September 20, 2019 at 6:07 am #128615
I don’t want to come across judgemental although I probably will.
I was diagnosed with adhd in my junior year of high school, too late to have any impact on my education. I barely graduated and college was definitely not an option. More and more I am hearing 10% of people in America have adhd and I’m seriously getting pissed off. ADHD has ruined so many things in my life from friendships, jobs, respect from others, my own stupidity, losing money and valuable items. There is no way 10% of the population experiences this.
I cannot even do simple math on a calculator because even while medicated I forget what numbers I just entered. People have got to be rushing their kids to the psychiatrist the first time they forget to bring their lunchbox to school.
I know I shouldn’t be this angry about it but the amount of people who actually have useful brains claiming they have adhd has made it a joke. I want to tell people about this so they can understand my shortcomings and communicate with me in a more effective way but I don’t even bother cause they think it’s a joke.
I don’t know what to do anymore so I just let people think I’m stupid. Does anyone else feel misunderstood when compared to someone who just can’t test well?
September 20, 2019 at 9:37 am #128620
I kind of get you I have it my self and was diagnosed in grade 9. I just don’t like this kind of hype around it like calling it a super power and all that crap. Like it has screwed up a ton of areas in my life.
January 21, 2020 at 11:51 pm #139759
I am in my thirties and just in the process of receiving a diagnosis. A lot of people wouldn’t believe that there is anything wrong with me because on the surface I look fine. When I was seeking a diagnosis, a friend told me that everyone has difficulty, but that I function, so what’s the issue? What they see is that I was able to complete two degrees, I can get to work on time (people don’t consider you as having a time management issue when you arrive inappropriately early) and I can function with a basic routine (but god help me if something throws me off). I have OK social skills in a serious environment and I appear to be a serious, articulate person.
My problem is mild, but it also isn’t. What people don’t know is that it’s had an enormous impact on my life. I struggle socially because I can’t regulate the appropriateness of my behaviour and I can’t adapt to new situations readily. That is the reason why I am so serious and boring all the time. It’s the safest way to not say poorly considered or weird things, although people don’t like me either way. My self-esteem suffered and my anxiety and depression are a problem that leads me to be unmotivated and impulsive. I have been constantly been dismissed as being stupid, incompetent, lazy, uncaring, weird, even though I scored as high as the superior range in some of my cognitive functions. I could never understand why I performed OK academically (and much lower than I should have given my effort, interest, and facility with the subject), but how I couldn’t do basic things. Rejection and failure are a bitch for anyone.
I chose my first degree because it was what I loved and wanted to study. I chose the second because I wasn’t able to do what I wanted with the first one; problems with executive function and attention limited what I could do. I drudge through a job that I never really wanted, just because I felt like I could at least do that. But now it turns out that I can’t do that job either. I was very underemployed for a long time and it looks like I might have to go back. People don’t understand when I say that I can’t do basic things or when I worry about my performance at work. It hurts to have a reasonably high level of intelligence and motivation but to be unable to realize our vision in the world. To be unable to exert ourselves and to see the result.
All I am saying is not to be so quick to judge. You may have a serious case of ADHD that affected your academic performance, but others have a different or milder profile while still having a legitimate issue. And I guarantee you that there are things you can do that others with the same disorder cannot do. You don’t necessarily know what others are going through, nor what they have sacrificed just to appear to be functional. Everyone has a different profile, different demands and differing strategies for dealing with it.
- This reply was modified 1 month ago by elleanon.
February 10, 2020 at 6:26 pm #141644
I have a similar profile as you do. The only difference is that I’m always late (and I still believe there is some kind of time travel or unconscious magic, because I start to get ready way before the others but I still am the last to arrive, lol).
Great grades in primary school, mid to poor grades in high school, managed to pass in some of the best colleges in my country (they don’t use high school grades in my country as a parameter but a single test), mid to good grades in college (thanks to the gods that made most my classes presence not required, otherwise I would still be there), very high performance in IQ tests, I somehow managed to get in the first try a dream job in my area (and got fired for poor performance, of course), then I got another dream job in a blink of an eye (in the first try both, thanks to the gods that invented technical interview and don’t like group dynamics, never succeeded in these).
These characteristics made me have a late diagnostics like you, at 31.
When it comes to relationships of all kinds (family, love, friends), work performance (including homeworks in college), time management (It’s 8pm here now, what about start my workday now? Oh, it’s time to go home and sleep again (again the time magic)), impulsiveness. Then the thing gets ugly. I have one of the best salaries possible for my level of experience, being part of the 1% wealthier in the country in terms of income, having a very simple way of life (don’t travel (unless business), don’t party, don’t have fancy stuff) and somehow I manage to get more and more money debt, I don’t get it, this is like the time magic, I’m sure about that.
September 20, 2019 at 1:12 pm #128648
I can really see your frustration. My daughter is 12 now and was diagnosed just about six months ago. As I’m researching symptoms and tips and remedies to help her I’m finding out I am showing or have had shown symptoms of ADHD. We as humans really don’t understand brain much and what was considered as bad behavior in past is now symptom of illness. Many people havent been diagnosed in past as we didn’t know much about it so it seems we are giving this diagnose just to anybody who asks. You must also consider that there is different stages same as with other illnesses like Autism, OCD, Diabetes, Arthritis …etc. You might have shown symptoms of much deeper case of ADHD than your friend of neighbor.
The only person who hopefully and rightfully knows is that person and his/her therapist.
So try to focus on other things than this frustration. Even that you thing you are done with school and getting help and/or trying therapeutic methods is pointless, don’t give up. You have long life ahead of you and it can still help you to improve in daily tasks, job….perhaps.
Best of luck to you 🙂
November 22, 2019 at 6:08 pm #135277
I get you 100%. I feel this all the time and get so frustrated knowing there are people faking it to get medication. Like I take ADHD meds so I can do NORMAL things like drive, put lids on things, drive the speed limit, etc. So many news stories about people abusing medications and I just get triggered by it because I actually need it to function. SO yes I definitely do get frustrated as well. ADHD has caused so many issues for me and I hate when people are going to doctors to fake it..and I personally know people who do this.
November 23, 2019 at 11:41 pm #135288
It’s a difficult line to walk.
