March 13, 2020 at 1:28 pm #144770
Hi all, I am very glad I’ve stumbled upon this forum and I hope some people will take the time to read this. I need to get all of this out as it’s very emotional for me.
I am a 24 year old male and within the last 6 months decided to see a psychiatrist for treatment. When I was very young, say roughly 10 year old, I was always very hyper and was a “behavioral” issue for my parents. My mom was very aggressive in the way she tried to manage my behavior. I would have outbursts at home, be unable to sit still and focus in school, and would have a very difficult time doing my homework at home even my parents forced me to sit down to do it. Eventually, my mother who was tired of my behavior sent me to a psychologist where I spent years talking with this doctor. I never felt that this sessions helped me. Early on, he sent me to another doctor who prescribed me with ADHD medicine, which I believe was focalin (all though I don’t entirely remember). At the time, I didn’t know what this medication was, or what was wrong with me. I just knew that my parents thought something was wrong with because they sent me to this doctor who I had to see, and now I was being forced to take medicine for it. I also knew I was in the remedial math class, which really made me feel bad about myself. I would take the medicine but it had horrible side effects. It made me lose my appetite and not want to eat, and it turned my personality into that of a zombie. Shortly, I was taken off of the medication. I was in 6th or 7th grade at this point.
My issues continued, and I also continued with the same doctor. This doctor was very nice but nothing was ever done to actually help me. We would just talk about my interests, and I really had no idea why I was there or what the point of these sessions were. We would just talk, and I didn’t mind it because the doctor was nice. At home and in school my issues persisted, and I would struggle to do my homework and do well in school. This continued into high school, and now, when I wouldn’t complete my homework, forget to do it, or in some cases, misplace and lose the work I completed, I was met with consequences from my parents. Things I liked were taken away from, such as I could not participate in athletic practices or games. I could not even sporting events, or fun things with my friends like going to the movies, and then other items were taken away.
All of this made me feel terrible, and I didn’t know what was wrong with me or why I couldn’t do anything like other people. In high school I was placed in a mandatory study hall each day. This study hall wasn’t a normal study hall, it was a class specifically designed for “slower” kids. Each period this study hall had 4-5 kids in it which allowed the teacher- who was there all day- to work individually with the students on completing their assignments. This helped me complete some assignments, but it also made me feel bad because I had an idea of what this class actually was.
I was able to graduate high school, but it was a struggle, and my parents were always emailing teachers on my school work and homework assignments. When I graduated high school I went to a community college and I struggled initially but on my own I managed to turn it around and I graduated in 2 1/2 half semesters with my degree and I made Dean’s List in my final 2 semesters. Then I transferred to a 4 year university at the age of 20. I was involved in things I was passionate about! And those passions led to me getting a job in a field I love. I was by far the youngest person in my field and I was over the moon. I was 21 and doing very well in the field I was passionate about while going to school. However, things started catching up to me and began impacting my life more and more.
As I pursued this passion, I began taking less and less classes. In order to graduate, I needed to pass two huge exams, one of which centered around Math, which made me fearful due to my earlier experiences with math, and eventually over time I became overwhelmed and disorganized in the job I was so passionate about. I am now 24, and I have still not graduated, and 2-3 years of my life felt like a waste and like I was worthless. This caused me within the last 6 months to see a new psychiatrist.
This new psychiatrist put me on Vyvanse, and we’ve been testing out which dose is best for me. I have thoughts on the Vyvanse which I will share some other time, but we began to discuss actual problems. Such as, I have ADHD. This is the first time in my life this has ever been discussed. We then talked about how I’ve had ADHD and it’s gone untreated which has potentially led to other issues. After lots of questioning, the doctor determined that I’m very anxious, and this is a result of my ADHD. For my entire life I had untreated ADHD, and as a result it’s gotten worse. Also, the ADHD has caused me to struggle and fail at certain things, which has lowered my self esteem and created great anxiety which has gotten worse, and worse, and worse, the longer it’s gone untreated. We’ve also discussed how my ADHD has caused me to create bad habits in my life, habits which cause me to be unproductive, as a result of my ADHD. It’s going to be hard but I have to break these habits and replace them with good ones. Habits such as being addicted to my phone and computer because of the dopamine hits it provides, constantly being late, laying in bed for hours, etc etc.
