Living with ADHD & Depression-will I ever feel happy?

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This topic contains 29 replies, has 23 voices, and was last updated by  ADDLobstah 4 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #76186

    kdmcdonald22
    Participant

    I am not even sure where to start, I have never written a post before. I am a 42 year old woman and was diagnosed with ADHD a few years ago. I have struggled with depression and anxiety since my early 20’s and early on I was able to pinpoint where some of my depression was coming from and was able to deal with that. The biggest frustration I have now is having no idea why I feel depressed. It is so frustrating and upsetting to me to feel so horrible, not knowing why, and not being able to pull myself out of it. I have read so much about ADHD and how it effects women specifically, and I know that all of this is related but it still does not help me feel better. I just don’t even know what to do with myself when I feel this way and everything and everyone in my life suffers but I don’t know how to fix it. I really hate myself when I have fallen into this dark hole of depression and eventually it gets so bad that I fell like maybe I deserve to feel this way. I tend to look back over my life and think of all the not so nice things that have come out of my mouth without thinking and all of the mistakes I have ever made, and feel that maybe this is my punishment. I am really good at tearing myself down but am not able to bring myself back to feeling happy. It is so frustrating and I often wonder what is wrong with me and plead to the empty room that all I want is to be happy, that I promise to be a better person if I can just feel happy again. I feel so alone most of the time even when I have people around me, because I know that nobody will truly understand. I have become very good at faking that I am fine when I am anything but fine. I wonder if there is anyone else out there that feels the way I do and if there is any hope for true happiness?

  • #76190

    bkitchin1
    Participant

    go to dr – you may be premenopausal – need hormones to balance you out
    get treated for depression (if you don’t – higher chance of alzheimers!)
    try to walk/exercise
    volunteer – helping others makes you feel good

  • #76192

    Ntjhu
    Participant

    Hi, I did too until I was diagnosed properly then I had to accept that diagnosis, learn whaI needed to learn about ADHD and get going. Mine was late in life too, and after being treated for everything except what I needed there’s no wonder I felt a bit overwhelmed. Good news! You’re in the right place! And you’re already writing on this site! You’re going to be just fine. And yes you will be happy again when you get some knowledge about what’s going on under your belt. I did. ❤️

  • #76198

    alishad002
    Participant

    I was diagnosed in my twenties with ADHD but went through life with anxiety and depression as well. Went Dr to dr and all sorts of tests trying to figure out why I felt so bad. I wasn’t DIagnosed with depression and anxiety until mid 30s couple years ago. Depression can make you feel so physically bad. I’ve been exactly where you are from what I am reading. I want you to know you will feel better you just need to find the right medicine. I am a firm believer in medicine because it has changed my life. I’ve tried different medicines and exercise, I was a dietitian so I was always a healthy eater. I did everything I was told and still felt depressed for no reason and I felt so guilty for feeling so bad because it doesn’t make since. But it really is a imbalance in your brain. It’s like having diabetes and needing medicine to make your pancreas work the way it should. You need medicine to clear your Brain so you can function and feel better. It’s nothing you are doing or not doing. It’s not your fault it’s just something that you need help with like someone who needs glasses. Once I found the right meds for me it’s like I finally woke up and could live and see. Find a psychiatrist that understands ADD, depression and anxiety. Good psychiatrist are hard to find but if you can find a good one that understands it can change your life.

  • #76199

    alishad002
    Participant

    Definitely as previous posts said getting outside in nature, walking and talking with someone can definitely help but I understand that for me I needed help to get energy to even do anything so I get that as well. But again not your fault! Keep fighting and hang in there. If you are completely honest with the psychiatrist and tell him all the details of how you feel that’s when you get the best help. They can see the full picture and more likely to get meds right. Hope all this helps! I’ve been through this so I have a lot to say, lol. I’m living proof you can get better. I’m 38 and thought I wouldn’t feel better but I do and feel better than I’ve ever felt!

