Do I have ADHD?

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    • #71912

      I’m 58, and while I know I’m dyslexic I never considered that I might also be ADHD/ADD. I suppose there are ranges and I suspect I’m borderline. I took some of those online tests to see if I have ADHD and I don’t even know how to answer some of the questions. Can I focus? Am I easily distracted? It really depends.

      I always thought ADHD/ADD meant fidgety. I’m not fidgety. Then I started poking around because there’s no doubt I’ve always been struggling with something. My wife complains that I’m a perfectionist and yet I still haven’t finished the kitchen after who knows how many years. I don’t lose my keys or cell phone, because they’re always in my pocket (I learned that a long time ago) but my belt? Reading glasses? Shoes? Every day I’m looking for something. My office is a disaster. The only way I can keep it clean for more than a few days is to first clean it up and then use my passport.

      The whole focus thing is a mix. If I’m passionate about something I can focus like nobody else. I can focus way too long but can get things done that nobody else will. But if it’s routine, forget it. Well, I’ll forget it. Sometimes there’s too much focus and it’s just another way to ignore something I should be doing but don’t really want to do.

      Ever since I hit puberty I haven’t gone more than a week without aerobic activity unless I’m dog sick. It’s not that I want to exercise, I have to exercise. Or else I’ll snap at someone. Exercise is bliss. It leads to happy. I never used to drink coffee but a few years ago I tried some. That is also good stuff. Euphoric, manic, for about an hour. Exercise lasts a lot longer, but it has to be aerobic. Walking the dog doesn’t do much. Climbing a mountain is good.

      Back to being a perfectionist. I can’t just cook a turkey. But I can cook for three days making a wonderful meal, centered around a turkey. Now I roast my own coffee. I don’t make break, I spend 48 hours making sourdough bread. It tastes wonderful! I was in grad school and found out about a PhD. That was a challenge. I could focus. I like photography. It’s not enough to take a picture of a bridge at night, I have to walk all around it taking all sorts of pictures. I keep asking myself why I do these things and I realized I do them because when I don’t, I don’t do anything. I’m either all in or I’m doing Netflix. If I’m passionate about something I can focus. Outside of that I just flounder.

      I read slowly. I can read a book for about 20 minutes and then I need a break. That is, until the book gets good and then I’ll just read for hours at a time. When I see a long document such as instructions that I should read I’ll start off reading until my brain feels like I can’t take anymore and then I’ll get impatient and skim, looking for the answer. And if there is none then I’ll just chuck the instructions and dive in. Usually it works. Given a challenge I’ll focus until I conquer it.

      I read that people with ADHD don’t take instruction very well. That’s me. I either want to be in charge or I’m just biting my lip. That PhD I got? I mostly sunk my career because I didn’t want to work with other people. It turns out I would have been a great teacher (I like working with young people) but I found that out a bit late. Elementary through high school was a nightmare for me. “If only Matt would apply himself” was the most common comment on my report cards.

      My wife is a saint for putting up with me. The good news is I have a passion for my wife.

      Maybe that’s why I’m here. It’s always a struggle. I’m either going all out or I get down. I’m quiet and I’m probably a poster child for poor esteem. My biggest fear in life is I won’t have any friends. I have lots of acquaintances, but not really any friends. Small talk makes me crazy. I’d like to be able to sit in a chair and enjoy my pond and garden, which is really pretty. But I can’t just sit there for more than 5 minutes. I’ll find something wrong. Or get bored. Then I’m back to pushing.

      I’ve learned a few things on how to deal with who I am. If I start feeling down I go for a hike or a long bike ride. I love the outdoors. That will put me in a great mood. I like being creative. I can lose time doing creative things and it’s wonderful. I’d really like to just even it all out. I’m up and I’m down.

      So, do I have ADHD? Suggestions?

