Self-Diagnosed – Waiting for Treatment…

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    • #89952

      Hello! This is my first post here. I am a 28 year-old woman who strongly believes I have ADHD. This diagnosis was first suggested to me 10 years ago by the man who would be my husband as he was reading a book on mental health conditions after I was diagnosed with depression and anxiety at that time. The entire concept of having a mental disorder was so new to me at that time and I thought depression/anxiety explained my symptoms, so I dismissed it. But 10 years later, while I am no longer in crisis as I was during that depressive episode and I have much better strategies for managing anxiety, but I have immense and unusual problems with productivity and “normal living” that those closest to me are well aware of (my husband, even my father). After reading a lot of articles on this site and reading a lot of personal experiences of what real people (especially women without hyperactivity) with ADHD experience form their own point of view (over the course of the last year), and reading Sari Solden’s Women with Attention Deficit Disorder, I am *very* convinced that this diagnosis fits me to a T. I could go on and on and on and on about why, but I’d prefer not to, since I’ve already started talking about that with my husband and some of my close friends that I think this diagnosis fits me. (My husband is like “OMG YES.”)

      I “look” fairly successful, but I know I am barely hanging onto my job at any given time. And this sucks, because in some ways I am good at my job- parts of it. But the whole, especially the paperwork and the managing going from one task to another (which I have to do frequently throughout the day), is a disaster. I got through my previous job the same way- barely hanging on- and part of the reason I was never fired from that job was that my supervisor was a hot mess who provided no oversight whatsoever-i.e. I was able to do things late, or mess up, essentially without her noticing. But I was stressed and miserable all the time. If things keep going in this direction, I will have to quit my job or be fired from it, and I don’t know what other job I would get because it just seems so hard and I believe I will end up in the same place. I am not able to accomplish what I need to in any given work day, end up working weekends, and am still behind and struggling. (Me leaving would also put the place I work hugely in the lurch, especially as I’ve indicated I want to stay for at least another year and it’s a difficult position to replace.)

      Additionally, many of my life tasks aren’t being completed. I need to talk to student loan people about re-evaluating my income for income-based repayment since I missed the deadline to submit that, but I keep putting it off. It seems too hard. (To say nothing about my almost total reliance on purchased premade food, etc. Although I am doing my best to keep up a steady stream of vegetables and fruits minimize really bad fast food!)

      I’ve made an appointment with a psychiatrist. I made it about two weeks ago; it’s for two weeks away as of tomorrow. The wait is AGONIZING. I’ve waited so long to be the productive person I want to be. I know medication won’t fix everything, and that it will require a lot of personal work, but I’m so eager to try it and see if it gives me better control over what I am able to do and see if I can be a more productive worker and human. I am scared because I don’t know how long the process will take- if I will be able to get a prescription at this upcoming appointment, or if I will have to come back in two weeks or if I will be referred out or if the psychiatrist won’t believe me and I have to start looking for treatment from scratch.

      I’m also scared because I often have serious reactions to meds. My body freaks out whenever I go on SSRIs like zoloft or celexa, and I shake for awhile and don’t sleep well and have other symptoms. What on earth might ADHD meds do to it? Especially since I can’t take 12 hour sudafed (which is chemically similar in some ways, isn’t it?) without like having heart palpitations and sweats.

      I have so much hope most of the time, because I believe I’ve figured out what the issue actually is and there are real and good strategies to address it, but sometimes I feel hopeless and helpless being at the mercy of the whims of this medical system and not being able to get medication for weeks while I continue to struggle at my job and personal life. I am trying to be extra gentle with myself during this period and not expect too much, but that’s hard when it feels like the only standard I’m already enforcing for myself is “don’t get fired” and I’m struggling so much!!!!!!

    • #89986

      Hi. You could be writing about me. I am 37 and my job and life are so out of control right now because I never get things finished and procrastinate so badly. I finally asked my doctor for a referral and went to a social worker for an ADHD evaluation. I was so afraid they’d tell me I didn’t have ADHD and was making it all up to get medication. He did diagnose me just yesterday, and now I need an appointment for medication with a doctor he recommended. I can’t wait to get started because I’m on the edge of failure, and I’m really hoping medication helps. I’m also afraid they will try to give me antidepressants to treat ADHD instead of stimulants, and I don’t want antidepressants, I want something that will help me quickly. I really need to get stuff done.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 6 months ago by Mary199.
    • #90082

      Thanks so much for sharing! Waiting SUCKS, specially since most of us adults getting diagnosed have spent so much of our lives waiting for things to get better! (And trying to make them better to no avail!)

