Is the future really Bleak for late diagnosis?

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    • #90341

      Hi everyone,

      I wont go on too much about how terrible my life feels, and how like many of you suffering in silence and feeling so alone and misunderstood not knowing you had ADHD – who’s lives have fallen apart. I am rock bottom and am on the edge of homelessness and suicide. I have just been diagnosed at 45 and know I have been totally battling with ADHD my whole life – yes battling, with this unknown thing I carried with me, beating down my self image, my confidence, relationships, careers. like many I had been misdiagnosed with depression and anxiety, all because of my abusive childhood history and other childhood trauma, i believed this, but more recently I had a revelationary moment where i read an article and was like that is me!! It has been a years path to my diagnosis here in the UK just 6 weeks ago and I have started meds and a journey of trying to educated and help myself.

      I’ve been trying to read as much as I can about ADHD the positives and negatives, meds, strategies, blogs, forums. I am really trying to be positive and hopefull that I can turn my mess of life around, and beginning the meds showed my glimmers of hope for the first time, but I’m not sure the dosing or meds are for me (started on Equasym Xl, now on Elvanse) – will work on this.

      I came across this article
      And this paragraph, which made my heart sink.

      Professor Philip Asherson, an honorary consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley, reveals there are thousands of “forgotten” sufferers whose condition has been overlooked or incorrectly attributed to depression or anxiety. They end up on medication which has very little impact on their condition. The prospects for these patients are bleak: broken relationships, career meltdown and exceedingly low self-esteem.

      I really want to hear from people that have struggled their whole life not knowing they had ADHD and had a late diagnoses – and that have managed to use it to pull their life together – i need hope!
      I feel like I have learned so many self coping strategies that are useless to ADHD, i have extremely low self esteem and self confidence and am really relying on medication which is something I have never done before.

      Please give me hope?

    • #90378

      Hey Man,

      “Every now is a new beginning”

      If you’re looking for hope, look no further than that quote. The realization that life is a journey, an constant grind to make yourself a better person is something I’ve come to accept and enjoy as a challenge. I too was a late diagnosis but in my case it was in my 20s. I wondered why I never fit in with my peers. I wondered why I could never stick to a task and enjoy doing something without instant gratification. After connecting with a great psychiatrist, I got put on Vyvanse and it has changed my life. Us ADHDers have less executive function capacity than most normal people, and I find the vyvanse helps me with that. Its really opened my eyes to the way I was living- negatively and out of spite. Im on a journey to better my relations with everyone I know and to improve as a man. Moral of the story: never give up hope. there is always someone out there that can help you. 45 is still relatively young my friend, go out and kick butt at life. Its never too late to get help, I know that first hand

    • #90380

      I’ve lost literally everything 3 times in my life now. Each time felt the end of my life, and each time I pondered making that true. In retrospect, my recovery from each of these situations has always lead to better circumstances than the ones I lost.

      It isn’t easy, I won’t sugar coat it, but it is worth putting one foot in front of the other and keep trying and re-trying, slowly making things better as you discover what works for you.

    • #90393

      I was just officially diagnosed 3 years ago at 47 but I’ve suffered with the effects of ADHD over the years. For instance, I’ve lost or quit more jobs than I can count as a direct result of my ADHD. However, I also am able to see how I’ve naturally made many adjustments in how I do things that have helped me. As a result I’m probably more rigid than a lot of people but I need to be to keep track of everything I need. Once I was diagnosed it made sense why I was about to be fired from yet another job, this time as a preschool teacher. This school was big on “no lesson plans” but that just meant we weren’t expected to plan anything in advance. My entire job was predicated on my ability to react to stimuli in the moment, which I was NOT able to do. I actually had a breakdown during that job because of my inability to respond quickly. Now I work in a department in a library that deals with ordering and receiving materials. It’s process work with few exceptions so even when my brain loses focus my muscle memory carries me through. Yes, it’s boring sometimes but I make sure that my time outside of work is filled with the stimulation I need to keep me going.

      Try to think of a clean slate. Now that you know what’s going on you can read about it and come up with your own “best practices.” Best of luck to you on this new journey!

    • #90424

      Hello yes I can give you hope I hope! I was diagnosed at 46. It came as a huge shock with sadness, loss and anger that no one had told me sooner. I work in healthcare and watched students I have trained up over years get promotions above me, be able to move to a decent house, have an intimate relationship and have children, not get bullied by others, be tactful around their boss, and not hold a constant fear of getting sacked etc etc. Due perhaps to adhd i realise now and my executive brain function differences, I have not managed to achieve any of those things…yet.

      Since diagnosis I now try to say “well done” daily at least, and remind myself of what I can rather than can’t do. I garden at an allotment, walk in nature when I can, and meditate and remind myself often of the beauty around me like a bird singing or the groundedness of my feet as I walk.

