February 20, 2020 at 5:01 am #142414
(I already posted this In another forum topic, but I’m really struggling emotionally and I wanted to reach out again) I need help understanding something that I have trouble with. I have ADHD, I was diagnosed years ago and have been receiving the same medication without issues. This issue has been going on for years but I always assumed I was lazy, or distracted. This is something I am incredibly ashamed of because it makes no sense and the answer is right there and obvious but it continues to be a problem. There are times when I cannot control my body or get it to do something i badly wish to do. I’m not talking about things like not being able to get out of bed, something that those with depression often experience. this is different from that. It’s small things that don’t matter by themselves, but build up to make me unorganized and angry. A specific example is that i cannot put my debit card back in my wallet. i’m not concerned about holding up a line or trying to get of the way. i put it loose in my bag and i always lose it. Its not remembering that’s the problem. If it was I’d have sticky notes everywhere. The entire time from the moment I grab my debit card, while I’m paying, and to the end of the transaction I am literally repeating to myself “put it in your wallet” over and over. as i go to put my card away i am actively begging myself to just put it back in my wallet. to just do it. and i cant. no matter how much effort i put into it i watch it go in my backpack loose. its like im not in control anymore. Im an adult and I lose my debit card constantly and it drives me to tears because I see the issue and I know the solution and it doesn’t happen. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been to dinner or somewhere out with friends and I open my wallet to pay my portion and my debit card is missing. It’s embarrassing and unacceptable. For years I thought I was lazy, or just didn’t care enough because that’s how everyone around me viewed the problem. Something that made me think it might be something else happened this week. a video game. I’m not much of a gamer, I hadn’t played in years. But I noticed this week that I can’t put the controller down. The game isn’t addicting, I can go days without thinking about it or playing it. But as soon as I pick up the controller I won’t put it down for hours. And it’s not one particular video game. For the first hour or two it’s fun, like how it’s supposed to be. But then I get hungry, or thirsty. Soon it’s been 7 hours, I haven’t eaten at all I feel sick. I share a tv with my roomates and I remind them constantly that they can take over the tv whenever they want. My hope is they’ll ask to use it and something in my brain will snap into place. But until someone interrupts or intervenes, I’ll spend hours hoping they do so I can just let go of the controller. It’s not “five more minutes and then I’ll get off” it’s “please can someone take the controller out of my hands I can’t take it anymore” It gets to the point where I’m nauseous and I don’t even want to look at the tv, I’m not enjoying myself. I’m begging my body to just let go of the controller and it doesn’t. I noticed that this feeling matches what happens with my debit card. I know this is really long, and It might not be related to ADHD at all. But I’m not lazy, I’m struggling with something I don’t understand. but if anyone has any insight or any advice i would really appreciate it.
February 20, 2020 at 7:46 am #142443
Are you seeing a therapist right now? I think that might be a good first step.
It seems like you’ve learned that external accountability can be helpful, so maybe finding ways to have more of that in your life. Like setting reminders on your phone before you start playing games, or having someone check on you by stopping by or with a phone call.
As for the debit card, I’d actually suggest starting with something simple and just start using cash. See if that helps break the cycle a bit. Otherwise, working with a therapist to breakdown what is it about the sequencing of putting the card back in the wallet is hard. It may be a psychological barrier more than a physiological one. Sometimes we keep doing things we don’t want to do because we on a deeper level want to keep doing badly. Not saying that’s the case here, but something that can be a possibility.
In any case, I’d suggest talking to someone. A therapist of some kind can be immensely helpful.
February 20, 2020 at 7:09 pm #142915
I’d read around on this site. That sounds like ADHD to me. You’re hyperfocusing on the wrong things, and expecting yourself to act like you don’t have ADHD. You need to find a strategy that works for you. Don’t be too hard on yourself, and remember it takes a while to develop new habits.
Find something to get motivation, like a phrase or something, and put it where you can see it daily.
Lastly, besides reading the articles on this site, maybe an ADHD coach would be a good assist.
February 20, 2020 at 7:42 pm #142924
This is me too!
I think a lot of my “debit card loose in bag” tasks stem from the “now” or “not now” mentality. In other words, I constantly sabotage my future self because my present self doesn’t care about my future self, so future self can deal with it cuz present self just.can’t.even.
But why the heck is my present self such a jerk? I don’t really know, but I imagine it has something to do with ADHD brains not processing rewards like other people and because it knows no reward is involved chemically for responsibly putting away your card, it stops you so you can find something more stimulating to do like get annoyed at yourself for not putting it away and risking losing it. And if you do end up losing it, your brain just banked a bonus adrenaline spike for when you are pulling your wallet out to pay.
I do this all the time- especially when a mundane task requires more than one step (Good to use if you are trying to avoid something like eating junk food). Maybe get rid of your wallet altogether and get a bag you can just drop your debit card in. Then you’ll know it’s always in your bag. One step, no problem.
