My Forum Comments
It’s an understandable response from a loved one, especially your mother. I too have trudged through many of the same struggles you have (albeit at 51, much longer) before I finally discovered the source of my issues. You’ll have to continue to educate those around you about how these medications can help. Essentially, people throwing road-blocks in front of you would rather see you continue to struggle than take a medication that can take away some of the fog associated with ADHD. A fog that only those with ADHD can fully appreciate.
I would also consider researching dyslexia, as over 50% of people with ADHD have some degree of dyslexia. After countless hours of research on ADD, I came to the realization that much of the difficulties I experienced in school were due to dyslexia. Dyslexia deals with difficulties with reading and writing, which transcends executive functioning, rote memory, etc – which are also key markers of ADHD/ADD. I have an IQ in the top 2%, but scored only a bit above average on standardized testing – and was nearly always the last person to turn-in their test. Was that because I couldn’t focus due to ADD, or because I couldn’t make sense of what I was reading due to dyslexia? Upon much reflection and introspection, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s a little of both for me – probably a mild to medium case of each. They both have their challenges and distinguishing them is difficult, but having the knowledge one way or the other is valuable information for you as a person.
I would also recommend watching some Gary Vaynerchuk videos about living your own life. Gary swears like a sailor, but speaks truth. He speaks of regret in many of his videos – which is a powerful reminder to all of us to keep searching, keep experiencing and keep living our own lives.August 14, 2019 at 8:59 am in reply to: Recently diagnosed as inattentive ADHD and looking for advice #125174
Well shoot, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword – is it better to know or not know that you have inattentive ADD. I’m 51 and have 4 children (mostly self-sufficient, but still part of the nest), a house, etc. and have recently come to understand the trials and tribulations of having inattentive ADD. I’m in the process of sorting through it all, but the challenges that come with inattentive ADD persist nonetheless. I believe there are benefits of knowing the reason behind some of the difficulties experienced by having ADD, but even the very aspect of knowing about ADD produces its own set of frustrations. I guess the bright side for somebody 51 would be – thank goodness I found out before I was 61 or 71 . . . For you, the bright side would be – thank goodness you found out at a reasonably young age.
My advice for you, considering the dilemma you described about your work situation – which I have faced many times in my career is this: move to a career – or start your own business – doing something that you enjoy – something you know lots about – something that comes reasonably easy to you — and do that. Frankly, this is your best shot at having a productive and fulfilling work life – and, with utter obviousness, your job will dominate your life. Unless you do something that you truly love and enjoy, you will continuously face the dilemma that you described in your current work situation. The “imbalance” in your work situation might not be readily apparent at all times, and that is because much of your sanity revolves around your immediate supervisor – whether or not they have tolerance for your ADD’ness. If (and when) you run into a supervisor (and sooner, or later we all do) who demands things that stretch and stress an ADD’er, you will soon be subject to the same evaluations, critical feedback, etc. that we are all too familiar with. If you’re lucky enough to have a supervisor that intuitively “gets” you and sees the potential of your somewhat unorthodox work productivity – then more power to you. But work changes, positions change, supervisors certainly change, and the demands of your job will inevitably change too. Soon you will be working for the unforgiving type once again. The reason I’m advocating doing something you love (best case scenario is to work for yourself), is so you can weather the storm of the inevitable aforementioned difficult supervisor.
Please be advised – every aspect of your good reasoning, your family, etc. will tell you not to do it – I would recommend taking the leap while you can. I’m in the process of doing that myself, but given my circumstances, the challenge is notably more difficult. I wish I knew what I know now – and I would have acted earlier. All the best.