  • #76206

    Linda Mercurio
    Participant

    I’m 70 years old and have always feeled ashamed at what I have done in my life. I’ve had friend take advantage of me money wise. I don’t have many friends but they call me because I had money and they wanted to be my friend. When I told them I didn’t have money anymore they stopped calling me. I feel so stupid and ashamed. I’m all alone now.

    • #80817

      ADDLobstah
      Participant

      It’s never too late! Any friends you make now will do so because of you, yourself. Look for community centers with activities for seniors. Forgive yourself. It wasn’t your fault.

      • This reply was modified 4 months, 2 weeks ago by  ADDLobstah.
  • #76217

    whisperingwings
    Participant

    Hi kdmcdonald22,

    I know that feeling of loneliness when you are actually surrounded by people. It’s about being mentally alone, not being able to connect with anyone socially, intellectually or based on interest. I have very low tolerance for boredom and then that triggers intense sadness around most people because their conversation or life style is not interesting to me and I am forced to listen to it. I cannot engage in small talks or conversations that are not meaningful. If you are a coworker, I don’t want to hear about your shopping trip at Target or what you ate for dinner. Most people can engage in these kinds of discussions and go on and on… I feel like exploding. Then I get very depressed and start blaming myself “Why can’t I be like them? Why is it so hard for me to be comfortable and happy? How can I survive in this world?” I try telling myself that it’s not my fault, I have a different brain and I’m only with the wrong group of people, living in the wrong place (city life). I don’t want to push myself to be like them and I have to accept this is how they are. I have depression too but I think it’s triggered by the ADHD. When I am in a quiet environment surrounded by nature or with people who shares my interests, I don’t feel bad anymore. Medication can help but we also have consider the environment/surrounding. It’s great that you are reaching out by sharing your thoughts with us. We are here for you and we have similar experiences so you are really not alone.

  • #76219

    Benevolent
    Participant

    This resonates with me alot.. I am use to a lot of negative energy / feedback and barriers or obstacles that make me feel stuck and caged or boredom takes a full swing at my head and makes getting up from a fall impossible feeling.

    The thing is once you identify what’s draining you, either try and plant a seed of change or take full advantage of hammering it head on. The world’s a blessing and can feel like a curse, the disorder is the same way, balance is key.

    Note to yourself there’s no right or wrong way, sometimes the feelings that taking everything in and just letting it absorb you will force you to counter balance.. Depression is a rough log to stand on, especially with adhd’s rushing waters trying to keep you distracted with depression.

    I may not be helping at all I’m sorry, I am trying and letting you know your not alone it is a constant struggle I personally have come to just accept… Think about your quirks and what makes you, you. Find your center, go for this you’ve got it, we’ve all made it this far, things always get better somehow, time is the enemy, or the challenge..

    Man, hopefully this is appropriate I’m not trying to minimize at all, that feels like crap. Your unique, were unique, embrace it, grieve over it, accept it and..

    Your loved no matter what. Alright I don’t want to over do it, you kinda got me connected to this one.. maybe some music similar to your feelings can help, it makes me feel alot better listening to some one musically to imagine and decompress + destress to

  • #76283

    ADHDmomma
    Keymaster

    Depression is a very real condition and it’s not your fault — it’s a difference in brain chemistry. I don’t see how you will get yourself out of that whole alone as long as you’re so hard on yourself and are stuck in a pattern of negative thinking. You will likely need therapy or medication, or both.

    Here’s more on depression with ADHD:

    Depression: When It’s More Than a Symptom Of ADHD

    How to Treat Depression

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

    • #80791

      Talk about resonating. I am 29 years old and for most of my life I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD. I’ve been medicated, however I still struggle with focus. Ugh, the depression makes it worse. Thankfully I am now in college while having gotten my GED back in 2016. Still though I am incredibly lonely and angry too, it sucks. And it doesn’t help that my mother abandoned my family during my senior year of high school which was crap enough before she did that. It just…..it feels like I need more time to talk than anyone has the patience or time to deal with. And then people are upset when I game or talk online. What am I supposed to do? I gotta deal with this crap somehow. And being in college with a bunch of people who just got out of high school does not help either. I want to make things better between me my dad and my stepmom but I keep screwing it up with buying things they tell me not to buy, putting my stressfulness before the stuff they want me to do, ect. It just gets worse and worse, and by the time I get to deal with the stress the day is almost over. So trust me I totally get where you’re coming from. I feel alone myself, even though mom and dad are here with me. In college, in church, its the same, I feel nobody understands. I can hide it, but then the things I do to hide it get taken away. Noone gets me, my friends dont, nobody does. Its absolute day to day torture. Mom thinks I’m just making excuses but she’s wrong, its not excuses.

  • #76334

    Anubis
    Participant

    “Will I Ever Feel Happy”

    Such familiar words and thoughts I read, it’s like looking into an unholy yet all too familiar mirror.

    Diagnosed with depression late teens, first attempt to leave this mortal coil at age 39, diagnosed with the accursed ADD at age 56 and now with the mental clarity afforded by the ADD and continuing Depression medications even more I detest that face I see in the mirror.

    My crimes are without number and my hatefulness without end to all who cared and loved me.

    Will I ever feel happy? No, I won’t, I can’t, ever.

    So kdmcdonald22, take heed, work for your happiness, it’s there, it’s tangible and it’s yours.

    Work hard for it lest you become like me.

  • #76351

    kdmcdonald22
    Participant

    Wow,I am overwhelmed at all of the responses! I never really thought people would respond, so I am pleasantly surprised. I appreciate all of you sharing your thoughts and advice. Some of you mentioned medication and I am wondering if anyone would be willing to share what meds helped them? I know that everyone is different and just because a med helps one person doesn’t mean it will help another, but maybe there is one that might be worth trying. I have taken Zoloft & Celexa a long time ago. I have been taking Adderall for several years now, but it doesn’t seem like it’s working anymore, and I have also taking Wellbutrin for a while now but it has not made any difference in my depression. Someone also mentioned working with a psychiatrist, which I think is a good idea. The problem I have is that I live in a small rural town (pop. 12,000), and honestly the healthcare, including mental health is very limited so I just don’t know where to look for the help I need. I have seen counselors before (which according to one of the posts, I will not get myself out of how I feel without therapy). It did help a little but it seems like everyone I see wants me to dig into my childhood and search for reasons why I am depressed, and honestly, most of the time I really have no idea why I feel the way I do. It’s so frustrating when someone thinks there is something behind the tears falling down my face. The reason for the tears is because there is nothing really bad going on in my life, I’m crying because I of that, because I feel so terrible and I don’t know why, there is nothing wrong, but I can’t make the feeling go away. I don’t know where others that have commented live but I live in eastern Oregon so if anyone has a doctor and/or psychiatrist in mind, I am up for any suggestions. Again, thank you all for responding, I really appreciate. Not that I wish this on anyone, but it is nice to hear that I am not alone and that there are people who understand.

    Thank you!

  • #76353

    intp8
    Participant

    I see you’ve taken ssri’s in the past but maybe it’s worth another try?

    I’ve recently returned to them (mid 30s) after taking them mid 20s. To be honest I was less depressed when I restarted than back then but what it has helped with more than I could ever have dreamt of is the anxiety- and I’ve come to realise that that is one of the key causes of my troubles – adhd is much easier to accept without the anxiety!

    I was resistant to going back on meds – but so glad I did – you only have one life, feeling like you do it has to be worth a try? And yes, it is possible that things can change! Keep busy, eat well and go easy on yourself. Best wishes.

