My Forum Comments
I had similar problems. I had the “gate keeper” Dr laugh at me for suggesting I might be ADHD because I’m neither fidgity nor addicted to drugs or alcohol (also, the “goal” is, as she told me, is to get off of any medication as we grow out of it). What worked for me was talking to my GP. He gave me a one page symptom test to fill out, said I’m not hyperactive but certainly am inattentive, and gave me a prescription for a non stimulant. Between that and coffee I can get a lot done and love my family the way I always wanted to.
While this may not be the best approach to medicine it’s working for me. The point being a GP can prescribe medication and my understanding of ADHD is the best test for it is whether the medication works. Given your insurance situation, this might help.
Best of luck
I can’t talk about my kids but I can talk about myself. I’m 59. For nearly 6 decades I always felt like the odd one. I, too, do not have hyperactivity. But the comments from teachers and students left a scar. A year ago I found out I could be ADD only because in a fit of frustration I accidentally tripped onto a list of characteristics that described me quite well. It took a year to find someone that would help. I’ve been on medication for 3 weeks and I can do things that I couldn’t even imagine a month ago. I did the meditation and yoga, I had to exercise or else I would have killed someone. Fight or flight was who I was. I don’t eat crappy food because it makes me sick. So I did all that stuff and it still didn’t make that big a difference. I will add that after 59 years I have a lot of bad habits. One thing I can tell is that I might finally start being the person I always thought I should be. That has been my hope my entire life. When I was in fifth grade and the teacher stood me up in front of the class and ridiculed me all I had was hope. When the high school teachers all wrote “If only Matt would apply himself …” all I had was hope. When I couldn’t hold a job all I could do was hope that one day I’d figure out why I struggled so much. Now, just maybe, that hope has paid off. My career is over but not the time I spend with my kids or my wife. In the past few weeks I’ve really enjoyed being with my family when I used to just want to run away whenever they had fun.
As for your daughter, yes, there are risks. But it’s not like all the drugs out there are experimental. They’ve been studied for a long time. What you can do is understand those risks. Be a mom and look out for those issues. At the same time, give your daughter a chance to be who she is. Yes, it’s a risk, but you can minimize it. Face it, in 3 years your daughter will be old enough to do this without you. Help her now and do it right.
I truly wish you the best of luck.
Hi Butterfly. I’m 59 and didn’t know much about ADD at the start of this year. I tried getting a diagnosis but … long story and I guess that’s typical. But all the rest of ADD describes me. Only driven if I can emotionally connect and then I can’t let go, otherwise I just can’t get interested in anything, rejection sensitivity, a history of screwing up jobs. But I’m not hyperactive nor addicted to chemicals and I live in a smallish town with crappy insurance so I just make do.
HOWEVER, things have turned much better. Just knowing what might be coming around the corner has helped immensely. I started keeping track of my moods. You know how eskimos have many different ways to describe snow – and likely the English describing rain 🙂 – I’ve really dug down into how I’m feeling. Am I calm because I feel defeated or because I’m content? How did I handle the bad news? Did I explode? Walk away? I’ve figured out that I need to have a good dose of aerobic exercise every 2-5 days. 45 minutes is magic. I always knew I needed exercise but now I can tell when things are starting to get off track with enough time to get in some exercise before I explode. I call it hunting. When I need a fix of dopamine, desperate for finding something that makes me feel good. Exercise does wonders for my emotions. I’m learning that certain types of music helps. Whereas I used to really go for super upbeat music I now see how calm, beautiful music can just level me out. I have a nighttime ritual of slowly calming things down (and screens before bed are bad). I’m learning how to work with my mind that likes to skip about rather than against it. I have a task list app and small, easy to complete tasks help a lot. I take more time to get anything done. I try to let go of things that are keeping me from those I love. I have coffee in the morning and around noon and that helps calm things down and let the optimist in me want to do things and focus. The hunting is worst in the evening when I’m tired, so I’ve found that’s the best time for me to do mindless chores, like cleaning. Washing dishes can be meditative? My wife is not arguing with it. I always thought I did great work in the evening but it came at a price of getting wound up and then sleeping became a problem.
It’s not perfect, though. But it is better. A couple of days ago someone at a place I volunteer just got on my case about something he really had no idea what he was talking about. Not too long ago I would have just gone home absolutely miserable, defeated, and shaken to the core. Rather, I recognized I was going down but decided that if this guy was going to ruin this for me then I’d just go find some place else to volunteer. It may sound all wonderful but it’s a 3 steps forward and 2 steps back. Again, there is progress.
