What is normal anyway? Am I just overthinking?

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    • #91379
      michellerain2016
      Participant

      I’ve always felt like there was something wrong with me and I haven’t fitted in. As a kid I was told off for daydreaming and not listening. I struggled with friendships, particularly in groups, as people made fun of me for asking them to repeat things all the time. When there’s more than one conversation going I tune in and out of different conversations. I also struggle in busy places because of too many distractions. I thought maybe I had a hearing issue but my hearing is fine.

      Now I have good friends they point things out to me that make me realise how I appear to others eg: scatty,naive, confused.com etc. Ok maybe not all were my friends. In particular, my ex-boyfriend mentioned i could have ADHD a lot. I’d never thought of it before to explain my problems, I thought I was just stupid like a teacher once said. I could never take things in in lessons or lectures but now they’re finished my main issues are time management (i am late to EVERYTHING even if only by two minutes because i sacrificed drying my hair or finding the other sock or something), organisation, filling in stupid forms at work, driving, finances, getting tasks done on my insane to do list, following a set of instructions (after i’ve heard directions repeated three times i feel i can’t ask again but know i will get lost). Also, a problem that i don’t really see as a problem because it’s fun, is putting myself in fairly dangerous situations, but i usually do this in a group so it seems pretty normal.

      I’m pretty sure my Dad has ADHD. It would explain why it’s pretty much impossible to have a conversation with him without him getting distracted by the dog or something or interrupting. I’m not as bad as him for interrupting although I will sometimes finish people’s sentences for them if I know what they’re going to say which I’ve read is a symptom (and also v annoying when my dad does it so I’m trying not to now I’m aware of it!)

      I’m a 25 year old woman who will suddenly climb a tree, who will make an orange peel sculpture of a tortoise while talking to you, who does not wear jewellery as she’s usually running too late to have time to search for where that might be, who will drink half a bottle of spirit and go to a club alone after a particularly bad day (ok i only did that once but it was a bad idea). Who has endless to do lists dotted around the room that have long since been forgotten. I am fairly different to my peers I guess. Although some like their extreme sports etc as well so I feel more normal around them. Although I don’t think i’ll ever understand how the rest of the world stays so organised and manages to be on time for things.

      Anyway, I confided in someone recently that I think i might have ADHD. Ever since my ex mentioned it I’ve been looking into it on and off for around a yr and am pretty convinced but the person i confided in was so dismissive that I felt mortified and tried not to think about it again for a while. He said I was massively overthinking things and just needed to get used to the new job which I’m trying to do. But things aren’t getting any easier. My card was declined the other day so I couldn’t do my grocery shop, I’ve been late for work every day this week due to losing keys despite having a new strategy for where to put them, I’ve alienated two senior colleagues who I impulsively answered back to, i’ve stayed late at work every day to finish jobs, i’ve held up things up because of my inability to fill in a simple form properly and i had to give up making pancakes this morning because i somehow managed to melt a hole in my housemate’s plastic bowl (ok maybe not adhd related but could be inattentiveness?).

      The thing is, it’s hard to tell how many of these things are just on the spectrum of normality somewhere. I mean, everyone could do with being a bit more organised etc couldn’t they? And everyone accidentally opens their mouth sometimes when it should have stayed closed. And everyone loses their keys…

      The person I confided in said I wouldn’t have got this far in life with adhd without it being picked up. They said I wouldn’t have gotten two degrees. But what this person doesn’t know about is the chaos in my personal life, my financial issues, car accidents, how last minute every assignment i’ve ever done has been, how much i’ve relied on friends to tell me about deadlines, lectures etc. I’m a perfectionist so I get by because of that i think. But getting into a serious relationship is what made me realise I couldn’t be normal i think. Because I couldn’t deal with that and everything else, it was just too much. I can’t even commit to a plant, never mind a relationship. How people cope with children I have no idea!

      The question is whether these are just traits that are part of me that I have to just accept or whether I have ADHD. I’m too scared to talk to anyone else about it in real life as they may be as dismissive as the other person I spoke to.

