Life changing diagnosis

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    • #108993

      Hello, friend

      This is my first post on a discussion forum. I read them frequently but have never felt strongly enough to bother writing. I tried to keep it short, please forgive me for failing.
      Where to start?
      When it was initially suggested to me by a drug counsellor that I may have undiagnosed ADD, I didn’t give it much weight. I felt she was basing it on the fact that my nephew has this diagnosis and receives medication. We didn’t discuss it much, and I left her office and forgot about it. Years later, I remembered, and the Googling began.

      I have done hard drugs since I was 16. I won’t bother giving you my drug CV, suffice it to say I have done all of them, in every possible way. I never actually got addicted to anything, though I had a fondness for pot.
      Since I was a kid, I have been an underachiever. Every school report read the same way: “Has ability, won’t work.” They would tell my parents that I was clearly intelligent, just lazy. I had a decent vocabulary and a good imagination, but when it came to homework and study I was a lost cause. I had a low tolerance for boredom and got distracted easily. Very disorganized and I found it impossible to make a start, even if the task was vitally important. Naturally, I was delighted to finish school…

      As an adult, I have always felt inept. Awkward, introvert and tense. I fail to complete simple forms and post them, resulting in loss of money, healthcare and opportunities. I have always been highly impulsive, bad with money and self-control in general. I am very hard on myself and take failure badly, so over the years the self-hatred grew.

      I have taken the blade out of a disposable razor and cut myself deeply. So deeply, when I finally showed it to a doctor he informed me it would require plastic surgery to fix. I didn’t really know why I was doing it at the time. Now I know I was punishing myself for the failures I can’t let go of.
      I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety and given SSRIs. Every medical professional I saw would agree that there was something wrong, yet they all differed slightly as to what. I have been prescribed every variation of antidepressant there is, and they never helped.

      As I mentioned, I did a lot of drugs. MDMA helped me socialise, meet people and talk openly and honestly about deeply personal trauma. More than the high, I loved the type of person it made me. Around age 17, I met a friend who gave me a couple of Ritalin. I had a history test to study for, and he told me they would help. Ritalin did help; I was motivated, focused, alert. I studied and enjoyed it, and for the first time I scored highly in a test.

      Years later, I was working in a fast food place and I was hopeless. I would forget orders and lose track of what I was doing. Even as a dishwasher, I couldn’t cut it. Unmotivated and incapable of prioritizing tasks. My ineptitude in the most basic roles shattered my meagre self-confidence.
      Enter Ritalin. I didn’t seek them out, it was just the right place at the right time. And the difference! Not just at work, but in my personal life. I was able to manage my money and took better care of myself. I no longer procrastinated performing simple household chores.

      Now, nearly 30 and trying to study IT, I desperately need the focus and determination I lack. I have thought about speaking to my doctor many times, but I worry I won’t be taken seriously. Yes, I have a history of drug use, but perhaps this never would have happened if I had been diagnosed as ADD as a child.
      The first time I googled “undiagnosed adult ADD” I cried. It explained everything.

      I have a new doctor now, but I am afraid to tell him all of this in case I am labelled a drug seeker. In Ireland, prescription of Ritalin is tightly controlled, and it’s rare for an adult to receive it. They fear addiction, but I know that my tolerance for addiction is strong. If I just wanted to get high, I would do it. I want to be able to study, work, and make a real life for myself.

      I can’t say this to my doctor without a separate medical professional to back me up. I have no money for psychologists..
      If you have read all the way to the end, I sincerely thank you. If you have any ideas that might help, please share them.

    • #110853

      I’m brand new here and don’t have any meaningful advice for you, but I wanted to let you know that I read your post all the way to the end, and that I hope that you are able to get the care that you need. Hang in there and advocate for yourself.

      Take care of yourself.

    • #111318

      I bet if you saw an ADHD specialist they would recognize your drugs use as related to the ADHD. Both because of the draw with have for high stimulation, but also to self medicate. They, I think, would get it. Now money is another problem….

      I feel you. I hear you. I have sympathy. I have hope for you.

    • #114223

      Hi, You are in Ireland? You have to pay for a psychologist? No insurance? Drat! Do not be afraid. Tell your doctor. I tell my doctor everything. That is the only way to have a healthy body and mind in my opinion. Yes, I have had substance abuse issues. My doctors all know this, and yet, when i talked to my psychiatrist about my thoughts on ADHD, she immediately pulled out her pad and wrote two scripts, one for Adderall extended and one for Adderall reg for a boost during the mid day. She is a highly respected doctor in the community with a wait list for clients. Honesty is all you have. The more you hide from your doctor, the more your doctor will wonder what you are hiding. They see drug seekers and honesty every day. They know the difference.
      Take care of your self first and foremost. You are the only one who will after all is said and done.

      Good luck!

    • #114227


      Just noticed this post is a couple of months old, so hopefully you’ve been able to talk to a professional regarding diagnosis, if not, then hopefully this advice will help.

      I can completely relate! Receiving a diagnosis for me was life changing in many ways. One big one was explaining why I have always been such a loose cannon and why I have always behaved and felt so differently. Why couldn’t I be ‘normal’!

      My diagnosis was only recent and I was really afraid of talking to my doctor about it as I was certain I would be told I was being silly. Especially because all of my medical history is mental health related, I was certain he would think ‘oh here we go again 🙄’. I’m so glad I did though. I had to be referred to a psychiatrist to be treated, as GP docs here can’t diagnose and then prescribe stimulants in Australia. Can you get a referral via the public health system? It might take a long time but if you get diagnosed correctly it will be worth it. While you are on the wait list you could put a bit of money away each week and perhaps if you save enough you could get seen more quickly on the private system.

      Write down everything you want to explain on a notepad and take it with you. I get nervous and forget all of the important things I want to talk about when I feel like I’m put on the spot. I had 3-4 pages of my ‘proof’; examples of behaviours and traits that are all associated with ADHD and also specific examples.

      Do you have any of your school reports cards? My Psych requested to see mine, just to back up her diagnosis as the meds are controlled. I was nervous about this – feeling like a fraud if I couldn’t find any then worried that they wouldn’t have the information she wanted to see. I found one in the end, it was actually rather comical. All the things she was asking me about, the teachers were berating me for in my report! It had ADHD written all over it. If you can dig any up, it will give you some hard evidence to take along with you.

      I’ve been honest with my GP and my psych about alcohol abuse, but I didn’t tell them about my drug history as I was worried about being judged and also worried about being denied treatment. I was very similar to you though. Tried most things and partied very hard but never formed an actual dependence on drugs, although in hindsight, it was very borderline.

      I hope this helps. If you get knocked back on the public system, save up to see an ADHD specialist, or a Psych with an interest and experience with ADHD. If they have any experience with ADHD, they will recognise it in your history. It will change your life for the better, so go for it, and don’t give up until you find a doc that understands!

    • #115638

      Sorry, I haven’t checked this site in a while, I didn’t expect to receive many responses. Thank you all for your support and encouragement!

      I have an appointment with my doctor on Friday, and I plan to seek a referral to a specialist.

      I can relate to the poster above (jkate23). I have plenty of notes and evidence to support the diagnosis, but I fear I won’t be believed.

      Thanks again for all your replies.

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