How did you feel after diagnosis. Please share! *third attempt at posting

Home Welcome to the ADDitude Forums For Adults How did you feel after diagnosis. Please share! *third attempt at posting

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    • #109914


      My first time here.

      I would love to hear stories about what you went through once you found out you had ADHD?

      I’m going through a whirlwind of emotions and thoughts. I don’t have anyone who understands and it’s very isolating. It would be so comforting to hear your experience.

      If you’d like to read more about me here is a (trying to be brief) story of mine.

      The emotional rollercoaster: (the most important part)
      The last three weeks I’ve been hyper immersed in reading about adhd and it’s uncanny, I feel like I’m reading about myself, when I watch videos about it, I start crying because I can’t believe how creepy it is, its’ like they’re in my head. Down to nitty gritty details I can relate to everything. And then at the same time I’ve been going through these weird days where I question it. I told my closest and oldest friend about having adhd and while she meant well and was very kind in her wording I could sense that she doubted I have it. I can tell my mom doubts it too. And when I talk about it with my very loving/supportive boyfriend of 7 years he even clams up like he wants me to stop talking about it. My new psychiatrist whom I met with the other day was asking me questions and I feel like he is questioning it too. He even asked prior to writing my script “be honest you’ve experimented with Adderall already, most people your age have” Well I never have and it made me feel bad about myself, like he didn’t trust me and thinks I’m faking it. It makes me wonder am I trying to believe I have something I don’t just to justify my failures? I feel guilty. Could they have made a mistake at the university clinic? they gave me all the recommended tests for adhd. But I know it’s hard to diagnose. I’m feeling so insecure and confused about this diagnosis. And at the same time I find that I’m having almost hourly revelations about myself, today for example I realized that this really connects the dots when it comes to the financial issues I’ve had, I’ve always been SOO bad with money and credit cards, I have a bad credit score and paying bills was always hard for me even if I had the money, its like it was too stressful to even confront? and then at the same time an hour later I find that I’m question my adhd again, today it’s because I’m on my second day of my new Ritalin prescription and I find that it’s making me ‘hyper focus’ more and making me zone out more. There are less thoughts, but I am more consumed for longer periods of time on just one thought, to the point that I tune out everything around me. Does the Ritalin not working mean I don’t have it? I don’t know anymore. I’m feeling so lost.

      Back story:
      I am a 28 year old women, I grew up in a very chaotic/poor/violent home life, I always always always hated school. And many people respond to that with “yeah I hated school too” but I always felt they didn’t really know what I meant. When I was little I thought I was an alien, and that they never came back to get me after leaving me here by accident. I was always the weird one, the outcast, as a child I was the mute, but after puberty I couldn’t shut up. I’m the silly one that puts their foot in their mouth and people refer to me as spacey and always have. I’ve had difficulty making friends while simultaneously having a few close friends for years at a time consistently. But I always felt I was more of a “party trick” for them and the person they brought out to liven things up and not so much someone they respected. I had a drinking problem as a teenager but managed to get it in check by 21. I never experimented with drugs due to the extreme amount of addiction in my family that left me feeling like I shouldn’t even try and play with that fire. I dropped out of high school after 2 weeks of 10th grade. I tried college twice in my early 20’s but couldn’t get myself to show up. I did get my GED at 18 after just waltzing in to the test and somehow passing. No studying at all (i’m lucky). I’ve always managed to hold jobs down relatively easily, although I’ve really hated all of them. I always hated the idea of being trapped in a building all day every day. I’ve been fired once for being late too much after working there for 4 years. My biggest problems at all my jobs were, always being late, talking to coworkers to much, and missing important details, but most of the time it wasn’t a huge deal because I’m really strong in most other areas and I can be charismatic and get myself out of bad situations relatively easily.

      What led me to seek help:
      At 26 my very supportive and sweet long term boyfriend helped me to decide that I should stop working and attend college full time. I started out with one class and built myself up. The start of school was the end to any peace I may have had previously. It was an absolute nightmare from the start, weekly meltdowns, my house was dirtier than ever, I stopped even cooking the simple things I did before (I hate cooking) and my poor boyfriend not only went from financially supporting me to picking up the few tasks that I did around the house and for the pets and he added that to his plate. I only focus on school, and it’s not even like it’s paying off, I still don’t do very well. as I put it to the doctor I was seeing for an injury (tripped down the stairs for no reason) “it’s like I’m in medical school but I’m only taking simple starter courses” I thought being an adult, with no responsibilities would mean I would be successful, and that wasn’t the case at all. And I knew for once in my life that I couldn’t try any harder than I already was. that’s when I knew something was wrong.