Studies vary but the estimates are as much as 9% of children have ADHD and between 2-5% of adults. That would be on par with the idea that between 1/2 to 2/3 of ADHD does not resolve after childhood, which is contrary to previous clinical belief years ago that ADHD ended when you became an adult. So ADHD in general is actually pretty prevalent.
I think it’s tricky when it comes to deciding who “deserves” a diagnosis. There’s already so much stigma out there regarding ADHD and also so many people get told that they’re “faking it” or don’t have it when they are seeking genuine help. While ADHD may be overdiagnosed or misdiagnosed in some cases, it goes completely undiagnosed and missed in other cases where people are struggling with the disorder and never get the help they need.
It is frustrating when people make light of ADHD or dismiss the diagnosis as not being real. It is also hurtful for people when people say, “Everyone has ADHD” or “Everyone’s a little ADD.” Most of those statements come from people who are naive and haven’t lived with the challenges in their daily lives for years and years.
Bottom line, I can understand being frustrated by the idea that people are faking a diagnosis or trying to get medication or accommodations they don’t need. I don’t want to be in the position, though, of deciding who is deserving of treatment and who isn’t. I want to leave that in the hands of the people themselves and the providers they work closely with. I think everyone who is curious about whether or not they’re dealing with something like ADHD has a right to learn more and see if that’s the case. Not everyone will have it, but other people may. I don’t want to dissuade them from getting help for fear that even people with ADHD will accuse them of faking it.
We’re all in this together, so strength in numbers is never a bad thing.
November 25, 2019 at 1:08 pm #135348
ADHD never goes away. It’s a neurological condition. There two things you can’t change, and that is your neurology and genetics. If a person has ADHD, they will have it for a lifetime. I was diagnosed at the age of four, and I’m still dealing with it at 28, almost 29.
November 25, 2019 at 1:29 pm #135356
Many children are diagnosed with ADHD who don’t have it. They may have another psychiatric condition, a learning disability, or none of the above. ADHD is easy to either miss or misdiagnose. Dr. Roberto Olivardia on the webinar in which he was talking bipolar disorder mentioned a story about a patient of his who said he had a type of ADHD which was characterized by a fiery temper. The patient did not have ADHD; he was bipolar and had been misdiagnosed with ADHD. ADHD symptoms overlap with anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, and other conditions, so if someone does not know what to look for, it is easy to have a misdiagnosis.
- This reply was modified 3 months ago by Aaron Lewis.
December 3, 2019 at 4:31 pm #135784
And then there’s those who aren’t diagnosed as a child because they don’t show the poster symptoms only to later in life be diagnosed with anxiety and depression while really it might be ADHD.
ADHD is both overdiagnosed and underdiagnosed at the same time. I get the frustration, I too hate when people fake diagnoses for whatever reasons (attention, medication, accomodations). But at the same time, a lot of people are missed to get proper diagnoses just because of all that stigma and them not wanting to be “one of those fakers”. So they continue to suffer in silence and posts like these, while coming from a true and legit place of frustration, are very damaging.
It’s also a spectrum. Something that should never be forgotten. No two persons have the same set of symptoms, difficulties etc. So not only not fair but actually impossible to compare one’s own symptoms with those of another person and conclude the other person can’t possibly have ADHD because they’re not showing the same symptoms and struggles as one self.
December 16, 2019 at 3:21 pm #136566
Which webinar specifically are you referring to here: “Dr. Roberto Olivardia on the webinar in which he was talking bipolar disorder mentioned a story about a patient of his who said he had a type of ADHD which was characterized by a fiery temper.” Is like to understand more the fiery temper and BP
December 19, 2019 at 1:04 pm #136915
November 29, 2019 at 11:56 am #135450
Here’s an article Dr. Larry Silver did on how ADHD is either misdiagnosed or other conditions are missed entirely. In two cases, the patient was diagnosed with ADHD and didn’t have it, and the other patient had ADHD and other conditions along with it. Diagnosing ADHD requires taking a thorough clinical history of the patient.
December 16, 2019 at 10:50 am #136464
Great read, thanks for sharing! Drs are quick to toss pills at patients & move on to the next. It’s disturbing as heck as putting a child on stimulants when they aren’t needed does harm to their developing brains, it irritates me to no end! I also get the “oh everyone is a little ADD! 🤬 No..no they don’t! I also have Bi Polar 1, Gad, ADD (adult female) and PTSD, fun stuff! I wasn’t diagnosed w/ADD til my 30’s. The stigma of mental illness just sucks.
December 3, 2019 at 4:50 pm #135789
When you get into this mentality that some people are faking ADHD you get into some dangerous waters. Some people compensate until they don’t. Some of us have white knuckled through our lives and careers never coming close to our full potential. Others, who are severely affected are dropped from clinics on the slightest miss step.
I recently went on a med, but I think I need a higher dose, I’m scared spitless to ask though, afraid I’ll be painted as a drug seeker, even though I wasn’t put through the routine where the med is increased until side effects are seen, then backed off. Why am I scared? because I’m about to meet a new NP and I have no idea if she knows or is interested in ADHD. I don’t have any other place to go, the local psychiatrist won’t prescribe ANY controlled substances.
Other people are expected to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to get tested. Is it really THAT hard? I don’t think it should be. I’m trying to get my 19 year old diagnosed and wow, there are so very few resources and dog help you if you don’t live in a densely populated area!
So please don’t go around saying that, just because other people can white knuckle it, that people are faking ADHD diagnoses… It’s disrespectful and cruel. Providers are being jerks because they have poor training and are trying to put out 3 alarm fires with garden hoses.
