Recently diagnosed as inattentive ADHD and looking for advice

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    • #125155


      So, I’m in my mid-30s and have recently been diagnosed as inattentive-type ADHD. No dramas on the hyperactive side, but off the charts on inattentive.

      This has come as a bit of a relief, knowing that my life-long tendency to be easily distracted, bored, make silly mistakes and procrastinate on, well, everything, has an explanation. It explains the consistent theme in my school reports (easily distracted, not living up to potential) and my wildly inconsistent university grades, as well as the perennial frustration of my managers about my atrocious time management and error checking skills.

      Unfortunately, this would have been ideal to know about a year ago, before I uprooted to a new city on the other side of the country, started a new job in an unfamiliar organisation at a higher level of responsibility than before, and attempted to move in with my girlfriend (she’s still my girlfriend, by the way, but we live in separate places – much better that way!). I’m now in a situation where my employers have put me on notice to sort myself out, I have virtually no friends, my self-esteem is shot to hell, and my entire support network is about 4000kms away.

      I get the feeling I’ve been playing Life on “Hard Mode” without realising it.

      My shrink has recommended that I go onto Ritalin, and given the urgency of my situation at work, I think that’s a good idea, at least for a while. I’m slightly concerned that this might go badly with my anti-depressants (because of course I’m on anti-depressants – Venlafaxine), and even if it doesn’t, it might simply not work well.

      I guess what I’m looking for is a bit of advice from people who’ve been there and done that. Do you have any pointers on sorting things out and turning your life around?

      You know, no biggie, just sorting out 30+ years of poor mental habits and undiagnosed attention problems in a snappy, succinct post. Just the usual.

    • #125162
      Wendy Lichtig

      I am the mother of a 16 year old who sounds very much like you. Smart guy, doesn’t live to his potential, extremely variable performance, (I’ve already told him that if he moves in with a partner, to make sure he has his own “office” [i.e. shit-hole that he can close the door to])…In addition to medication (which he has been taking for a number of years), we’ve started having him meet with an ADD coach. This person is all about executive functions, not touchy-feely psychoanalysis (he would never abide). I’m hoping it will be the missing link.

    • #125174

      Well shoot, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword – is it better to know or not know that you have inattentive ADD. I’m 51 and have 4 children (mostly self-sufficient, but still part of the nest), a house, etc. and have recently come to understand the trials and tribulations of having inattentive ADD. I’m in the process of sorting through it all, but the challenges that come with inattentive ADD persist nonetheless. I believe there are benefits of knowing the reason behind some of the difficulties experienced by having ADD, but even the very aspect of knowing about ADD produces its own set of frustrations. I guess the bright side for somebody 51 would be – thank goodness I found out before I was 61 or 71 . . . For you, the bright side would be – thank goodness you found out at a reasonably young age.
      My advice for you, considering the dilemma you described about your work situation – which I have faced many times in my career is this: move to a career – or start your own business – doing something that you enjoy – something you know lots about – something that comes reasonably easy to you — and do that. Frankly, this is your best shot at having a productive and fulfilling work life – and, with utter obviousness, your job will dominate your life. Unless you do something that you truly love and enjoy, you will continuously face the dilemma that you described in your current work situation. The “imbalance” in your work situation might not be readily apparent at all times, and that is because much of your sanity revolves around your immediate supervisor – whether or not they have tolerance for your ADD’ness. If (and when) you run into a supervisor (and sooner, or later we all do) who demands things that stretch and stress an ADD’er, you will soon be subject to the same evaluations, critical feedback, etc. that we are all too familiar with. If you’re lucky enough to have a supervisor that intuitively “gets” you and sees the potential of your somewhat unorthodox work productivity – then more power to you. But work changes, positions change, supervisors certainly change, and the demands of your job will inevitably change too. Soon you will be working for the unforgiving type once again. The reason I’m advocating doing something you love (best case scenario is to work for yourself), is so you can weather the storm of the inevitable aforementioned difficult supervisor.
      Please be advised – every aspect of your good reasoning, your family, etc. will tell you not to do it – I would recommend taking the leap while you can. I’m in the process of doing that myself, but given my circumstances, the challenge is notably more difficult. I wish I knew what I know now – and I would have acted earlier. All the best.

      • #125349

        Thanks for the advice!

        I’m thinking that now that I’ve got the diagnosis and a good chance of being able to manage it properly (at last!) that I should be in a good position to go into work that I’m actually passionate about.

        I suppose I’ve been stopping myself from doing that for a range of reasons that will be painfully familiar to most on this forum – fear of failure, fear of disappointment (as in, worried that what I’ll go in to isn’t what I’m hoping it will be), and worst of all, a fear that by going into something that I care about and failing, that I’ll somehow damage my chances of ever succeeding in that field.

        Does that last one make sense? The concern is that, given my track record in the workplace, going into a field and stuffing up will somehow ruin my passion for that field, or destroy my reputation with everyone else in it, so I’d be better off working in a field I don’t really care about and if I fail, then it’s no big deal.

        Of course, that’s a very negative way of dealing with things, so I’m hoping that with a few good management skills (and possibly medication) that things will start to work out.

        Thanks again!

    • #125248
      Penny Williams

      Learn all you can about ADHD medication so you know what to expect. This primer will outline what you need to know:

      A Patient’s Primer on the Stimulant Medications Used to Treat ADHD

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

    • #125437

      Lack of self-confidence, fear of failure and all else you mentioned with fears attached, have nothing to do with being ADHD other then you learned to be that way because of the constant 2nd guessing of oneself. What this can cause is depression. Lack of focus because of our chattery mind is ADHD related and meds help alot.

      ADHD coaching help with a lack of confidence and fear. So between the meds and coaching, we can learn to separate what from what.

      We lack executive functions and make adult decisions everyday which kinda makes us look weird, that’s why we 2nd guess ourself also. So learn about executive functions and you will be good to go. Go to a few months of coaching and regain your confidence by understanding what’s up.

      Man I wish I was 30yrs old again knowing what I know now.


      • #126172

        Thanks Dave,

        I really should count my lucky stars that I’ve found out at this stage and not any later, I suppose. Still, twelve months earlier (ie, before the new job and new city) would have been rather handy.

        I’m taking your tip on board about finding coaching. They’re few and far between in Australia, but I think I’ve found one and I’m looking into it further. Fingers crossed they’ve got some good advice!

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