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  • in reply to: The ADHD Home Chef #113353


    I’ve pretty much curated my recipes to the point that I have most of the staple ingredients on hand at all times. But sometimes I do get caught in the middle.

    Fortunately, I’ve been cooking long enough that I can usually pivot and substitute another ingredient that will also work and taste good, even if it isn’t the same thing I started out to make.

    Like this past week I was going to make pumpkin muffins and discovered the can of pumpkin I just KNEW was in the pantry, was imaginary. But we did have some frozen blueberries, so it turned into blueberry muffins.

    For following recipes, it’s the physical transfer from looking away at a cookbook or printout, then back to my workspace, where I lose track of things. I stuck a pushpin in my cupboard door right above my main workspace, and I hang the recipe card from a binder clip. That way it’s at eye level, and I miss things a lot less.

    Another tip I got from a productivity book is “mise en place”. This is the way they cook in restaurants or culinary school. I pull out everything I need for the recipe – ingredients and tools – and arrange it before I start working on it. That helps a lot.

    You are correct about recipe times. They are total BS and bear no relationship to reality at all. Three minutes to caramelize onions? On what planet?

    But my main saving grace is that I rarely cook from recipes. I’ve got a few techniques under my belt, so I read them to get the concept of WHAT it is –

    This is a stir-fry with shrimp and noodles.
    This is a baked pasta dish with tomato sauce.
    This is a pureed soup with a roux base.

    And then I just use whatever I have on hand to make it. I’ve made cornbread with cream cheese instead of eggs (it’s protein and fat). Delicious.

    I’ve substituted yogurt for buttermilk, or apple-cider vinegar for white wine. Coconut oil for butter in a pie crust. Polenta is basically the same thing as grits.

    I’m not feeding America’s Test Kitchen. I’m feeding the hungry people at my table who don’t give a hoot as long as it’s tasty and comes in large quantities.

    in reply to: Anyone else a terrible internet person? #113352

    I have said things my whole life that I wish I hadn’t. Not usually mean, but thoughtless or random or embarrassing. But yeah, sometimes mean.

    Not being able to look at the face or hear the voice of the person I’m talking to definitely makes it worse. And I”m far more likely to be callous or argumentative. So the Internet is a pitfall.

    I realized a while back that if I can’t stop the blurting (which I can’t), then I was going to have to work on the inside. You know that saying, “out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.”

    I have to tend my heart very carefully, feed it positivity and love as much as possible. And when I’m doing that, it makes a big difference in the kind of things I blurt out. When I stop, the “overflow” starts to get ugly again.

    in reply to: I'm sick of being told ADD is a crutch. #113351

    You know, it’s very interesting that you say you’re jealous of people who don’t have ADHD. I’m the same age as you but diagnosed late. I can’t imagine being jealous of “the normals.”

    I would rather deal with every single problem my ADHD brain causes than be trapped in a vanilla brain that could only think about one thing at a time. That sounds like pure hell.

    Normals have their own problems, I wouldn’t trade for the world.

    in reply to: Constant word association #113350


    That’s part of what we do – making and recognizing patterns or connections that other people can’t see. And the thoughts pinging around randomly.

    Just think, some people do all kinds of meditation or mental exercises, or take drugs to try to get to a state of free-association that comes to us naturally! It’s pretty cool.

    But it can be a problem when you’re trying to have a straightforward conversation with people.

    I’m really open about my diagnosis, so with friends & loved ones I can say, “Sorry, I was pinging” or “Sorry, squirrel! Can you go back to [whatever the last thing I remember]?”

    With other people, I try to breathe and relax to minimize the blurting (trying *really hard* to focus, or not to blurt, just makes it worse). And if I am pinging inside my head, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, I’m not following you. Could we go over that again?”

    Sometimes it helps to do ‘active listening” or if it’s appropriate to the situation, maintain physical contact with the person like a hand on their arm. (Obviously that’s not always okay, it depends on relationship and context).

    Here’s a kicker: My husband is also ADHD and is super, super into animation. So he’s constantly quoting The Simpsons, Futurama, South Park, Bojack Horseman, etc, whenever we’re trying to have a laid-back conversation. Drives me nuts because I don’t know 99 percent of the references he’s making.

    So then he freaking EXPLAINS THE ENTIRE EPISODE TO ME. Just stick a fork in my eye, please.

    But I can get him back now. Because I’ve gotten into Game of Thrones and he isn’t. So now I get to do the whole “explain the entire backstory so you get the significance of the quote” back to him.

    Karma, baby.