December 16, 2019 at 10:13 am #136422
i totally understand your frustration.
i didn’t get my diagnosis until eye was 40. (i’m 46 now and still struggling.) i was fortunate in that i got thru school & under the radar because i was “smart.” i tested well and in many ways able to compensate for shortcomings that I had no idea were related to adhd. it all fell apart once i got married and started a family. under these new stresses, all of a sudden, all my compensation techniques started to fail.
my adhd continues to kick my ass. i’m not on any meds, but as i continue to learn as much as i can about how my adhd works, i’ve learned the hard way not to compare. that adhd diagnoses are much like snow-flakes. no two are alike. there are so many factors. ie. when you were diagnosed. what kinds of support systems you have in place. how you’re dealt with the cumulative trauma along the way. whether or not you have another co-morbid condition to go with…(i can go on ad nauseum)
eye could also whip out a parade of celebrities with adhd who are thriving. however that wouldn’t be productive (we really don’t know what they’re working with). just know that it gets better. you may not be where you want to be right now. or getting the results you’d like to have. but that doesn’t mean it will always be the case.
yesterday wasn’t perfect and today will probably not be either. the hardest lesson I’m having to learn right now is to be kind to myself. i would encourage you to do the same for yourself as well. everyday is another chance.
December 16, 2019 at 10:15 am #136423
My son has shown symptoms of ADHD since kindergarten (now in 10th grade) and my husband and I did not have him tested until the summer after 9th grade. We waited SO long (too long) because our son really tries his best and manages to get “ok” grades because of his participation in school and good attitude, and there was always the lingering thought that he just needs to mature or try harder/study more. This all came to a head in high school when it became very apparent that he did not have the ability to organize his workload, prioritize or focus on the subject when trying to study on his own.
It breaks my heart to see what he is going through now. He feels like a failure compared to his friends and has all but given up on getting into college. Not to mention all the fights and stress this causes at home.
We walk a fine line when we start turning people away from the help they may need on the off-chance that they don’t have ADHD. Instead of getting mad for those who may be diagnosed and shouldn’t, we should be trying to support those who aren’t diagnosed but should be. Maybe if there is more acceptance and understanding of the struggles faced everyday by those with ADHD, we can help others avoid what you and my son are now having to live through.
December 16, 2019 at 10:59 am #136476
thank you for posting this response. my son is in the second grade and exhibiting a lot of the same behaviors i did growing up. he’s super smart. so most people don’t notice it. my wife attributes it to me teaching him my “bad behaviors.” which makes me think more and more that she doesn’t truly understand how adhd works. i’m struggling to work up the courage to challenge my wife on this and have him tested. if he doesn’t have adhd. great. if he does, great especially if we can coach mentor support him in understanding how his brain works and how to best manage it vs going thru all the kinds of trauma i experienced along my path. \
December 16, 2019 at 10:20 am #136425
I’m pushing 80, and vividly remember being called “such a SCATTERBRAIN” by family and peers when I was growing up. It did not have humorous connotations and definitely felt like a major judgement. I even referred to myself that way, which is an indication of the damaging effect on self-judgment if one takes more than a few blinks of an eye to consider the ramifications of that kind of name-calling.
How strange it was, as the terms ADD and ADHD became familiar to English-speaking Americans, to finally learn that “scatterbrained” and “distractable” are synonyms.
I could go on but have other missives to finish while they are still relevant.
Is YOUR “drafts” box filled with messages you THOUGHT you’d sent?
December 16, 2019 at 10:54 am #136471
“Is YOUR “drafts” box filled with messages you THOUGHT you’d sent?”
this happens to me at least once a week! my wife is always complaining about me ignoring and not responding to her messages. emails. texts. voicemail you name it. 🙁
December 16, 2019 at 10:23 am #136428
I agree. I learned that some of my cousins were getting the medication to make it through college, and not for the right reasons. Its very upsetting!
I like you bearly made it through school, I attempted college in 1995 and are still struggling to get my associates but just need one class, and I just can not pass it. Life is and was always hard, finding work is very difficult, I get scared when driving, it’s very hard to stay focus. Unfortunately my son has ADD/Adhd and he’s worse than I am, I found out my brother has it, but he is very good at his job, hunting, cooking, fixing cars, but that’s it. My father as well had it and lived a sad life, but he passed. Recently found out I have other family members that are on the medication and it helps. I am on medication now and I can actually stay focused enough to clean my house, cook and help my son stay focused throughout the day.
My problem is prossesing and focusing. My son has problems with focus and executive skills and he has tons of energy. We have a small trampolín in the livingroom so he han jump while watching TV. He jumps while I quiz him on spelling, math or when listening to an audio. Im still trying to figure out ways to help myself a d son.
December 16, 2019 at 10:29 am #136431
Ditto. I am 64. Diagnosed in 1979! I wish all of the truly ADD people the very best. It is a struggle. I spent most of my life “on the run” and still struggle.
December 16, 2019 at 10:30 am #136433
Your original post makes sense to me, but my story is different. My son was diagnosed a year ago (8yrs old) and learning more about it prompted me to do a full evaluation. Learning I have ADHD at 43 helped me put the pieces together in my past and it made me ANGRY about how I was treated by family and friends. This won’t be my son’s story. I have “gotten by” my entire life. As I got older, I managed my symptoms in unhealthy ways and only now fully realize what I am dealing with. I battle with depression and anxiety at times, and I’m glad to understand the connection to ADHD. It sounds like we have different struggles, and I am wishing you the very best in fulfilling your best life ever. You are not alone.
December 16, 2019 at 10:46 am #136455
I feel you, the struggle is real as they say.
A psychiatrist once told me that one of the criteria to get an ADHD diagnosis is that you should experience fundamental problems in at least two life areas, e.g. work, school, social etc. She told me that if you meet all ADHD criteria but don’t experience problems in at least two life areas (which would be some kind of miracle), you can’t be diagnosed with ADHD. So I guess you could say that besides the neurological part, an ADHD diagnosis has a lot to do with circumstances too.
In theorry that means that you could ‘buy of’ your ADHD.. If you would hire someone to do lots of things for you in the life areas that you normally struggle with -so you can focus on the things that you’re good at and you don’t struggle with these problems anymore because someone else took over- a diagnosis wouldn’t be valid (according to the psychiatrist I spoke with). That’s basically what a lot of rich / famous people do, who have a disorder like ADHD. And then some people say things like “These celebrities are proof that a medical disorder doesn’t have to be an excuse for not living a full and happy life.”, which is kind of ignorant to say the least.
- This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by Swami Salami.
December 27, 2019 at 11:52 am #137317
If the doc who declared that the patient didn’t have ADHD based on the limited info you provided, then the doc is wrong. I had a similar experience but not enough knowledge to question the diagnosis. With the knowledge I have now, I would have gotten a second opinion.
