I dont know any other brain

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    • #82655

      Since I was diagnosed I’ve done quite a bit of (google) research on ADHD and compensation strategies.

      The meds are awesome but now I’m starting to think “Do I even have ADHD?” I drink the meds every day and I seem to have forgotten what it feels like not to drink them.

      Also, I only know my own brain. I don’t know what neuro-typical feels like and I don’t know what ADHD should feel like so I cant compare my brain to anything. I read up on symptoms but when I speak to people with neuro-typical brains they say “oh I have that too”.

      So now, despite my diagnosis, I’m utterly confused.

    • #82766

      How many years has it been since you were diagnosed? I have not heard of liquid ADHD medications before; what do you take? For comparison, try not taking any ADHD medications for a few days. This should help clarify.

      • #82768

        I was diagnosed two months ago so I’m still pretty lost and confused about all of this. I had my first session with an educational psychologist, who specializes in adults with ADHD, last month. Seeing her once a month.

        No sorry, not liquid meds. I’m on 40mg Ritalin LA with 10mg methylphenidate as top ups when needed.

        We are going on vacation next week and I considered not taking the meds but it’s sort of a working vacation as we both have to prepare for exams.

        The one difference I’ve found with the meds is that I have much more drive. Where I usually either played games or surfed the net or just shuffled from one thing to another, I can now sit down and work on my work stuff or my studies. Unless the internet interrupts lol

        Maybe I should take a week off after my exams and not take the meds.

    • #82776

      I have much more drive. Where I usually either played games or surfed the net or just shuffled from one thing to another, I can now sit down and work on my work stuff or my studies.

      Where this difference in thinking, emotion, and activity is concerned, recognize that when on your ADhD meds what you are experiencing is increased focus of your energy and attention, accompanied by a sense of purpose and direction that you didn’t have when you were randomly playing games, surfing the Internet, or shuffling from one thing to another.

      Ritalin (et al) is a stimulant, so you may have more “energy” per se, but you will also become aware of the difference between ‘stimulation’ associated with your ADhD meds and that which you experience with other stimulants, such as caffeine. Coffee or energy drinks may keep you up all night, but almost certainly you will not have the same sense of focus and purpose.

      You are certainly correct when you point out that you do not know any other brain. Indeed, through this experience what you are becoming more aware of is ‘perceived reality’. And whereas it is difficult or altogether impossible to conjur for yourself a completely different reality – such as being ‘neurotypical’ – it is also true that your ‘reality’ changes when you are on your ADhD meds by comparison to when you are not. Over time you will develop awareness of the difference and you will know when you are experiencing one ‘reality’ as opposed to the other. A huge part of your journey with ADhD is this development of self-awareness.

      Having an ADhD nervous system is a singular experience, and though it is shared by others in a fundamental sense, and certainly you may learn from the experiences of others, at the end of the day your ADhD and ‘perceived reality’ is your own. If ever there was something about which you ‘learn by doing,’ this is it. Be patient with yourself, as much as you can be. Give yourself time, and space. Keep researching, keep asking questions, and by all means experiment. No one will ever know you as well as you do.


    • #82797
      Penny Williams

      Yes, everyone has a symptom of ADHD at one time or another, but the diagnosis comes when they symptoms are consistent, frequent, and negatively impact quality of life.

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

    • #82803

      Thank you so much for the replies.

      Coffee or energy drinks may keep you up all night, but almost certainly you will not have the same sense of focus and purpose. Yes I have noticed this.

      I’ve been living with this brain my whole life (lol) so to me this was normal and is all I know so I believed that I was a slacker because that is what other people said about me. Even my wife would tell me I don’t work hard enough right up to the point where I got tested she told the psychologist that even though I may have ADHD, there are times when I’m genuinely just lazy and don’t try hard enough. I will admit that there are times when I refused to study or work, like 7am on a Sunday morning. I mean everyone gets a 2-day weekend so why should I work 7 days a week just because she is an overachiever with the drive of 100 horses. Anyway, I gave up so now I work or study most of the weekend as well.

