Imposter?

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    • #180093
      BemusedFox
      Participant

      Hi all,

      As many others, I only recently (6 months ago) was diagnosed with ADHD. As a 29 year old, I was completely shocked. To be honest, it wasn’t even on my radar. But the counselor I have been seeing for depression and anxiety suggested it to me a year and a half ago, about 6 months ago, it was brought up again and I started the process of getting a diagnosis. Both she and the psychiatrist I saw for starting a prescription diagnosed me with ADHD inattentive. A lot of what has been said in articles and here feels right, but on the flip side, part of me feels like I was tricking the diagnosis.
      I am on 20 mg of Adderall (for 3 months – started at 5, then 10) and I feel slightly clearer but still have a lot of trouble concentrating. It doesn’t make me feel high or anything (yes, I am paranoid to check the affects of Adderall on non-adhd takers), and I don’t think it is hurting me, but nor is it helping me that much.
      The fact that I still can’t concentrate makes me think that my inability to actually work at work (or in general) is a character flaw and not actually ADHD.
      Does anyone else who has been diagnosed and done some treatment feel like a complete phony or feel that they don’t actually have ADHD, they just are lazy and/or irresponsible?

      • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by BemusedFox.
      • This topic was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by BemusedFox.
    • #180102
      cj628
      Participant

      I was diagnosed with ADHD over a decade ago, but it took me years to actually believe that my diagnosis was accurate. A lot of that came with exploring a lot of the newer research on ADHD in adults and recognizing myself in the symptom clusters described.
      More importantly than identifying with the symptom clusters, strategies tailored to ADHD brains helped me cope with my struggles more successfully than mainstream “time hacks” put out by more neurotypical-leaning content producers. So at that point, whether I had ADHD or was ‘just lazy‘ faded from my mind.
      I’m not a psychiatrist so I’m only speaking as an individual who has been prescribed ADHD meds continuously since I was a child. My caution to you is sounds like you’re talking about Adderall as a sort of litmus test for whether you truly have an attention disorder. Your experience with Adderall sounds a lot like mine (disclosure: I switched to a different stimulant ~10 years ago and had far better results). Adderall doesn’t make ADHD disappear. In my experience, no medication does. Medication’s just one part of effective management of my ADHD. Behavioral interventions are equally important for me.
      Since you’re early in your diAgnosis, I encourage you to keep checking out articles and presentations here because they help. I also encourage you to work with your doctor and consider trying other ADHD meds out there if you’re not benefiting much from Adderall. In my experience, a lot of doctors are eager to prescribe Adderall first because insurance like always approves it because it’s a cheap drug for them. But there are other stimulants than Adderall that you might find work for you better.

      • #180653
        bimbambalam
        Participant

        I’m not a psychiatrist so I’m only speaking as an individual who has been prescribed ADHD meds continuously since I was a child. My caution to you is sounds like you’re talking about Adderall as a sort of litmus test for whether you truly have an attention disorder. Your experience with Adderall sounds a lot like mine (disclosure: I switched to a different stimulant ~10 years ago and had far better results). Adderall doesn’t make ADHD disappear. In my experience, no medication does. Medication’s just one part of effective management of my ADHD. Behavioral interventions are equally important for me.

        Interesting comments. While waiting for the diagnosis, I made some general behavioural changes that improved things. I was thinking of trying medication to see what would change.

        Have you stopped taking medication at any point to see how much behavioural interventions on their own are helping?

        Bimbambalam
        ===================================
        ADHD inattentive – high-functioning

        • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by bimbambalam. Reason: Formatting
        • This reply was modified 2 months, 2 weeks ago by bimbambalam.
    • #180226
      Penny Williams
      Keymaster

      People do well when they can. Your struggle is not a character flaw, it’s a symptom of a different neurology.

      I would recommend the book, “You Mean I’m Not Crazy, Lazy or Stupid?” It will help you work through these feelings.

      Crying, Screaming, and Hiding: All the Ways I Deal with ADHD Shame

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

    • #180401
      eveabashed
      Participant

      Hey, I just got diagnosed myself at 38. ADHD wasn’t on my radar for a long time because I didn’t think I fit the bill. Sure, I struggled a lot with “adulting”, but I was sure that if I just worked harder and was less lazy, I’d do better. If I just worked a little longer, if I just tried a new organizer, or a new app, if I just stuck with that new habit…there was always something I SHOULD have been doing. And even after I became aware, around 32, that the ADHD criteria did kind of fit me, I STILL thought that I wasn’t affected enough to seek treatment. When I finally did get around to being tested, six years later, I was positive they were going tell me it was all in my head and that I was making it up.

      Guess what. I’m not making it up.

      Also, I’m not a “little” ADHD. I’m VERY ADHD. I’m hyperactive and inattentive, and I lose a SIGNIFICANT portion of my cognitive capabilities when my ADHD is triggered. But I didn’t know this because I didn’t have any real data to compare myself to until I got evaluated. I knew I had lots of challenges, but I assumed i just wasn’t working hard enough or smart enough. Turns out, I was working so hard to convince everyone I was normal that no one realized I desperately needed help. Not even me.
      I’m not an impostor and you aren’t either. ADHD looks like a lot of different things, and as a 29 year old, you’ve probably become very good at masking your challenges and forcing yourself to work harder than everyone else around you. It can be hard to admit that you have a neurological difference that will never go away. Our society is not kind to neurodiverse people, despite recent pushes towards acceptance. It is easy to internalize the message that we should just be different than we are.

      Besides, being ADHD can be a good thing! You know that saying about when you have a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail? I don’t think this is true for people with ADHD. When we have hammers, we get bored looking for nails so we figure out 97 new things we didn’t know a hammer could do. Our world runs on the creativity and innovation of neurodiverse people. It really does take all sorts to make a world.

      Like you, I’m still figuring out what to do with my diagnosis (and with my daughter’s. She got diagnosed too). My test results indicate that everything I’ve ever tried has been completely wrong, so I need to re-do the way I do life. The meds help but they don’t make the challenges go away. I still need to figure out how to adult but now I have permission to do it my way. When I don’t waste my energy forcing myself to do things “the right way”, I’m actually much better at managing my symptoms and getting things done.

      You didn’t game the system. You’re not an impostor and you aren’t lazy. You’re a person in progress. And as an ADHD mom diagnosed with ongoing anxiety and depression issues (yay co-morbidities!), I can tell you that you’re not the only one. I hope you can find some peace with yourself, and learn to enjoy your differences while you learn to live with them.

      • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by eveabashed. Reason: Shortened
      • This reply was modified 2 months, 3 weeks ago by Penny Williams.
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