Struggling: New diagnosis, new meds, new issues (and loads of past ones)

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    • #82522


      First of all, if it weren’t for this website and its associated videos, I don’t think I would have put 2 and 2 together and asked for an ADHD screening. I thought that my past failures were due to a very difficult childhood and an unsupportive home life. I thought that going to grad school was something that made me a better person because it taught me how to focus (instead it was just that it gave me an opportunity to hyperfocus on topics that I love.) I thought that my previous job was horrible because I was bored. (which I was). And now I’m realizing that my current job, while super busy, is a particular challenge for me because I am not given the time to focus on one thing at a time, and every part of my day is more or less determined for me. It’s causing my brain to break and I feel old, tired, and like I’m losing my ability to think and do. I write emails with entire words missing or duplicated words or phrases.

      I have struggled with depression and c-ptsd for as long as I can remember. I have felt awkward and unable to fit in. I have not been able to show up for things. I cannot for the life of me keep my apartment clean and tidy on a regular basis (it’s feast or famine there, like everything else in my life). I have a hard time managing money (it’s much worse these days.)

      I have a really hard time making and keeping friends because I tend to overdo everything (share, respond, help, react) and I butt in all the time. I erupt in emotion that I notice makes others feel uncomfortable. They inevitably withdraw from me.

      I’ve been passed over for a promotion because my boss felt that I couldn’t handle the mental strain of the task. (Really hurtful, but I think that’s true.)

      The ways of my current workplace do not work well with a brain like mine (things are worked out verbally, all of my tasks are planned for me and they are either things that require deep focus or repetitive tasks that are by their very nature intrusive, the workload is very large, I have do relationship management – ha ha. Yeah right. )

      And I’ve just been diagnosed by my family physician.

      I started taking adderall xr just as I was assigned a fantastic special project (had to do this in addition to my other work) which had me working for 2 months straight (10-16 hr days) with only one weekend that I didn’t work. The adderall at first made me calmer, clearer, and more focused. It gave me the energy I needed to absorb all of the work that was asked of me and to do it very well (not perfectly because I’m not perfect).

      But now? It’s all over. I’m back to my normal job/normal life. And my brain will NOT slow down. The first night I had to myself, I was actually starting to panic because I had nothing to do that evening. I’ve grown tired, and irritable, and hypervigilant. I’m combative, demanding, and also lethargic and unmotivated to do anything. My behavior has caused me to worry that I’ve undone all the good will I generated by taking on the assignment to begin with.

      My brain does not like the fact that I have to go back to that dealing with being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, all while having to be kind and gentle and supportive with my clients (who are instructed to call me whenever there’s an emergency or they need help.) I’m exhausted because: all the verbalization and the need for me to processes aurally (I cannot do that quickly so I don’t contribute as often as others do): the constant context switching + high work volume + interruptions constantly. I feel like it causes a sympathetic wave pattern in my brain that excites it into it’s high ADHD state because my brain is trying so hard to make the connections needed to make sense of things. Plus my brain loves to make connections like that, anyway. But not the right ones all the time.

      Strangely (or not so strangely now, actually), doing LESS work is stressing me more than doing MORE work, especially like the one I just had that allowed me to do digital art, research, content creation, and speaking notes on topics I had not ever worked on before (sounds like grad school, right?).

      I’m having anxiety for the first time in a very long time. I realize this is burying the lede here (one of my special skills), but could the Adderall be making this worse?

      • This topic was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by phdenial.
    • #82528

      Hello there, I think the best thing to do is to discuss this with your doctor. It can take a while to get used to the medication and these side effects might just be your body and brain getting used to it. Or, it could be that you need a different medication. Either way, check with your doctor first and foremost.

      Best of luck with everything and more importantly, don’t give up!

    • #82547
      Penny Williams

      Yes, Adderall and other stimulants can increase anxiety for some people. Interestingly, that doesn’t mean that every ADHD stimulant medication will increase your anxiety, so talk to your doctor about trying a different ADHD medication. There are two types of stimulants: amphetamine (Adderall, Vyvanse, Evekeo…) and methylphenidate (Ritalin, Concerta, Quillivant…). Almost everyone does well on one type or the other, but not both. So, maybe you’d do better on a methylphenidate?

      Here’s more on ADHD medication:

      Free Guide: What You Need to Know to About ADHD Medications

      10 Things Your Doctor May Not Have Told You About ADHD Medications

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

    • #82757

      Hi phdenial

      OMG your story soooooo sounds like my story and what I used to go through. Having said that — long story short:

      A few things to consider if you haven’t already (I had both):

      Possible Head Trauma – a good resource is the following book:

      Concurring Concussion – Healing TBI Symptoms with Neurofeedback and Without Drugs

      This is a wonderful (and easy to comprehend) book that describes “Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The information provided on injuries in history, from Henry VIII to Elvis Presley, I found very, very interesting!
      Synopsis: “…This lively, well-researched, and hopeful book is an excellent primer for anyone dealing with TBI and its aftermath, from victims to caretakers. It is clearly written and illustrated for the average reader, but contains information that may be new to many healthcare professionals puzzled by odd and unresponsive symptoms and the realization that time alone does not heal the brain. Conquering Concussion by Mary Lee Esty, Ph.D., and C. M. Shifflett presents history, new research, treatments, and 20 years of clinical case histories. These are real stories about real people struggling with post-concussion symptoms: terrible fatigue, headache and body pain, emotional swings, mental fog, insomnia, weight gain and balance problems. It shows how TBI symptoms overlap with other diagnoses such as ADHD and depression, and reveals the link with PTSD head trauma…”

      For Information only:
      Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)
      I utilized Neuroasis here in Tucson for my TMS treatments. They provide a free 90-minute consolation with their onsite psychiatrist.


      OR…. YOU MAY HAVE (AND I HAVE THIS ALSO) — If you have not had any head trauma, I’ll wager you have a:

      Methyl-B Gene Mutation (MTHFR)

      My go to resource online is Dr. Ben Lynch at

      In layman’s terms, those of us with a MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into a usable form. This in turn will reduce our production of serotonin and dopamine which in turn causes depression. We have to be very careful with B Vitamins as well (depending on the variant of a MTHFR mutation). Research estimates that as much as half of the population may have an MTHFR gene mutation. I don’t “methylate” (or I can easily over methylate) with B vitamins. I have to be very careful to avoid foods with synthetic folate or folic acid in my diet. (I found that if I eat anything with 20% or more folic acid [per serving] this is when I will experience rages and can go into days of depression). Several symptoms resulting from the mutation mirror other medical and mental issues such as ADD, ADHD, OCD, anxiety, depression, autism, etc. A great resource I found online is Dr. Ben Lynch who states: “…I believe the MTHFR gene mutation is a highly significant public health problem that is completely ignored. Yet, millions are suffering from pulmonary embolisms, addictions, fibromyalgia, miscarriages, schizophrenia, severe depression, cancer and autism to name a few…:

      I determined that I have the MTHFR via a simple DNA saliva test, working with a naturopath. I am doing so much better! Currently, I work with a local naturopathic doctor to manage my MTHFR without drugs. However, Doctor Ben Lynch (who also has the MTHFR) was my go to resource ( when I first started researching this issue, and I have personally chosen to be an advocate for him to get the word out to as many individuals as I can about the MTHFR Mutation. Another great resource:

      You don’t have to remark on this….but just pl let me know you got the information. Thanks and Best of Luck to you.

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