November 19, 2020 at 2:50 pm #187965OrangehaggisParticipant
I’m in my mid-thirties, a lifelong underachieving, painfully socially awkward, unpunctual, disorganised mess of a person who’s living situation drastically changed almost two years ago. I’ve lived with my father my entire life until he died in January of 2019. I was barely able to function normally prior to his death, only able to work part time, being held back from advancement because of my many issues, constantly dealing with little catastrophes like damaging my car, forgetting to pay speeding tickets, failing to get to important appointments on time.
Since my father’s death, my quality of life has fallen dramatically. I’m literally penniless and I’m being supported financially by two elderly great-aunts, the only family I have left.
I’m being forced into confronting my problems as I quite literally can’t carry on as I have been for more than a few months.
After many phone calls, I found a local mental health practice that’s accepting new patients and have been going there for a month and a half. I see a therapist weekly, and psychiatric nurse practitioner as needed. The therapist, an LISW-W, diagnosed me with depression and anxiety, although I am not convinced that that fully addresses my concerns. The psych NP doesn’t diagnose, but after hearing me out, decided to try atomoxetine and I’ve been taking a fairly low dose of that for only a few weeks now. Too soon to tell if it works.
I’ve been pretty frustrated with the therapy sessions as I feel like the therapist is addressing problems I don’t have. This led me to seek a second opinion with a specialist in and researcher of ADHD in children and adults in the nearest big city, over an hour’s drive from my area. Unfortunately, the closest appointment is at the end of December. Today, I brought this up with the local therapist and asked her what would change in my therapy plan should I be diagnosed with ADHD? Well, my therapist didn’t like that I’m seeking a second opinion, tried to dissuade me from doing so by saying my insurance might not cover it, brushed aside my concerns, and chalked up my chaotic life to negative self talk.
Obviously, I’m no medical professional and I have 0 qualifications to self diagnose … but I sincerely don’t believe my problem is primarily with depression. My therapist said she was concerned with my ‘hyper focus’ on ADHD … and I don’t want to insist on having a problem that I don’t actually have… However, the stakes are high and I quite literally have no time to waste following up a false lead. If I don’t get the right, effectual help soon, I could end up on the street.
For those of you who’ve been through the mental health system, I’d be grateful for your insights on my predicament.
November 21, 2020 at 2:40 pm #188075lynneihaParticipant
I’m right there with ya! My situation sounds much like yours. (Read “So Lonely/Virtual Support Groups”). It is extremely frustrating to deal with most mental health people, as most of them have no clue about ADHD and what it is really like.
When I was finally able to get a Zoom appointment with the new psychiatrist in our county mental health department, she actually told me that I didn’t need medication for my ADHD symptoms because I’m not working outside the home…she said she might prescribe it for me if I had a job I was struggling in. This was in spite of the fact that I have been diagnosed for ten years as severely ADHD, and I took Vyvanse for eight years. My psychiatrist retired after many years of practice…HE believed I needed ADHD meds, and told me that there were few psychiatrists “out there” who understood ADHD.
And as I thought he would, my boyfriend fairly exploded when he heard what the young psychiatrist had told me, as he said, “She obviously doesn’t understand that you’ll never be able to get a job UNTIL you are back on your meds!”
The young psychiatrist I saw on Zoom talked to me for a total of ten minutes and in that amount of time, wiped out any chance I have of getting my ADHD meds from the mental health department. But like you, I have finally found a person who I truly believe, SPECIALIZES in ADHD…and I’m going to email her today about getting an appointment. I don’t care if she makes me go through all the ADHD tests all over again…that would be okay. I KNOW I am ADHD. The first time I really heard about symptoms of ADHD,I felt like I was the “POSTER CHILD” for ADHD!! Issues such as forgetfulness, being time- blind, ALWAYS being late, interrupting others, and not knowing when I should speak in a conversation, inability to engage in small talk, NO organization skills, hyper-focusing on things of interest, but getting bored extremely easily with routine or technical issues, emotional dysregulation, and emotional hyperarousal, etc…
I could go on and on, but you get the picture, and whatever your symptoms are, you are probably ADHD too, as most of us self-diagnose before a doctor ever says, “Yep, you’re ADHD.” It’s just the nature of the Beast.
If I were you, I would DEFINITELY go ahead and meet with that specialist! If you have to stop seeing the therapist you’re seeing, that could be a good thing. They do not sound like they understand that your depression is likely made worse by your ADHD symptoms not being addressed. I know that is what is happening with me. Depression is definitely there, but it’s almost a “secondary” problem.
You therapist is also showing poor judgement in being reluctant for you to get a second opinion, That is just a form of “professional jealousy” in my opinion.
You ARE hyper-focusing on ADHD, and for good reason. It’s because the most important thing in your life right now is to get your ADHD addressed and treated, so you can move on with your life and make it better. I feel the same way…that people will say I’m hyper-focusing on my ADHD.
That’s why you need an ADHD specialist, and NOT just the mental health therapist. They will understand where you’re coming from.
I do understand about the lack of money and resources. That is me also…as I have not worked outside the home in three years while I was caregiving for my three senior relatives. They gave me some money when they could, but, essentially, my boyfriend has always helped me out with money in the eleven years I have been with him. And in the last three years, he has been paying for most everything. It’s embarrassing, as without him, I would be on the streets. I am way over-educated-two Master’s degrees, but that’s because ‘learning’ is my thing…what I’m good at, what I hyper-focus on…I love being a student. But I can’t keep a ‘simple’ job-such as being a cashier or anything that requires you to do the same thing over and over. I’ve been fired from, and quit many jobs because of my inability to follow directions, maintain standards of cleanliness…
What I really mean to say is that I’ve had no money either, and I wish I could tell you how to get some to pay the specialist. I can’t. Just do whatever it takes. Your life will most likely change in a very positive way once someone in mental health sees you as you really are. If you can get diagnosed by the specialist, THEN you can make sure you can get copies of your medical records, and then the mental health practice people will have confirmation that you have ADHD and need help in that way.
My help will probably cost me a great deal, as I have no insurance, no job.
But I was left money when my mom died a year ago, and we sold her house recently. Mom totally believed I had ADHD and she would be thrilled that some money she left me will go to help me get the assistance and medication I need. So, I’ve got that.
I’m sorry this answer was so long. Just know you are right-you know yourself. I have discovered that no one can be an advocate for you but yourself. It took me a long time to figure that one out, and I have to keep reminding myself to fight for what I need.
I’ll be thinking of you.
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