Nothing works every time – especially with inattentive ADD. I live by routine and keeping things as simple as possible. When I go to the grocery store, I park in nearly the same exact spot – otherwise I’m likely to wander aimlessly for my parking spot. Keys, phone, vitamins, medications, garage stuff – you name it, for me to have a grasp on where these things are, hey need to be in virtually the exact same spot every time. It’s methodical and cumbersome all in the same package. Too much clutter and unorganization is literally chaos. I spend an inordinate amount of time keeping my daily life organized and in order – mostly so I can function at a reasonably high level. Most people don’t have to do that, which inevitably affords them with much more free time, but so it goes. If you overload your plate, just know that you will have this sort of thing happen regularly – and if it does, give yourself a break. If you don’t want to make these sorts of mistakes as often, then slow down and get (and try to stay) organized as much as possible.
First and foremost, you have made the most important discernment by understanding that you are dealing with something different than most people. One of the most important things you must do is properly explain to your doctor what your life is like. You should be able to explain both routine difficulties as well as the challenging situations you encounter on a routine basis.
Some of what you described in your original post are compensatory techniques that those of us with ADD/ADHD have all managed to create for ourselves. It’s part of survival in the real world. What you (and anybody else for that matter) want with ADD treatment is to get closer to an even playing field than your natural mental-state provides you with. It probably won’t be perfect, but think of having some sort of improvement on the things that fall into the difficult areas of your life. It’s difficult for those of us with ADD/ADHD to ask for help because (for some strange reason – and I personally think its due to the compensatory measures we have developed over our lifetimes) we don’t feel like we deserve it. We deserve it – trust me. The other thing that makes it difficult when pleading your case to a doctor (or anybody else) is that having ADD/ADHD doesn’t always provide the cognition necessary for a person with ADD/ADHD to create and/or formulate a good case for needing treatment. Many times, our minds are so discombobulated that we have difficulties explaining stories in a logical manner with the intent to make a solid and lasting point. Most times our stories (arguments/points) come out piecemeal and scattered and thereby fail to emphasize the full intent of the discourse being shared or explained to another person. So, when dealing with a very intelligent person (doctor) we ADD’ers many times shy away and don’t want to rock the boat – because deep down inside, many of us are simply tired of having other people lord over us and tell us that we are wrong and that we are thinking of the situation all wrong, etc., etc. Although this is a real and very deeply-rooted feeling, this isn’t the correct way to go about this. You must be brave and prepare yourself as much as possible and know that you deserve to be heard. If you feel the doctor isn’t listening to you, or you simply can’t get your points across due to the aforementioned difficulties with explaining oneself, then you need to look for another doctor – one that will put you at ease and allow you to explain yourself.
You deserve to get help. A compassionate doctor will listen to you and try to help you as best they are able. The world (particularly the workplace) doesn’t care about your condition. The world only cares about results – and if you can’t remember instructions, direction, make succinct decisions required of you, then the world will push you aside. That is the harsh reality of this condition and not seeking help. Believe me, I’ve been there, and at the age of 50 having recently been diagnosed, can tell you that the world didn’t wait for me – didn’t care about my shortcomings and simply moved on and pushed me aside in a number of situations. Its hard enough competing in this world with even-footing, don’t hamstring yourself by not trying to improve your situation by seeking help.
Having people tell you that you intentionally forget things ranks at the top of the most frustrating things about having ADD/ADHD, which is directly related to executive function difficulties. This area of interpersonal relationships can be very frustrating and damaging to lasting relationships. Neuro-typical folks simply refuse to (or can’t) understand and view forgetfulness as an excuse or laziness. The neuro-typical wonders how something can be forgotten temporarily – which is why they conclude the (ADD/ADHD) person is being lazy or excusing themselves from whatever it is that needs to be done. Apparently, neuro-typicals are unable to “forget things” temporarily. The fact is, neuro-typical people do forget things, but easily play-it-off as normal every day forgetfulness. For an ADD/ADHD, this only adds to the frustration of “forgetfulness”. Neuro-typical folks seem to get a pass when it comes to forgetting to complete a task/project/etc, but not so for the ADD/ADHD’ers. Those of us with ADD/ADHD are forgetful so often, we don’t get any “get out of jail free” cards. The overly exasperated neuro-typicals have seen it all before (too many times in their minds). A typical response from a neuro-typical on such things might be: “Can’t you just make more of an effort”. Personally, I’ve gotten to the point of frustration that I many times will lash-out and say to the effect of: “why on earth would I intentionally forget to do something – the fact of the matter is, I completely forgot – it just wasn’t there!” At the end of the day, I’m tired of being put-down, talked down to, etc. for things that are beyond my control. After finally formally learning of my condition at the age of 50, I’m just not willing to hear it any longer. Does this mean fewer interpersonal relationships – almost inevitably – but so be it. Make no mistake, I’m not walking around looking for a fight on the multitude of matters that could fit into the scenario being discussed, I’m just pointing out that I’m much less tolerant of having people make me feel as if I’ve done something intentionally – when I didn’t.
