July 6, 2018 at 5:30 am #87647
I live in the UK, I’m 39 and have a good job and two children, age 15 and 11.
I’ve been on antidepressants since I was 21. After a really bad spell in December I had some time off as I’d been experiencing panic attacks, an inability to focus and just feeling like I was disconnected from my brain.
I started seeing a psychotherapist who suggested she was fairly confident I had ADHD. I read up a bit, read a book (couldn’t finish it as lost interest/focus, though I really WANT to read it). I did some online tests and score really highly, especially for inattention. I visited my doctor as I wanted a formal diagnosis and to consider changing medication. He referred me to a psychiatrist. I have an assessment on 21 of July.
I’m really quite scared. I’m fairly convinced I have ADHD. It explains a lot of problems I had as a child, mood swings, fiddling and twitching with fingers and toes, an inability to concentrate, rarely doing coursework or homework.
As an adult I have a poor short term memory, I find it super difficult to concentrate when someone talks to me, I avoid or just ignore tasks I should do, I find noise and stimuli overwhelming, I still fiddle with my fingers, have mood swing and have a fiery temper (mainly at home, which is rubbish for everyone). But, I’ve held down a steady and well paid job. My job involves interviewing people in research sessions. I’m very good at it (though exhausted at the end of the day, so possibly hyper-focusing?)
I’m scared that the psychiatrist will say, ‘no, it’s not ADHD- stay as you are.’ I’ve felt ‘wrong’ all my life. I feel like having read up on ADHD it’s such a good fit, but it’s made me notice how many difficulties I have, stuff that before I read up on it I just chalked up to life, forgetfulness, me being a bit think etc. A diagnosis of ADHD helps me understand that it’s the condition, not me. It allows me to get more suitable treatment. So if it’s a no I think I’ll be crushed…
July 6, 2018 at 9:39 am #87654JBoomParticipant
You know, I felt the same way, and it took me 10 years to get over it and finally see a doctor. That was 10 years wasted because I was afraid I wrong. Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was afraid of. Not going to the doctor resulted in the same thing as not getting the diagnosis!
ADHD isn’t a complicated condition to figure out, and someone who doesn’t have it is not likely to think they do to the point of actually seeing a doctor (yeah, it’s popular for people to say they’re ADHD merely because they multi-task a lot, but those people say it with pride and don’t seek out a doctor for it).
In other words, if you’re at the point of wanting medical help, it’s likely you need it.
July 6, 2018 at 11:57 am #87663Penny WilliamsKeymaster
If you feel very strongly about it, and the psychiatrist isn’t open to it, then seek a second opinion. Diagnosing ADHD, especially in adults, has a lot to do with opinion, unfortunately.
Your story is like so many… diagnosed with anxiety or depression. Taken medication for those conditions for years but never helped much… If anti-depressants never really helped much, or never helped you fully, make sure to convey that to the psych. Also, I’d make a list of all the things in your life that you feel have never been addressed or treated by any former diagnosis or medication. Since you’re anxious about the appointment, I’d write down everything beforehand, so you don’t forget things you want to discuss in nervousness.
Some helpful articles as you prepare:
ADDitude Community Moderator, Parenting ADHD Trainer & Author, Mom to teen w/ ADHD, LDs, and autism
July 6, 2018 at 1:58 pm #87669strwbryParticipant
When I was diagnosed as an adult, my psych gave me an IQ test. That was cool, because I found out I wasn’t as dumb as I felt. There was one part of the test that I failed miserably. It tested attention and stamina. My scores were high on every other section, so it was obvious that I had ADHD. If you want to be absolutely sure that it’s ADHD, I’d recommend getting some scientific testing over just the surveys. The surveys are great, and offer a lot of insight, for sure! But If you’re nervous about being 100% certain, I’d go with the long test. 😉
July 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm #87702
Thank you all, that’s made me feel better. I know when I saw my doctor to ask for the referral I was shaking like nobody’s business.This will be the same but I’ll take some notes in etc, thank you all.
July 9, 2018 at 4:22 pm #87837BrightsideParticipant
I understand how you feel. I was diagnosed last year as a 45 year old adult Mum of two and was really scared that I would be diagnosed and even more scared that I wouldn’t be! I literally had no idea before my daughter was diagnosed but then I started recognizing the symptoms. I have been very successful at work due to hyper focus and am now trying to address the imbalance in my life.