      Yesterday we had a massive fight about my studies because I’m in the last year of my law degree (which is the top priority for her) and I’m also doing an undergraduate level course for work (which is shiny and new so is the priority for me). She felt that I should be concentrating on my law degree as my exams are and of May and I felt that I should be concentrating on the other course as my exam is a week earlier.

      The compromise? I’ll work on my law degree in the morning before work and on the other qualification in the evenings after work.

      For two days in a row now everyone has been allowed to leave work early due to protest action (and possible violence) and I volunteered to stay and even work late, just to show I’m not frikkin lazy.

      I wish I could have a neurotypical brain, just for one day, just to see what it feels like.

      If I sound like I’m feeling sorry for myself, it’s because I am … just a little bit lol

      • #83801

        In answer to the fellow who is going to law school, his wife instructs him that he is lazy and must spend more time/effort studying the correct things. He calls himself ‘lazy sometimes’ even though he works 7 days a week. Hmmmm.
        I have been there, and it comes about as the result of an effort made by the ADHD person to find someone who can ‘fix’ him, so he can live like everyone else. Many of us (ADHD) marry someone we think can do that.
        I watched a documentary in which the actor who played a character on the show “Red Green”, who has ADHD, says people look for a bad version of their fifth grade teacher who is punitive, controlling, and who never really liked you in the first place. I had such a spouse. He was really good at school, and he was willing to fix me.
        In fact, to find someone who wants to ‘fix’ you is really easy. Just walk out the front door. Such people will tumble over each other to get to you, because they feel they are superior, found the ‘correct’ way to live, and would like to assume power over someone. Anyone. They are everywhere.
        They will tell you to get up in the morning and make a list of projects, do this one first, that one second, etc etc. It works. You are able to accomplish stuff every day. It just doesn’t give you any joy, ever. Then you are stuck living joylessly, and filling in blanks on other people’s priority lists. You will not feel good when you accomplish something. That will make your advisor feel good, not you, because it is his/her list, not yours.
        In the long run you can’t live like that because it will drown you. You can spend your working years doing this for your boss, but don’t anticipate it will make him like you. It won’t. In his mind, you are an ordinary worker and need to be told what to do. If you stray, you will be criticized, and you will feel like a worthless fool. That world is comfortable for the neuro-typical, but it will not be for you, ever.
        You have to do something you are actually passionate about. Otherwise, trudging through each project will be like swimming through jello. Find a career you can tolerate, or accept a ‘dead from the neck up’’ job, and just do your 8 hours every day and go home. Or go out on your own and make your own career, according to what pleases you.
        At home, you need what some writers call a ‘cheerleader’. Someone who actually loves and admires and respects you, and when you mess up, says “I know how wonderful/capable/smart/inventive/passionate/hard working you are, and I know you can do this. You are not flawed. Something else must be holding you back. I’ll help you. Help me know what you need.”
        No-Matter-What you failed to do, your spouse needs to be able to see past the politically correct guide to normal behavior. My ex spouse ended up so frustrated with my inability to be normal at the end he called me a Worthless F*ckup. That’s the label I started out my working life trying to overcome. Externally, I obtained success- worked 40 years as a nurse, raised children as a single parent, was never fired. Since nursing is a big diverse field, I was able to go from job to job looking for approval from bosses who were looking for approval from their bosses, who really didn’t care about patients, but only cutting costs for the bottom line. When I could work with people one to one, I enjoyed my job. Doing things the way my boss wanted was never a simple path for me, and I found ways around it. It is a matter of ‘surfing the wave’ and following your dreams somehow in a world that wants to use you as an assembly line worker. Lots of ADHD become entrepreneurs. Then they are working for themselves.
        Some neurotypical spouses do love and admire the uniqueness of their ADHD partner. That would be nice. Someone who could take care of balancing the checkbook, and organize the kids to help with the housework. It could be an unstoppable team if the partners back each other up. My ex never could see me as an asset. He thought I could only be an asset if I made money. I suspected the money I made was never going to be mine. He felt many of our problems were due to me being wrong. But I could never be right. Eventually I felt so lonesome and unvalued I knew it could not be worse going it alone as a single parent. I didn’t want to cry every day. I didn’t think anyone could ever love me for myself.
        I found another ADHD, although we didn’t know it at first. He is my cheerleader. Neither of us is good at finances. Neither of us can send thank-you notes, or keep the house neat and clean. But he had our kids outdoors every day for nature hikes and scavenger hunts- they never sat in front of the tv. He built our home for the cost of $19,000, all by himself, and we’ve lived here happily for 30 years. He built me a sailboat, and I sewed the sail. He built me a camper-trailer that looks like a tiny house. Every single time I was in tears for any reason, ranging from a small slight I perceived at work, to being laid off a job that only really wanted me for a few weeks, he was there. He held me and told me that it would all be OK. That maybe others saw me as deficient, but he saw me as wonderful.
        He was and is my sparkling, gifted carpenter and woodsman, life partner, and absolute, never failing hero.
        When I think of living with my ex, vs living with my present, I can only thank God, or the Great Spirit, or whatever is out there, for bringing him to my life, and giving me the wisdom to see what had been given to me.
        Explain to your wife what your condition means. Explain that calling you lazy does nothing but estrange and disempower you. Or find a spouse that can figure that out without explanation. You are unique and wonderful. Find or create a mate that understands that. You may never be good at getting to work on time. You might never succeed on an assembly line. But life will offer you wonderful joy, and glad times.
        An ADD woman who never had medication, and still likes life.

