Diagnosed but waiting for treatment

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    • #108673

      This is killing me. I had wondered if I had ADHD since at least high school. I’m 24 now. In my last job, being successful at work was how I propped up my self esteem despite everything else in my life being chaos. I changed jobs and went from a structured environment with a a lot of accountability to working from home, the complete opposite. For a bit I rode my good habits and things weren’t too bad. But that quickly faded (like within a week) and was replaced with days where I couldn’t get myself to sit down in my office before 10:00 am, and then once I sat down I’d do nothing, pick my skin, fuss with the decorations. The frustration with myself and the fear of failure built as I struggled to even get a few hours of good work in a day. Eventually in my panic I looked further into ADHD and it was a home run. So I set up an appointment to be evaluated.

      Every since has been agony. I understand myself and ADHD so much better than I once did. After two evaluation sessions, I was diagnosed: ADHD, inattentive. I looked forward to starting medication. All that I have read is that medication has a dramatic effect for like 80% of people. For so long I had tried to conquer the idiosyncrasies of my mind – and failed. Now there was finally something novel to try other than just trying harder and making lists.

      2 weeks till the psychiatrist appoint. I tell myself that’s fine. I wish I could get an appointment immediately, but this is America, so I didn’t have high expectations.

      The appointment comes. “I definitely think you would benefit from stimulant medication, but let’s start you on an antidepressants first to get that depression under control.” (TBH it was pretty bad after months trying and failing at this new job.) I went with it. I was disappointed, but this should help. It’ll be so wonderful to be less depressed.

      Another appointment in 2 weeks. The Lexapro has been going well and a feel a difference in being able to head of my extreme low mood swings. I admitted that despite being better overall, I had gotten overwhelmed about work the previous Friday, because I’m not living up to expectations at all. She says we should up the Lexapro dose before starting the stimulants. I sob. But I understand and accept it, despite feeling devastated.

      Another appointment in 3 weeks. The Lexapro is still good. No issues with the increased dose. I really looked forward to this one. “Hey I was thinking about the weed, (I smoke weed daily) I’m curious what would happen if you stopped for 4 weeks.” Devastation. Do I get why it’s a good idea? Yes. I agree, even. Except that I’m so miserable. I express my disappointment and agree to the break.

      Another appointment in 1 month. This is where I am now. It will 11 weeks after diagnosis that I might start a medication. This entire time has been agony. I was in agony before even pursuing the diagnosis. My life is crumbling. I will lose this job. I am devastated. I’ve considered suicide many times – something I never used to entertain. I have no interest in anything at all.

      I am doing so much worse in so many ways since the diagnosis. I am frustrated and I feel powerless.

    • #108764
      Penny Williams

      Improvement doesn’t happen overnight upon diagnosis. It’s the majority opinion among clinicians that depression or anxiety need to be under control before treating ADHD. It sounds like that’s what she’s trying to do.

      At the next appointment let her know what you shared here: “My life is crumbling. I will lose this job. I am devastated.” This could spur her to go ahead and start a stimulant.

      If you’ve considered suicide since starting Lexapro, that might be a sign it’s not working well enough for you. It can take 4-6 weeks to see the full effects though. I’d be honest with your doctor about these thoughts as well. She can’t help you with them if she doesn’t know it’s happening.

      In the mean time, learn all you can about ADHD medication, so you’ll make the most of medication once you’re able to start it.

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

      Hang in there!
      ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism

    • #108782

      Thanks for the encouragement Penny.

      Treating the depression first made sense to me at first. But the number one source of my negative thoughts is the very real problem that I can’t get myself to do my work. Everything revolves around that. Every week I submit a timesheet, and I don’t even know how to fill it out because does time sitting at my desk trying and failing to work count? It makes me really want to quit my job – they’re not getting what they’re paying for. But this job is an awesome opportunity with amazing people and I don’t want to give it up.

      At the last appointment I discussed my disappointment about not starting stimulants and my fear about my job. She was nice, but not helpful. I went over my appointment time crying about it in her office. I still don’t think I explained myself very well.

      People keep preaching patience, but it doesn’t feel like just a waiting game for me. It feels like I’m deteriorating. I used to have so many good habits. I started every day with a color coded to-do list, I always had a concrete plan for the week. I would take walks and regroup when I started to hit a wall. But in time, my to-do list became the ONLY task I would complete on a daily basis. It started to feel like a waste of time to re-write a to-do list that I make no progress on and re-write every day. And when it 12:30 pm and you’ve done literally NO work, do I really need to take a break and take a walk? All of my non-medication coping strategies are falling apart.

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