Work related situations are a different animal, however. Lashing out in work related situations usually isn’t the best idea – unless you own your own business – which probably still isn’t a good idea, but at least you won’t get reprimanded by your superiors every other time you turn around — and almost assuredly get fired at some point. What’s confounding to employers is that people with ADD/ADHD often times have high IQ’s (which is my case) but then (over time) fail to demonstrate work performance that is commensurate with their level of intelligence. After (often times) painful interactions between employee and superior, the employee is either pushed aside, demoted, or simply let go due to “lack of adequate performance”. If I had a solution for this, I’d be a billionaire because this is where the rubber meets the road. Unfortunately, the best you can do is the best you can do. To keep up with the neuro-typicals in the work-force will require twice the effort and still the performance won’t measure-up in most circumstances. This usually occurs over a long period of time, but sooner or later, the thousands of situations and interactions in the workplace will inevitable unveil your poor executive functioning abilities of those of us with ADD/ADHD – and thusly fall into the scenario I painted at the beginning of this paragraph – being looked over, demoted or simply let go. The only saving grace is – IF YOU DO SOMETHING THAT YOU ARE PASSIONATE ABOUT – THEN YOU’VE GOT A SHOT AT MAKING IT. If you’re really good at what you do, the workplace will put up with your ADD/ADHD tendencies and forgive any misgivings. But, if you’re not is a line of work that you’re passionate about, you will inevitably fall prey to the scenario I just painted. It’s easier said than done, but if you fall into the category of constantly falling short, then get as much help as you can, study the subject of ADD/ADHD and be acutely aware of your own personal abilities, etc. If the inevitable should happen, take pride and pity on yourself. It won’t be easy, but take some time, accept it — and then move on. Look for something that matches your skill-set and/or that you love and matches your personal temperament better than the last situation – and hope that things line-up better than they did in your prior situation. Fatalistic or realistic? It’s your call, depending on how you want to walk through the world. In my opinion, it has to be a combination of both – at least that’s what works for me. The trick is finding what works for you and your individual situation.
From a male perspective, I was diagnosed at 50, so no treatment until then. Now that I have a better understanding of inattentive ADD, I too have difficulty with irratability in scenarios where I feel almost like an outsider due to having inadequate levels of energy and / or self-esteem. When this happens, I tend to shut-down and stay in the background – which is part of the self-esteem thing. I’ve learned that although I don’t like moving to the background, it does prevent negative interactions with loved ones and friends. The bad part is I often times avoid social settings because of this, which I’m finding is fairly common amongst inattentive ADD’ers. My understanding is that having adequate levels of dopemine and seratonin are the keys to self-esteem and having an even-keel temprement. Achieving that neuro-chemical balance in a person who doesn’t naturally produce those chemicals in the right proportions is vexing at best. Adderal for me has helped quite a lot, so I’m thankful for that, but it does wear off. At this point, if I take anything after noon, then I can’t sleep, so its a double-edged sword going into the later parts of the day. I’m starting to try natural supplements in the PM to try and gain a better solution, but no real good results as yet.February 20, 2019 at 5:57 pm in reply to: ADHD and Higher Education: The Struggles of Living with ADHD #109767
Diagnosed only a short few months ago and currently trying to fine-tune the treatment with a combination of prescription medication and supplements. I can see from your post that a higher level of expertise has paid great dividends toward your overall treatment and outcomes. I intend to do the same. My treatment thus far has been good and I can now see what a difference it can make. I do, however, feel that a doctor who specializes in this area – particularly in the inattentive side of the condition, can do nothing but help even more.