Please note that I don’t know all the nuances of the decision that the patient didn’t have ADHD and the doc may have come to this conclusion based on other info, but proper testing requires that the provider look beyond the “recipe”.
Every patient has a story that must be strongly considered.
Unfortunately, there are some providers who practice psychiatry by only going through a flow-chart or recipe. Until the patient is truly stabilized, it’s important to find professional help that distinguish disorders and illnesses with similar presentations but different treatments.
For example, although they have some symptoms that overlap, the medical treatments for BP and for ADHD can be very different and, if misdiagnosed, have disastrous results.
Hope this helps.
[Qualifier: I’m not a doc and, even if I was, you aren’t my patient. Never take my advice over that of a licensed healthcare professional.]
December 16, 2019 at 10:53 am #136467
I understand, I’m 40 and was just recently diagnosed. I’ve lived most of my life feeling stupid, but really smart at the same time. People talk down to me and second guess me. It’s so frustrating.
One thing you have to remember is ADHD effects everyone differently. I’m lucky to have many friends with ADHD. Some hold down stable jobs, and medication works great for them. Others struggle to make ends meet and find meaningful employment. Their impulse control effects their ability to save money and they are always broke.
Because, I have family and friends with ADHD 10% seems like an accurate number. But it’s still the neurotypicals that run the world or at least that’s the way it feels
December 16, 2019 at 10:59 am #136475
I too, understand your thoughts. I wasn’t diagnosed until my late 30’s. I was in grade school through the 60’s. Teachers had no idea what ADD was back then, it wasn’t even ADD. Some teachers thought I was lazy, some thought I wasn’t being challenged, and some thought I was just a bad kid. I was naturally a very shy kid, then add ADD and grade school…..it was truly a nightmare. No one knew what was wrong with me, I just thought I was a bad kid. I suffered tremendous anxiety and depression as a child. I didn’t know that was what was happening, I just knew I was miserable, sad, anxious and just dreaded school. When I hear people popping off that they think they must be ADD I just want to scream. Those people are making light of a disorder that is devastating to those of us who truly carry that burden. I’m in my early 60’s, still suffer from ADD, but I’ve learned how to help get past it. And your mind slows down some as you get older and that really helps. But with all the pain I’ve suffered from ADD, and it has been a lot. I wouldn’t change my life. Because of ADD I lived all over, I got to see so much, I took a few jobs in dangerous places and saw things not many ever will. Hobbies became huge for my ADD, I learned about so many things to satisfy my drive, didn’t stay with them after I accomplished becoming proficient, but instead moved on to something new. I never used drugs after my diagnosis but I learned some techniques to help. I hope each of you are getting the correct guidance with this issue, but look for the good in ADD, there is good in it. Never make excuses for ADD, you can explain, but always own the bad, but move on……every day is a new beginning, the sun comes up, the birds sing, and you can have the hope of a glorious day.
December 16, 2019 at 12:02 pm #136513
“When I hear people popping off that they think they must be ADD I just want to scream. Those people are making light of a disorder that is devastating to those of us who truly carry that burden. ”
Aren’t you projecting a fair bit? How do you know they themselves don’t struggle? How do you know they make light of the disorder?
Did you ever consider that comments like these might deter people who legit might have ADHD from seeking evaluation because they don’t want to be “one of those” and rather continue to suffer in silence?
At the end of the day, how does it impact YOU if some random other person gets misdiagnosed?
December 16, 2019 at 11:40 am #136495
I totally understand your frustration. I have adult ADHD that was not diagnosed until my mid 40s. I am not hyperactive in the classic way. I never was. So no one ever considered I had it.
I trained as a high school teacher after a failed career as a researcher in biochemistry because I couldn’t organize myself, keep up with my notes, and motivate myself to do the boring parts of the work without artificial external deadlines.
I was lucky to be a high achiever. School was never hard for me. But when I hit college I struggled with the increased demands and workloads. I got less good marks than my friend, not because they were smarter but I would cram instead of having a regular pattern of working and studying.
I guess my smarts and my creativity helped me cope for most of my adult life — along with the artificial deadlines created by my new career as a high school teacher.
But I have constantly struggled with self-esteem, wondering why I can’t do the simple things like filing tax returns on time, returning library books on time, and cleaning my house.
Fact is, when I got a family with both my kids having special needs — one with ASD and a generalized anxiety disorder and the other with ADHD combined subtype, ASD and Misophonia — well my life fell apart.
I’ve struggled between depression and anxiety. I’m finally on meds that have stabilized me somewhat, but now I can’t get my employer to try and accommodate some of my needs, even temporarily.
The fact is, balancing work, a home life, and dealing with all the extra hurdles caused by my kids’ needs as well as my husband’s health issues and suspected ADHD is more than I can cope with, and something always falls by the wayside. 🙁
What I’ve worked on that is truly helping, though, is myself. Self-care, which I denied myself most of my life is helping me cope. I also found an amazing therapist that managed to turn my vicious cycle of blame, shame and guilt over not being able to do everything like “normal” people into a realization that I am working my butt off and I should acknowledge that.
Then, somehow, the anger, frustration and guilt aren’t so strong and I can manage to motivate myself to do more. That’s how I worked my way back up out of my latest bout of depression.
Hopefully you’ll find the right therapist that will make you see the good in you. There are ADHD superpowers. And acknowledging that makes you live with it a little more easily. The bad days don’t seem as bad, and you can focus your energy on what you CAN do instead of what you can’t.
I know I sound preachy and new-Agey. Believe me — that is the furthest thing from who I really am. I’m just happy I’m finally learning to gain some balance in my life after 48 years of frustration. 🙂
December 16, 2019 at 11:45 am #136500
I can appreciate what you are saying but I think you’re making your situation worse by paying attention and investing energy in something that is almost entirely beyond you to influence.
Frustration, does not help anyone and for us, the consequenses are even more severe especially because holding resentments is a huge psychological and emotional burden.
If you can start a proper awareness campaign on Youtube, Facebook, Instagram or with your local authorities if you can demonstrate that there is a case for them to invest their time and money in it, then maybe this will help you feel better because it is concrete and direkt action, a SMART Goal approach where you can limit the amount of time and energy it takes from you.