    • #91385
      amelialakefull96
      Participant

      I’m pretty much in the same boat as you. I have pretty much all of the same problems as you have, plus a few additional ones of my own, like not usually being able to go for more than a few hours without exercising, always having problems with getting to sleep at night for as far back as I can remember because just I can’t seem to get my brain to wind down, ever, and on that note not being able to go even one day without exercise, otherwise I just can’t get to sleep full stop! I have a great deal of difficulty every day with staying tuned in during conversations,too, but it’s made even worse for me if I haven’t done any exercise that day/ if I’ve been doing sedentary things for too long- and I also totally relate to you on your enhanced difficulty with staying focused in crowded spaces/ when you’re with a group of people. My (current) boyfriend has ADHD and he’s been trying to tell me for the past 6 months that he thinks I have it too and I find it really irritating because ADHD or no ADHD, I’m still the same person- and so are you. But I have had and continue to have so many problems in my daily life directly related to having enormous difficulty with staying focused on the things that I want to stay focused on or with shifting my focus from one task to another if something really interests me and with my short term memory, that I think I owe it to myself to go and get tested to see if there’s an explanation for why I am the way I am. The only reason I haven’t done it yet is because I’m scared that I’ll be told by a professional that I don’t have ADHD, but I also don’t have anything else either and that I’ll just remain an enigma to myself and everyone else around me for the rest of my days. But in all likelihood, that’s not going to happen- in all of my obsessive research over the past 6 months, I seem to fit a lot of the symptoms and so do you and even if something else is responsible for why we are the way we are, I think I would kick myself if I didn’t find out what that thing was. And that person who told you that didn’t think it was possible that you have ADHD probably doesn’t know the first thing about it by the way. Because most people don’t know the first thing about it unless they know someone with ADHD and it’s Very misunderstood. I didn’t even know what it was until I met my boyfriend and he explained it all to me! I used to just think it meant someone who was unable to sit still in class! At the very least if you were to go and officially get tested and it turns out that you have nothing unusual or ADHD-related going on inside your brain, it’s an opportunity to learn even more about ADHD as a whole, so that you can be more understanding and compassionate towards other people who you might meet one day who have it, and you can also educate clueless chums on what it is and what it isn’t if it comes up in conversation and they’ve been misinformed. Also ADHD usually goes unnoticed in women and girls because it often surfaces it self in a different and less noticeable ways- e.g. we tend to be more absent-minded/ scatter brained/dreamy instead of hyperactive or our hyperactivity is more likely to be internalised- thus it’s far less likely to be pointed out as a problem by teachers and goes unnoticed, the vast majority of the time. Plus clearly you haven’t got as far as what you have without your symptoms being recognised- since you said your friends call you “scatter-brained” etc. they’re pointing out a lot of ADHD-related symptoms without even realising what they’re related to! My friends and family do the exact same thing which is another reason why I’ve been thinking about getting tested. But the fact of the matter is, if I had something physically wrong with me, like a persistant pain in my stomach that didn’t go away after a couple of weeks no matter what I did, I would go to a doctor without question and try and figure out what was going on. Even if nothing was wrong with me, I would still need some peace of mind. And mental health-related problems shouldn’t be any different and they shouldn’t be ignored. Which is why sometime over the next couple of weeks I’m going to go and officially get myself tested for ADHD and find out what’s going on inside my brain, because I need that same peace of mind. I’ll let you know how it goes if you like. Also your ex-boyfriend pointed it out to you, so it Definitely didn’t go unnoticed! Also maybe that person who told you they didn’t think you had ADHD had a negative sterotype in their head of what they think ADHD is and they thought they were paying you a compliment by saying you didn’t have it e.g. a noisy, disruptive, angry child- when in reality, loads of hugely successful people have it, e.g. Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Zoey Deschannel, Emma Watson etc. so clearly when diagnosed and managed well it doesn’t have to hold someone back- it has it’s strengths and weaknesses just like any disorder… Just something to keep in mind when you’re deciding what to do next 🙂 Also I was just wondering whether you have any unusual reactions to drinking coffee if you’re a coffee drinker… e.g. sleepiness or feeling relaxed afterwards? I just wondered because frequently when I’m feeling stressed out or I feel like I have too much energy I turn to coffee a lot to calm myself down and I find it extremely effective. And I always just thought this was a normal reaction but apparently it’s not so idk…

    • #91391
      michellerain2016
      Participant

      Thank you so much for your reply amelial. It definitely sounds like it’s worth you getting tested and I’m glad you’re taking that step. I don’t know what it’s like where you live but in the UK where I live it’s really hard to get taken seriously which I think is what’s holding me back from seeing if I fit the diagnosis. I hope it goes well for you and yes, i’d love to hear how it goes.

      I definitely relate to the sleep problems too. I forgot to mention that but that’s one of my main issues too. For as long as I can remember I’ve had trouble falling asleep and waking up. I can only get to sleep if like you, I’ve done exercise, also gotten fresh air, and I need to wind down before bed. I have to listen to a meditation thing to sleep every night and I’ll usually fall asleep part way through but not always.

