The foreigner

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    • #77174

      I love my job. I love my ADHD. Yes, there are time where both of those statements don’t always look that way. & the difficult part when my gift, makes my job a nightmare. I always felt that I could be myself at work… up until my ADHD was a bit more prominent than I would like it to be. Long story short: I am a foreigner everywhere I go (except with you guy lol). I’ve always felt that I don’t really belong, and when I thought I did… it doesn’t last long. There will always be someone we can talk to… but does that feeling of disappointment ever go away? Do you ever stop getting reminded that you’re awesome and unique & it sucks that no one speaks or recognizes martian? Like when do we stop feeling like we’re catfishing, when we’re actually salmon made to swim against the current but we haven’t been put in the right context?

      I would just like to know thoughts or experiences, if you guys don’t mind sharing.


    • #77183

      I feel exactly the same way as you do…it hurts so much. I wish us both best of luck.

    • #77201

      Why am I different? Why are you different? Why can’t you get passionate about anything? Why does imagination suck me in like a moth towards a flame? Why do I push like hell at everything, or just not give a damn? Why do I snap at people? Why can’t I just take it easy? It’s either full on, or this is boring me into dust. Why will I take the most inane decision and turn it into Defcon 5, just because there’s nothing else to take up my time? How can you possibly find so much random crap to talk about? Yet you’re not interested in how cars act like a fluid on the highway? Why does my mind keep jumping from screen to screen? Why am I tired all day but wake right up at 10pm? How did anyone write anything before there were editors with back space and insert? How does all this give us an advantage in the human gene pool? Where the hell are my sunglasses? Why can’t I just go with the flow? Why can’t I just finish something without a Herculean effort? Why don’t I have friends? How do I explain my passions to someone that is just annoyed that I can’t even clean up my clothes? Will I ever be able to accept myself for who I am?

      • #77518

        Oh. My. God. MattColo, we may be the same person. You just described me to a T. I would add “Why do I pick fixate on issues and then pick fights with people only because my brain needs the stimulation.”

        A mood stabilizer has helped with a lot of the personal issues, but it will never change who I am fundamentally. I’ve tried to simply accept and love myself for my positives (passionate, intelligent, social, kind, generous, loyal, creative) and forgive myself and work on my negatives (short-tempered, low-patience, messy, disorganized, bit of a spaz). Some days are better than others, but now that I FINALLY have a diagnosis at the age of 41, I can work on the things I can change and find ways to manage the things I can’t. There are others out there like you, though, and I feel your pain!


      • #77587

        Thanks, brandikball, for the kind words. Kind because it’s really nice to know, how to say this, but maybe it’s not just me. I tried getting a diagnosis but got stopped by the insurance gate keeper (another story). But from comments like yours and others I’ve met it has been a huge relief. Granted, I don’t have an official diagnosis but this is a first step. Just knowing what’s going on is helping.

        I also like your comment about loving yourself for who you are. That’s something I’ll try as well. It sure sounds sappy but feeling love is a lot better than anger.

      • #77741

        I composed a fantastic reply to you. I mean, fantastic. Some of my best work. Unfortunately, it didn’t post for some reason. I’ll try to re-post. Just know you’re not alone in these struggles.

      • #77613

        I’m so sorry you couldn’t get a diagnosis. Insurance is so ridiculous, and, honestly, it can be a challenge to find a therapist willing to diagnose and medicate an adult. I hope you can find one. I got lucky.

        Honestly, though, the biggest relief was getting the diagnosis and knowing that I’m not the way I am because of some moral failing. This is the way my brain is wired, and, while it can be frustrating, it’s also incredibly amazing. Our ADHD brains can do magical things if we can only harness them. However, our brains also tend to fixate and obsess, most of the time on self-negative thoughts. I’m so bad about this, and it’s difficult to change my internal monologue. I am making a concerted effort, though, to change the way I talk to myself. Instead of getting frustrated and calling myself an idiot because I once again left my keys in the door or forgot my phone at home, I instead have started being gentle and forgiving with myself. “It’s okay you forgot your phone. You had a crazy morning and had more to worry about getting out of the house than grabbing your phone. Plus, think how much more productive you’ll be today!” It’s not easy and some days are worse than others, but I’m trying!