December 16, 2019 at 11:54 am #136504
As an old lady, my advice is always some variation of don’t worry about other people. Focus your energy on the one thing that matters which is yourself. You have your medicine now so you will do great in college!
December 16, 2019 at 11:54 am #136505
I agree with metalback. I was diagnosed at 62 years of age. I tried meds, but while having clarity was wonderful, other side effects were non-negotiable. Now I work with nutritional supplements and diet. That helps, but you really have to stay on top of it. Also, find out what your strengths are and work those into your life. Now I’m an artist. Usually I have a ticker-tape of thought running through my head at all times regardless of what I am doing or who I’m with. It’s there even when I sleep. But when I hyperfocus, as I do when I am painting, the ticker-tape is gone. As for my weaknesses, I try to find tricks to deal with them. For instance, cleaning house while listening to audio books is like sending my brain to its room while my body take care of the necessaries. Making sure my keys, purse and wallet always go in the same place when I walk in the door. It is still hit and miss, but it’s better. So….ignore the people who criticize, abuse, naysay, etc. You can’t control them…don’t try. Just do what you can do. Find your bliss, your strength. Let that feed you. Next month I leave for Florence, Italy. My ADD is all over it! Strange places, Art, discovery, trying new things., meeting new people….or not, it’s ok to be a loner. Letting myself BE who I am. What would you do if you could do anything or go anywhere? What would that life look like? Blessing to all of you who have posted…..this was a wonderful read!
December 16, 2019 at 12:08 pm #136516
I hear you it is so frustrating because it is so complex. My daughter started having issue in Kindergarden with finishing work and attention and it has been a rollar coaster from them on with counseling, med changes, I even moved into different houses thinking space would help her. Long story short, it was finally apparent that anxiety is another HUGE component that she is dealing with. The worse part is that ADD/ADHD, depression, anxiety all go together but everyones proportions are different. As a single mom, who takes meds for anxiety and attention as well, it is sooo hard to explain to other people what it feels like. I am constantly told, “just so it” “just manage it” I cant manage to manage! People dont understand.
I am finally starting to just focus on myself and my daughter because I’ve learned it does not help to rely on the help of others when they dont even understand what needs to be done. It’s hard when you’ve done things on your own to ask for help but i finally seeked help with the community programs on parenting and thru my employer in terms of Paid FMLA to help focus on what my daughter needs. it is definatlyy hard hard hard!
December 16, 2019 at 12:17 pm #136518
I understand your frustration. I’ve heard people do the same, jokingly say they have ADD just because they’re slightly scattered that day and forgot something. They have no idea of the true depths and impact of ADHD. I have a co-worker who’s son goes to school in a very affluent and competitive school district. When I told her about my daughter’s ADHD diagnosis she said I was so lucky because then my daughter can get accommodations to more easily get better grades, that she knows parents have pushed for a diagnosis for this reason. I was shocked and angered, and believe these sort of people as well as unintentional misdiagnoses have contributed to people not really understanding what this condition is like and/or not taking seriously parents who are struggling to manage their kids’ condition. I have friends who have told me it’s just puberty, or have made comments alluding to our struggles being simply a question of needing better parenting skills.
December 16, 2019 at 12:38 pm #136523
This is my life. All the time. People keep comparing themselves to me “oh that happens to me too”, sure Agatha, it might happen to you too but this is my life??? Like this isn’t a bad day I’m having, I literally can’t focus on my friends’ conversations not even when they’re important; my impulse control is better but it still pushed people away as I was growing up because I was weird, or a jerk, or awkward; I can’t make myself move to do something if my asshole of a brain doesn’t find it stimulating enough, no I’m not being lazy because you also don’t want to do things sometimes but you’re able to do them anyway, my body will literally not allow me to move; I “overreact” and am “way too sensitive” all the time because my RSD will take everything as the ultimate rejection; people tell me to stop overthinking like it’s easy and I’m the one making things more complicated than they have to be; I can’t sleep at night if I don’t “distract” my brain long enough to fall asleep because otherwise my thoughts will drive me crazy. This isn’t just a bad day for me, it’s my life.
December 16, 2019 at 2:00 pm #136545
I didn’t think the intent of this post was to say that people fake it to get meds. My experience is the dismissive “oh that’s my ADD”when someone lost their keys. No one says that’s my COPD if they are out of breath for a minute or two. The dismissive regard for those of us suffering from a true brain impediment I find annoying if not hurtful. Like iforget, Saivon and many others have said, this isn’t a fleeting oops this is a life-long daily struggle !
December 16, 2019 at 2:35 pm #136547
I was diagnosed with ADHD after anxiety symptoms and a BPD diagnosis. I think theres a lot of misinformation about what areas of your life adhd effects – I’m now at uni and whilst its annoying constantly suppressing the urge to just get up and leave, thats nothing compared to the panic attacks brought on socially and academically. Having adhd undiagnosed for my entire childhood has left me less than zero belief in myself and I’m constantly paranoid that all my friends secretly hate me (i know lol its a classic). Dont even get me started on relationships…..but yeah – not everyone with adhd gets the emotional side as bad. And it is a bit of a shame that the emotional bits get overlooked peace n love xx
December 16, 2019 at 3:11 pm #136561
Honestly, I don’t think you have the right to try to invalidate others experience with it.
It’s not one size fits all, it’s not the same for everyone, and for some people, there are coping mechanisms that work for them and not others.
Yes, it’s frustrating to see ADHD used as an excuse by those that don’t have it (ie. “Oh, I’m so ADHD today!”) but that doesn’t mean that those who have found ways to cope and operate within a neurotypical world deserve to have their condition invalidated by those who believe they have it worse.
December 16, 2019 at 3:19 pm #136565
ADHD occurs on a spectrum do not everyone will experience to the same degree you do. The severity of impact on one’s life from their adhd behaviors can also vary across the life span.
I actually think upwards of 25% of the population could have some level of true adhd but there’s still a lot we don’t know about it. The increase in data and information over the last decade will OF COURSE lead to more people being diagnosed — GOOD! Many of them have probably been struggling up to the point of Dx.
Then there are those whose lives allow them to flourish with adhd and never get a diagnosis so they aren’t counted in the statistics.
