Congratulations, you've been diagnosed! Now what??

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    • #182934
      sideliner
      Participant

      Hey there!
      So, maybe you are a bit like me?
      Maybe you too have felt that you are somewhat different from your peers, growing up?
      That other people seem to have more control, get more things done, be more balanced… just more successful?
      And then, at some point, you stumbled into the realm of ADHD. Maybe your gp suggested it. Maybe you thought about it yourself.
      And you know what? Turns out that you did have ADHD.
      And now it all kinda makes sense, doesn’t it? Case closed!

      Wrong!

      Now, I don’t know about you, but I was sent to a psychiatrist, that was going to help me treat my ADHD with medication.
      Not once did it ever come up trying to deal with it WITHOUT medication.
      And not a single word was spoken about the concept of HAVING ADHD.
      Nothing.

      So… I was given some Ritalin and told to take it in the morning.
      And then given a new appointment the week after.

      And off I went.

      So, there I was. Now, a box of pills richer.
      And no clue what to expect.

      I started taking the pills.
      I noticed an effect shortly after the first pill on the first day.
      WOW! Something’s happening.
      Some sort of pressure to the brain.
      The following day it was more intense.
      And the third day even more so.
      I felt like I was on… drugs!
      Full of energy.
      Yet more collected.
      Still felt like me, but some of the edge was taken off.
      Where I would cry, I now only felt my heart sink.
      Where I would shout in anger, I know had the calm to think a few seconds longer and choose something different.
      Yay!

      So, NOW, surely everything must be in order, right?

      Nope!

      Set aside that I had an increasing number of side-effect, from insomnia, weight-loss, dizziness and feeling sick, terrible breath and a pounding heart, something else started to unfold in the following weeks.

      And this is what I wish someone would have prepared me for.

      Namely: Who am I???

      Who am I, and what is ADHD?
      What is ADHD and what are bad habits?

      What is my potential?
      What can I do? What can’t I do?

      And… what is my WORTH?
      And what do I deserve and not deserve from others?

      I’ve always failed at most things.
      I surely was “stupid”.
      I also “didn’t care” about things that were really important.
      So my ex wife told me. So other people have told me.
      “If you forget something that is as important as this, then surely, you don’t care”.
      Or “you don’t respect me” because I have told you over and over – and still no change!
      So, I’m both a stupid person, and seemingly also lack true empathy and caring.
      I must be a bad person!
      I’m not worth having around.
      I’m not worth much at all.
      They know, I know it. Everybody knows it!
      Because, it’s true.
      And, now you’re telling me that maybe I AM worth something?
      That it’s not that I don’t WANT TO. It’s just that I’M NOT EASILY ABLE TO.

      Suddenly, I was questioning EVERYTHING.

      And the only thing my psychiatrist did was talk about medication.
      When I said I was suddenly in sort of an existential crisis, he looked at me…. like I had just been diagnosed with ADHD or something.
      All he had to say was: “Dude… I’m doing medication. I can give you more. Or less. I suggest you find someone to talk to”.

      And this was my FIRST encounter with a medical professional after getting diagnosed!

      So…

      I was just diagnosed. I had an increasing number of pill boxes in my cupboard.
      And no clue how to handle living with ADHD.

      And so I have been Googling around.
      Speaking to other people with ADHD.
      And made an account here.
      Because, I guess I’m not the only one who had to redefine just about everything after getting diagnosed.

      Today, I’m slowly moving… somewhere.
      I’m not really sure that I do have ADHD sometimes.
      I still had to go back home 4 times in a row one day, because I forgot stuff.
      But my wife tells me I’m calmer. And I don’t get as nervous as I used to.
      I live with several challenging relations… seem to be an ADHD thing.
      And they used to make me shake sometimes.
      But, I don’t anymore.
      Rather, I have been able to stand up for myself.
      And still be calm.
      And, so what has been the biggest change is, even though I still focus a lot on the wrong things and find it very hard to do stuff I don’t really wanna do, I’m standing up for myself. I’m drawing the line. I’m setting myself up for success. I’ve come clean at work about what I need to do my job. I’ve become a more outspoken parent and husband. Maybe it’s because of the medication. Maybe it’s because I’m evolving.
      So, good things are happening, but with ADHD there are no two lines under any answer.