      I think if the social worker agreed with the ADHD diagnosis and he refers to the physician, you’ll be likely to be believed and put on the right meds. Anti-depressants aren’t a great first line treatment for ADHD!

      But I too am scared that my doctor will just want to up the antidepressants I’m already taking, especially since my ADHD features so much difficulty “activating” to do tasks. But I really don’t think increased antidepressants will help me either; I so strongly believe that ADHD is the problem and ADHD meds are necessary!

      It’s scary, because we don’t have control over the outcome. The best we can do is prepare for the appointment and advocate for ourselves, and hope that we got a good doctor who gets it (which is always a gamble).

      I go so back-and-forth between hope and feelings of helplessness and fear on this, have I mentioned that?

    • #90086


      Thank you so much for sharing! I too am waiting, it’s a process in Finland. But next week, armed with past diagnoses, school records, and letters from those close to me, I feel ready. But it’s a process. I was treated prior to moving to this country. Then went 9 years untreated. It was likely one of the not so great decisions of my life. What people do not realise is that ADHD could be (and from my experience) more *detrimental* in our later years as we have so many responsibilities to juggle. Career, family, hobbies, etc. It’s not easy and I really cannot stand the fear of them saying “no … you are crazy…you do not have anything”. Work is not easy, nothing is. Life is overly emotional, way to sensitive to everything and everything is a distraction and my memory … oh boy.

      Like you, I look *put together* but am a mess on the inside. I just gotta sit tight and trust they will take care of me properly.


    • #90268

      You go girl! Please come back and let me know how it goes.

      I am so proud of myself for getting through this week… and so frustrated to realize I have another week and a half to go…It feels like “yay, I did it!” “Oh… wait…”

      I’ve been extra emotionally labile this week with high highs and low lows in ways that aren’t typical for me, and might be the result of pushing myself extra hard to hold it together til that appointment and/or of some ill-advised self-medicating with Sudafed (which was prescribed to me awhile back for sinus blockages…).

      All the resources out there tell you to go see a doctor- they don’t tell you how to hold it together until you SEE one!!!!

      And yeah, I agree. I got through childhood and early adolescence fairly okay with my inattentive symptoms. It wasn’t until I had the unique young adult/adult needs for a lot of time management and organization, prolonged focus on administrative tasks not just “homework” (which activated my competitive nature or interest in learning/proving myself as a kid, especially when it was *short*), attending to so many difficult areas of need (work, household chores, financial issues, etc) that my ways of compensating were totally stretched to their breaking point and the full force of my difficulties felt.

    • #91305

      Update: I saw the psychiatrist for the first time today, and she diagnosed me as ADHD! She wrote a low-dose prescription for short-acting Methylphenidate that she said we would work on increasing if necessary, since I report having significant side effects whenever I being any medication. Really happy.

    • #91737

      Please let us know how your meds work! I hope they help! I have been in the same boat as you, and am also on the same meds, although my shrink acts like I don’t have ADHD…she just let me diagnose myself. So she won’t really help me or talk me through anything. She only wants to hear that all is well. I need to find an ADHD coach. I don’t take my meds every day but I do when I have to be more organized. I’m already on Zoloft. I also think being on chemo made this way worse 10 years ago. I too have a job with a lot of responsibilities and the better I do, the more responsibility they give me. I hope it all works out for you! Let us know!!

    • #91747

      I’m currently reading Sari Solden’s book and feel a lot of what you verbalized! (Thank you for sharing, btw). I am a former public school educator and feel (felt) that I was knowledgeable about ADHD, but I now realize that I understood what it looks like for children and mainly cis-male kids. Now, I am a professor working to achieve tenure and I really struggle with communication (email, especially) and writing articles about my research (which I need for tenure)… in fact, I thought about responding to your post for quite awhile, felt overwhelmed at the thought of putting my thoughts into words, and am only able to type this much, now, because I am avoiding finishing my syllabus for tomorrow’s class!
      Past doctors assumed I had ADHD, but no one officially diagnosed me. I recently started with a therapist and we are working to pinpoint what kind of ADHD I have in order to develop some strategies for work and home. I understand how you feel – The waiting game is tough! I hope you get relief and some helpful strategies once you begin treatment!!!