  • #76362

    alishad002
    Participant

    Hi again!
    So i am antidepressant resistant so that means any of the antidepressant medicines actually cause me to feel bad like give me anxiety, more depression, extreme fatigue that I felt nervous to drive, ect so you may be the same. It took us a bit to discover that but maybe you can tell the psychiatrist all you have tried. I forget how many it takes for them to determine they don’t work for you but I’m pretty certain you are there. So definitely tell them all you have taken and let them know they don’t work. They may want to try you on different doses first so if you have tried different doses and or your symptoms are different in a bad way or current ones or worse let them know so you don’t go down another trail. I take lamictal, Adderall and starters. This combination works great for me and I feel better than I’ve ever felt my whole life. Some drs I think may not prescribe Adderall and starterra together but my does and insurance has accepted it. He says Adderall is for depression, I think maybe makes a difference with insurance, not sure. So it can take time to find the right medication for you but it may not as well. Just write down everything you can think of about how you feel when you feel this way, when it started (even as a kid, even for no reason at all) bc they means it’s a chemical imbalance as well. Even if it started in your teens it could be as well or triggered by your menstrual style which could cause depression every couple of weeks and maybe one good week between. So very important to think about when it started, when it happens now, if constant all through out month, never stops, ect. Do you get where I’m going with all of this? Think about all of this before you go so it can help them get right medicine. Also really important to get a psychiatrist that understands medicine ADHD depression and other issues to help with combinations of meds bc if you have ADHD and depression a lot of times you need two meds at same time bc different parts of brain that need different chemicals to work properly. Are you close to a bigger city like Portland. I would just travel to see some one that has experience with all this. Hope this isn’t all to confusing and this is just my experience. If you want to email me further questions I’ll be glad to help you anywy I can. My email is alishad002@yahoo.com

    • #76965

      fern1128
      Participant

      @allishad002. I’m also treatment resistant and have tried more than 20 meds. I ended up in the hospital 2 twice while they tried ECT. It helped a little I’m not suicidal now but still suffer from major depression and anxiety and ADD. SSRIs didn’t work unless I took something like Rexalti which really helped but then I got akathisa. I’m on an MAOI now and Klonopin plus a small dose of seroquel for sleep. I still feel like it’s been forever since I have felt good. I cancel plans often, hate talking on the phone, and cancelled all but one holiday dinner at my house this year . I feel like I’m a waste of space and I’m honestly just waiting to receive divorce papers; why shouldn’t my husband be with someone fun and happy like I used to be…he deserves to be happy.

  • #76363

    alishad002
    Participant

    Oh also I have taken Adderall since my early 20s as well and it didn’t work well alone but with combination it works. Dr took it out and I just tried depression meds bc he wanted to make sure just not depression bc can cause some symptoms same as ADD but obviously didn’t work but when added back with combination I got better but not until he added it back with the two other meds i take now so you may still need Adderall (or not) with something else. Just another thought. Anyway feel free to contact me if want.

  • #76390

    Anubis
    Participant
  • #76532

    samiam0895
    Participant

    I can relate to what you’re feeling. I’m in the same place, feeling hopeless. Under MD approval, weaned off Lamictal bc of concerns that there may be a relationship with drug-induced lupus, as my bloodwork results were abnormal. Before weaning, I was struggling with mental fogginess and fatigue, neither which have resolved. Unfortunately, the depression has worsened. MD said that it would take 6 months for the Lamictal to be out of my system to repeat the bloodwork.

  • #76706

    alishad002
    Participant

    Wow! I had no idea you are in Australia! Looks like Sydney is close?? Maybe look in one of the bigger cities?? Amwell.com has online psychiatrists that work with ADHD, depression, ect. I don’t know anything about it and I’ve never used it but maybe you could look into it.

    @ Samiam0895: the brain fog and fatigue are so frustrating. I totally feel your pain and know it can be a long and frustrating road. Keep fighting for help like you are, that’s a big part of getting better.