In other words, ignore what that guy said. Yes, you’ve gone through crap and that’s all he is saying. What he didn’t address is whether or not it can get better. It can. It will. It will not be perfect. Keep looking for positive people and ignore the nay sayers. If you can hold someone you love, or enjoy a beautiful sunset, or take a deep breath during a rain when everything has that wonderful fresh rain smell, life will be good.
I remember some things but not nearly as much about my childhood as my wife remembers about hers. Of course, this didn’t stop at the end of childhood.
Embarrassing incident: I went to a 40th class reunion and there was a women there that remembered me in great detail. I didn’t even recognize her name. I went back and looked at her photo in the yearbook (she had changed a lot and for the better) and then vaguely remembered her, and the crush I had had on her. Oh well.
Sounds like me. And now that I’m almost 60, it’s getting worse.
I’d suggest focusing on the expensive items and have a place where they ALWAYS go. It will eventually become rote. The laptop ALWAYS goes in the backpack. The backpack is ALWAYS on his back or in his lap while on the bus. Not on the floor or beside him. The phone is ALWAYS in his pocket or on the night stand charging. Not in the backpack, except in the small pocket when he’s swimming. I have places where I always put stuff. To this day I always have my backpack in contact with me when traveling. For the important stuff there’s a place for everything. My wife doesn’t understand why I want a phone that’s small enough to easily fit in my front pocket but I don’t even lose it as often as she loses her phone. Sun glasses and reading glasses are another story. That’s why I don’t spend much money on them and have multiple pairs.
As for those inexpensive items, when he gets upset after losing them tell him it’s okay. I have to remind myself that it’s part of who I am. i lose stuff. When I get upset I intentionally stop and talk myself down from the anger. I give myself a mental hug. I really wish that when I was your son’s age someone would have told me that.
I’m no doctor, so take this with lots of salt.
It sounds like a classic scenario. Very successful in elementary school, but she hit her limit in high school and is struggling. She being really frustrated, to me, sounds like she has a big heart. She’s a talented pianist.
Is she at all interested in the 4 classes or is this something she just has to take? One thing I’ve realized is I do not respond to external motivation. If I had to take a class in college but was not interested then I did poorly compared to the classes I had passion for. Everyone else got A’s in the easy electives and struggled with the hard classes but I was the opposite because I internalized the challenge of the hard classes. It was an emotional connection that motivated me. This is an important idea. Where that emotion came from, I don’t know. It might be that after struggling with K-12 I finally found something I could do so the bigger the challenge the better. It could also be that the mental gymnastics of solving hard problems I could get my head around was perfect for me.
So, is it possible that your expectations are obscuring her view of what she wants to do for a career? My mom, dad, and both my brothers all wanted the three of us siblings to be engineers. So I soaked that up and tried really hard. Turns out that it wasn’t too far off from what I really wanted to do but just enough to cause problems. What I really enjoyed was creating, anything. Or solving tough problems. I eventually got into software and that was a reasonable fit. But I’ve found problems in the strangest places that I’ve really enjoyed. Turns out I like working with children and teens as well. I’m not at all suggesting your granddaughter do these things but just that she has to find her thing.
When she plays piano does she get emotionally connected to the music? Does she see and feel the music or does she just play it? Does she enjoy it but feel that this is not an acceptable career in your eyes? or maybe her parents?
There are also articles on “good jobs for those with ADHD” on this and other websites.
Do you love yourself?
I suspect not, but let me explain. First of all, I could be your brother. Well, more likely father since I am 30 years older. But we share a lot of similar characteristics.
Last week I was at a CHADD meeting and the guy running it had everyone talk about their challenges. It was one of these “wow! you do that too?” kinds of things. Failure as a kid and being told of it, forgetting important stuff, pain, ways to deal with it, hyper focus, you know all about it. Then the facilitator said that we’re all talking about what we do, not who we are. We value ourselves based on what we do, not who we are. My interpretation of that is: maybe I don’t love myself. All of my stress comes from impressing others. My entire career was based on proving the bastards in elementary school wrong. I didn’t go to a top 10 law school but I did get a PhD. It’s weird that everyone says that ADDers only respond to internal motivation and yet here I am trying to win the praise of others. It’s a paradox. My wife would really like it if I cleaned up my crap. I know that. But I’d rather win her praise by cooking a fantastic meal or writing a hilarious story. Cleaning is boring. Creating is fun. And yet I can’t just create for myself. Maybe if I was just ADD without all this baggage I could. But after years of rejection I can’t even see myself anymore. All I can see is what I do. And I fear like hell that someone will say I did a lousy job. Anxiety can be horrible for me when it comes time to perform, and to win approval.
