Becoming comfortable bringing up ADHD possibility

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    • #136387
      mille396
      Participant

      I am a working, 22 year old, female, college grad. I think I may have ADHD, but I have been consistently too afraid to bring it up, and I want to get over this fear because I feel I am at a critical point where I need an evaluation to explore this possibility. Most recently, I have been seeing a psychiatrist to adjust medications for anxiety. I describe my experiences within this framework of having had an established anxiety diagnosis for years, but much of what I experience I think could possibly attributed to ADHD. I was switched from Zoloft to Prozac and no matter what, my core issues that have plagued me my whole life are still fully there.
      I struggled throughout school, including in elementary school where I once got in trouble for forging my mom’s signature on my take-home-folder because I was too ashamed for her to know I forgot to get it signed on time again. This was fourth grade, where I also shaving trouble with things like forgetting to take homework home, having a horribly messy desk. I somehow got through middle school “ok” but not as well as I could be. In high school, I started off seemingly well and then became miserable as my whole life because focused on all the homework I had missing all the time and tests where I couldn’t answer anything because I spent most classes completely spaced out. Sometimes, even when I had plenty of sleep trying to focus in a class would make me very sleepy, to the point of actually falling asleep. It was actually since my freshman year of high school that I started to suspect I have ADHD. My mom became very upset and ask why I was giving up on my future, and I didn’t know how to answer. Every semester I wanted to change, but things never really clicked. I managed to get in an open-admission state university where I had inconsistent performance: when I had no other work and when I had no math classes, I could generally pull off decent grades, though with a struggle. But I would skip most classes because something about going and sitting through a class seemed draining in the same way class was in high school, and when I had other work to manage at the same time my grades would suffer. I also could just never focus when it came to math, with my brain just completely dying in the middle of math tests even if I understand the concepts. So, my math grades were always poor. The classes I took my last 2 years are all over the place, with a number of dropped classes.
      I could hyper-focus on certain computational tasks that the one professor I connected with gave me, which made me appear to be an appealing worker. So, when they moved to work in another state, I moved to work for them.
      However, things have become miserable. Having a full-time job with numerous different tasks I need to be constantly working on and prioritizing has been so difficult for me. My overall job performance is poor, with my boss yelling at me that we can’t keep meeting to go over my tasks every day but then everyday saying we have to meet because he needs to see my progress that day. My apartment is a disgusting disaster of a mess. I cannot handle myself financially at all. I don’t even know where my driver’s license has been for weeks (I don’t have a car, though). There are numerous things I have been meaning for months to take care of but can never muster up the mental energy to just do it, like getting new glasses than these 8-year-old backup glasses I use since my most recent pair snapped in half, or sending in the documents I need for my passport. Every day, I want to focus, to be productive at work, clean my apartment, take care of life tasks. But for whatever reason I just can’t pull it together. I even keep forgetting to just clean out my mail box when I mean to every day.
      I really want to bring up to my psychiatrist that I would like to be evaluated for ADHD. But I have been too scared because of the worry that it would be just be basically laughed off that I would think I may have ADHD when I haven’t had a diagnosis yet. And also, I fear looking like I’m just trying to get a diagnosis for problems everyone deals with to some degree, but I do genuinely believe that my issues with concentration go beyond normal levels.
      My last appointment with the psychiatrist was this last Monday; my next one will be in February. Is there a way to make myself feel comfortable to bring the conversation beyond anxiety to the possibility of ADHD? Also, I am willing to accept if I don’t have ADHD; I just feel I need to be at least evaluated.

    • #136390
      FrankTankNitty
      Participant

      Hi Millie!
      I am 35 years old, and have been going though the same thing as you. I didn’t bring up ADHD until this summer, when my sister who was diagnosed at 25 recommended I talk to someone about it. My biggest suggestion would be to find a psychologist who has experience in adult ADHD. Tell them exactly what you wrote in this post, and I’m sure they will be able to lead you in the right direction!

      • #141470
        mille396
        Participant

        Thank you for the response. My next normal psychiatrist appointment is tomorrow, and I’ve decided before anything else I’m just going ask about being evaluated for ADHD. Once I get into the normal line of questioning psychiatrists or consolers ask, I tend to lie about how much I’m struggling. So I’m going to try to say my concerns right away before I get to the point of lying.

    • #136403
      quietlylost
      Participant

      It sounds like the possibility is real and this is also important to you. It’s important not just for knowing, but also because it could effect your treatment. This is probably a great opportunity to bring it up. Just like KNitty said, you can start by bringing in what you’ve written here. Maybe break it down into bullet points. And begin the conversation with, “We’ve been working together for a while, and I wondered if you’d be willing to help me work through something I’ve been thinking about. I’ve been struggling so much lately and I’m wondering if there’s more to the anxiety. I’m curious if you’d be willing to talk with me about the possibility of ADHD.”

      You can also be more direct and assertive. “I think I might have ADHD. I wrote down some things that I wanted to share to see what you think.”

      However you decide to approach it, it does sound like it’s time. If your doctor laughs it off or dismisses it, have them justify it. “Why don’t you think I have it? What evidence do you have? What about the things I shared?”

      You can also ask about their experience with ADHD, as kNitty suggests. You can ask if they’ve seen similar situations or if they have much experience with treating adult ADHD. If they don’t, then maybe it’s something they’re willing to learn about with you.

      The other thing would be to decide what you want out of treatment. Do you want a diagnosis? Do you want medication? Do you want answers? For example, if you want medication, you can approach that from a different way. You can start by asking to try some of the non-stimulants if you want, or you can be more direct. If you want the diagnosis, then that’s a good thing to ask. “What do you think it would take to figure out if I have ADHD or not?”

      Are you working with a therapist too? They can be a point of insight and input to your doctor as well.

      Whatever the case, it seems like now is the time. If things don’t go well, there are always options. But wondering and worrying definitely won’t serve you.

      • #141472
        mille396
        Participant

        Thank you for the response. My next normal psychiatrist appointment is tomorrow, and I’ve decided before anything else I’m just going ask about being evaluated for ADHD. Once I get into the normal line of questioning psychiatrists or consolers ask, I tend to lie about how much I’m struggling. So I’m going to try to say my concerns right away before I get to the point of lying. Overall, I just want whatever treatment methods, including counseling and medication that will make feel like I can function in day-to-day life, and that I have the ability to live a productive life, which I’ve never really felt.

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