Having these discussions has been breath taking, eye opening, and ground breaking for me! I know what I have, and I know that I can fix my anxiety. Just being aware of my ADHD and the anxiety developed by the ADHD has been a life changing experience for me and I feel like I can change my life. I also feel incredibly sad and heart broken, because I’ve lived like this for 24 years. 24 years, and I never knew. I just thought this was me, this is normal, this is my life. I never knew that most people function at such a higher level me, focus so much better me, and are so much more productive than I am. Things slow down for them and they can organize and prioritize things in their head. For the longest time I thought I was slow, lazy, and worthless. I don’t think this anymore, but it still saddens me that so much of my life has been wasted.
Now, I am slowly working on trying to improve myself. It’s very hard. I have developed habits I’ve lived with my whole life and breaking them is going to be challenging, difficult, exhausting, and emotional, but I’m ready to do it. I’m ready to change my life. I just want to be the best version of myself, I want to fulfill my potential. I want to succeed! I believe I can and it’s going to be hard, but I’m just grateful that at least now I know what’s going and can attempt to fix it.
ADHD is not a joke. If your son or daughter has it, please don’t blame them! Support them, love them, and HELP them! They don’t know and can’t figure things out at such a young age. They need you to help them. Don’t embarrass, belittle, or be angry with them. You must help them. Help them by supporting them, by being understanding, and by EDUCATING them. Do not hide this information from them. They have to know who they are and how their brain is different yet still just as amazing as everyone else.
I know this is long but if anyone manages to read this I would love some feedback. It’s been a very emotional and exhausting journey to get to this point.
March 15, 2020 at 2:28 am #144861
Thank you for sharing this very personal experience. My 7yr old has been taking Vyvanse for a year now. It has helped to settle his active body enough to not be as disruptive in class. However, his grades still suffer due to everything you mentioned. Not to mention the lack of motivation for things that take a lot of time. Or not being able to manage his time on big projects, and teachers who don’t understand or care enough to give extra help or time. I’m hoping that in time my extremely bright young man will learn how to navigate school and life with his ADHD brain and use it as his superpower 🙏🏼❤️
March 16, 2020 at 2:54 pm #145209
I just wanted to pop in and say …I hear you. And you are NOT alone. It’s an emotional and exhausting experience. I had a similar experience in 2018, being diagnosed as an adult. This occurred after my son was diagnosed (at 6 y.o. in 2017). I was watching Jessica McCabe’s “How to ADHD” Youtube channel during research to help my kiddo through his symptoms, and tears just started rolling down my face as I watched her talk about ADHD. I didn’t realize at first that I was crying, and then once I realized that I was crying, I was like “this is my life”
This weekend was particularly awful for me, and it all boils down to the fact that the store shelves being without what I needed to do my (previously migrated task of) meal-prepping project over the weekend, and the fact that my brain just didn’t handle that well at all. It’s exhausting to be an adult with ADHD who has lived an entire 3 decades without knowing that my brain just functions differently than a neuro-typical one. And what to do about it, so that it doesn’t devastate me any more!
So, yeah. Solidarity, my friend.
March 17, 2020 at 4:06 pm #145327
Thank you for sharing. Incredible journey. I’m 60 years old with a similar experience, i was diagnosed 2 years ago. I’m on Ritalin now, it is working for me. I just thought i was “not smart” and like you i was punished for it by my parents and the educational system. In those days ( way back when) i was just labeled hyper active. I can tell you, like YOU i went into art, found something i was passionate about, I excelled and still do as a over paid creative director. I figured out I could concentrate on GOOD books like Catch 22, Slaughter House Five and Catcher in the Rye and On the Road. I had trouble focusing all my life but found there where things I loved and could concentrate on and excel at. I guess i can say when the “passion gene” is activated in our heads we can do quite well. This success does not make the ADHD go away BUT it allows me to have self worth, feel like I”m smart and i can surround myself with things i love, like and I’m passionate about. But i do dip into “that numbing dumb” feeling. Please stay strong, surround yourself with things and people who bring you joy, ignore the STUFF that confuses us, the world is made up of 95% junk, confusion, distractions, dribble and myths, Love yourself. Meditate . .. a lot. Keep posting, when you find that grooooove you feel better, be you, dents and all, all my love and respect from a stranger with ADHD.