Then there are all the varying co-conditions that most of us have at least one of. Combine that with life experiences, access to resources, and levels of social privilege and of course not everyone diagnoses with ADHD will experience it just like you do. Or even similarly to you, sometimes.
December 16, 2019 at 5:11 pm #136607
I find your remark not only judgemental, but incredibly selfish. Does feeling like you are part of a tiny minority make you feel more “special”? I wish that could be the truth. I can’t imagine anyone needing attention so desperately that they would label themselves as having a mental disability. I’m sure there MUST be a few, but . . . Really??
I have a wonderful mind, and was not diagnosed with ADHD until I was 63 years old. Finally, the years of compensating made sense.
There are many of us. All colors, ages, with various symptoms and “positions” on the spectrum. If someone chooses to view their own condition as a gift, who are you to criticize them? Comments like yours only add fuel to the fire that employers use to devalue us and categorize our symptoms as ” excuses”. Please stop it.
December 16, 2019 at 6:44 pm #136642
I wouldn’t be surprised that 10% of the population has ADHD. I was not diagnosed until my early forties, ten year ago, by my state’s Division of Vocational Rehab. Growing up in the seventies and early eighties, ADHD was not a diagnosis at that time and I was accused of being lazy, daydreaming, and “not trying hard enough”. I have a feeling that a lot of people, especially if they are adults, might not be diagnosed and might blame their inattentiveness on other factors. But looking back, there were SO MANY instances of my condition. I had to make “To Do” lists, even in junior high and high school so I wouldn’t leave the house without necessary books, homework, and even my lunch. I truly believe that ADHD is not a condition that you can just “grow out of”; in fact, my ADHD has worsened as I’ve gotten older.
Since you are most likely not a medical professional, I suggest that you do not judge people. For years, before my diagnosis, I was accused of making up my condition, which was infuriating. Nobody want to have this condition; I feel that very few people are faking ADHD.
December 16, 2019 at 8:41 pm #136658
Hi, I understand your frustration. I am 54 and I was diagnosed with ADHD about 2 and a half years ago. After the diagnosis and hearing about academic accommodations I decided to try school again.
What I have noticed is that because all of us with ADHD or ADD are different from one another in regards to how our symptoms appear along with accompanying disorders that may or may not be present. This makes it extremely difficult to explain to a teacher or a worker at the university that helps students implement accommodations. They don’t understand all the possible symptoms that may be present from time to time. Yes, time to time! They think its us making things up if the symptom is not present all the time. That is why my parents, teachers, family, friends, coworkers and bosses were/are convinced my symptoms are willingness issues. This is why ADHD/ADD can be easy to misdiagnose or fake a doctor into believing you need Adderall.
The truly disappointing thing is that our meds don’t fix us. At best they manage a few symptoms for a few hours. Most people don’t understand this either. They seem to think if we are taking our meds ALL the symptoms are managed and any issues are once again “willingness issues”.
The best thing we can do is recognise these barriers we all face, continue to learn how to manage our symptoms from each other and when or if we are in right frame of mind try to explain ADHD/ADD to someone who doesn’t get it.
Take care, Frank
December 17, 2019 at 4:46 pm #136777
I have so much compassion for you and your frustration. So many of the comments here resonate.
The struggle is real. But 10% Population is a reasonable estimate in this day and age. I do not believe it is over diagnosed. Yes, there are kids diagnosed erroneously because they have a neighboring spectrum struggle that can mirror symptoms.. I posit that the providers misdiagnosing are those with less background in these. This is happening because our healthcare system is under resourced and, Medicaid only pays for limited resources. I bring this up because kids who are in the Medicaid system are disproportionately experiencing toxic stress, trauma, and adverse childhood experiences and ptsd as a result. Those factors are most common in multigenerational poverty and increase your vulnerability to a predisposition to, and early wiring for, ADHD, Anxiety and SPD. Which all can be mistaken for one another. Especially ADHD and Anxiety.
So, if economic conditions are worsening for the average person, and families in poverty 50 years ago were better off than they are today, then yes, we will continue to see a rise in toxic stress and aces because families struggle to meet their basic needs more now than in 1970. Meaning we are seeing more multigenerational poverty which creates deficits in nurture and opportunity which in my humble opinion, based on what I read and research i have referenced in papers, creates a delay in cognitive development and executive functioning development so, naturally we will see a rise in ALL spectrum disorders as we continue to see people struggle to meet their basic needs.
What I think we should be frustrated with, is the systems that do not elevate their game to better serve all people. We have corporations who cannot see value in those of us who are wired differently, government who cannot create a healthy for profit healthcare system or public option, and almost non-existent social services to adequately support families in poverty to reduce barriers to care for the most vulnerable populations. And not just healthcare, I’m talking child care for single moms who work night shifts to make enough to pay rent, leaving a child 9 yes old, home alone every night with unlimited access to screens. I can point to several families who make sacrifices like this.
And these kids are struggling. And lonely.
We also have a society that simply put, only values fame, perfection and media ready lifestyles.
I was recently laid off. Not because of my ADHD, but because leadership is impulsive and lacks focus, resulting in not seeing the big picture and integrity and value people bring to the team – specifically they don’t value the contributions of administrative roles. Only revenue generation roles. I saved them in 9 months, more than double my pay and benefits for all of 2019. I paid for myself and I was still let go where others were retained who hadn’t even made a sale in a revenue generating position. Think about that. I had quantifiable results. They did not. They kept their job simply because they might potentially make the company money.. even when the sales persons had not generated 3% of what they had cost the company in 2 years. That’s right. You read that right… 4 quarters of wages and benefits resulting in less than 80K in total gross profit. And me as an executive assistant- saving them 153K in 9 months, well that’s was irrelevant.
So, life is just unfair. Really unfair and shitty. But I have to believe that I am worthy of better. After all, I give better than I usually get.
ADHD is not a joke. It’s pretty normal. And your struggles are normal – even for the neuro typical folks.
When I feel the way you do, I recognize that I am in a state of compassion fatigue and I need self care and my tribe to care for me.
