My Forum Comments
I can totally relate to your feelings! Know first that most people our age will not settle into one career for the rest of our lives. With fewer and fewer companies offering full benefits and good salaries it is hard to find one place to work until retirement. And I know many successful people in their 40s, 50s, and beyond who have made several career moves in their professional life, so don’t feel like you have to decide one thing now to do forever.
I spent all of my 20s doing a modgepodge of jobs — admin work, waiting tables, customer service, etc. it wasn’t until I was 33 that I found a career path in municipal government. For me this has been a great move because I get awesome benefits, reasonable pay, and the ability to move to other offices or departments if I find a position that is a better fit for where I am in my life at that time. I get to work with people and help solve problems — two of my greatest skills.
Write down a list of things you’re good at, things you like doing, and experience you have and see if you can identify some crossover in those things that can give you an idea of jobs you may want to do. Start looking at job postings just to see what’s out there and may interest you. That will help you to identify a starting point for actually landing a job you want. Good luck!
I have similar experiences: I seem to say the wrong thing with some frequency and without being able to see why it was the wrong thing. It can be particularly problematic at work as I work in govt.
While I haven’t been able to solve that issue, besides asking people to check my responses before I send them, my psychiatrist recently gave me a great tool for when I am having obsessive thoughts about a situation. He said to intentionally have the obsessive thought — give yourself a cap like 1 minute or think the thought 5 times — then physically slam your hand down on the table or desk and say “STOP!” It really helps! It allows you to take back control of your thought patterns.
As for getting a diagnosis: there’s nothing to be afraid of. But I would definitely recommend seeing a psychiatrist or therapist who *specializes* in ADHD in order to get the most accurate diagnosis. Some doctors who aren’t familiar with adult ADHD may think your symptoms are something else (and they could be!) or, as in my experience as well as a friend’s, treat you like a druggie who just wants to get some pills. Someone who knows the nuances of ADHD that aren’t listed in the current DSM will be your best resource for diagnosis IMO.
I like your therapists idea to ditch the Tupperware. The only functional solution I have found for myself? Get rid of stuff. As much stuff as possible. I have spent a couple years purging and purging again. It helps me because the less stuff there is, the easier it is to ensure that everything has a specific place where it belongs — which, for me, is a key or staying organized. Plus the fewer dishes I own, the more frequently I HAVE to wash them and put them away. Same with clothes. Finally no more piles of clothes all over! I have to do laundry every week because I adopted a capsule wardrobe.
I hope you find some things that work! I know it’s hard to let go of stuff sometimes )”what if I need it down the road?” “It has sentimental reasons I need to keep it”) but it’s a lot easier to organize when there’s less if it 🙂
Me too!! It’s such a problem for me. I set reminders on my phone but like….see through them. I can organize and plan beautifully….then I forget to check it.
I don’t have any answers but you’re not alone and I wanted to follow this post in case anyone has useful solutions.
First of all, I am so sorry to hear you’re going through this and I know how you feel. In my last office it was an open office environment and my cube mate had Tourette’s — complete with uncontrollable verbal outbursts of an inappropriate nature. I didn’t fault him for his condition, of course, but tried severa times to approach my boss about it. I requested to use an empty office, knowing it would eventually be filled, and he completely ignored my requests. I ended up taking a different position in another office and while I still struggle — a lot sometimes — my new boss is much more understanding. Now, I know that doesn’t mean you can just get a new job, so…
It’s VERY good that you have a diagnosis and see a therapist. And also that previously you were given reasonable accommodations! Why? Because you may be able to get the accommodations you need under the Americans with Disabilities Act! There are some stipulations that must be met to utilize the ADA, including documented history of the condition and how it affects you personally, otherwise preventing you from doing your job (aka it must disable you).
I would document any conversations with your boss about accommodations. Try to compile a timeline of dates, times, and with whom you’ve spoken to show you’ve made attempts in earnest to remedy this. If you have any measurable performance changes from when you had accommodations to not having them, compile the stats in a document. Take all of that info to your company’s HR or similar department, along with a letter from your doc or therapist if you can get one.
Explain to them that because your ADHD is otherwise debilitating, you are entitled under law to reasonable accommodations, and outline those requests in a document. Try to briefly explain what each accommodation does to support your work performance. It will be a daunting task, but it will help you in the end. When talking to HR try not to get aggravated or upset (it will be hard to have to explain yourself yet again, most likely) and also try to word your request so that it doesn’t sound like a threat. As a last resort you could consider a free consultation from an employment attorney that specializes in ADA.