      So, I sought out assistance from a clinic on my campus, at this clinic they had clinical psychologists in training working with a clinical psychologist professor overseeing them to test you for everything under the sun. I had a 10-hour total psychological assessment done split in to two sessions, this was comprised of more tests than I can count along with a two hour interview. Honestly, I thought I was going to be diagnosed with dysgraphia or discalculia. ADHD crossed my mind but I didn’t think that was the case, and didn’t consider for more than a moment. Well as of 3 weeks ago I went to meet with them for my results after waiting for 8 weeks to get the results. They said they found that I have ADHD, PTSD, and Major Depressive disorder. Turns out after speaking with my mother briefly, my 5th grade teacher mentioned she thought I had it, but my mom said after speaking to her again about it she revoked her opinion on it and had changed her mind? I personally don’t believe my mother, she was never very good at following up with serious issues and I’m more apt to believe she just blew off the teacher’s recommendation.

    • #113346


      It sounds like the road to your diagnosis was a difficult one. I hate that for you; it sounds like it’s been painful. Thank you for sharing.

      I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 28. No one really suspected that I was the ADHD kid because I did well in school. Didn’t care for it, but managed good grades. Turns out I can hyperfocus on stuff like that pretty well.

      Grad school was the first time anyone suggested they thought I had ADHD. The professor broke us into two groups on opposite sides of the room and was giving us instructions. She was taking a really long time getting to the point and I was feeling restless. Apparently, when she looked over she saw me balancing on one foot with my arms stretched out to try to hold the balance and I was nearly falling over, narrowly missing hitting someone. She busted out laughing and asked if I had ADHD. I just shrugged, really. I didn’t know much about it.

      Fast forward, at 28 I owned my own business and found that the process of building it was an absolute blast. But once I built it and it was doing well, I was struggling to keep it going. It wasn’t quite as interesting, my paperwork was so far behind I started having panic attacks whenever I thought about trying to get it caught up or just thinking about it in general because it being that far behind and disorganized ran the risk of getting me into some serious trouble.

      Then it came time for taxes and I could not get myself to get it all organized and put together in order to file. It was horrible. My stuff was so disorganized it would take me weeks to get it all together. Time was running out and at the last minute, I realized I’d lost every 1099 tax document I needed in order to be able to even file. In a panic, I talked to my doctor to see what the heck was going on with me that I couldn’t even get myself to try to work on it. She sent me for an ADHD assessment and gave me a temporary prescription for adderall while I waited for the assessment to see if it would at least help me get through the tax situation. It did. I got everything organized and turned in on time. I had to work like a madwoman to get it done but I was able to do it without panicking, freaking out, or getting disorganized and lost again. I was also able to get caught up on my paperwork. when I went to the assessment, my doctor confirmed that I have ADHD. He taught me alot about ADHD (I was lucky that his entire practice is focused on treating and assessing for ADHD and he’s really knowledgeable about it).

      The information he gave me helped me to realize that most of what I thought was anxiety (for basically my entire life) was actually ADHD. Since I started medication, I’ve noticed the weirdest things that I would never have guessed was related to ADHD. I’m terrified of needles and they make me sick to my stomach when I see them. On ADHD medication, I can now look at the needle while its in my arm (for routine bloodwork since I have other medical issues) without it making me feel anxious or sick. The constant overwhelmed feeling that I always thought was anxiety is gone. My emotions don’t completely overwhelm me and shut me down. I can carry on a conversation when music is playing (couldn’t do that before), and I can move on from things that actually do make me anxious much faster because I can use my thoughts more effectively to calm myself down. It’s been wonderful and crazy to say the least.

      All of that ended up creating in me a passion for helping others with their ADHD. (and an opportunity to build another thing which it turns out I LOVE). So now I blog about ADHD. It’s a lot of fun! I get to help people better understand themselves and the role their ADHD plays in other areas of their life that they might not have realized. And what to do about it. It’s become a new passion…obsession…hyperfocus 😛

      Finding out I had ADHD didn’t upset me the way I know it sometimes does for others. Even though I have struggles that I’d rather not have, I’ve learned to accept myself and actually like who I am even when I’m far from perfect. Being someone who’s really good at and drawn to creative problem solving, one thing that I think has been helpful in the way I look at my ADHD diagnosis that might benefit other people is I don’t really let my thoughts bully me about messing something up or forgetting it. Instead, I go into problem solving mode. like, Ok this happened. How do I overcome the challenges it presents? How do I work with what I have to keep it from being a big problem? That mindset has been really valuable to me in overcoming the challenges I experience and not beating myself up when ADHD creates….challenges…. 😀

      Anyway, thanks for posting!