    • #91786

      Ladies, the struggle is REAL. LOL. Seriously, we are not alone. There are tons of us with similar stories. I’m 48 and didn’t have any clue why my life was a mess until my son was diagnosed! Now I am on medication and also working with an ADD coaching program (ADDventures in Achievement with Dr Barbara Cohen). All of it is helping. You have to speak up for yourself; go to a second doctor if one doesn’t LISTEN to you. One thing I’ve learned in the program is that depression and anxiety are often the result of undiagnosed ADD.

      So hang in there and definitely keep reading articles on this website — I have found so much helpful information here. Good luck!

    • #91840

      Hi. I am 75 yrs old and was diagnosed 3 yrs ago. Had some of the life issues you describe. I found a lot of help from the Totally ADD website. Maybe the judgement free introduction to ADHD. Or the laughter as comedian Rick Green owned up to his struggles in a humorous way. (ADD Stole my Car Keys). Or realizing that my life failures had a rational explanation. But mostly some of those videos have information about lifestyle changes that use our ADHD to accomplish life. Didn’t start medication until 6 mo ago. It has helped. But not as much as some of the other changes.
      Best advice I can give is to learn all you can. This site has a lot of links and recommendations. And check out the podcast by Mickey Wright and Pete Kinder called Taking Control.
      Good luck and welcome to our world.

    • #91886

      Hey everyone – so I saw this post and felt, as a veteran I should probably share some things with all of you. I was diagnosed with ADD at 16, I am now 40. I have taken several different medications since the one I started on and of course responded the best to, was taken off the market. So here is some info:
      1) the meds will most likely make a tremendous difference in your ability to function – really in all aspects of your life. Seriously – mind blown.
      2) The meds are not a cure though and you will find some days are better than others, sometimes the meds work great and other days you can’t manage to get a single thing accomplished – so take some of the time in which the meds are working and put into place some strategies to keep your self on track for when those less than great days happen.
      3) the worst side effect for me is at the end of the day and the meds are wearing off – irritable is a nice way of putting it. As i recall Ritalin was not as bad as Vyvanse and Adderall are. Also I binge eat at night – and yes – this is the meds.
      4) the XR versions never last as long as they say – which is why I also take Adderall with the Vyvanse.
      5) if you are pregnant or want to become pregnant make sure your doctor is willing to work with you on dosage if you want to remain on a lower dose – this is your choice ladies – and I’ve done it both ways – and its a decision you need to make with you and your doctor, just make sure your doctor is willing to have the conversation – during my first pregnancy mine was not and i was off my meds from 2 months on and it was disaster. PS – All 3 of my girls are healthy, my youngest has Autism (turns out we share quite a bit in common)…but that’s a story for a different day.
      6) Keep a log – Every day I rate my Mood, Focus, Staying on Task, Memory and impulse and a few notes. OK – so I don’t do it every day because I have ADD….but I should – try to do it as much as possible.
      7) You can build up a tolerance to the medication and it can also just stop working – I think i am kind of there with Vyvanse.
      8) Stopping your meds – the doctors will tell you that you can take it one day and not the next and you should be fine. This may be true if you have only been taking it for a few days but if its been a bit once you cease taking it your ADD symptoms will be worse than they ever where pre-medicine for the first few days.
      9) You may lose a bit of your “fun”. I’m not as fun on the medicine, not as easy-going or chill, not as agreeable or creative but I still choose to take the meds everyday because a life worth living isn’t possible without them. That may sound bleak but life was harder than it needed to be before and I had no idea it wasn’t the same for everyone else until I started ditching school and my parent’s sent me to a psychiatrist.
      10) Be careful who you tell. When i first started working I had no problem sharing my ADD diagnosis but gradually my work load changed, and i was treated differently by some and it was a horrible feeling.
      I am here to help – please reach out with any questions –

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