In the end, when I had the test results it was pretty clear – if you think you are to the point of having this referral, there is likely a pretty high chance you are. The assessment will help you with answers and a way forward. Personally I found the immediate relief to be enormous – I have had a rollercoaster of emotions since then but I finally feel like things make sense and there is a new chapter ahead…still working in that! Medication help a lot but isn’t magic – there is a lot of unlearning a lifetime of coping mechanisms and learning new ways. Good luck and do let know how you get on.
July 13, 2018 at 1:37 am #88262
Hi all, thanks for the replies so far.It’s made me feel much better. My appointment is a week tomorrow so I’ll let you know how it goes.
July 23, 2018 at 3:29 am #89096
So I had my appointment yesterday with the psychiatrist. He was really nice and confirmed at the end I definitely had ADHD and also depression and anxiety. He prescribed me Elvanse at 30mg for 2 weeks, to rise to 50mg after that 🙂
July 23, 2018 at 12:41 pm #89142eboucherParticipant
I read your post and instantly sent it to my boyfriend and said “Holy Crap.. this guy’s me”. My mother and my brother have both been diagnosed with ADHD, but I don’t have many of the same symptoms as them. Thank you for sharing. I have felt “wrong” my whole life, and it’s held me back from a lot. I think I’ll be looking into an assesment! Please please keep me updated on your story and how it’s going!
July 25, 2018 at 8:38 pm #89161
Hi! I’m glad it’s helped. I got hold of my meds today but I’m going on holiday tomorrow. I take diazepam as I really don’t like flying so I’m going to wait until I get there before I take any.
My wife strongly suggested I wait until I get back from holiday but I very much doubt that’ll happen! (My obsession kicked in today and we have to visit a good few chemists before we found one where it was in stock!)…
If it helps, I wrote three blog posts about how I feel (this was before ADHD came onto the scene for me).
July 23, 2018 at 4:56 pm #89174
Helo JDE, thank you for sharing your story. I’m also from the UK, and am waiting to be assessed. May I ask if you did it via the NHS or if you went privately? Thank you!
July 23, 2018 at 5:04 pm #89177
I’m a member of Benenden through work. I asked my GP for a diagnosis of ADHD. He said it had to come from a psychiatrist. He referred me but said it may take months or even years. I said I’d go through Benenden. They will step in and provide private support if NHS waiting times are unacceptable. I was seen wishing 2 weeks.
To be honest, I think the relief and progress means I’d have probably paid privately. I think that would have cost £200.
July 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm #89183
Thank you again JDE – £200 sounds remarkably good – I’ve seen £300 to £700 for a private assessment, pus ongoing costs. Have been referred separatately by my GP and an NHS psychiatrist to two different NHS ADHD clinics, one saying 4-6 months for an appointment, the other own as yet (though obviously I’ll only go to one of them), but am very tempted just to pay to get treated in the interim – I’ve wasted too much of my life thinking it was just me, realising recently that the symptoms of ADHD (the inattentive ADD variety) fit me to a ‘t’. It is a blessed relief realising that, and will be an even more blessed relief to get on with life after a proper (I hope!) assessment and treatment.
July 23, 2018 at 5:20 pm #89182lindsay123Participant
Hi there…. first like to congratulate you on going to get the assessment. It is scary; till you get there!! Sadly, lots of people don’t go until their lives are falling apart. How great to go when you are relatively young and doing well.
The ‘co-existing’ issues of depression and anxiety are pretty common with ADHD. More so if you haven’t been diagnosed; it is a baffling syndrome if you are clueless as to what’s going on. But these feelings can improve when you start to manage the ADHD symptoms and learn to trust yourself more.
Medication should give you better focus to be able to stick with strategies that enable you to do the boring rote tasks. Suggest you take notes several times a day (on your phone maybe) how the meds make you feel and what they do for you; so, when you go back to your Dr you can share; he can judge if you need a higher dose…or maybe less. Good Dr’s start low and ‘titrate’ up as needed.
Last but not least. Keep an eye on your anger levels. Discuss with the Dr perhaps? Not every difficulty you have is necessarily caused by the ADHD and if it’s not, then you need to figure out what’s triggering those feelings and deal with it. You are obviously proactive…so no doubt you will take care of business! Cheers : )
July 23, 2018 at 6:42 pm #89202catdogParticipant
Hello, I am interested to read these posts. My husband has recently left me because he “needs space to work out what is wrong with him, he feels defective and can’t connect with people”. He has trouble doing tasks he finds boring, is successful at work as he hyperfocuses. For those who have commented in this post, can I ask what made you feel “wrong” or what did you notice? We have two sons who have been diagnosed with ADHD so it is quite possible my husband has it.