      Yeah coffee is weird. I have loads of it. I feel like I can’t think properly until I’ve had some and makes me less scatterbrained, less clumsy and more calm and focused but sometimes more tired. If I don’t have a glass of water with it sometimes it makes me feel reeeally sleepy but I still feel like I need it to function. If I’m stressed and unhappy coffee helps a lot but I think it’s started losing its effect a bit.

      You mention having to exercise to function and that’s one of the classic non pharmacological treatments for adhd so it sounds like you’ve developed coping mechanisms to deal with your problems. I also need to exercise regularly and feel way better for it although there’s often not time and I feel lousy having not done it. I’ll often get distracted by housemates and run out of time.

      Good luck with the diagnosis. I don’t know if you’ve had a look at some of the scales they use for diagnosis? I think this is what would give me the courage to see someone about it as it’s the official detailed scales they use and most things seem to fit for me. Yet I’ve still got this persons voice in my head saying I’m crazy for thinking I have it. Grrrr.

    • #91397
      JBoom
      Participant

      This person you confided in does not seem to have any particular expertise in ADHD, is that correct? Certainly the things they said aren’t true of ADHD. There are a lot of misconceptions about the disorder, and its name doesn’t help. It’s not just about attention or hyperactivity. Fundamentally, it’s about self-control. So, some things you’ll be very good at, others you won’t have a handle on. ADHD doesn’t mean you won’t be functional in your life, it just means you aren’t in much control over what is functional and what is not.

      Get yourself tested, see a doctor.

    • #91556
      ms_bedelia
      Participant

      Michellerain-

      I’m sorry that was your experience telling someone your suspicion that ADHD might be behind your struggles. His reaction is WRONG. There are many people with two degrees (myself among them) whose ADHD went undetected until we were out of school. The thing about ADHD is it can result in significant deficits that are incongruent with our strengths, and people minimize what we try to tell them about our deficits (which we often also minimize to some degeee out of shame) and/or they just don’t understand. It is ENTIRELY possible you have ADHD. What you are describing is more than enough to warrant seeking out professional opinions, and more than one if you aren’t confident in the first. You may or may not have ADHD (although it sounds very likely) but you deserve professional help for the problems you are having whatever the cause. (And there IS professional help out there.) And no, the problems you are having are NOT typical/what “everyone” goes through- at least outside of places like this message board!

      Even with treatment, we still have (or I think of myself as “am”) ADHD. There are some things we do have to accept. But the level of distress and feeling so profoundly dysfunctional is not among them. There is help out there for that.

      I am proud to be ADHD. I am also beyond relieved and grateful to finally have the treatment I need to make my life work better for me.

      I also echo the sentiments of the other posters.

      Good luck! Keep us posted!

      • #92255
        michellerain2016
        Participant

        Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies JBoom, ms_bedelia, Looking4Signs and magicwindow. They were all so thoughtful and it was really nice of you to legitimise my concerns like that. I’m sorry my thanks is so late. Don’t know where the last couple of weeks have gone.

        JBoom I think I do have an issue with self control. Would explain why I’ve never been able to stop biting my nails.

        ms_bedelia, I really liked what you said about the distress and feeling so profoundly dysfunctional not having to be something that you have to cope with and that you’re proud to have adhd. That’s exactly why I would seek a diagnosis.

        Looking4Signs, I’m sorry for the difficulties you’re going through at the moment. I hope you get your questions answered. I don’t think I have depression although I think i might’ve had it in the past when I found things too overwhelming and was lonely and isolated. Now I’m lucky that I have friends who are more fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. Finding people I can be myself around has made the world of difference. And the friends I have now accept my quirks and find them funny rather than ostracise me because of them. I do have moments where I feel really upset and emotional but those quickly pass. Each day is a bit of a rollercoaster but I definitely feel the full spectrum of emotions and get excited and enthused about loads of things which I don’t think someone who was depressed would do so much.

        Magicwindow, I love your username. Thanks so much for your comment. The coping mechanism thing is so true. I have millions. I can only sleep when I listen to a meditation thing where i fall asleep part way through, have to sleep with headphones/earplugs and an eye mask and have to be just the right temperature, I have to either do or write things down straight away or they won’t get done, I survive on lists, coffee, recruiting others for help in finding something I’ve lost, brushing over misunderstandings smoothly, apologising a million times a day eg: for interrupting someone plus I’m really nice to everyone and care so much about everyone that things that may be perceived as rude are usually outweighed by humility and apologies. I think my weaknesses are noted by others and I bemuse people somewhat but despite that, I function so this means I get by. I am totally inconsistent. One minute I’ll be a bit of a doormat because I assume I’ve done something wrong and that’s why someone’s being sarcastic or patronising towards me, but if I see someone treat someone else badly or unjustly I’ll call them out straight away.