March 17, 2020 at 4:13 pm #145329
I had the same experience, thinking why I am so stressed and anxious in a Walmart hunting for toilet paper and chicken wings and coffee filters? I came home exhausted. But the environment that we walk into, willingly, should be avoided. Respect yourself, respect that stress and anxiety is actually built into America and Capitalism and life. Remember too, this is a extraordinary stressful time we’re in, so give your self permission to feel that anxiety, give it name. All my love and respect. I wish you calm. I have posted before that meditation helps, its easy to do, us with ADHD often just walk into a pitbull fight thinking we’re walking into the woods. love again!
March 18, 2020 at 1:25 pm #145420
@wantstodomore, thank you for being so vulnerable in your post. Your pain and your struggle truly come through in your words, and I hope that you find that there are many here who can relate to your experiences so closely. Some who posted above and I, myself, were less fortunate, on one hand, to have been diagnosed much later in life. (I was diagnosed at 49.) Imagine having had your experiences for four or five decades. Yet, we are all fortunate to finally have come across the practitioner who “got” us and was able to identify the culprit to our life’s malaise. I wept at my psych appointment when I was told “You definitely have ADHD,” both out of relief and in grief for all of the loss to be reckoned: loss in relationships, studies, career and personal development. This is all to say that you can be assured that you are not alone nor are you unusual. Also, please find the gratitude in having the ADHD caught so early in your life so that you will have many, many years of productivity and success ahead of you. I am excited for you as you start to build the life you were always meant to have. It is up to you, and you can definitely do this.
March 23, 2020 at 6:07 pm #165376
How are we doing with the craziness surrounding COVID-19? I’m trying soooo hard to keep it together and not lose my shit (not because I’m worried about the pandemic necessarily… but because my symptoms have increased so much with all the changes and loss of control that I’m feeling in the environment that the pandemic has caused) ….
Today, my bandwidth was severely overloaded by trying to log in to my kids’ “distance learning” work … it was confusing for me (I was using THEIR logins instead of my parent login… and I tried repeatedly in this manner, til I decided “maybe it needs to be MY login instead of their student IDs…. *rolls eyes*) and everybody on Facebook is all being totally functional parents and posting photos of their “at-home-school” days and I’m just dying over here going “I can’t EVEN with this, because I can’t even figure out how to log in … and I can’t find the email that tells me how to do it!”
So, yeah. Not a super confident day today, y’all. How are others holding up?
May 10, 2020 at 4:52 am #171549
This was so crazy to read for my because your story is about as identical to mine as it gets, from being diagnosed at 10, medicated for a couple of years and then going off it due to loss of appetite and zombie like personality – that’s exactly how my family described it. I graduated high school okay but massively underachieved and frustrated my family in the process. Potential was always the word because I always did so well on standardized testing but couldn’t concentrate or get assignments done. I took 6 years to do my 4 year uni course and dragged my feet through the early years causing me to repeat units due to not handing things in, but once the content was addressing my areas of passion and interest, I was top of the class. My self worth went out the window because I thought for so long that I was lazy and essentially useless.
Finally just after my 25th birthday, I got re-diagnosed as an adult and prescribed Vyvanse. It has changed my life but I completely relate to the bad habits, coping mechanisms and anxiety that untreated ADHD fostered over the years and the issues it has left me with. I really struggled for a while and sometimes still do with the thought of “I wonder what I could have achieved or where I would be if it had been managed my whole life” but I know I’m exactly where I’m meant to be. I still have SO much work to do on myself but I am finally seeing some of my potential realised because I have found a career I’m so passionate about and am getting the help I need.
Good luck and thanks for sharing your story – it’s good to know that there’s people out there who can relate so much to your experiences and feelings.
September 11, 2020 at 5:43 pm #183484
At one point i thought i was the author.
Stay blessed, my friend, i am sure all of us will eventually be pleased with ourselves.
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