CHECKLIST FOR HR:
Timeline of requests to new management
History of past requests to old manager
Any supporting documents/emails outlining past accommodations
Letter from therapist/doctor
List of current requests and how they will help
Any performance-related stats before/after merger if available
Printed copy of ADA
You can find more info here: http://www.disabilityresource.org/47-adhd-and-the-protection-under-the-ada
Also, when I was taking Evekeo (similar to Adderall) I know there was a huge coupon available. There are some other medication coverage programs out there for FREE that will get you discounted meds for all kinds of things so consider looking into those.
Best of luck to you!! I know exactly how frustrating this is and all the anxiety it can bring. I hope you get a quick resolution!
Well….I have some very unconventional advice for circumnavigating things. I wouldn’t even call it advice, but I can tell you how being a victim of bad circumstances ended up saving me from my student loans:
I’ll try to keep this long story brief, but basically I was underemployed and had a hard time keeping jobs bc of my severe ADHD combined with no insurance and so no meds. I defaulted on all my loans because I was living paycheck to paycheck, relying on public assistance to get by in spite of working 50+ hour weeks at low-wage jobs.
I live in PA, one of three states where lenders for private loans can’t garnish your wages for defaulted loans so I had that keeping me afloat. One lender sued me, which I would not find out about for several years because I was improperly served. The other lender did not sue me within the statue of limitations (4 years from date of default in my state) so they can no longer take legal action against me to collect.
Seven years passed and that default came off my credit report. When I learned of the suit from the other lender, I learned they had also sold my debt and the new creditor had no original paperwork on the debt. I hired a lawyer for $800 who filed to have everything removed (I’m simplifying the process for brevity)because they couldn’t show ownership of my debt. It was totally wiped away. Gone. Forever. It’s like I never owed it. The other debt I eventually settled for about $1,000 on a $25k debt. At this point I had rebuilt my credit and had been at a stable, good-paying job for a while so I opened a 0% interest credit card to pay off the settlement and paid that off over a few months.
I am not recommending this as a solution. My credit was destroyed for a decade, but I was poor so it didn’t matter anyway because I wasn’t in a position to take on credit to begin with. I just wanted to share with you to let you know that if you DO default, it’s not the end of the world. Especially if you don’t own property to begin with. It sucks, yes, but you can totally bounce back!
Good luck and I hope you find an actual answer.
Me too! I know I’m more organized at work because I’m medicated….but also I HAVE to be more organized, or at least my space does, or I would never survive the myriad of other ADHD landmines that office life throws at me.June 11, 2018 at 6:28 pm in reply to: First post ever. Recent Graduate. Confused and Need guidance. #86173
“I view decisions big and small, like I’m about to be enslaved by something.”
I totally relate to this feeling. I get so much anxiety around making decisions that, even if they’re “big”, aren’t irreversible. It’s hard to rationalize with yourself when your brain is being irrational but you already understand that’s what you’re doing! What I do when I catch myself having an unproductive internal conversation about a decision is to remind myself that there is no bad choice. Every choice just leads to different learning opportunities. And at the end of the day, even if people think you are flaking out because of your ADHD and anxiety (hey, maybe you are? So what), it’s not going to matter in a year. Or maybe even a month.
As the person above said, break it into small steps. First try just catching yourself having those thoughts and practice debating with that thought — try rationalizing with your irrational inner voice. From there you can start to reframe the conversation with yourself to be more positive.
But really, you already said it yourself, “life isn’t over, it’s just beginning.” And that’s totally true!
I agree that Penny’s idea sounds really great. My parents definitely had to help me out during that time in my life. I dropped out of college 3 times and had a hard time with jobs. Mainly because all the jobs I could succeed in (service-based, working with my hands) paid and treated me poorly so I would get so fed up that one day I would just quit.
It took a while to figure things out and it didn’t help that all my friends seemed to be light years ahead of me with the whole “adulting” thing, but without the help and most importantly, the love and emotional support of my parents, I would have had an even harder time.
I would add that it’s important for your son to know that you want to help him get to a point of self sufficiency, that you understand that it is particularly challenging for him, and that you know he can succeed.