    • #82849

      “I wish I could have a neurotypical brain, just for one day, just to see what it feels like.” So do I. How does it feel to not struggle with things that most people automatically do without thinking. How do they view the world? I’m really curious. Everything is so intense to me.

      • #83104

        My wife is an overachiever. She has days where she cant concentrate but generally she can sit down and work/study for hours, even when it is something she really doesnt want to do. Then she gets 75% in exams and has them remark her paper cause there is no way she could not have gotten 80% lol Not to take anything away from her, she works really hard.

        She does understand me (in a way), She tries to help and give advice, which I love her dearly for.

    • #83102

      …I got tested [and] she told the psychologist that even though I may have ADHD, there are times when I’m genuinely just lazy and don’t try hard enough.”

      “I‘m in the last year of my law degree (which is the top priority for her)…”

      “She felt that I should be concentrating on…”

      Wow. Pardon me for being so blunt in the asking, but is this your wife or your mother we’re talking about here? Sounds like you have an entirely different level of ’issues‘ going on in that relationship, which you would be dealing with even if you didn’t have ADHD (while implications of ADHD clearly brings it to the surface).

      With that in mind, might it be that your wife does not actually want for you to have a legitimate reason for what she may otherwise prefer to interpret as moral failing? If it’s moral failing then she can see herself as justified in her own self-interested behavior toward you, which doesn’t appear to be very supportive (of you, not you-for-her).

      Sorry, this just sounds way too familiar to me (btdt), and I feel for you. A man really needs for his wife to be his friend and to have his back. The whole ADHD struggle is much harder when it feels like this person is on ’the other side‘ staring down at him along with the rest of the world – especially when you are just now becoming aware of this about yourself and are in need of understanding while you try to figure it all out.

      At the end of the day a guy can really feel like he is knocking himself out to be and do in accordance with what everybody else in the world thinks he ought to – including his wife, who might seem to believe that he is there primarily for her – to hell with what he thinks and feels about himself and his own life. ADHD aside, just being seen and treated like that can really tick a guy off.

      Well, it‘s not sustainable, that‘s for sure. Rather, it‘s a very big, dangerous bomb ticking to go off – and it will, sooner or later.