      Diagnosis has helped me to silence the 46 year old v loud self critic at last and tell myself each day instead “you have really struggled. Well done for tidying that drawer, making that phone call etc Well done for not giving up and for still being here right now doing the best you can.” I recognise that I am actually tougher than most, absolutely not a failure!

      Getting out in nature as often as I can makes me feel grateful and connected to my heart rather than my head. Mindfulness practice is a daily saving grace, and exercise too.

      Please seek help from professionals if you are suicidal. Just because we have adhd doesn’t mean we don’t also sometimes get depressed and need an urgent appointment. One of the adhd medications also made me depressed so don’t ignore that, get help.

      We are amazing, we have struggled undiagnosed with a different brain structure in a neurotypical world since birth. Wow! We so deserve praise and love starting with love for ourselves at long last. If like me there is no one else there to praise me, I make sure I praise myself… daily!
      Look into mindfulness at some point too it changed my life by helping to build self-compassion and learn ways to stop the incessant Thought Train which is 20 x worse for those of us with adhd.

      I wish you luck, please don’t give up, others have so much to learn from your strength and resilience through your life and struggles. You and i are truly amazing and tough we must remember that…daily!!
      Take care too.

    • #90447

      Sorry it’s so bad for you Butterfly. Loving all of the thoughtful responses. I’m new to this site. I just self diagnosed ADHD,at age 56, .. checked off 22 of 21 symptoms, I also have rejection sensitive dysphoria. Lots of AHA moments. I have struggled my whole life.. job losses .. etc. Saving grace has been humor and optimism, and talking to myself about how badass I must be to be able to cope. I have never been, nor do I want to be medicated.

      I would be careful about meds .. be sure they are not causing the depression and suicidal thoughts. I lost my sister three years ago.. she was bi-polar.. I believe the meds did much more harm than good.

      If you can, speak to a therapist that fully understands ADHD. That might be most helpful. Reach out to local groups that might be able to help in the short term.. my worst times were when funds were low. Reading about ADHD is helpful, just be sure not to isolate yourself. I wish you the best.

    • #90556

      ADHD is not a death sentence. And knowing why your life has been difficult in the past can be cause for optimism. As others have said if you have become more depressed since beginning medication then get to the doctor immediately.
      I am 69 and was diagnosed two months ago. Knowing why I have bounced around all my life (in relationships, jobs, and finances) has been a revelation. The anxiety and depression that I’ve battled for the last 12 years have lifted a bit and the meds I’m on now seem to help calm my mental hyper-stimulation.
      I’m working on new coping skills and systems because, as you know, the old ones are lacking at best. I exercise regularly, journal daily, and maintain an attitude of gratitude. I still need to organize and schedule my environment, but I’m getting more done.
      I have survived a number of terrible things in my life and know things will get better.
      Hope this helps.

    • #90568

      Dear DROFAS thank you for your message, you have inspired me also! So fantastic that you were diagnosed at 69 and sound so resilient and applying coping, despite the challenges over your life. Thank you, you have given me much hope for the future too!!!

    • #90702

      Thanks for sharing your story! I was diagnosed 16 yrs ago at 35. My marriage and job were in jeopardy. I initially thought meds were the thing to ‘solve’ this ADD thing. It wasn’t until another crisis 2 years ago that I realized that meds and therapy are what works. I’ve found that depression/anxiety often accompany this diagnosis (I’m also exploring rejection sensitive dysphoria); they are the angry partners of ADD/ADHD. My diagnosis and treatment have put a lot of my difficult childhood in perspective. I hope you can find a sound balance that works for you.

      There can be good outcomes. I’ve been a high school teacher for 23 yrs now – my classroom is chaotic (I like to call it dynamic!), and just celebrated 25 yrs of marriage. It’s still a struggle at times – I’m thankful for my amazing wife and kids. Be kind to yourself, and find those things that help you rebuild that foundation – we’re (us ADD’ers) tougher than we know! I wish you well on your journey…

    • #90758

      Hi Butterfly. I’m 59 and didn’t know much about ADD at the start of this year. I tried getting a diagnosis but … long story and I guess that’s typical. But all the rest of ADD describes me. Only driven if I can emotionally connect and then I can’t let go, otherwise I just can’t get interested in anything, rejection sensitivity, a history of screwing up jobs. But I’m not hyperactive nor addicted to chemicals and I live in a smallish town with crappy insurance so I just make do.