        The main issue I’m having at the moment is getting to work on time. Somehow no matter what I do I’m consistently lateish. I’m meant to arrive half an hour early and I’m consistently arriving just on time instead. It means I don’t have time to do the preparation side of things but it means I haven’t got in trouble with seniors yet. However, it’s not fair on colleagues at the same level as me who are left to do all the preparation things and I feel like I’m not pulling my weight in the team. I feel like there’s only so many times I can turn up late (for the early time) and say I’m sorry, i forgot my keys/slept in.

        Anyway, I’ve contacted a private psychiatrist to inquire about an assessment. They took a while to reply and I was freaking out that they thought I wasn’t worth their time because it was unlikely I have adhd but they said i described my problems well and if i wanted answers he could do an assessment in Nov. I might try the non private route first (as don’t have enough money for a private assessment currently) but if the GP says I’m crazy for thinking I might have this I know i’ll probably never talk to anyone about it again and give up with the diagnosis. So I’m thinking it may be worth spending my first paycheck on.

    • #91384
      Looking4Signs
      Participant

      I actually stumbled across this question while searching this site for an answer to my problem. I made an account so I could answer you since your situation sounds tough. I have ADHD and have since I was 7, but I am also a bit younger than you and am in high school. Please don’t let that take away from what I have to say though because I speak from experience.

      Before I was diagnosed with ADHD, I couldn’t focus and my grades were low. I would talk nonstop and interrupt like crazy. Even now I am still talkative and interrupt sometimes. I take medication for it now and without the medication can’t focus and get overwhelmed.

      The fact you have two degrees is a feat I don’t think I would be able to achieve if I didn’t take my meds. Also according to my doctor some people age out of needing medication for ADHD. I don’t know what school was like for you so I can’t really say how bad your struggle was with concentration.

      What I mention next is just something that I am sharing. I am not saying that you suffer from this though.

      When I found your question I was actually looking to see how depression symptoms and ADHD symptoms are similar. This is because I was trying o link how I feel now to ADHD, but this isn’t about me. According to several things I have read ADHD and Depression can look very similar. They share symptoms like lack of concentration and forgetfulness. Not saying that you are depressed though. I don’t want to label what ever you are dealing with because like I said I am not a professional. But the article I was reading also mention that some adults that didn’t have ADHD diagnosed when they were younger have depression as an adult.

      The link to that article is https://www.additudemag.com/adhd-and-depression-symptoms-treatment/

      I don’t know the answer to what you are dealing with, but I figured since I have ADHD it could be of some help. If you have any questions just reply back and ask I guess. If this wasn’t helpful I am sorry to have wasted your time.

    • #91382
      magicwindow
      Participant

      The person I confided in said I wouldn’t have got this far in life with adhd without it being picked up.

      That is so far from the truth it’s not even funny. You know how you’ve gotten this far into life without it being picked up? Coping mechanisms. You’ve probably managed to develop some that are just enough to hide your inner struggle from the rest of the world. It doesn’t matter what other people think – I mean, if someone’s pointing out that you may have an issue with something, then it’s worth considering, but regarding the decision of whether or not to be legitimately screened for ADHD, that is a personal choice of yours.

      As someone who wasn’t diagnosed until I was 30, I can tell you that everything you’ve described is incredibly relatable, and I do in fact have ADD (Primary Inattentive). Do yourself a favor and talk to a professional and be evaluated. Share the things you’ve shared here with the same level of honesty. Be real with yourself. There’s no use in wracking your brain wondering if there’s a problem when it’s clearly enough of a concern to trigger worry and anxiety in you.

      The fact that the person you confided in responded the way that they did, so immediately dismissive and in a know-it-all fashion shows a severe misunderstanding and lack of knowledge about the complexity of ADD and it’s subtypes. You need to speak to a professional who knows what they’re talking about and deals with this stuff for a living. Don’t worry, you’re going to be fine. Try to brush off the experience of talking to that person you confided in and move forward. Do it for yourself.

    • #92256
      michellerain2016
      Participant

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies JBoom, ms_bedelia, Looking4Signs and magicwindow. They were all so thoughtful and it was really nice of you to legitimise my concerns like that. I’m sorry my thanks is so late. Don’t know where the last couple of weeks have gone.