And the video game thing is totally hyperfocus. It is painful to get pulled out of it, even when you aren’t enjoying what you are focused on anymore. My husband often has the task of pulling me out of the hyperfocus and it almost always intensely irritates me and I have to take a minute to physically walk away from my hyperfocus task. Sometimes it helps to set a time where I will return to the task, but most of the time, leaving a hyperfocus just sucks and makes me irritable.
You might consider upping your meds because the symptoms you described are totally adhd related. I can’t say my meds have completely solved those issues for me, but I am still figuring out my dosages.
- This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Getittogethergirl.
February 22, 2020 at 10:43 am #143150
Hi- try starting to put a time frame around a mundane task you need to do -this has helped me. For example, Emptying the dishwasher- I used to tell myself all the time you need to empty the dishwasher, walk by it many times and never do it. Now ,when I tell myself I need to do it and start to walk by it I remind myself it’s only going to take 2 minutes – just do it – I have found that putting a realistic time it takes frame for mundane tasks more bearable to get them done – try it for the debit card- when you just go to throw it in your bag remind your brain it will only take 2 seconds to put it away – just do it – see if it works – once I did it once I got better with a lot of little mundane things – ( I had read about this strategy somewhere for ADHD ) Oftentimes people with adhd feel like things take a long time when in actuality the time to get it done is much shorter.
For the video game- a timer may help- I would try setting an annoying ring tone and leave your phone away from you so you have to stop and get up to shut it off – worth a shot
Our type brains are great in many ways and tricky in other ways… good luck
February 24, 2020 at 9:54 am #143246
What about wearing a card holder on a lanyard and keeping your debit card there? It’s around your neck so it’s just as easy to slide it back in there as it would be to slide it into your pocket.
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Coach & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
February 24, 2020 at 2:41 pm #143286
It may have to do with the medications you are taking. I remember when I was younger I changed my medication to focus more and it made me extremely moody and sad. Maybe talk to your doctor about alternatives if your medicine is making you feel that way. I know you mentioned that you have been taking the same medication for years but its possible to outgrow your meds. You may need a higher dosage or a whole new prescription all together. I hope you figure this out. Believe me I’ve been there it’s not a good place to be in. You are not alone.
Best of luck!
February 25, 2020 at 10:05 pm #143443
I understand 1,000%! I was doing exactly the same thing. I very recently realized that I have ADD. Figuring that out was like finally being given my owners manual. I am 50 yrs old and was close to utter despondency because given that I cannot fix these seemingly small things in my life (losing debit or food stamp cards and keys constantly) I was hopeless and beyond that that something really actually is broken inside of me. “So much talent, so smart, so beautiful!” but just cannot apply herself!” I’d look into the mirror and say to myself WHY?!? why do you do – insert whatever I did – this time? you know that its bad so why? (ie – spend the money for my electric bill on clothes and new shoes that I don’t need! or why cant you stop losing the credit card? or worse the food stamp card! On several occasions when our kids were growing up, we all went hungry for the weekend because the welfare office is closed and we cannot get a new card until Monday!? My husband was pissed and my kids hungry!? In a five year period I lost 17 food cards!!!
Ok, so you are not hopeless, uncaring, or an idiot. Work with your habits instead of against them. Example: I would leave my purse in the car and take in the keys and the card (I’d just leave my purse in a cart unattended and get it stolen). I’d end up tucking my card into my back pocket. I’d forget it and go to the ladies on the way out and it would fall to the floor and be lost (2x with my work card which meant no income while I waited for the replacement to arrive). People would say you dropped your card over and over but I would STILL DO IT!
I decided to get a slim wallet, very slim cardholder type and try putting my card into it and then it into my back pocket. Since i’m not going to stop putting it into my back pocket, i just got a wallet so when the wallet falls out of my pocket, I HEAR it and or feel it more than the card.
Half the time I don’t put it into the wallet before the wallet goes into pocket but when wallet is in my pocket, and I go to put the card there, I feel the wallet and I’m reminded by default – oh yeah! I gotta put that in my wallet or I WILL lose it. work within the habit you do have.
I also keep my debit card for work on a swiping type badge lanyard for work (I am an Instacart shopper – made for people with add) If it’s in plain sight I avoid the panic attacks at payment time where I’ve learned the damn card will never be where I expect it to be. Ever.
Finally, please get the book Organizing Your Home for people with ADD, AND Your Life Can Be Better. Written by a therapist with ADD for ADDer’s with ideas and strategies to cope with ADD. Like define the problem and develop a rule so it becomes a habit so you can finally stop thinking about it all the time! Both have made a big impact on my sanity in just a month or so and just figuring out how to deal with bullsh@t that we cannot physically change – but we CAN learn to cope.
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