So, if you really look at yourself are you focused on what you do or who you are? Do you see yourself as someone that does things to impress others? Can you just sit still and be happy? Do you believe in yourself?
I don’t know anything about psychiatry so maybe you should ask someone that does about all of this. It apparently takes more than just drugs to make things right. With that said here’s my guess about your guilt. You went through a big shock finding out about your ADD. People that survive big shocks can feel guilty. You’re dealing with it. Search “shock guilt.” Your reality is changing.
I do have some interests that have stuck. And it’s taken a life time to find them. I can’t find a common theme for those that have stuck. However, I did start another thread about being addicted to problem solving. Maybe the ones that have stuck are the ones that give me a rush. When I take a good picture it’s a wonderful thing just for me. I could care less what others think of it.
GianMalone, I can’t answer most of your questions. I know nothing about meds.
However, I can help with your last question: “What else can I do for her to be her best?” Give her a hug every day and tell her you love her. It may sound obvious or stupid, but some day it likely will be really important for her. Her image of herself, if anything like mine, is going to take a beating from teachers and peers. There is nothing better than a mom’s hug. Love for no reason at all. I’m 58 and I still remember that my mom was there for me. That was all I really wanted at times. So, love is #1. BTW, a hug is a great way to say you’re sorry, especially after you’ve hit your limit and exploded. (trust me, I know). Never go to bed angry/sad about how you reacted. A hug to a sleeping child will also do you wonders.
Number 2 comes from the fact that your daughter will be different and that means her own set of wonderful and hard. The truth is she will have to figure out a lot of this on her own. If she’s like all the other ADHD people she will be persistent. You won’t be able to solve her problems. What you can do is help her solver her own. I have a neighbor who’s son is somewhere on the Asperger’s spectrum. She accepted it and worked with him on funny subjects, such as: When someone asks you how you’re doing, they don’t really want to know, here are your answers to choose from. Her son is doing great. So, your daughter is different. That’s okay. Some day the melt downs will be nothing more than anything else. And some day they, too, will go away.
Good luck. It will work out.
Just to add one more, so to say. I do have lots of interests. I have learned to corral them down to a set that I really care about. When new ideas come in I entertain them, without spending much money, and see how it goes. Usually it falls off. My current new one is drawing. I really do like to doodle. Now I’m trying to add color. Rather than spend lots of money on brushes and stuff I just went and bought a $7 set of markers and some blank note cards. We’ll see.
It’s interesting that many people here seem to have similar interests. Things that look pretty seem to be one of them. Art, photography, landscape design, interior design. I also like cooking. Scouting and writing software round it out for me. That seems to be enough.
Somewhere I read something that talked about getting into a groove. I guess that’s hyper focus. It requires both a challenge and the ability to see the goal. So, if I can see the fish pond with the rock water fall and the oriental trees around it in my mind, and its a big challenge, then I’ll dive in and build it. If I see the picture of the lit bridge at night over a river, but don’t quite know the right angle, zoom, etc, then I’ll bury myself in walking all over a city to get just the right photo.
The problem with all this is hyper focus is the only time I feel satisfied. The rest is just jumping around. This would be fine except that given the challenge that drives the hyper focus I have to push to achieve the goal. It’s so tiring. Every once in a while I’ll be wandering through the woods. Not a care in the world. Just soaking it all up. There is no goal. Nothing that has to be done. Peaceful. After years and years of trying new things I wonder if all I’m really doing is looking or something that will bring me that peace.
Well, this has been a jumpy post, and on any other forum I’d try and fix it. But on this forum I don’t mind just letting me be me. 🙂
When it comes to writing, I write it out, and then I tear it down to size. My writing is better than most people’s but it takes time. Any good writing from anyone does.
As for speaking that was always hard. What helps is not worrying so much. If I’m speaking in front of a crowd I have a list of points that will connect my thoughts. I try and make it through the points. If I miss some I don’t worry about it. Not sure I’m a good speaker but a lot of people appreciate the fact that I don’t give the usual boilerplate talks.
In either case, give yourself a time limit and stick with it.
