Failing at my career – Do I have ADD?

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    • #168698

      Hi there,

      I’m in my late twenties and I have worked in health for seven years.

      All of my life I have really struggled with organisation, time management, planning and completing projects and anxiety. School teachers said that I was dreamy, unfocussed and always losing my belongings. Recent examples of issues that I have noticed are missing flights or trains, often arriving late for social occasions, forgetting to brings that I need with me, not responding to emails/texts because I forget to and having many unfinished projects around the house. I have been on and off anxiety medications for 10 years and have had on and off counselling for anxiety for 10 years as well but I’ve never seen a psychiatrist. Despite my disorganisation, I’ve been academically successful. I got good grades at school and university (First class honours). A lot of my studying and assignments were a bit last minute and I was often late for lectures but I seemed to get by, by the seat of my pants. In my first 2 jobs I coped okay. I had nice managers. They might have noticed that I often arrived 5-10 minutes late and wasn’t super organised but knew that I worked hard, knew my stuff and cared deeply about my patients. I had positive performance reviews.

      My latest job didn’t go so well. I had wanted a job at that hospital for a while so I was quite excited about getting the position. Unfortunately my workload turned out to be enormous and I couldn’t cope. My anxiety was running rampant and I felt exhausted. Often on the job I couldn’t concentrate or think straight which meant tasks took longer to get done. The more anxious I got the more my thoughts got muddled. Sometimes I would have brain blanks while I was with a patient. I found having a shared office space really hard because anything else going on would distract me. It was like I couldn’t filter out other sounds. A few times I ended up sitting on the toilet in the bathroom, crying and rocking and wondering why I couldn’t get my brain to work. I got behind with some paperwork, especially report writing. I was usually 5-10min late in the morning which really irritated my manager. I really, really wanted to be punctual but no matter how much I tried I just couldn’t seem to arrive on time which I felt so ashamed about. I tried to work out why I was always arriving late which seemed to be for a number of reasons… inability to wake up to alarm clocks, daydreaming which slows tasks down, inability to find important things such as keys, wallet, ID badge etc, inability to not get distracted by other unimportant tasks e.g. looking at emails, watering pot plants. I often worked over time trying to get all my work done which was a vicious cycle because then I would end up having dinner late and getting to sleep late and then oversleeping in the morning and so it would go on. I talked to my manager about reducing my workload because I was doing 1 and a half person’s jobs but I was told that it was a normal workload and to just get on with it. In the end I burnt out and resigned. I have found a tiny bit of work as a contractor since but with the corona virus lockdown I’m just at home at the moment anyway.

      So… at the moment I am more or less unemployed, don’t know what to do next and I’m wondering what’s wrong with me. If you are reading this and have ADD/ADHD yourself, do some of the problems I’m facing sound like ADD symptoms to you? Do you think I should see a psychiatrist? I’m nervous about getting given a diagnosis of a mental health condition and having it on my record but on the other hand I’m keen to get help and get my life sorted.

      Thank you for reading

    • #168737
      Penny Williams

      Could be ADHD, certainly… could be only anxiety… could be something else entirely… could be a combination of things…

      The only way to know for sure is to get a professional evaluation. Here’s how:

      Your Complete ADHD Diagnosis and Testing Guide

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

    • #168747

      Go get diagnosed. And educate yourself. The book “driven to distraction” by I don’t remember is what led me to get looked at. You are young and have time. I am 47 and just figured it out.

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