  • #76918

    w_winston
    Participant

    I almost cried reading your post. I’m 43 and have suffered with depression and NOW I “think” I have ADHD and maybe anxiety. I have prayed to just be ‘happy’ – know one believes me when I’m struggling, so I too FAKE it alot. I didn’t realize it could be the ADHD that makes my mouth so cut throat. I just assumed I got that from my grandmother. However, my 8 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with dyslexia and ADHD so I’ve been researching non stop. I also feel like something “switched off or on” a few years after having her. When she was around 4 things just went downhill and it’s been a FIGHT for me to remain positive/happy and productive. I don’t even know where to begin to find a “good” therapist. YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

  • #76927

    Niagara
    Participant

    Talk with a Dr. and see if they think you would benefit from a SSRI(Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)

  • #76942

    aeandke7
    Participant

    omg!!! I’m 42 and I am you. All I want is to be happy, regain my memories, and improve my relationship with my kids. Etc. I feel done. I want to move forward with feeling human. I hope you find answers. I don’t even know where to start with a doctor. They just say I’m tired. Feel better and best of luck to you. 😥

  • #76946

    mary.griffin
    Participant

    You are NOT alone. Definitely find a doctor that understands depression and ADD / ADHD. Track any potential triggers. And practice taking yourself out of the situation when you feel your brain beating up on you. If someone you loved did whatever it is that you’re regretting, would you still be yelling at them years later? Probably not. Then why are you so hard on yourself? My husband is going through the same issues. His reasons are that he doesn’t feel as smart as everyone else knows he is so he feels like a fake and thinks eventually everyone else will figure it out and not want him around. He really is brilliant, though, and it takes appealing to his analytical brain to get him to realize the facts counter the side of his brain that keeps kicking him and trying to steal his happiness. He’s currently on welbutrin and has just finally started seeing a counselor to help give him better tools to fight the negative thoughts that threaten to take over and pull him back down into that seemingly bottomless pit of despair called depression. Like I told him, I’ve been there myself, and managed to get out by actively bringing up positive things about myself and acknowledging when I was tearing myself down and forcibly stopping myself. It may sound silly to have an argument with your own brain, but when you have add, your brain works through many channels in multiple directions at one time. If you ignore one negative input long enough it can wear away at your defenses and it builds that neural pathway and strengthens it over time and you have to actively build other positive pathways and strengthen them instead. You should watch “What the Bleep Do We Know?” It points out some interesting stuff about brain chemistry and how we become addicted to certain emotions because of the chemicals that get released in our brains. And remember sometimes you have to act your way into a new way of thinking because you can’t always think your way into a new way of acting. I’ve been there and this is what helped me. Recognize when you’re beating yourself up. Acknowledge that you may have made a mistake or have a regret, but learn to be your own advocate, too? Give yourself permission to let it go and forgive yourself as you would a loved one who did whatever it is you regret. Write down any transgressions you regret. Then forgive yourself for each one. Make a list of any fears and then pros and cons of potential consequences of those fears coming to pass. Make a plan for each one just in case but learn to accept that about 90% of things we worry about never happen and sometimes the best things in life come from unexpected adventures when things don’t go according to plan. Also you may want to try changing your perspective. Sometimes the 5 minute delay caused by not finding your keys may be just long enough to keep you from being in a 7 car pileup on the way to work. You never know when a major inconvenience is a blessing in disguise. Also a gratitude journal where you focus for 15 minutes a day reflecting on 3 good things that happened that day. And never underestimate the power of human connection. A hug or even just someone who understands holding your hand even though they know that they don’t have the words, can be really helpful to boosting your endorphins. Anyway, these are some things that have helped me tremendously and are starting to help my husband and I hope they might help you, too. Good luck!