      And THAT’S where I am at.

      So, how about you?

      What’s your story? And how are you doing now?

    • #182945
      kokobop
      Participant

      Hi! I don’t know how I even stumbled onto this post, because I was trying to search for a specific article but the darn phone led me here!

      I was diagnosed in May this year and got my Ritalin a month after. I’ve started to ask myself the same question: “What do I do now?” and I’ve been thinking that maybe I should find some professional to talk to as well.

      Maybe it’s because I’m a woman, or it’s something else, but I don’t struggle as much as you with the “Who am I?” question. I have fortunately already realised who I am, so for me getting a diagnosis was just the answer to the question: “Why am I like this? Why am I different than everyone else?”.

      Like you, I have struggled with feeling confident and feeling like I’m worth something. Now I know it’s just the ADHD haunting my mind, and that I DO have some worth and talents worth recognising.

      Reading about ADHD and what it means on sites like this and other medical websites have given me a lot of answers to why I am who I am. But the question still remains: “What do I do now?”

      The meds help me focus and concentrate, but they will never take away other struggles I face because of the ADHD. I still need help with getting things started, and doing stuff I don’t want to do, but have to do. For example chores…

      That is why I feel like I need another professional to talk with than just the doc who prescribes my meds.

      If you struggle with self worth I suggest you seek out some type of therapist or similar to talk to. But talking with other people with ADHD might help you on your journey as well!

      I don’t know if my comment will help you in any way, but I wish you the best and I hope you will find some answers!

      Thanks for your patience while reading this! šŸ˜‰

    • #183007
      sideliner
      Participant

      Thanks for your reply, and interesting to hear how it has been for you this far.

      I just came from my psychiatrist and I spoke to him again about this subject.
      He told me that: “Actually… most patients I get don’t ask questions, they get their pills and are quite content if they work”.

      It really surprises me. So I went into a longer talk with him, and it took a while before he even got my meaning. He was under the impression that I had a great need to talk to someone, get therapy and so on. And while he is not mistaken, the point I was trying to drive home was that you have lived your whole live with ADHD and it has shaped the way you see and interact with the world.

      So, as far as “knowing who you are”, being on medication will certainly do something with your self-perception. Suddenly, maybe you’re able to focus for 3 hours on something boring. And you are just calmer, more content. So, when the kids are super-annoying and almost tearing the place down, instead of screaming from the top of your lungs, you firmly put them in place and told them that this behaviour is not acceptable. OR, maybe you find that you are more stable overall. So, where you would function great one day and not so great the next, you are suddenly better at managing yourself and still getting things done.

      Now, I don’t know specifically what any other person with ADHD’s challenges are, but if you have been diagnosed with ADHD, you have to meet the criteria. And then taking medication will surely affect those symptoms.

      Which inevitably surely must raise a few questions, like… “hmm… so… I wasn’t that bad at math after all… I was just not able to concentrate”, “So… I’m not quite the angry person that I thought I was… I just had problems managing my emotions”. “So, it’s not that I don’t want to work and am a lazy person, I just couldn’t muster the focus to pull through”.

      I’m not the first in the world to get this diagnosis, and my psychiatrist is certainly not the first doctor to treat it. It just strikes me as very odd that you are not given more information about the experiences they have made treating people with this disorder, with everything from taking medications to managing your new life on medications etc.

      He finally got my drift and he did agree that things were not perfect, thanked me for the feedback and said he would make sure to think about that with his next patients. If he does, that is great! Or he just wanted to get rid of me :p

      • #183011
        kokobop
        Participant

        Believe me, I totally understand where you are coming from and even your questions of self-worth and what talents you possess!

        I agree it’s strange that therapy or similar isn’t offered as a complementary treatment with medicin, but I’ve been struggling with other health issues (as well as undiagnosed ADHD) since I was 15 and I’ve never been offered therapy by any doctors. In my experience this is something I’ve always had to ask for myself, even as a teenager coming in with weird health issues destroying my entire world.