    • #84023

      Wow, I feel your confusion. I was diagnosed about 21 years ago, have my Master’s degree, and have been married 36 years. I can’t tell you how many times my wife has said, “You and the boys[2] are so weird with your thinking” — or something to that effect. I know how I think is usual for her, but just once I’d like to know what it would be like to think with a “normal” brain. It is especially hard when trying to describe to others how ADHD makes your life more difficult to manage in normal day-to-day reality. Especially with those folks who say, “Yeah, I’m forgetful too… maybe I have ADD.” All I know is this is the way my brain works.

    • #84052

      “Especially with those folks who say, “Yeah, I’m forgetful too… maybe I have ADD.” All I know is this is the way my brain works.”

      My wife had the same attitude until I took her through the ADHD test. She scored 35% so I told her that that was the fundamental difference. She has some of the symptoms some of the time, I have most of the symptoms all of the time. It gave her a better understanding of me.

      Some additional info, yes I have massive mommy issues lol This is because my mother died when I was 2. Did the therapy thing. I have no doubt that she is not malicious. She is not an overly sympathetic person, but I know that 13 years ago when we started dating. She believes that if she can do it then everyone can.

      Yes, my wife does sometimes take the role of my mother and I heard “I’m not your frikkin mother” many many times lol. BUT, she does support me, very very much. This morning (4:30am) I was trying to study and she again came to me and told me that she can see I’m struggling and that she is very proud of me for not giving up and trying that hard. And she had coffee :))))

      So no, she doesnt understand me all the time but she is the extra motivation that I need when things get tough and she is the soft shoulder I need when it all gets too much.

    • #84217

      My mother is like the wife above. She thinks if she can do it, anyone should be able to do it. It’s very frustrating, and what led to be not being diagnosed until I was 35.

      I’ve always known, well to be accurate, I’ve known since puberty that I was not Neurotypical. My parents have known since I was 5. I have two adopted brothers who have Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. They were recommended for this physical therapy program. To get in, you had to be assessed. While he was assessing my brothers (well, actually, while his graduate students were assessing my brothers as he oversaw the process) he noticed me, and something I was doing must have caught his attention, because he asked to evaluate me too. Apparently I passed (well, I guess failed) the test, because I was enrolled in the therapy as well. I never was told what any of that was about though. I just knew that I had to go to this place after school 2 or 3 times a week, where they tortured us with handwriting and coloring drills, and then took us to “gym time” where they would spin us in different ways, or make us jump over things or from one piece of paper to another. It all seemed pretty weird to me at the time. While I can see some the point to some of the activities now, since more research has been put into helping aneurotypical people, all of it was pretty crude, and some of it remains a complete mystery.

      As a teenager, I was hearing about more things and putting them together in my mind, and thinking “hmmm”. Dyspraxia was the first thing where I noticed I hit almost every single symptom ALL OF THE TIME, but I was 17 at that point. I had no idea what I should do to get a diagnosis, or how it would help to have one. Over time I noticed that I had extreme sensory reactions that I’d initially thought of as normal, and only realized as abnormal when I would talk to someone about something and they’d look at me when I was crazy. Also, since the teenage years are the years of loud music, I learned that I was EXTREMELY sensitive to sound, since I absolutely could not tolerate loud music without feeling extreme physical and psychological pain. But again, what was there to do about it? Going to a doctor would never have occurred to me since I also have very severe anxiety, and avoided doctors.

      Eventually, I had a breakdown and all of these things started pouring out, and I got diagnosed. For most of them, there’s really no treatment or cure besides practice and carrying ear plugs. ADHD is one of the few they can medicate.

      But I do know what you mean about not knowing any other kind of brain.

      I often wish I could live one day inside a Neurotypical body, just to see what “typical” feels like. What’s it like to not have all these whilrling tops, loose screws, and general disorder in your mind?

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