This is me caring for you ❤️
December 17, 2019 at 5:48 pm #136779
I can’t begin to understand your struggle but wanted to chime in as someone who has moderate ADHD coupled with some comorbid conditions. I was just diagnosed recently after 30 years of wondering why I struggled so much to do things that other folks don’t seem to have issues with, including things like emotional regulation. On the outside, you might be surprised that I have it. I think I lucked into a lot of circumstances in my life. I somehow have only dated (and now married) the most patient and understanding people. I have friends who often prefer the introverted life and don’t get mad at me for forgetting to respond. I work at a start up (and for my job before this), where you can get there anytime and while I HATE the lack of structure, it means I really can’t fail there. ADHD has taken a huge toll on my self esteem and caused so much anxiety and depression in my life. It’s exhausting. So I just wanted to chime in from the place of: 1. I have a lot of sympathy for your experience because mine isn’t as bad but 2. I have other things that cause a lot of issues in my life, so there’s sometimes more under the hood. That said, faking for meds or attention is frustrating as all hell. I hope you find supports that work well for your needs.
December 17, 2019 at 10:09 pm #136787
I am 42 years old. I was told since the eighties (when ADD received a lot of media coverage) that I was definitely ADD. Not particularly liking a label, I just ignored this hoping that I’d “out grow” it. That is laughable. So, as I grew older and very frustrated by my struggles I began asking for help and learning more about ADHD. I am a high school science teacher and work with around 150 kids a day. A few years, ago before I began learning more about ADHD, I thought I could identify the “typical” ADHD kid (they’re just like me right?). WRONG! Now that I’ve been reading a lot more it has really shifted my perspective and caused me to think there really are a lot more people who struggle with whatever it is that creates difficulties with memory, impulse control, emotional volatility, difficulty starting or completing projects, time management, depression, anxiety, etc. Our brains have as much variation as our faces, yet our education system (and society at large) acts as if our age alone should determine where we are in our lives. I would advise the OP to be careful dismissing the mental health struggle of others. My mind has definitely been opened, in the past I would find myself questioning a student’s diagnosis because it didn’t match my preconceived notion yet, with more and more knowledge about ADHD, I’m starting to open my mind to the possibility that there are many more people who struggle more than necessary due to undiagnosed ADHD.
December 18, 2019 at 10:42 am #136452
I am sorry you are struggling so much. Please do not give up. Check out some of the research from Dr. Daniel Amen on ADHD (he touts his brain scans, but just read it with an open mind…his ADHD info is good) and also look into some online multiple intelligence surveys. You are good at some things! Not all…no one is. It might give you some hope. I read through some of the other replies to your post….consider the advice of others. I think you just haven’t found the correct “key” yet for your “lock.” Here is a link to a multiple intelligence assessment that I use with my students:
December 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm #136831
I feel your pain. Diagnosed at 63, that’s right I said it 63. Living almost an entire life with parents, friends, and other family members saying “What the hell is wrong with you?” or when I opened my own salon “Well I quess you have a place to run your mouth.” I really feel your pain. The reason you feel alone is we need more press more groups, associatons, become a force to be reckoned with, so that we are not considered drug addicts because we take adderall!!!
My mother lived an entire life (she”s 86) on Dexatrim a diet aid to lose weight. I was on diet pills for years and had to listen to “Why aren”t you losing weight?” My physcharitrist said its like you are a “Hit and Run” and trust me I can Look back and see that he was right. Find friends who support you and surround yourself with them.The jokes are because their nervous they don’t know what to say they think a joke is ok. Tell them how they can help you, Remind me of a project that’s coming up because you know you are going to forget.tell me to hush or get to the point when I’m rambling. Help me organize my room teach me how to use my phone for timing and reminders. Unfortunately the world hasn’t caught up with us yet. Thank God you’re not 63. You can do this!
December 27, 2019 at 8:12 am #137285
Keep in mind there are different kinds and levels off adhd. I have add,so does my younger daughter. No learning disability, we actually thrive in school and are very social. The problem is planning, organising, emotion management and following trough. My husband and oldest daughter have adhd with learning disability, anger issues, and poor social skills. Ignore the fake and focus on getting better
January 8, 2020 at 8:28 am #137744
I have been there, but at this point, I just focus on the things that I can control.
However, I am in the benefit of a position to actually discuss at work what is, and is not, ADHD.
February 10, 2020 at 11:57 am #141554
I hear what you’re saying and I respect your point of view. But please know there is no reason you can’t go to college. You can go to a community college and talk them about making modifications and accommodations to help you through school. Use the time at the community college to help you improve your GPA and get better at being in school. I suggest going to a therapist and talking about the things that are frustrating you. I also think that going on medications can be very helpful; the right dosage and type of meds can do a lot to help you calm down and concentrate. They were a big help to me in school and helped me concentrate and focus. It takes some work but you really can go to college. I was a solid A and B student (with some C’s) and was majorly burnt out after high school. I took a year off (after forcing me into a college I didn’t want to be in and dropping out) and went back to community college when I was ready. My GPA improved to a good level and I was able to transfer to a four year school and earn my Bachelor’s Degree.
There is hope and help if you look for it. I have the same problem with math that you do. You might have a condition called Dyscalculia; it is a real condition that makes it impossible for you to process math. The issue with you forgetting the numbers before you enter them could be related to that or another disorder common to ADHD called Motor Dyspraxia which can also affect short term memory.
You sound very intelligent and I think with the right team of people around you that you can achieve great things.
- This reply was modified 2 weeks, 2 days ago by MJ1981.
February 11, 2020 at 7:56 am #141659
My fiance has ADHD. I think a good therapist could help you. My fiance had a therapist that helped him become more organized, and develop a plan that would work for him.
My fiance has two associate degrees and is only a few classes away from having his Bachelors in computer science. He was on the Deans List for his high GPA.
After years of being called a “Bird Brain” by his abusive stepfather…..
February 17, 2020 at 4:19 pm #142168
Hi there, @iforgeteverything and @all a little heads up: I sincerely apologize for my English and hope you’ll still be able to follow me; I’m not a native speaker.
Thanks so much for starting this discussion! I actually “came here” debating on whether or not to open up this exact same topic and if yes, where on earth would I even put it exactly!?
First, the obvious caveats:
I’m not a “professional” in any field – let alone one relevant to our topic, such as psychology, psychiatry,neurobiology or neurology.