        You are most definitely not alone. I would suggest you read the book “Driven to Distraction” by Drs. Edward Hallowell and John Ratey. It will resonate with you, and also provide some simple suggestions that may improve your day-to-day existence. Also, even if you can’t get in to a psychiatrist for a diagnosis, it might help to see a therapist or counselor to help with the negative self-talk and self-image we often have as a result from internalization of a lifetime of struggle and negative comments from others. I am very sensitive to any kind of criticism or anything I may perceive as criticism. This is an actual thing with us ADHD people. There’s even a name for it: Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. This negatively affects everything in our life, from work to relationships and friendships. But there are ways to deal. This article has some good suggestions:


        Sorry I’m writing a book. It’s just that I’ve been exactly where you are. You are not alone and it can get better. I hope some of this is at least helpful.

      • #81735

        Hello all,
        I’m 51, found out I had ADD three years ago. When I read: ” Why do I push like hell at everything, or just not give a damn? Why do I snap at people? Why can’t I just take it easy? It’s either full on, or this is boring me into dust.” I – like many of you – really felt I could have written this. I’m in a job where, to have a decent work life balance, you need to make frequent big (and small) decisions under uncertainty, do a good enough job because “a good job” consumes your life, not sweat and become obsessed when you think that these decisions could have big adverse decisions. Being able to take things easy without going to the extreme of “not caring anymore” (on my own projects): this is what I need to learn ! Any ideas how?

    • #77208

      You are not different, yyou are the same) You shouldn’t been afraid of this) You can deal with this and this world)

    • #77217


      I myself do not have ADHD. So I may not be able to relate 100%.

      I often read problems of friends here who feel that everything is due to their ADHD.
      Somehow I feel that it is a strong identification with the condition.

      For example – Right now I am in a phase of life where I do not have many friends. Its all time low. It hurts. I feel separate from all except just one or two.
      I have always had few friends but I am not a very social person. I have always managed to have a bunch of friends to talk to. So this phase is unsettling for me.

      There were some years I felt very, very low emotionally and was stuck in a ‘why me’ kind of state.
      Just stuck. It lasted for years. It took my own efforts before I could come out of it.

      May be the extent to which or the intensity with which an ADHD person feels the issues is greater coz of the sensitive nature of ADHD person.

      If not ADHD, neurotypical people have some other issues/problems/conditions of their own. No one is free from them. Life balances itself.
      But I am sure we ALL are far more than the issues we face and the conditions we have.

      No matter who gives up on you, never ever give up on yourself.
      Take care!


      • This reply was modified 3 years, 11 months ago by leanz.
    • #77218


      One of the things that helped me to come out of my ‘why me’ phase was to ask ‘why not me’.
      The negation actually generated a positive reaction in me.
      One day I came up with an answer – because GOD could not trust anyone else with this than me.
      I started turning the table on all my problems from that day.

      It sure isn’t easy. But it is not impossible.
      Whatever is our ‘it’.

      While you do seek right support and solutions to your condition, do gently be aware of what you tell yourself.
      Some of our worst enemies are internal!

      Take good care.


    • #78309

      I would like to THANK each of you that post here. I am the father of an ADHD 13 year old son. I am always concerned and wondering HOW DOES HE FEEL? What is going on in his head. I “try” to talk to him, and he basically says all is fine. So THANK YOU for giving me some “potential” insight into what he is thinking/feeling.

    • #78322

      mhorst6320, your son probably feels the way he always has, so “fine” is probably reasonable. 13 was hell for me. I had just moved half way around the world, I didn’t understand people, and school just flat out sucked. But if my parents had asked me how I felt, I probably would have said fine. I would not have said I feel stupid. I didn’t “feel” stupid. I just had a big suspicion that I *was* stupid. And I didn’t want to admit that to anyone, not even my parents. I think I bottled a bunch of crap up. The fact that you have a diagnosis (my guess) is good. At that age, I think all I really wanted was unconditional love. I had a dad (and still have him) that just wanted to help me fix issues with memory and studying and a bunch of other stuff none of us understood. Sometimes fixing problems is counter productive. The one time I felt close to him, and I really mean the only time, was when he told me he had mediocre grades in school as well. And then it was gone. When your son looks like shit, just go give him a hug. You can’t solve all the problems. Don’t worry about what’s in his head. I understand you need to still hold him accountable, but you and mom are the only ones that can give him love. And he needs that as well.

      Sooo, this is bringing up a lot more emotion then I thought. If this were any other forum I’d erase it and move on. But it seems right that I leave it. Good luck.

