quite the opposite, I pretty much have coffee on an IV drip all day as it seems to slow down my pace and keep me calm.

      (P.S. Sorry for accidentally posting reply mid-thread)

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