      Life Hacks for ADHD women

    • #113348

      In January of this year, I learned after my assessment that I am Autistic in the report which followed, my assessor also stated that I had ADHD?ADD and recommended that I undergo another assessment but with a specialised ADHD Doctor, this took place last Wednesday and it was immediately confirmed that I am indeed ADD.I am not stupid but I failed to pass a single exam when at school, my mind used to simply drift off during lessons and during exams, it would simply freeze because the strain of trying to join up all those half-remembered, disembodied facts to come up with anything approaching a suitable answer was impossible.
      So much is becoming clearer to me now, I am beginning to accept that my life could not have been so very different to how it is no matter what I did because I have very poor judgement and have great problems understanding many situations I find myself confronted with-especially when other people are involved.
      There has been a lot of guilt shame and misery over the years, I have to confess, I knew that I was not the moron that my exam results would seem to indicate but as I could never seem to put whatever intelligence I did have to any practical purpose, it felt as if I might just as well have been.
      Anyway, a lifetime of endless screw-ups, wrong turns, missed appointments, false dawns, car crashes,etc,etc followed and it has been pretty tough going.
      I don’t feel as if I now have the Golden Excuse for my abject failure in life-I know that there were times when I had a better grasp of the odd situation than was the norm and still made regrettable choices nonetheless, I’d hate to think that I was trying to duck responsibility for my actions, the Peace Of Mind I have craved all these years will only come from fully embracing the truth about myself-the good and the bad. All these years I have been punishing myself I know I bear some guilt and am happy to face up to it but I would dearly love to get shot of all the crap I am not guilty for but which I carry around anyway-I am not confident yet to identify which is real and which is not.
      I am about to start on medication for the ADD, I believe that this is by far the most important time of my life, if I get the right dose of the right med’s my life could change on a far greater scale than I have ever imagined, after 60 years of all this dysfunction,I reckon I could do with a break.
      We just have to be positive- the thing which screws us up has been identified and the good news is that there are treatments out there which can radically alter everything, all the doubts and fears and shame that we may have borne in the past belong to another person who was never in complete control or had any great understanding of their lives, with the correct treatment I expect to “get” what is going on around me a bit more and be able to exercise more ownership having been able to develop deeper, clearer self-knowledge.
      Good LUck-to us both!

    • #113349

      It was a huge relief. One of the best days of my life!

      I was Dx in my 40’s. I was a straight-A student through high school, and an A/B student in college. Nobody would ever have thought I had anything like ADHD.

      Honestly, I’ve been the same person with the same strengths, weaknesses, and traits my whole life, but I don’t think I had the “D” when I was a kid. The “D” is for Disorder. It’s when your traits are causing you serious problems. My traits are lifelong, but my problems – my “D” – started when I was an adult.

      My parents created a very structured, calm home environment. We didn’t do a lot of extracurricular or social activities. Some, but not a crowded schedule. Downside: my mom kind of infantilized us and didn’t require us to have a lot of responsibility (which made the transition to adulthood that much harder). But the upside was that I was never really challenged much in my weaknesses. I coasted on my strengths.

      Women more commonly present with inattentive subtype (what used to be called ADD back in my day). I test very low on inattention, I’m actually pretty good at keeping my attention on track (compared to other ADHDers).

      I am much higher on impulsivity and hyperactivity. I can hyperfocus like nobody’s business – to a scary degree sometimes. I lose time. I don’t notice people in the same room.

      That is what got me through school, that deep hyperfocus.

      Unfortunately, when you’re a grownup and you have to be responsible for maintaining your life and health and home and relationships, and especially when you’re a parent and responsible for OTHER PEOPLE’s lives… forgetting everything and losing track of time is a problem.

      Add in the messiness, disorganization, losing stuff, forgetting tasks & appointments, making wrong turns & getting lost while driving, etc etc etc –

      I was a good student, but I’m kind of a crap grownup. And no matter what I tried, it didn’t change. It didn’t get better.

      Well, I could pick one thing, obsess over it, and make it better for like, six weeks to three months. And then the wheels would come off and it would be like I never even tried. Habits just don’t stick.

      So when I finally found out what it was, it was awesome. I’m not a crap grownup or a crap person in any way! I have funky wiring in my head that goes fritz sometimes. Sometimes it’s awesome cool fritz. Sometimes it’s a problem fritz.

      But see, now that I know the fritz is always going to be there, I can stop fighting it. I can take all that enormous amount of energy that I used to use on trying to change myself, and use a tiny fraction of it to create buffers and systems and safety nets to minimize the problems from the fritzing.

      Problem-solving is SO MUCH EASIER than trying to pretend I don’t have problems. Immensely easier.

      So I have a lot of energy left over to accomplish things that are worthwhile and make me happy.

      I hope you have that too.

      And I’m sorry that people are questioning your diagnosis. There are a lot of people – even medical professionals – who are very, very ignorant about ADHD in adults.

      People thinking you don’t really have ADHD is probably more a reflection of their ignorance than of your diagnosis. Everything you’ve said here sounds exactly like classic ADHD. Plus the amazing battery of tests – I’d trust all that way more than one doctor’s strange idea that everyone in their 20’s has abused prescription drugs.

      What a bizarre thing to say.

      As for the Ritalin, all meds are not created equal, and don’t work the same for everyone. If the Ritalin isn’t helping you, or you can’t deal with the side effects, you can try something else. But give yourself a little time to acclimate to it before you decide.

      Starting meds feels really weird. It’s altering your brain chemistry, after all. How could it not feel weird? Give yourself a week or 2 to adjust and then see if it’s helping.

      Best of luck to you!

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