    • #78324

      Hello all, I’m reading this and I agree with mhorst6320. My 9 year old girl has ADHD and Asperger Syndrome, diagnoses 14 months ago. She already agonises about the future as an adult and I then worry for her. When she sold enough I will pass this website onto her for real support. We all have our life problems, obsessions, passions and feelings..or lack there of, but hers are so intense and all consuming as you all so eloquently described. It helps someone like me to grasp where you are coming from, in the hope I can help during difficult times. I’m sorry foreigner, that you don’t feel a right fit, but I can assure you, from my point of view, those that love you will NEVER Stop trying to understand…because we love you so much. We do. So always know that we are trying hard to help you, help each other fit in and (this is important) my daughters ways are as valid as my ways- I’m always looking to melt into her life as much as she does mine. Ain’t none of us Perfect so there’s no hill for anyone to climb. Maybe soon we will all meet in the middle and just…breathe. Love to all and I wish you all a smoother journey. Thanks for your valuable insights x

    • #78325

      Yes, I often wonder why can’t I just be like everyone else. My ideas are always different than others (which at times is a good thing at work), but I also put my foot in my mouth almost daily. I had a bit of a promotion at work, but lost it. I have given up on being in a leadership possition. I think it is just part of the ADD. If only people could see the vision in my head. The good thing is I like my job and will continue to focus on doing my best. (As an aside, I am 55 so being content where I am is easier than if I were 25) I would highly recomend the article on Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria. It has really helped my understand how I realate to people at work, and to alough myself some grace when I feel rejected.

    • #78326

      Excuse the typos! 😖

    • #78361

      I know how you feel. Welcome to the world of people who do not feel they fit in and it is a big world.Try to find other “foreigners” just like you. There are millions in this big world of ours.

      I struggled daily with stinking thinking, feeling like a foreigner. Thank goodness I subscribed to Additude’s newletters. I thank God for Additude’s website, I have learned so much.

      Going to mental health counseling is very beneficial as well.

      My ADHD brain has provided me with a vivid imagination, unusual ideas and hobbies most find boring. I am no longer offended when I am told I am eccentric. I choose to think others are the foreigners.

      I did not realize I had an ADHD brain until I was 46 years old and had made a lot of huge mistakes. When my son turned three, I realized he had learning problems and I started reading about ADHD, all of the co-morbid disorders, sensory integration, and the like. I learn something new about myself all of the time. If it were not for my son, I would have never sought treatment for myself, nor would I have been able to understand my son and fight for his rights in school. I have been able to help so many people over the past 16 years, including teachers, understand how to work with the ADHD brain.

      At the biological age 62, I have a mind that works like a 30 year old. After 42 years of working in a demanding, high risk, environment where I was not appreciated or acknowledged for dedication, discoveries, and hard work, I quit as soon as I was eligible to retire.

      For six months, I have been trying to adjust to a world I really know nothing about. I know there are “foreigners” just like me who are looking for a “foreigner” just like them. Together, we will be “normal”.

    • #78362

      Mattcolo it does come to an end but it may take a long time. In my 70 s before i knew why i had those feelings. I was lucky enough to be in a job that i loved and afforded me the opportunities to escape when i needed to, whenever i was overwhelmed with feelings you have identified. Also luckily staff made sure and did my detailed work, that i was on time, and properly equipped to carry out my consulting work for maNy different employers. It does make the condition easier, but retirement brought out the worst of the.Condition. Not to mention that Snapping at people is why i had to retire.
      A bout of major depression thankfully diagnosed and treated successfully and a Diagnosis of ADHD has been an eyeopener for me not only to expalin my peccadillos as i now call them but also to fiNally accept them as the part that makes me unique in a good way. I can now show up late for some of the events i attend(most) and recognize the issue, promise myself it will improve, and laugh that i did that the last time. It is who I am just like the artificial knee, new heart valve and the scars from 25 year old head and neck cancer surgery (Successful) Now if I could only keep my promise to be more active and walk those malls in this winter weather. Now there is something that is also me like the promise to cleanup the paper mess of my apartment… i did mail my Drug claim info (2 years old) this month and that is definitely worth celebrating. And maybe thats the point we need to celebrate the successes more and pat yourself far more often. You deserve it.

      PS joining two more choral groups after finding out about it achieved the goal of feeling much better about myself,Free dopamine 4 to 5 times a week from music and literally 100 new choristers to socialize with and that is an important part of music. The second advantage is that musical people are also unique and have many unsual characteristics. I barely stand out and there are many who arrive after me.