A few thoughts on what I feel like with inattentive ADD:
If a person works a job from 9-5, M-F they will generally develop a routine in their sleeping patterns and get roughly the same amount of sleep each night. Now, if that same person goes out on Friday night, stays up several hours longer than normal, has a few drinks on top of that and then wakes up at the same time they normally do during their work week – they will inevitably be tired and groggy in the first few minutes upon waking. In those first moments of waking grogginess, the person can probably still function reasonably normal, but almost certainly doesn’t have their full cognitive function either. The cognitive capability (or lack thereof) in those first moments of waking grogginess is what it feels like to have inattentive ADD. You, my friend, are a case study unto itself – a person with a very high IQ who can only muster a 2.1 GPA in undergraduate college – only to prevail with the highest honors when the fog is lifted. Inspiring indeed.
At our best, inattentive ADD’ers can perform like few others, at our worst we can scarcely remember 5 things we went to the grocery store for, or perhaps a simple set of instructions – and at our normal (the remaining 95% of our lives), we have this pervasive dullness that sets in like a dank musty fog and lifts only occasionally.February 18, 2019 at 6:02 pm in reply to: ADHD and Higher Education: The Struggles of Living with ADHD #109536
Wow, you have given me a great gift with your post. I wasn’t entirely sure what Rejection Sensitivity Dysphoria was so I looked it up. Interestingly enough it brought me back to this website and an article written by Dr. Dodson.
I fit so closely with this diagnosis that I literally had chills reading the article. The part where Dr. Dodson discusses being a people pleaser was revealing to me. I’ll post it here for other readers – Dr. Dodson writes: “They become people pleasers. They scan every person they meet to figure out what that person admires and praises. Then, that’s the false self they present. Often this becomes such a dominating goal that they forget what they actually wanted from their own lives. They are too busy making sure other people aren’t displeased with them.” I’ve had that internal discussion with myself my entire life. Decision making is not a strong area for people pleasers. People pleasing becomes so ingrained that making solid informed decisions (for oneself) is difficult. And since people pleasers rarely make decisions for themselves, they are at the mercy of the other person or persons. What’s more, the “muscle” people need to argue/discuss issues of everyday life is weak because we so rarely exercise it. People pleaser’s, almost by definition, are not good decision maker’s – which is frustrating in and of itself. Although I don’t want my way all the time (far from it), it would be nice to be on an even playing field in terms of decision making. I think this may be why I don’t associate with very many people – because inevitably I am odd man out – doing what everybody else wants to do. I’m reasonably social, but not a social animal by any stretch. When I engage in social activities (going out to eat, going to a movie, playing games, etc. etc.) the decision on what is done is rarely something I’ve suggested. It feels like the group is conspiring against me. It literally does. I’ve been in a piss-poor mood on a number of occasions in social settings and nobody can quite figure it out. I’m not sure I exactly realized it at the time. I can go along for days, weeks and even months on some things, but eventually I’ll crack and get my point across (sadly) in the only manner I really know how which is to blow a gasket. Which is extremely counterproductive in any sense of the word. People are aghast as they say, “I just said one little thing and you blew up at me”. Well, it’s not just one little thing, it’s the culmination of lots of little things and the frustration that lies therein – brewing.
I’ve always been a fighter and have always loved to learn (though difficult by traditional standards), and I will continue the pursuit of finding a better solution for myself and through posts like this, hopefully, help others too. If it were blood pressure, it would be easy, but since this condition is one size fits one, the process is a bit more difficult.