    It was a huge relief. One of the best days of my life!

    I was Dx in my 40’s. I was a straight-A student through high school, and an A/B student in college. Nobody would ever have thought I had anything like ADHD.

    Honestly, I’ve been the same person with the same strengths, weaknesses, and traits my whole life, but I don’t think I had the “D” when I was a kid. The “D” is for Disorder. It’s when your traits are causing you serious problems. My traits are lifelong, but my problems – my “D” – started when I was an adult.

    My parents created a very structured, calm home environment. We didn’t do a lot of extracurricular or social activities. Some, but not a crowded schedule. Downside: my mom kind of infantilized us and didn’t require us to have a lot of responsibility (which made the transition to adulthood that much harder). But the upside was that I was never really challenged much in my weaknesses. I coasted on my strengths.

    Women more commonly present with inattentive subtype (what used to be called ADD back in my day). I test very low on inattention, I’m actually pretty good at keeping my attention on track (compared to other ADHDers).

    I am much higher on impulsivity and hyperactivity. I can hyperfocus like nobody’s business – to a scary degree sometimes. I lose time. I don’t notice people in the same room.

    That is what got me through school, that deep hyperfocus.

    Unfortunately, when you’re a grownup and you have to be responsible for maintaining your life and health and home and relationships, and especially when you’re a parent and responsible for OTHER PEOPLE’s lives… forgetting everything and losing track of time is a problem.

    Add in the messiness, disorganization, losing stuff, forgetting tasks & appointments, making wrong turns & getting lost while driving, etc etc etc –

    I was a good student, but I’m kind of a crap grownup. And no matter what I tried, it didn’t change. It didn’t get better.

    Well, I could pick one thing, obsess over it, and make it better for like, six weeks to three months. And then the wheels would come off and it would be like I never even tried. Habits just don’t stick.

    So when I finally found out what it was, it was awesome. I’m not a crap grownup or a crap person in any way! I have funky wiring in my head that goes fritz sometimes. Sometimes it’s awesome cool fritz. Sometimes it’s a problem fritz.

    But see, now that I know the fritz is always going to be there, I can stop fighting it. I can take all that enormous amount of energy that I used to use on trying to change myself, and use a tiny fraction of it to create buffers and systems and safety nets to minimize the problems from the fritzing.

    Problem-solving is SO MUCH EASIER than trying to pretend I don’t have problems. Immensely easier.

    So I have a lot of energy left over to accomplish things that are worthwhile and make me happy.

    I hope you have that too.

    And I’m sorry that people are questioning your diagnosis. There are a lot of people – even medical professionals – who are very, very ignorant about ADHD in adults.

    People thinking you don’t really have ADHD is probably more a reflection of their ignorance than of your diagnosis. Everything you’ve said here sounds exactly like classic ADHD. Plus the amazing battery of tests – I’d trust all that way more than one doctor’s strange idea that everyone in their 20’s has abused prescription drugs.

    What a bizarre thing to say.

    As for the Ritalin, all meds are not created equal, and don’t work the same for everyone. If the Ritalin isn’t helping you, or you can’t deal with the side effects, you can try something else. But give yourself a little time to acclimate to it before you decide.

    Starting meds feels really weird. It’s altering your brain chemistry, after all. How could it not feel weird? Give yourself a week or 2 to adjust and then see if it’s helping.

    Best of luck to you!

    in reply to: Should I go to a treatment program? #113257

    I don’t know if THIS treatment program is the right one for you, but yes you should go to *A* treatment program.

    Addiction is a pernicious, incredibly difficult thing to deal with, and ADHD makes it even harder. This stuff about “I should be strong enough to do it myself” is your brain playing tricks on you. Needing people around you to help and support is not weakness, it’s good strategy. You don’t go in to fight the Big Bad solo – you need your Badass Brigade to have your back.

    It’s worth a call to see if the program can work with your school committments. An even more likely path would be to talk to your academic advisor and see what the process is for taking a medical leave of absence or getting extensions on your work.

    Students encounter health problems ALL THE TIME, whether it’s major depression, or cancer, or getting hit by a car, or substance issues. Schools have policies and plans in place to help students take the time they need for medical treatment without completely derailing their education.

    You are having a health issue. You may need to take some time for treatment. There’s no shame in that, and it’s not abnormal or weird. If you don’t want to disclose all the details of your situation, your advisor SHOULD be able to help you find accommodations and workarounds without knowing exactly what the problem is. (There’s always the chance they are a jerk, but most are not).

