My Forum Comments
September 23, 2019 at 10:10 am in reply to: I can’t concentrate on my job – colleagues constant chat! #128789
I can certainly relate!
My medication helps with this a lot, and I just had it increased to deal with that and other issues. But I work a desk job, in a “cube”, and the talking..and the ring-tones would constantly cut off my train of thought.
I relied on earbuds and music to help drown out everything else. It helped. I also had sound-reducing headphones for a while that helped that too.
I will also get the headaches when my medication is worn off, or not working, and I keep forcing my brain to do my work. When it comes to that, I have to take a break or stop for the day. But I did realize that if I can keep calm, and even if I have to work slowly to prevent stress- If I can manage that, then I won’t get the headache. Usually.
I am no expert, but Two thoughts:
1. I did have a psychiatrist do the “You must stay on this medication for the 2 weeks and until you have done that, I will not give you anything else to try” – but I was around 17, it was depression medication (an ssri), and I had terrible side effects that made me stop at one week. She said roughly the above after I told her why I stopped taking it after 7 days. (I did get help later on from a different doctor who let me try something different, and that was wonderful)
2. My boyfriend of 7 years has severe anxiety, also depression, ADHD, and I strongly suspect PTSD from his past. I have heard of beta-blockers from going to his appointments with him- his psychiatrist mentioned it as something that is sometimes used, but I gather it wasn’t high on her list and she would pair it with something else- if I remember right- like, it would help..but possibly not a lot. Otherwise, from his current and past lists of medication- I don’t know that he has ever tried beta blockers (from childhood to now). But he has been on some strong sedatives in the past (alprazolam, clonazepam- benzodiazepines they’re called) which were more for the worst panic attacks. He’s off both of those now though, and better for it we think.
I’m wary of this doctor- just because of my doctor in the past. I didn’t get proper treatment for about 4-5 more years after that doctor. I was afraid I would go through the same thing again. But I gather now, most people think that doctor was unreasonable. So, keep that in mind. You ARE supposed to try a lot of these for 2 weeks to really get the full effects, just- in my case, I had feelings like bugs under my skin every day by the second day onward. So- I’d say- if it’s reasonable, listen to your doctor. If your doctor gets out of line though, find a new doctor.
I wanted to put in my two-cents..
I’m not a boy with ADHD, I grew up as a girl with ADD- so some things I can’t speak to- but one thing did stick out to me that I have a thought about.
The “won’t do something unless they get something out of it”. Now, I was a girl, and the way I was raised also pushed me to be very aware of social rules and conventions. So, I often had to be reminded to do things (I can forget at the speed of light!) but I always tried to follow directions and it was explained to me why.
We wash our hands because everything from the toilet to the telephone is filled with germs, and people also don’t like the thought of that hand touching near private parts and then..un-washed..touching the door handle and everything else?! True horror. And we don’t want to get sick.
But the part I wanted to touch on is this: A difference in how our brains work. When you start a project, or start doing the dishes or laundry..of course there are reasons we do them, they need to get done..but after all that work is done..how do you feel? You see, I grew up hearing about taking pride in your work and “the feeling of a job well done” but really..I usually don’t feel it. I don’t feel some happy or positive feeling when I’ve finished a job well done. The reward center of my brain isn’t giving me that. The medication helps a bit, but when you just know: “This is going to take a while (even 60 seconds can be a long time for a kid) and I won’t be happy doing this, and after, I’ll be just as unhappy..maybe worse! Now I’m mentally tired, and stressed.”
I think those things because that’s how it goes, and that makes it hard to be motivated to do those things, especially to start.
So when “normal” brains do a task, upon completion something in the reward center of the brain activates- maybe they feel proud of themselves, or were told someone was proud of them in the past when they did that task. But for me? Nothing. I have to reward myself and I think in the past I was also reminded a lot to do things and then praised or thanked for doing them. That helped perhaps. But it wasn’t the words, it’s the tone, and actually meaning it.
School was hard for me, so when I got home I just wanted to decompress. I didn’t think about plates or dishes or any of that. Mom nagging that we didn’t offer or just do it automatically didn’t help either. But when she’d come over and say “Dad’s coming home late tonight, so can you do the dishes before he gets home? That way he won’t have to do them later and he’s had a hard day at work, so I bet he will feel so relieved that he doesn’t have to do them if they’re already done” – man, I HAD to do them, then. I still remember his smile and the tone of his words “Thank you, sweetie” when he got home. He always did sound relieved.