    • #78369
      Eric Swanson

      Don’t discard RSD so easily or think of it as something secondary. Seriously that has the potential to bite you in the butt if you are not mindful. Ok sometimes it will even if you are being mindful. The good news about it is that it is straight up and doesn’t hide like our ADHD symptoms might.

      So we have a fighting chance. So much of ADHD varies from person to person but RSD is right there standing tall so what do we do? Of course we work around it. It’s who we are. But we do not need to be that.

      Discover who you are, not defined by what or how you avoid, but by what you embrace.

      Not everyone will listen nor care. We don’t need to be concerned with that. We truly need to hold true to ourselves and call it a good day.

      As for the rest of the static and all the chatter going on in the background. Let them eat cake. Those won’t go away, if we are mindful to them, we can see what the distraction is and realize it for simply what it is, that all nothing more.

      Smile cause you have been down this road before!!!

      • #78460

        Eric Swanson. Apparently i selected the wrong “reply” and it ended up after the “University Apts”, the next comment.

    • #78374

      Mattcolo, so many great questions! I can relate. Took me a long time to learn that fitting in is not a satisfying objective in life. My viewpoint used to be that I was different, and everyone else could relate to each other, but my focus was always on my reality, not theirs. Now when I approach people with a different mindset-how can I contribute to the situation, what can I bring/how can I be of use to others, and it has changed my interactions, made them more satisfying and the alienation I used to feel is replaced with the connection I was always seeking. It really helps me to be present. And self acceptance-Everyone is different in one way or another. It’s not about fitting in (thank God! I could never camouflage well) it’s about contributing my part.

      • #78457

        RSD never lets go but it bites me so seldom now i hardly remember those seven policemen who attacked me cuz i got out of my car a year ago last christmas at a check stop. Smashing my glasses, and tearing my coat apart slamming me into the pavement and kneeling on my neck so that my face was planted into the ice and gravel grit of a dimly lit parking lot. Dressed in hiway signalmans garb they should have used to Guide me to where i was to go instead of camoflaging that they were police. I might not have Tongue lashed them. And they might have kept the handcuffs in their pocket. It did occur to me that as i was waiting for urgent open heart surgery that this might not be the most acceptable exercise regime. After ordering an ambulance that i had to pay for they profusely apologized and drove me home. Something about the maximum positive driving credits and no record of ever being pulled over and no convictions and taking meds that would have made me violently ill if i had been consuming alchohol. Their whole beef was that i got out of the car..and verbally told them what i thought of their sloppy organization. 5 years in the airborne is excellent training for reaming idiots out. . this was a check stop in the city and in my mind it involved going into an office or trailer for a sobriety test. I am sure that a 73 year old male who could barely walk was a physical threat to a gang of 7 of them.
        The result was 4 days later i fell leaving my chair and could not get up . It took me twenty minutes to inch myself backwards to the couch and phone. Instructed to take a cab to the hospital I made it to my car and drove. For the next 5 nights i attended that emergency dept for a two to four hour IVIG transfusion They actually wanted me to check into the hospital. Because of this I am no longer able to have a flu vaccine shot. A few weeks later i received my first call to check in for open heart surgery. It had to be delayed because of the transfusion.
        The police asked what caused my reaction and to totally uninformed ears i said ADHD. They were quick to deny that this had anything to do with it.
        PS I was on my way to the Xmas choral party…. and my Lawyer, husband of one of the Sopranos also attended. He tried to convince me to seek attonement but i declined. The police commission was actually looking for examples like this so they could improve citizen relations. Because (cuz) of my RSD i gave them the benefit of the doubt and chalked it up to experience. However that is one of only 2 instances in the last 5 years since i started ven la faxine.
        That and the fact i was the youngest in a very large family seldom ever left me with the feeling of not fitting in. Give or take my first wife (of 3 wives) of 30 years who hated my family and treated them so.

        So yes RSD doesnt let go and the constabulary are not the ideal candidates for a demonstration. About the only thing worse is a 19 year old lieutenant in the armed forces on exercises 55 years ago. After pulling 48 non stop hours of duty making sure my highly inebriated CO could find his way back to his quarters all night, i just get to sleep when someone yells at me to camofage my vehicle. Zzzzzzand then this teenager is standing there yelling at me to get up and get it done or I will be another casualty of his hangover. For a moment i thought of going back to sleep until i remembered that he was a teen and an officer with a gun which he was taking out of its holster. A tiny voice thought, Perhaps he was just nuts enough to do it.
        Two other incidents in the last 8 years that I recall the last one costing me $379.00 for damage to a garage door.