I hope your family finds a solution that works for you! The fact that you are even here looking for help says a lot.May 16, 2018 at 9:49 am in reply to: HS son still refusing school-when do I say enough is enough? #84343
I also just have to say, reading that the guidance counselor and special ed instructors want to handle him themselves so he can “feel the consequences” turns my stomach and I can almost guarantee that isn’t going to work. First of all, it insinuates that they understand your child better than you do, which it sounds like they don’t. If they think taking away his electronics will modify his behavior, they do not understand ADHD. To bring it back to the “time isn’t linear” point, consequences for ADHD-related defiance should be immediate and impactful. If they are long-term (10 days is an eternity at 17) then there is no light at the end of the tunnel so why modify your behavior at all?
Your son needs you to be his biggest cheerleader. He needs to know you are in his corner, that you hear him and you are doing your best to understand him, and that if he can articulate what he thinks MIGHT work, that you will go to bat for him. You need to be his ally in this, and it sounds like you are truly trying to do that. Don’t let doctors or teachers bully you about what is best for him. As a young adult, if he says distance learning is best for him then trust him. It gives him practice in making major life choices but also will give him confidence knowing that you trust him and that you know he is self-aware.
Be aware that with distance learning, he will still need to maintain some kind of regular schedule to get work done, even if that means every night at 6pm he does some or that he takes a set break for an hour or something mid day.
I’ve had many guidance counselors and even mental health professionals who thought because of their degrees, they knew best, but because they didn’t understand the nuances of ADHD their advice was offbase at best and sometimes downright damaging. This is again why an ADHD specialist AND a coach are extremely helpful.
Sorry for another long reply, I just empathize so much with your son’s situation that I can *feel* all those high school emotions coming back and my heart just aches for him. Darn non-linear time experiences!May 16, 2018 at 9:16 am in reply to: HS son still refusing school-when do I say enough is enough? #84340
Wow, I can relate — to your son! In high school it became evident that even though I was always one of the smartest kids, I just wasn’t good at school. I always felt misunderstood by everyone: teachers, parents, and even my friends. I was so depressed and anxious with undiagnosed ADHD until the end of sophomore year. My teachers would berate me, telling me I was wasting all my potential. One morning, I missed the bus again after recently having started on Adderall and Zoloft and my dad was so angry he said, “No f’ing doctor is going to help you with your problem.” That was 20 years ago and I remember it like it was this morning.
If online school had existed, I would have loved it because I could have worked at my own pace using my own methods. No guidance counselor to tell me I needed to study in silence (I can’t!), no classmates to distract me and make me feel incapable. No teachers to tell me I’m just lazy and punish me.
Your son may need a more kinesthetic environment to engage his senses and help him get out some energy — that could help to keep the energy from coming out emotionally.
He feels misunderstood and he’s probably very right. Has he read articles on this site? It can be really validating. Have you tried an ADHD coach or does your area offer VoTech programs?
After almost failing high school and then failing out of college three times, I decided to go to hair school. The kinesthetic nature was good for me, but it took me 2 years to complete a 10 month program because a big part of ADHD is being unable to self-motivate. I missed so much school and graduation was based on hours logged, so it really took a lot to graduate. It was hard for me to get up in the morning to catch my train because ADHDers are usually not morning people. I couldn’t motivate myself to get out the door in spite of the consequences. I still have trouble with getting myself going to do household chores since I live alone and there’s no one there to nag me to do the dishes.
He may also legitimately not see the point in school, or see the path to the future. As ADHDers, our relationship with time is skewed. Time isn’t linear to us. We live in the moment, often unable to see how current actions lead to future situations. It can be hard to set goals and pursue a path when you really internalize that life happens in the moment. For me, when I was younger (until I was like 30, really) I just couldn’t set goals because I couldn’t see a path past my current situation.
It took all of my 20s to get a job that paid me a truly living wage. But I also had to put in a log of legwork to improve my relationship to my ADHD to earn a job that paid well and offered benefits. My employer ignored my requests for reasonable accommodation. My desk was next to someone who legitimately has Tourette’s and I couldn’t stand the constant outbursts as they were very distracting. I finally ended up in an office of two doing work that is constantly changing with short project deadlines — great for keeping me engaged and helping me work under pressure.
I guess my point is: find out what your son needs from you to be successful. As frustrating as it may be for you, I can almost guarantee he is infinitely more frustrated by feeling misunderstood and probably not even being able to understand himself and why he can’t “just be normal” at a time in his life when being “normal” and assimilating is the most important thing there is, socially. Punishment won’t work and may quite possibly only alienate him from you further.
If his doctor doesn’t *specialize* in ADHD I would also suggest finding one that does. It can make all the difference in not only getting him the help he most needs, but in validating how he feels and how he experiences life.
Best of luck to him and to you!