Don’t plan so much. Let me plan it for you! Just joking, that would be a disaster as I couldn’t write a plan to get out of a paper bag. So, start by writing whatever pops into your mind, related to you and ADHD. For example, how old are you? Have you been diagnosed? If so how long ago? What works? What doesn’t? Why did you come to this website? Something will bubble up and then the magic fairy will suggest some articles to read. Go read them. Repeat. This method skips the whole write-a-plan/decision-paralysis methodology that screws me up and, just a hunch, you as well.
If I’m completely off track then please ignore what I’ve said. I’m just trying to get you to talk.
By the way, the magic fairy’s name is Penny and she’s really helpful.
March 10, 2018 at 5:01 pm in reply to: 42 with a history or poor grades before GED and back in college. help!! #78670
Hi Andrew. I’m not sure if I can help but I’ll try. I’m likely not as high up the adhd band as you but I struggled in school. K-12 was rough. My last semester as a senior in high school I found a passion for math and science. It’s not that I really cared about the math or the science, but it was a giant puzzle and for whatever reason I learned that big puzzles are enticing to me. So I went to engineering school and did twice as much work as anyone else and did okay. It wasn’t just the puzzle, it was that I also found out I like being creative. I took classes not to learn the material, and certainly not to get a piece of paper, but to help me create. The harder the class the better I did, as long as I could somehow see using the material to create something. My senior project was to make a computer controlled NC mill, way before anyone else had thought of it.
No, I’m not saying creativity is what you should do, it’s what worked for me. But it worked because it was a trigger for me. You’re proud of being a Marine, and you should be. You’re proud of your work career. (And to be honest, 20 years in the same career is impressive for anyone.) So is there a way to tie your class work to that pride? Find an emotional connection between what you’re proud about to the course work you have left to complete. You want the degree to prove to others you can do it, and I really understand that because that was also motivation for me, but it’s a bit negative in a way. Don’t worry about proving the idiots wrong. Worry about finding the emotional spark that gets you going. You said you know what teaching styles work for you. Go talk to the profs and find out what their teaching style is. If they don’t like you talking to them then it’s likely that they are the wrong prof for you. I don’t know how to say this but my guess is marines know how to get crap done. So use that spirit to figure out who the best profs are. Most good profs really like to see students that are engaged and want to learn. That’s what you are. Make a connection with them. Ask them about their course. Ask them how they teach their course. Figure out questions that will give you an idea of their teaching styles. Talk to them often. If they know you really care about the subject, and you’ve said you love learning and want that spark back, then show them that you care. If you can connect with them then they will give you the benefit of the doubt. Most students are just trying to skate by and do the minimum. Profs hate those students. You have passion. Let it out so they can see it. The good profs will help you out. It might be advice. It might be extra help. It might just be giving you extra time. The good profs are also passionate about their subject. Believe me, they want to see the spark they have grow in a student. You have something that few other students have: passion. Use that.
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.
stevewmac, try not to be mad at who you are. I think this is one of my life’s biggest challenges: just accepting myself for who I am. Just a hunch but this is probably true for everyone. Anyway, my current project is remodeling the bathroom. We’ve wanted to do this for a few years. We kept looking for ideas. It was like we were waiting for the perfect plan. The sticker shock also was something else. So I finally said it was time for a new approach. I got out some of my tools and just started demoing the room. I had a reasonably good idea of what needs to go. I was going to do the plumbing but I’ve since decided it really isn’t that expensive to hire a professional for that part. The design is changing but my wife and I are settling on something that will be really cool. Not sure about the tub yet.
The point is I’m doing this project like I do mostly everything. There is no concrete plan. I iteratively bounce around all of the parts and think about each, digging down into detail and then jumping off to another part when I feel bogged down in it. After a while I feel ready to begin. I do know what has to be done in what order. I will take my time so my iterartive mind has time to go over everything to make sure I don’t forget anything. My wife understands this process and just lets me be. I’ve done this enough that I have confidence that it will be nice when I’m done. I’ve never done a bathroom before and I doubt if I’ll do it again. I might have wasted $40 on plumbing equipment I won’t really use but I will save at least $10k on the whole project.
My suggestion is for you is to think of a project that you could use a new skill for. Start small. Understand why you walk away. If you’re like me you find a road block and give up on everything. Rather, temporarily give up on that one small part and find another. Just know you’ll get back to it. Also, when you find a small part you’re comfortable with, do it. Don’t worry about the other parts. Again, start small. Just keep coming back to it. I try to create an emotional connection to a project because I know that will bring me back. The usual external motivations don’t work. So, a bathroom that my wife can soak in a tub and be pampered is the image in my head that keeps bringing me back. Because I owe her for so much that she’s done for me.