    You should be able to say, “I am dealing with a health issue, and I need to schedule treatments on these days/times for this long. I may wind up missing some classes or have trouble keeping up with my work. What can we do to work this out?”

    Best of luck to you. Hang in there!

    in reply to: Stimulants causing fatigue? #113253

    Sleeping 17 hours a day and still tired? This is a big deal and you need to get seen ASAP.

    Skypark’s info about thyroid contains some accurate info, but it’s a bit overstated.

    Thyroid is ONE possible factor in fatigue. It is common and often underdiagnosed and undertreated, or goes undiagnosed for too long. To say that “if you’re tired like that, it MUST be thyroid” is not accurate at all.

    Thyroid problems do not come on suddenly and make you suddenly – within a week – start sleeping most of the day and still tired. They creep up on you gradually over months or years. And hypothyroidism does not cause unintentional weight loss.

    Any sudden change in your health or worsening of symptoms that happens immediately after a change in meds is most likely related to the meds. Call your doctors office and get an appointment ASAP. Tell the receptionist you believe you’re having a bad reaction to the meds and that you’re sleeping 17 hours a day.

    They should get you seen right away. That is not normal or okay.


    That’s really interesting! I was dx and started Adderall in my 40’s. I have always enjoyed dancing, music, and played piano as a child, but was not intensely musical. I have sung in choirs off and on as an adult.

    I found that Adderall helped me in choir, because it was easier to keep up with my part in the sheet music and not skip lines or get muddled. So that made it more enjoyable and less stressful in that way. I haven’t noticed an increased appreciation for music, in fact it’s easier to tune out background music.

    But I will give it a shot and see if the subjective experience is different. Of course, the problem with a subjective experience is that if you’re intentionally *looking* for it, that changes the experience automatically! I’ll give it a try and reply back.

    (if I remember to reply back, LOL)

    in reply to: SO insanely angry #109553

    As one published author to another, send that dang manuscript out. Give it to betas, give it to an editor, do their feedback and SHIP, dammit.

    12 years and 3 complete rewrites – you have to get that out of your way, even if it winds up in the dumpster. It’s never going to be perfect. Ever.

    Your personal growth affects how & what you write, and vice versa. Working on one piece this long means you are already a different person than when you started. So you need to be writing a different book. Trying to turn the book you needed then into the book you need to write now is going to keep you frustrated.

    You can’t get the growth you need from this book until you declare it finished and move past it. Get other eyes on it and let it go.

    It’s terrifying but such relief. Best wishes.

    in reply to: I'm sick of being told ADD is a crutch. #109552

    You know, the thing about “just keeping at the habit until it sticks” is kind of a double-edged sword.

    Persistence is key, yes. But I find in my own life that there are some routines I simply never habituate to. I can keep at it for weeks or months, and the second something derails me (illness, a family emergency, some disruption outside my control) it just vanishes. There’s no baseline to go back to, It’s like I never had the habit to begin with. I have to put in all the conscious effort to rebuild the routine from the beginning.

    That’s the thing I’ve had to make peace with: some things just don’t stick. On the one hand, it’s frustrating. On the other hand, that puts me in “starting over” and “learning” mode, which I do enjoy.

    in reply to: Anyone trying binaural beats? #109545

    Yes, I like them. You can also get binaural tracks on Spotify.

    They do seem to help me get into a deep flow state when I’m writing.

    Of course, it could just be they they block out distracting noise and aren’t catchy or singable, like my favorite music. I mean, I don’t know if the binaural part is really doing the trick,bor if any slightly boring but pleasant music would do the same.

    I should pull those out again.

    in reply to: What makes you cry and if you know please include why #109539

    I think all those things are pretty normal. I know plenty of people without ADHD who get weepy or choked up in a great motivational speech or an emotional movie. Those things are actually designed by talented people purposefully to evoke strong emotions! So the fact that they worked, just means that…those people are good at their jobs, you know?

    I cried so hard during the live show of “Les Miserables” that I shook the people on the other end of the row. They were looking down at me to see if I was having a seizure. But I was just really really into the show!

    Crying is a release valve for your emotions (or your stress) spilling over. There are a lot of different triggers for crying, but the only thing it “means” is that you needed a cry. It does a lot of the same things to your body and your brain that laughing does – it oxygenates your blood and releases endorphins, for example.

    So something that might not make you cry when you’re rested and feeling great, could really set you off if you’re tired, stressed, hungry, in pain, upset about something else, or physically ill.

    And the more stressed you are (mentally or physically), the more you need that release. For example, you mentioned crying all the way through a movie when you were on a weekend away from rehab.