      HOWEVER, things have turned much better. Just knowing what might be coming around the corner has helped immensely. I started keeping track of my moods. You know how eskimos have many different ways to describe snow – and likely the English describing rain 🙂 – I’ve really dug down into how I’m feeling. Am I calm because I feel defeated or because I’m content? How did I handle the bad news? Did I explode? Walk away? I’ve figured out that I need to have a good dose of aerobic exercise every 2-5 days. 45 minutes is magic. I always knew I needed exercise but now I can tell when things are starting to get off track with enough time to get in some exercise before I explode. I call it hunting. When I need a fix of dopamine, desperate for finding something that makes me feel good. Exercise does wonders for my emotions. I’m learning that certain types of music helps. Whereas I used to really go for super upbeat music I now see how calm, beautiful music can just level me out. I have a nighttime ritual of slowly calming things down (and screens before bed are bad). I’m learning how to work with my mind that likes to skip about rather than against it. I have a task list app and small, easy to complete tasks help a lot. I take more time to get anything done. I try to let go of things that are keeping me from those I love. I have coffee in the morning and around noon and that helps calm things down and let the optimist in me want to do things and focus. The hunting is worst in the evening when I’m tired, so I’ve found that’s the best time for me to do mindless chores, like cleaning. Washing dishes can be meditative? My wife is not arguing with it. I always thought I did great work in the evening but it came at a price of getting wound up and then sleeping became a problem.

      It’s not perfect, though. But it is better. A couple of days ago someone at a place I volunteer just got on my case about something he really had no idea what he was talking about. Not too long ago I would have just gone home absolutely miserable, defeated, and shaken to the core. Rather, I recognized I was going down but decided that if this guy was going to ruin this for me then I’d just go find some place else to volunteer. It may sound all wonderful but it’s a 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Again, there is progress.

      In other words, ignore what that guy said. Yes, you’ve gone through crap and that’s all he is saying. What he didn’t address is whether or not it can get better. It can. It will. It will not be perfect. Keep looking for positive people and ignore the nay sayers. If you can hold someone you love, or enjoy a beautiful sunset, or take a deep breath during a rain when everything has that wonderful fresh rain smell, life will be good.

    • #100437

      Diagnosed with depression and anxiety in my early twenties. Diagnosed with ADD in my early 40s. It became clear, after much therapy that the three diagnoses form a cluster of inter-related sumptoms but the ADD is the primary driver. The comorbidities are amplified by it.

      I started therapy actually for depression and anxiety which led to the ADD dagnosis. My GP refused to prescribe Adderall for me and fired me as a patient claiming I was just seeking drugs (I had a history of cocaine use… odd? Not really, self-medicating). I was so traumatized that when I found new GP it took me over a year to ask him to orescribe Adderall.

      Finding the right dose took a bit but my wife would tell you that it changed our lives in a very positive way.

      The future is bleak only if you do not confront the condition. For me that means meds, frequently reading (ADDitude, et al) about the condition, coping mechanisms (lists lists lists), and just being aware I have these symptoms. I find it useful to hear other people’s qirks because I often see them in myself which then leads to a recognition which I can address. For example, I used to leave doors, drawers, etc open all the time. Not so much anymore because I read another’s account of doing same. So, I guess the short version is… meds and maintenance.

      The future is NOT bleak.

    • #100442

      I was diagnosed last year at age 57. Once I had the diagnosis, everything started to make sense to me: the failed life that I had lived, my substance abuse, my procrastination, getting fired from jobs, nearly flunking out of college, not being able to finish my Ph.D., the negative self-talk that I was lazy or unmotivated, my homelessness, and even a felony drug conviction. The teachers and therapists had missed the diagnosis all those years (I had taken antidepressants and antianxiety meds, but the real problem as the ADHD and what I really needed was stimulants because that was the condition driving the anxiety and depression).

      Now that I understand how my brain is different I have: started medication 3 months ago (I had previously been self-medicating for years with street stimulants); adopted practices to develop the cognitive skills that I need to develop (daily meditation helps immensely); have started working on goals that I have been putting off all my life; have opened up with family members and gained their support; and I am getting the support from the other resources that I need (such as counseling and coaching).

      My life has taken a complete turn around. It has been challenging, don’t get me wrong. If I can do it at age 58, you can do it at age 45. Just be glad you caught it now rather than losing 13 more years of your life to ADHD.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 3 months ago by fbc.
    • #100621

      First of all…..NEVER give up, Butterfly!

      I was diagnosed with ADHD only three short years ago at the age of 68! You’re the same age as my oldest daughter. Since being diagnosed, I have been able to make some very positive changes in my life. Fortunately, I am in excellent health, so that alone is a great plus. One thing I became aware of following my diagnosis, was that my brain is able to express things very quickly and clearly. My biggest hobby is music. I can’t imagine living without it! I’m always listening to my huge Spotify playlist library and album collections at home along with the vast music playlists on YouTube.

      Everyone seems to react to their ADHD condition differently. I was able to move away from a very confining place to a wonderful small city for retirement about three years ago. I’ve never looked back since. My whole outlook on life has changed. I know you’re at least 20 years or so away from retirement, but my best suggestion for overcoming depression is to go out and volunteer each week for at least 2-3 hours. There are so many great non-profit organizations that can use your talents and skills. Give it a try…’ll love it!

      I wish you good fortune in reinventing who you are, despite your ADHD.

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