      JBoom I think I do have an issue with self control. Would explain why I’ve never been able to stop biting my nails.

      ms_bedelia, I really liked what you said about the distress and feeling so profoundly dysfunctional not having to be something that you have to cope with and that you’re proud to have adhd. That’s exactly why I would seek a diagnosis.

      Looking4Signs, I’m sorry for the difficulties you’re going through at the moment. I hope you get your questions answered. I don’t think I have depression although I think i might’ve had it in the past when I found things too overwhelming and was lonely and isolated. Now I’m lucky that I have friends who are more fun and don’t take themselves too seriously. Finding people I can be myself around has made the world of difference. And the friends I have now accept my quirks and find them funny rather than ostracise me because of them. I do have moments where I feel really upset and emotional but those quickly pass. Each day is a bit of a rollercoaster but I definitely feel the full spectrum of emotions and get excited and enthused about loads of things which I don’t think someone who was depressed would do so much.

      Magicwindow, I love your username. Thanks so much for your comment. The coping mechanism thing is so true. I have millions. I can only sleep when I listen to a meditation thing where i fall asleep part way through, have to sleep with headphones/earplugs and an eye mask and have to be just the right temperature, I have to either do or write things down straight away or they won’t get done, I survive on lists, coffee, recruiting others for help in finding something I’ve lost, brushing over misunderstandings smoothly, apologising a million times a day eg: for interrupting someone plus I’m really nice to everyone and care so much about everyone that things that may be perceived as rude are usually outweighed by humility and apologies. I think my weaknesses are noted by others and I bemuse people somewhat but despite that, I function so this means I get by. I am totally inconsistent. One minute I’ll be a bit of a doormat because I assume I’ve done something wrong and that’s why someone’s being sarcastic or patronising towards me, but if I see someone treat someone else badly or unjustly I’ll call them out straight away.

      The main issue I’m having at the moment is getting to work on time. Somehow no matter what I do I’m consistently lateish. I’m meant to arrive half an hour early and I’m consistently arriving just on time instead. It means I don’t have time to do the preparation side of things but it means I haven’t got in trouble with seniors yet. However, it’s not fair on colleagues at the same level as me who are left to do all the preparation things and I feel like I’m not pulling my weight in the team. I feel like there’s only so many times I can turn up late (for the early time) and say I’m sorry, i forgot my keys/slept in.

      Anyway, I’ve contacted a private psychiatrist to inquire about an assessment. They took a while to reply and I was freaking out that they thought I wasn’t worth their time because it was unlikely I have adhd but they said i described my problems well and if i wanted answers he could do an assessment in Nov. I might try the non private route first (as don’t have enough money for a private assessment currently) but if the GP says I’m crazy for thinking I might have this I know i’ll probably never talk to anyone about it again and give up with the diagnosis. So I’m thinking it may be worth spending my first paycheck on.

    • #92257
      michellerain2016
      Participant

      My reply appeared further up the thread which is weird. I tried to find a way to put it at the end in reply to all the messages but I don’t think it’s worked.

      Anyway, just read the depression vs adhd article. One part that struck me was the motivation comment: ‘With ADHD, it seems impossible to accomplish anything, because you’re “in a dither and can’t decide what to do first,” says Roberta Tsukahara, Ph.D., a psychologist in Austin. “With depression, it’s more that you’re lethargic and can’t initiate any activity.”

      I really relate to this. I don’t think I have depression because I’m definitely the category where i’m in a dither and can’t decide what to do first. There are just too many options. I am SO motivated. The problem is I want to do everything and then I get nothing done. For instance today I have my first day off in ages and I want to go to the gym, eat healthily, try out the new bakery place ie: eat unhealthily, I want to learn how to crochet, make origami bunting for my housemates, I want to explore the area and go for a long walk, I want a night out, I was going to try out a spiritualist church with my housemate because it sounded interesting, revise loads of stuff, do some work for work, do some admin, get a new potted plant, come up with a new healthy eating and exercise plan and cook for housemates, do some kayaking, bake some cookies, clean the house, read a book, play the guitar, find a friend to meet up with and I still need a new pair of trousers for work. But it’s now the afternoon and so far all I’ve done is have a lie in, drink a coffee and surf the internet.

    • #92304
      pinewalla
      Participant

      Hi I bought a book called ‘Delivered from Distraction’ by Edward Hallowell before I was diagnosed. It has a large but really good adhd symptoms questionnaire in it. This helped me to realise yes I do have ADHD regardless of what others say who can be dismissive. There is definitely a prejudice in society that adults don’t have ADHD!

      Try some formal questionnaires. And if you score highly go for a formal diagnosis if you choose. Nothing to be ashamed of and it might change your life.

      Good luck!

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