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  mary.griffin.
  • #76968

    impudentmin
    Participant

    I hear you. I hear you all.
    I’ve found that using amino acids and herbs can really assist in beating depression. They must never be used in conjunction with SSRI’S or MAO inhibitors.
    Most conventional antidepressants should be used for at least two continuous years (if they are working for you.) This is because they work by making your brain absorb amino acids that make you feel motivated, happy and content. During the two years use, your brain cells have all been renewed, and all the new brain cells are trained to take up amino acids. Voila, new, happier brain for long term!
    St John’s Wort is a herb than can make your brain take up seratonin, which makes us feel mentally well and happy. Curcumin also does this. Quality product in tailored doses are necessary. See a qualified herbalist. Similarly to conventional meds, long term use will be necessary for lasting change.
    5-HTP is an amino acid that is converted to seratonin. Again, quality and dose are important. The effects can be almost immediate, the cloud lifts and joy begins to return. Using 5-HTP alone will not teach your brain how to regulate itself, as the herbs will, but it makes you feel better quickly.
    GABA is another amino acid that helps with anxiety and negative thought loops.
    There is a lot of information online about using amino acids and herbs to help with depression. It has really helped me, and I hope that by sharing this with a caution to seek professional herbalist advice, that this information can help others. Please proceed only if you are well informed.
    Best wishes. Remember you are precious.

  • #77002

    cheryl1
    Participant

    Hi Everyone and especially “kdmcdonald22”!
    I so desperately do hope you feel supported and accepted for who you are and the journey you are on. I have a child and a few adult family members who have been diagnosed with ADHD and depression. I also know of a friend who’s husband was helped with this same suggestion I am now letting you know about. There is a wonderful concentrated formula that is helping so many people, the University of Toronto and Yale are studying it as it is helping Bipolar, ADHD and many other issues. The Company is “True Hope” and there are full time Doctors who work through your Doctor to adjust your medication and to make sure you are getting the best possible outcome. Please look up this formula and give it a try, it sure can’t help. You matter, “kdmcdonald 22” please know that and breathe in its truth.
    May your day be full of small reminders of how precious you are.
    Cheryl

  • #77025

    bbennettfnp
    Participant

    You are very brave to share your story. You are not not alone. I have read what others have posted and have nothing more to add. I walk where you walk and have for 75 years. I am seen as an energetic, highly competent woman who is always ready to help out. I see myself as a failure if I don’t meet “their” expectations. Even my dog can guilt trip me. My antidepressants of choice are physical mobility, crossing things off my to-do list ( I make sure it includes enough minutia so I can cross something off regularly), and getting caught up in someone else’s drama. I try to guard against addictive behaviors because I know I am at risk. And, since I am a Christian I go to scriptures that offer me comfort.

    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  bbennettfnp.
  • #77085

    42F_AussieADHD
    Participant

    I am also 42. I was diagnosed at age 40. Your description could be applied to me – exactly the same. I hope you get some comfort in knowing you’re not alone. It doesn’t make it go away but at least you’ve found your tribe. Thank you for sharing. It makes me feel less isolated and that is an act of kindness in itself. Thank you for your generous sharing.

  • #77170

    alishad002
    Participant

    @fern1128
    Don’t beat yourself up. If you could feel good I know you would choose too so it’s not your fault. I know it’s hard not to feel guilty because everyone including ourselves sometimes feel like we should be able to just snap out of it, but it’s not true or that easy and we can’t without support and help. You deserve to be happy too! Hang in there!

  • #77092

    SLorenz
    Participant

    I’m 43. You’re not alone. I can only share what has helped me. I am very project oriented, so I like to feel like I’ve accomplished something everyday, even if it’s just errands or cleaning the house. I agree with the “checking things off a to-do list” comment. Amino Energy (Amazon) is so helpful for me and many of my friends. Aminos effect my brain quite a bit. I also need to drink a lot of water and consume a lot of protein and fats like fish oil/olive oil. I take a heavy duty probiotic (your gutt is your second brain and tells your brain how to function). I feel best limiting processed food, gluten, dairy, but doesn’t always happen. I also have to MOVE my body! HIIT training and hot Bikram yoga are best for me in detoxing and producing serotonin as well as it rebalanced my hormones. If you can, run some labs: food intolerances, MTHFR mutation (body doesn’t absorb Bs), Iron, thyroid, adrenal. Magnesium and L Glutamine are a huge help for many people too. Don’t be overwhelmed. Start one new thing at a time. The Broken Brain videos are a wealth of info and comfort! https://brokenbrain.com/01-epidemic/

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