To me, chores were more mentally/emotionally hard than physically. So I can’t do something “just because Mom said so”, I need to know that it isn’t just a whim. So, some things might be possible to re-frame with that in mind. No one wants to do work for someone who appears lazy, either. So do things with them, and frame it as “many hands make light work” and/or show them in some way what it means to you when they complete that task. -Because, I can’t imagine where I’d be without all the encouragement and support I had. My brain didn’t encourage me. But others did, and that probably helped me more than even I realize.
I still forget things. My mother used to help remind me “do you have /blank/?” And then “Are you sure?” If I answered too quickly, and then I’d have to check. I have my own mental tricks these days, and I can run through that mental checklist myself- but if the list is too long (more than 2-3 items) I might have to make a list. A lot of things I probably have down as habit too.
I have only locked my keys in my car when I had to put something else in my keys-hand. This happened a few months ago, around my parents and my Dad then made me a copy of my key and suggested I keep that spare in my purse (it’s a long cross-body strap type purse, so I wear it and don’t forget it). I swear I am a functioning adult! But I do still really benefit from help sometimes.
Hi there! I’ve been in a similar situation in the past, and I can’t speak for you- but I’d like to share my experience in hopes that it helps.
I was diagnosed in 3rd grade, at age 8. By that point I had attended an extra small class for English and grammar. I had been to a tutor to help me one-on-one with my English homework and sometimes my Math as well. In third grade, I was starting to get behind. My teacher moved me to a side table so I could keep working while she taught the next lessons. I had so much math homework, and starting essays was also a nightmare. I understood the math just fine, but when I’d go to solve a problem, I’d forget the equation and what to do next. So I kept careful notes, and followed my notes for EVERY single math problem. By the 30th or so math problem, I’d only start to remember the steps of solving it on my own.
Socially, I was quiet, but liked I guess- I really had some great classmates around me. But, I’d struggle talking in a group. I couldn’t find that gap in conversation to know when to jump in. Also, people change topic so quickly- by the time I thought of something good to say- the topic changed, and everyone didn’t know what I was talking about. Or Something someone would say would spark an idea or image in my head, which made me laugh or smile- and they’d ask what was funny, so I would tell them- but usually the conversation already moved on, and either way if I told them it would be not as funny as in my head and they wouldn’t get it. Now, I had two best friends when I was young, and they more often understood my humor. I just couldn’t say it in the flow of conversation like they could.
So usually, I just shut up. Or interrupted, felt embarrassed, and then went quiet. I think because- people would hear me blurt out the nonsense, and they’d ignore it because it wasn’t funny and didn’t make sense. Or I interrupted, probably.
I started to go the route of “if I don’t have something worth saying, don’t speak at all” – which was reeeally hard at first (5th grade by then) and I’d literally bite my tongue to get myself not to speak impulsively. That did help me control that, but coming up with the right thing to say is still hard. But I’m always learning. I’d say I can’t often talk and think at the same time- especially on important topics or ones where I have to really think. It helps for me to type, in that way, I can say everything I want and edit if I need to.
I can control my communication better than I used to. I’ve never had a problem with controlling my body or movements, but I do wiggle my toes and move my feet a lot when sitting at a desk I’ve been told.
I used to be afraid of annoying people, and I was always a bit shy, so I learned quickly to avoid repeating myself too much. People seemed to ignore me when I slipped up on that anyway.
Now more on to you. I think, perhaps you beat yourself up too much over awkward pauses or situations. “It’s only awkward if you make it awkward!” A wise girl used to say. So if it’s awkward and not otherwise hurtful or attacking those in your company, move on like it didn’t happen and don’t let it hang in the air and get awkward. Change the subject. Even if it’s the “Soooo…about that weather!”
Remember that you’re not the only awkward one. While you’re being mortified about something you said in your head, the conversation may have changed topic- and no one will remember the thing you said in about 5 minutes. And if they do remember and hold it over you- they are not your friends. Everyone is usually so occupied with their own selves that they won’t notice or won’t remember your “mistakes”.
Energetic, loud, and bouncy, are not always negative. But they are not great in a quiet classroom environment, I know. I have more ADD without as much hyperactivity- I can have it if I’m really happy or excited, but otherwise it doesn’t become a problem for me. I also think for me, I was really self-conscious of myself because I couldn’t NOT notice others. I hear that tapping pen in the back of the room, and someone has their feet moving on the back of my chair, and 3 people walked by the classroom door in the last 5 minutes! So, I didn’t tap my pen, I didn’t bounce my feet, I didn’t wiggle and squirm in my seat. Instead, I wiggled my toes like CRAZY in my shoes silently, I cross my ankles under me, I bounce my heel (without touching the ground to avoid making noise), and I doodled…A LOT.