Therefore, I’m very obviously not qualified to assess or diagnose anyone for/with anything.
I have, however, done a fairly substantial amount of personal research and talked to a lot of different people since my official adulthood diagnosis of severe ADHD of the combined type in March 2015.
My own experience is very similar to what you describe here.
There seems to be a sudden inflation of diagnosis, especially in pretty successful, “high functioning” individuals who at some point develop symptoms like those/similar to those of ADHD which were however never present during their childhood and yet, they get a diagnosis based off of the assumption of their being intellectually gifted (though, again, most never actually get tested for that kind of thing…) and thus supposedly mostly capable of somehow “compensating” the normally pretty obvious, often downright debilitating actual, real life- symptoms of the disorder.
Personally, being squarely in the .1 percentile range has helped me diddly-squat so far… me too: just barely got my secondary education, never actually came through training for any one job in spite of several attempts, still can’t “manage” even living in my own place, on my own…
So, yeah. But then again, I AM kind of smart so, I’ve got that going for me. *snicker*
One particularly off-putting side effect of this “trend” being the whole “positive sides of ADHD” … movement for lack of a better term…
Okay, so,um,PEOPLE have positive traits,strengths, virtues etc; a disorder can force you to develop coping strategies that you wouldn’t have developed otherwise and if you can look at it a certain way, its challenges can truly help you grow as a person so on but guys, ADHD is a DISORDER. It’s NOT a gift.
You can be a wonderful person IN SPITE of ADHD, NOT because of it!
The other pretty seriously problematic development is to increasingly write off (formerly) core ADHD symptoms to completely different disorders in order to include the ones without those problems within the ADHD-Spectrum.
And it’s this development that really tends to hurt me personally the most because I feel and AM increasingly isolated because of it, so I’m right there with you, dear @iforgeteverything and it’s starting to seriously get under my skin and make me unbelievably angry.
Now, I’m not saying that the “less severe cases” or cases of something else entirely don’t have problems that need to be addressed, mind you! That is not my point in all of this!
I do think, however, that the professionals involved need to do their homework way better than they are right now because getting misdiagnosed helps precisely nobody!
February 17, 2020 at 5:03 pm #142171
Aaron, I feel your frustration, but keep in mind ADHD is a spectrum. However, particularly your one statement has the potential for hurting a lot of people – including me, hence why I’m responding.
“There seems to be a sudden inflation of diagnosis, especially in pretty successful, “high functioning” individuals who at some point develop symptoms like those/similar to those of ADHD which were however never present during their childhood and yet, they get a diagnosis based off of the assumption of their being intellectually gifted (though, again, most never actually get tested for that kind of thing…) and thus supposedly mostly capable of somehow “compensating” the normally pretty obvious, often downright debilitating actual, real life- symptoms of the disorder.”
No adult should get a ADHD diagnosis based on what you stated. The DSM-5, used in many countries for diagnosis, specifically states that symptoms must have been present before age 12 (present, not clinically significant!). Most experts agree that adult-onset ADHD does not exist and those people most likely have other mental disorders going on, such as anxiety, depression and a whole set of other possibilities. A diagnosis of adult ADHD without symptoms present in childhood only means a professional didn’t do their job.
However, with your claim your dismiss an entire demographic of actual sufferers. You state that there is an inflation of “highly functioning, successful individuals who at some point develop symptoms“.
Maybe instead of them “developing symptoms”….how about they literally cope until they don’t? They may always have had symptoms, they just managed to not let them impair their life to a clinical level. Burn-out is highly correlated with ADHD for obvious reasons. Masking is a major problem with ADHD.
I haven’t been diagnosed with ADHD until I was 32. I’ve always felt “different” from people around me. In hindsight, I’ve always had pretty obvious ADHD symptoms — but the tell-tale sign of “problems in school” was missing. Further…being female….you’re dismissed as an ADHD possibility from the get go.
So yes, I somehow coped and masked all my life. I was good in school, went on to college and am currently enrolled in a graduate program. Genuinely loving to learn and loving science made this possible because it was my much needed stimulus and allowed me to hyperfocus on school (+ just a shit ton of extra effort on my part). But hardly anyone knows what it cost to actually get there. As I mentioned, I’m 32 and have been dealing with severe chronic fatigue for over a decade, now. I’m not just tired — I’m literally exhausted as my baseline, regardless of how much I sleep. I have daily physical pain courtesy of tension from anxiety. I’m burned out from night after night scrambling, from a lifetime of procrastination, from having to work more than seemingly anyone else around me. I’ve been diagnosed with a number of other mental disorders in addition to my physical problems.
All my life I’ve been fighting with “not quite fitting in”, which leaves one extremely lonely and isolated – of which depression is only the next step.
Decades of RSD and emotional dysfunction, things you’re not allowed to “show” or act upon, take their toll as well.
Instead of gatekeeping, try to consider that the more we learn about ADHD the more people will receive the help they deserve. For one, ADHD is overdiagnosed in white boys and way underdiagnosed in girls.
You say getting misdiagnosed does help nobody. But it also doesn’t actually hurt you personally, does it?
February 18, 2020 at 8:41 am #142188
I have struggled my whole life but only now been diagnosed with ADHD at 27. I never bothered looking into ADHD as I assumed it would have been picked up as a child. So I never even considered it until late 2019. I know it can be frustrating when you meet someone who abuses the system. OCD sufferers have to deal with it all the time. So do all who suffer with any metal health issues. Unfortunately it comes with greater understanding and more awareness of a condition. inevitably a few will intentionally or unintentionally take advantage. My concern is that an over reaction to a minority of people who are “faking” ADHD will only result in genuine cases not seeking the help they need through fear of being called fake or taking advantage. Ultimately more awareness is a good thing. It will help people who are in genuine need. We must simply tolerate those who may not be so genuine. If someone is intentionally faking ADHD or another condition I dare say they are suffering from something if not what they claim. As such we should show some compassion and hope that what ever torments them to the point of lying will one day be resolved. Getting angry will not help us or them. Try to show them the compassion you hope to receive from others. Many people don’t understand ADHD but I hope they do not judge me for it. You may not understand fully what is happening in the lives of those who fake ADHD so show them the same compassion.
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