      • This topic was modified 4 years ago by MattColo.
    • #71935

      Hi there. I’ve suffered from diagnosed ADHD my whole life and it can be very difficult. The way that you’re describing your experiences totally lines up with this disorder. They gave it a bad name because it’s really an attention inconsistency disorder. That is why if you’re passionate or interested you go all in and have hyper focus. The flip side is anything boring you just don’t function. I have an IQ of 177 but through elementary school I was convinced that I was stupid because teachers said all the same things to me and I couldn’t understand why I want functioning like the other kids. I had mastery of all the material but I’d forget to turn in my homework, had impulsivity issues, and had some teachers trying to label me as a bad kid. That helped to cause like self esteem. I’m 37 so given how little understanding I received it must have been worse for you. I’m still sorting out the right meds and dosing after recently deciding to take the medication again as an adult. I started with 10mg of Ritalin twice a day. Although unfortunately It’s had side effects, the difference in my ability to complete tasks is night and day. I had some things that had been hanging over my head for 6 months, an hour after taking the medication I just got everything done quite effortlessly. This is not everyone’s experience on medication however. You will feel like your mind has calmed down and is more settled on medication. I bet that you are a major procrastinator like me. Don’t feel bad about that because it’s a behavioral component of the disorder. You put things off until a deadline is imminent. When you do this the stress and anxiety of time running out gives your brain the stimulation to complete the task. From the behavioral side the way to help is to create restrictions or conditions that you must actually enforce. So for me If I have something important to do I take away whatever I want most until I get it done. Maybe video games, entertainment, or I’ve even not let myself take a nap to get things done. While that behavioral issue is difficult to correct, it’s much much easier if you’re effectively medicated. You have the mental stimulation to not procrastinate changing that behavior so you improve much faster. In regards to your social life that is most likely that you get somewhat overwhelmed and stressed in loud and crowded places which inhibits your opportunity to make friends. You likely just get over stimulated. I’ll ask a question that you should answer for yourself. If you’re day watching tv and someone is in the other room talking but not loudly, do you feel like you can’t focus on the show and respond with frustration? This is a potential sign of an auditory processing issue. What happens I’d that you feel all sounds amplified. They are more distracting and much more invasive. You should definitely get to a doctor and look into medication. There are something like 123 ADHD medications. Go into it knowing that it’s trial and error to find the right medication and dosing for you. I have the effects of the Ritalin in my system right now. It’s the only reason I got through your post and felt compelled to give advice. I signed up just to reply to you. Talk with your doctors. There are some tests that give indications that you have ADHD but notching concrete. The medication slowing things down is confirmation of the diagnosis. You might even have sleep issues because you can’t get your brain to shut off to sleep. 500mg or so of magnesium will help to calm that racing mind if you struggle with it. I hope you find a solution that is the right fit for you. Take care 😉

    • #71945
      Penny Williams

      “If I’m passionate about something, I can focus…” That describes the ADHD nervous system — it’s motivated by interest and urgency, not importance.

      Secrets of Your ADHD Brain

      You can certainly have ADHD without being “fidgety” or hyperactive. It’s called ADHD Primarily Inattentive now (used to be called ADD).

      ADD vs. ADHD: The Three Types of Attention Deficit Disorder

      The next step would be to contact a clinician for an evaluation.

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

    • #71993

      Thanks Exohart and Penny. I wrote a response but got logged out. Maybe I should type faster and be less of a perfectionist :).

      Exohart, thanks for taking time to respond. It’s nice to know I’m not alone. A lot of threads on this website sound very familiar. Your question about auditory disruption brought up some thoughts. I can’t tolerate a TV going while I’m trying to talk to someone else, or, well, do anything else. I can’t go to rock concerts as they’re too loud. This has been forever. Classical music is the one thing I can listen to and get work done. It’s so soothing. Someone chewing with their mouth open is really distracting.

      The reason I’m a bit hesitant in finding a doctor is I want to make sure I have someone that has plenty of experience with adult ADHD. I read a couple of self diagnostic tests and the standard one has lots of questions that I’d answer with “it depends.” I don’t have issues with missing appointments because I use my calendar app. If I didn’t have that I’d have a lot of troubles, but so would every teenager I know. So it’s kind of a meaningless question. I stay clear of doing certain things so I know I won’t have problems with them, but my wife has to take care of paying bills or reminding me to do it. When my mind starts to race I go for a bike ride. I’ve learned to adapt. I found another self test at TotallyADD and it’s phrased in such a way that there’s no doubt I’m positive. I need a doctor that understands this. How many really do? I saw a webinar that suggests most doctors don’t.

      Another issue is insurance. If I need medication then I have to go through the insurance network. I also have to essentially pay for all of this out of pocket (I have a high deductible.) So I really want to know what questions to ask a doctor before I go in.

    • #72164

      Speaking of whether or not a person actually has ADHD, we have been going through that for awhile with our daughter, 26. She has Asperger’s (now autism spectrum disorder, but many still use the more specific term because conveys more info), so there is some overlap between the two conditions especially with regard to executive function challenges, which are her biggest problems. I just listened to the podcast on this website with Dr. William Dodson, where he talks about the definition of ADHD. He asserts that in order to have ADHD you MUST have at least one parent with the condition. Yet neither my husband nor myself have ADHD. Now, I’ve never heard that before. Can someone please comment on that? We really need to get this cleared up for a lot reasons, as you can well imagine. Thank you to all who comment for sharing your knowledge with us.

    • #72463

      Wahoo27, I listened to that podcast and I didn’t get the same message you did. At one point Dodson said ADHD is genetic but he never said one of the parents must have ADHD. They obviously must have some genetic component of it but that might not result in having all the genetic components that result in ADHD.

      That was my take on it, anyway. I did a brief look elsewhere on the web and saw nothing that suggested one parent must have ADHD.

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