With Homework, the only thing that helped me was medication, and keeping organized- writing everything down I needed to remember. I learned to fill up my day planner with color-coded writing. (My best friend was really into color coding and colored pens) So all the colors helped me keep track of homework and due-dates and made it a little more bearable…because I like all the pretty shiny colors.
There were times where I did have my medication dose increase because it was becoming less reliable. Or, I changed medication when I reached the max dose of another was also a plan in place. Your system may get used to one, and they can lose their effectiveness over time in that way. So talk with your doctor- it sounds like your current medication is not supporting you properly if homework isn’t getting done in a reasonable amount of time. You may need a different dose, or a different medication altogether.
Sorry for the wall of text, but hope some of that helped!
The way I see it, you have ADHD- it doesn’t HAVE YOU. It’s something that affects you, and your work, and it’s always there, but it doesn’t have to be a core pillar of WHO you are.
I do personally benefit from some of the creativity and hyperfocus in my job, but that’s me. Sometimes it helps me, and sometimes it’s like having brown hair- it’s just there- and I can change things with medication- but it will always come back.
For me, being diagnosed was such a relief as a child because I thought I had a slow brain and might just be stupid- no matter how hard I worked to change it, I couldn’t. But after being diagnosed, and learning about options, I could change the parts I didn’t like. And it didn’t change my personality or interests, but it made hard things easier- and then I could be who I wanted to be.
I don’t like when my brain feels foggy, when I can’t remember things, “blanking out” all of a sudden and slowing my work. I don’t think I have to like those parts either. But it’s there, I was born with it, and I deal with it. I keep it under wraps and under control when it gets too “uppity” the best I can.
But I will say, with the right mood at the end of the day- I do not need a beer to forget the stresses and relax. That I can get with a comedic show and my ADD. Hah! Cheap thrills.
Hello! I’m currently 25, with ADD and Depression- and I ran into kind of what you are describing a few years ago when I was still working with balancing my medication. I found that too high an ADD dose and too low a depression-medication dose made me feel that way. I needed something for my ADD to get through classwork- but if I didn’t have my fluoxetine (or early on, too low of a dose) that the anxiety got BAD. I’d leave my art classes during work-time to walk a lap around the building just to try to calm down a bit. So, for me, the anxiety and overwhelming noise in my head went away when we raised the dose for my depression medication. With that I felt much less sad, more happy and more calm.
Remember that ADHD medication is a stimulant, and for anxiety- people usually take something that is not a stimulant. (Like self-medicating with alcohol to calm down, because alcohol is a depressant. – which I do not condone doing!!)
So talk to your doctor, and consider acting on your Depression more if you’re still feeling sad and overwhelmed. But you’ll have to work out what is right for you!
Oh boy…I was stuck in the same rut not long ago. …and I still have a lot of Wip pieces on my home computer too. For me, I found it hard to finish something if it was just for me. I wouldn’t want to show someone my unfinished piece, but if I’m the only one looking at it and I got the parts done that I wanted most…I don’t know, I would just get bored with it. I could work more on it. I TRIED. But, it didn’t make me happy. And if it didn’t make me feel good doing it, why was I doing it?
The truth is, I’m not much better at this. I try to stick to smaller pieces in my off time when I just need to draw or create something. But I have a job where I have been asked to draw and create things. I work in Indesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop almost every day now for work- and I made my boss give me deadlines, and I do get things done! If it’s for someone else, and they need me and my skills- that helps me. So these days, I don’t think about all the half-done wip stuff as much…it helps just to have something I’m assigned, get it done, and move it along. I do try to not start a side-project if I don’t have the idea fleshed out enough though. That probably does save some space on my computer.
I would talk about your motivation and symptoms with your doctor/psychiatrist. From my experience- concerta is the best balance for me, but I’ll tell you (for me) it’s a gentler drug than the adderal or ritalin -at least for me. For me, adderall really hits me like a freight train when it starts working, but also wears off in a moment like turning off a light. Concerta always kinda faded in and then faded out for me- and I think it does “just enough” to get me by- so I don’t feel like a working machine.
My advice- is just talk to your doctor. Lowering the dose might be the fix, a different medication might work better, I don’t know. But I will say, I have never had any ADHD medication make me more lethargic or more unmotivated. But that’s just my experience. Hope it helps!