    • #78377

      I’ve only been diagnosed at the ripe old age of 31. Many problems growing up typical of the adhd brain it seems, homelessness, drugs, drink, various scraps my adolescent years in care… I wonder what my life may have been with a diagnosis when I was younger, sure would have explained my explosive nature!
      Now at 31 I’m a single parent struggling to study for a social work degree where my distraction and intense emotions are still not under wraps! I’m 300 miles from my hometown and feel so lonely, I can’t make friends easily as I too feel like a foreigner, an imposter just waiting to be caught out! I’m very open about my diagnosis but people tend to take a step back from my self loathing and don’t know how to deal with my crazy emotions!
      There is always a fire to put out, I’m always having to survive and I don’t want to anymore… I want to live, to thrive and to be happy.

    • #78388

      I moved to a foreign country because I felt like a foreigner in my home country (the US). I honestly thought it might help. I thought being an actual foreigner would protect me from the feelings of being different because I’d finally have a good reason!… it did NOT work out. It only brought my feelings of isolation out more clearly. Wherever you go, there you are. But I’m glad I finally have some sort of explanation for why I feel this way (that is, IF I have ADD, I am still seeking diagnosis).

    • #78671

      Yes I feel your pain…. smjimenez my life has been the same. Its extremely hard to associate with anybody… especially if its in a social setting! my mind gets filled with all these negative scenarios keeps me from talking to anybody and when I get passed that initial “discomfort” new reasons to feel uncomfortable pop in my mind. Its like my mind is sabotaging any chance I get to relate to another human being. It really does suck though when you feel alienated from your family. I know I love them and they love me but we are so strained, I think its due to the fact that when my emotions get “out of whack” they are the people that get the front row seat to my meltdowns and its not a pretty sight. And then when my emotions are stable, nobody is on the same page. because Im a (undiagnosed) momma of 4 and 2 of my kids have been diagnosed with adhd, I’m beginning to feel that I will NEVER be able to live the life I want and have the type of relationships WE ALL NEED as human beings to… well…feel human.

    • #78672

      universityapts how do you change your mind though from your reality to the reality of the present? that’s the part where I always trip myself up because most of the time my reality is all to irrelevant. Then I just zone out and the cycle continues…

    • #78739

      my father had a similar problem, he was very hard to adapt, but with loved ones he always knew that he was not alone

    • #79643

      Not so far, but I’m only 70 🙂

    • #82525

      This is all so much me. So much me. The RSD. The foreigner (I’m actually a foreign foreigner, which makes it worse; canadian living in america). The looks people give me. The isolation. The shame I feel. The complete ambivalence to mess; my living room is a collection of empty amazon now bags because i was too focused last month to go grocery shopping (i was on a wonderful work assignment that my adhd brain soaked up like one of those plants that gets rain only once every 5 years.) I have a houseful of randomly scattered shoes and clothing, very little of it clean. I can’t have nice things because: 1. i lose them. 2. i forget about them. 3. i don’t take care of them. 4. i ignore them. 5. i spill something on them. 6. i don’t really care about nice things because random amazing thing on the internet is more important. Plus see 1-5.

      What image does this present to the world? certainly not of someone who has her %($& together. certainly not someone who can be relied upon. certainly not someone who can accept more work. or someone they can let be around VIPs in a work setting, even though she’s “the smartest person [they’ve] ever met.” (I’ve come to see that as a euphemism for bat *(%^ crazy.) Someone who is commitment-phobic. Who is alone and child-free because she is selfish and immature. Who is disagreeable. Who needs to smile more (This is rage-inducing.) Who is flawed in x y z ways. Who is judged at every turn.

      But she’s also someone who cares and someone who hurts. Someone who dreams. Someone who longs for the things that come easily to others. Someone who loves (but with a Thor’s-hammer kind of love). Someone who sings and writes songs and creates visual art and holds an m.a. and is a p.hd. candidate (read: quit phd) in music and has a geology degree and is a self-taught web developer and an adventurer and an award-winning scholar and employee. But who cannot get ahead. Or have lasting bonds. (No wonder I live in my head. It’s the only place I can go to talk with someone I know.)

      Or clean up her GD living room.

      • This reply was modified 3 years, 9 months ago by phdenial.
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