July 24, 2018 at 1:39 am #89214
Thanks all for the positive comments. I think the blog posts I linked to explain a lot of how I got here I think. I eventually had had enough of feeling like this.
I think I’ve always been very aware of stuff around me, including aspects of myself and I think that probably highlighted things to me. I’m also in a fairly switched on, aware role at a company who values well being. We have a mental health meet up, I was trained as a mental health first aider etc etc.
I knew my medication just wasn’t ‘fixing’ me enough and then when I went off sick I’d basically had enough.
As someone who talks openly to people about my mental health, both in work and on Twitter it seemed time to take a stand.
July 24, 2018 at 2:25 pm #89258
Hello again JDE,
May I ask who you were assessed by? I think I’d like to go and get assessed privately – if it is in or near greater London then I think I’ll give them a call – I can’t wait 4-6 months for the NHS – I’ve been feeling very low recently and am struggling to see the point of fighting on longer than I need to.
How long did your assessment take and did it involve digging out school records and so on? I’ve can certainly recite my history and show exam records and so on, but, being a few years older than you, it’ll be tough tracking down anyone who actualy knew me when I was a child, even assuming they are still out there.
Thank you and all the best for your help.
August 8, 2019 at 9:45 am #124666RaphParticipant
Did you find someone in G London? If not, can recommend Dr Helen Read, who practices privately in SE London, and also works for the NHS. https://www.adhdconsultancy.co.uk/adhd-diagnosis-in-london-about-us/ . I know two people who’ve been to here – an adult woman in her 50s, and her daughter, one saw her on hte NHS, and the other privately, and both reported back positive experiences of their treatment and sessions with her.
I’m in Kent and similar to Jeremy, am with Benenden, and saw a private psychiatrist a couple of weeks ago at Tunbridge Wells Nuffield Hospital. I am 51, and it honestly feels like a relief to have this diagnosis. Like many have said, I’ve felt ‘wrong’ for years, and this morning I took my first Elvanse 20mg tablet. I am hopeful, but almost feel I could for the ‘wasted’ years where I beat myself up, yet on the outside to others, am an extraordinarily successful person.
Too early to say how I feel yet, but will certainly report back my progress.
July 25, 2018 at 8:24 am #89297bbarnett115Participant
I know exactly what you mean. I went through the same thing. I’m 29, and before February it had never been suggested to me that I have ADHD. I did poorly in a class and a teacher just assumed I had it and at first I was a little offended that she would suggest I have ADHD, but then I did some research and i felt like all of a sudden my entire life made sense. When the day i went to my clinician for the results of my test came, I was a nervous wreck. I was so afraid that he was going to say that I didn’t have ADHD and I had no idea what I was going to do after I had felt that I found an explanation for why I behave the way I do.
I saw your update. What a relief! I was actually diagnosed with about the same thing: ADD/ADHD combo, panic disorder and possible depression that needed to be ruled out. How do you feel now?
July 26, 2018 at 1:31 am #89413
Well I’m on holiday at the minute in Turkey. I took my tablet yesterday for the first time. We were in the crowded dining room eating. It was about 0900.
I started to notice a bit later that the background noise was receding quite a lot. I felt less of a whirlwind in my head.
The day was great. I felt like the kind of person I always wanted to be. I was calmer, friendlier, more confident. I didn’t feel bombarded with stuff all the time. I was never irritable at all. This is despite us having to move hotel, then having to move rooms and now having to wait for the room we actually paid for to be ready today.
I’ve never felt so well and so happy. I was just consistently calm and assured.
I felt it wear off about 2100. That was a bit horrible. I can’t tell if I felt depressed or just disappointed. I slipped more into how I usually feel.
Sleep wise I seemed to sleep ok. Woke up needing the toilet about 6 times whereas that’s usually once or twice a night max. Mind you, I’m on holiday in a strange bed drinking tons of water so that probably doesn’t help.
Appetite wise it seems ok. I’m all inclusive on the holiday but I’m also vegan so that’s not particularly easy to manage. But I did eat three meals.
August 21, 2019 at 11:40 am #125613RaphParticipant
Just wondered how you are doing a year on…
I’m newly diagnosed and still at the early titration stage of Elvanse 20mg, and seeing the Benenden Psych again tomorrow morning for an adjustment.
I posted my experience here:
I’d be interested to hear how you are feeling and if your meds have continued to help you.
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