        I don’t know what the heath system is like where you live, but in my country I can get therapy basically for free (only a small fee for each visit) via the general health system. I hope you can find someone to talk to, and a therapist you click with! Good luck!

        Meanwhile my meds are backfiring and today I felt like I was a ticking bomb ready to explode. Just sent a message to my doc and I’m waiting for his reply. I will also bring up the subject of getting some therapy/counseling with him, and see if he has the same response as your doc or if he understands where I’m coming from. So far my doc has been really good, so hopefully all of my meds troubles will be solved soon!

        Take care~

    • #183013
      Pillager
      Participant

      Afternoon,

      This is my first post as I was diagnosed this morning with ADHD at the age of 28. After a lifelong battle with “being able to get on with it”. I’ve been prescribed Elvanse, I believe it’s called Vyvanse in the US. Any advice for someone starting their journey?

      • #183084
        kokobop
        Participant

        Hi! I don’t really know what advice to give you since I feel like we’re all in the same boat here. šŸ˜Š Plus I don’t know what specific needs you might have, and maybe you don’t really know it right now either. You might discover it with time though.

        What I have done since I got diagnosed is to read as much as I can about ADHD. I’ve been talking about it with my friends and family, and I have even started blogging about my journey! For me it’s all about understanding ADHD and how to deal with it.

        Since I’m still not sure what ADHD meds and which dosage works the best for me, I take notes on how I feel and if I experience any side effects.

        I will also try to talk with my doc about possible therapy/counseling or something else that would help me with finding ways to get going with mundane things like chores and whatnot.

        I don’t know if this is helpful for you, but maybe you got some tips anyway! šŸ™‚

        With time you may also figure out what approach to this works best for you! Good luck!

    • #183148
      TheTaoOfPhil
      Participant

      Hi,

      I got officially diagnosed from a psychologist who specializes in ADHD recently. That I have ADHD was suggested to me this past spring by a psychiatrist who was doing a general consultation with me and, independently, by the prescriber I ended up with.

      I had trouble believing it about myself, but found it helpful to listen to a lot of the ADDitude podcast episodes available on this site. The more I learned, the more I began to see how I might have ADHD. I wanted to get the formal diagnosis in order to confirm the diagnosis and to understand in more depth how ADHD affects me (we all have different brains and are affected in different ways).

      Like many who are diagnosed as adults (I am 57), I have been “able to get on with it” and consider myself fortunate to have a stable marriage and two wonderful adult children (both of whom have ADHD). What I learned from some of the podcasts is that unless your ADHD is significant enough to have resulted in major life issues (e.g, being unable to hold a job, lots of divorce, etc.), its impact is less obvious (depression, anxiety, anger management, managing inattention, etc.). A number of speakers in the podcasts (Thomas Brown, William Dodson, Ned Hallowell for example) address these sorts of issues.

      Anyway, since I already have a number of other issues I have been struggling with for decades (CPTSD, depression, anxiety), I am used to working with a number of different medications and being in therapy.

      What’s new for me is an explanation for why I had so much trouble socially and academically when I was in my early years of grade school and why I felt so stupid all the time. The social side of things remains difficult (but that’s a topic for another post). Understanding ADHD’s role in all this is very enlightening.

      As for medication, it can take a lot of tinkering to get it right. So if the meds don’t feel right (e.g., they make you more irritable, spaced out, etc.) let your doctor know right away: a good prescriber will work with you to get to the right dose of the right medication. Of all the meds I have been on of the years, the psychostimulants have had the most dramatic effect in my quality of life. Like, I am amazed at how much of my life I had been missing out on before this.

      Finally, yes, medication is not enough. There are a good deal of other things that are needed: learning ways to compensate for executive functioning issues, understanding how ADHD affects your relationships, etc. It’s all a big process. It is also a fact that prescribing psychiatric medications is for the most part a highly medical field, separate from these kinds of things. So finding a good therapist who is familiar with ADHD or an ADHD coach is a separate challenge.

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