    I bet you were dealing with a lot of important stuff in rehab. Then when you got home and let your guard down, the movie just tipped you over the edge into letting all that emotion out because you needed to.

    When I was recovering from a serious illness that took months, I would cry at the drop of a hat – TV commercials, not being able to comb my hair, geez – anything. And that’s a normal thing that happens when you are really exhausted and run down.

    I think it’s interesting that you used to get emotional when people asked you if you were okay. To me that would suggest that you really needed some kindness, and it touched your heart.

    Some things that sometimes make me cry or at least get teary-eyed (some sad, some happy):
    Fighting with my husband
    Giving an impassioned speech or talking about a really important moment in my life
    Attending weddings or baby baptisms.
    My wedding vows
    When someone I love dies
    When someone gives me a really meaningful compliment
    When I’m regretful over something I did.
    Telling people I love how I feel about them, how important they are to me.
    Talking about important things in my religious/spiritual life
    Scenes in movies, books, or tv about people being reunited, about love & sacrifice, about loss/death/never seeing each other again, about people achieving a hard-won reward, about parents or mentors telling someone they are proud of them…a lot of stuff.

    I’m going to gently disagree with Ranma upthread. I’m not a psychologist, but my understanding of emotional dysregulation is that it’s when emotions are disproportionate or inappropriate/unrelated to the situation, or cause an inappropriate or damaging outburst (like smashing up the furniture or threatening suicide).

    I think (to use Ranma’s example) an abuse survivor unexpectedly watching scenes of child abuse is a TOTALLY NORMAL thing to get upset and cry about. Like, I think it would be a little bit weird if you didn’t.

    So I guess my questions to you would be, do you feel like crying over unexpected things is causing you a problem? Are you embarrassed about it, or what?

    in reply to: Feeling resentful about his ADHD #109538

    Hi, OP!

    I just came across your update today and hope you are all right.

    I will reiterate, as a person with ADHD married to a person with ADHD:

    If your boyfriend is physically preventing you from meeting your own needs and having autonomy, like blocking you from leaving the room when you want to, badgering you so that you can’t work or sleep, keeping you from leaving the house when you want to, making his anger and negative emotions your fault?

    That is abuse. Emotional and potentially physical.

    Please call a domestic abuse hotline and make a plan for your safety and talk to a counselor or peer advisor trained in domestic violence issues to discuss what you want to do.

    The reasons don’t matter. Whether he can “help it” doesn’t matter. No diagnosis makes it okay to be physically controlling or emotionally abusive to a partner.


    Saying “well, he doesn’t do this when he’s on his meds…” is exactly like saying “well, he only hits me when he drinks.”

    I know it’s complicated. And I know you’ve been normalizing this for a long, long time.

    It’s not normal.

    Please prioritize your own needs here. He is a grownup. He will work out how to take care of himself.

    You need to take care of yourself.

    in reply to: Diagnosed in 20 minutes as not ADHD #109522

    I’m sorry, that NP is an idiot and should be reported.

    Stimulant medication does not speed up racing thoughts in a ADHD brain. It creates clarity, focus, and control of attention. I don’t know what it does to a non=ADHD brain.

    I can’t imagine any licensed medical practitioner diagnosing an incredibly complex disorder like bipolar, with no previous history, in a 20-minute meeting.

    That’s horrible. You definitely need a second opinion, and I would seriously consider lodging a complaint with the practice and with whatever licensing board governs her. That’s ridiculous.

    Even if you had bipolar instead of or alongside ADHD, 20 minutes? That’s …just… no freaking way. Totally irresponsible.


    Honestly, in your position I’d just wait a year and start regular K later.

    My kids have some ADD traits but it’s not causing them problems yet (fingers crossed), but I was simply appalled – appalled at how rigid, academic, and regimented kindergarten has become. I was really worried it was going to screw them up by forcing them to act like third or fourth graders when they were just 5.

    I truly believe that schools themselves are responsible for a lot of the explosion in early ADHD diagnosis, because a lot of the expectations for 5 year olds these days are just *not* developmentally appropriate, even for neurotypical kids.

    Little ones need to play and explore and go outside, not sit in a chair doing worksheets for hours. Self-directed free play and outdoor time in nature are 2 of the most powerful influences on developing executive skills.

    ADHD is a developmental difference/disorder. Your son’s sympotoms aren’t always going to be the same as they are now, and his executive functions are going to keep developing.

    To my thinking, an extra year to develop and enjoy himself without pressure to conform or perform can only do him good.

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