Cheers!February 18, 2019 at 3:13 pm in reply to: ADHD and Higher Education: The Struggles of Living with ADHD #109508
Great story. I’d be very interested to know what medications you are taking and how you’ve been able to turn things around as you’ve described. I too have a high IQ (top 1-2%) and was able to compensate for having inattentive ADD throughout most of my life. At 50 I finally was took an IQ test, which led to the quandary of my very average academic success during my educational years. I didn’t pursue anything beyond a BA because I knew intuitively that I’d be unable to complete the necessary course work involved with a higher degree – which, incidentally, should easily be accomplished with a well-meaning hard-working person like myself who has an IQ in the top 1-2 percent.
The difficulty for people with ADD who have high IQ’s is they are able to compensate under most circumstances, but not always – and therein lies the problem. Employers don’t want folks who can perform most of the time – especially at higher levels of the organization. What’s more, is ADD’ers will have “flashes” of high achievement while in the workforce, but can’t (or simply are unable due to their ADD) continue to show their brilliance. As such, these ADD’ers are most times thought of as underachievers or simply lazy. I think an employer can clearly see the early potential (in an ADD’er), but eventually gets frustrated with the individuals’ lack of achievement, shortcomings, and inability to take things to the next level – and thusly either gives up on the person or simply moves on (one way or another). For an ADD’er, this is a very disheartening string of events – events that I’m sure most every ADD’er could clearly articulate has happened to them at some point in their lives.
I’ve begun to get my arms around my personal situation and it’s been extremely enlightening. Much contemplation, experimentation, and self-reflection have been a major part of the journey.
Thank you for sharing your story.
The decision making process for an ADD’er can be excruciatingly slow and very often inefficient. Does a neuro-typical more often make better, quicker and more logical decisions? Without a doubt. But if you consistantly rip that aspect out of the hands of another person, resentment is the result. Is this easy – no, absolutely not. My advice would be to back off, allow the other person to exist on equal footing – and know that you will have to sometimes be the parent in the situation. You will absolutely have come to the rescue in many occasions, however, the less angry become the better – trust me on this one. Will this solve the over-aching ADD problem – NO! But it will allow the person with ADD to gain some self-respect and self-confidence, thereby feeling like they are on equal footing without feeling like they are treated like an irresponsible 15 year old child. Encourage your husband to buy whatever note taking device he desires and somehow encourage him to write his thoughts down in the book. Carry the book with him and if he loses it – then buy him another one – and if he loses that one, buy him another one! All without making a big deal of it – treat it like “it is what it is”. If it weren’t for exhaustive note taking I wouldn’t be able to function. Fortunately for me I learned this on my own fruition, but great sacrifice is the result. I do fine in day-to-day life, but I am not a prolific accomplisher of things – this is because I am constantly reorganizing my thoughts and notes, trying to not forget what I need to do, what I’ve done, etc. etc. I could probably take on a lot of other things in my life, but this would more than likely overload me and I would begin to flounder due to having too many things going on. Try to simplify your lives. If organization is an issue, then help him organize (without being overbearing or making it all about you), as this will not improve on its own. The ADD mind is by definition unorganized and unable to process things like a neuro-typical person, therefore, the world has added challenges due to this. Chaos manifests into more chaos. There is little room for more chaos (like weight issues) when trying to get through the day requires all physical and psychological attention. Simplify things, organize things and help when needed. And know that this won’t solve the problem, it will only help address it. Perhaps if this occurs then, with some of the chaos put to the side, the actual issues can be addressed; seeing a doctor, being motivated and organized enough to get and stay on medication – and finally, looking to adjust the lifestyle to improve the body image.
I am a 50 year old male, husband, father of 4 who was diagnosed with ADD only after finally realizing that 2 of my children have the same condition. I can tell you with little hesitation that if (your husbands perception is that) you are lecturing, nagging, treating him like a child, then things will not improve. I can promise you he isn’t doing this on purpose. If you continue the road you’re going down, there is little hope. If you meet him where he is and somehow muster the wherewithal in your own neuro-typical capacity, then you will most likely see a marked improvement in daily life. I can’t explain it, but the added stress of an ADD’er feeling like everything they encounter is somehow being “screwed up” only makes things worse. It creates resentment and causes the person with ADD to dig their heels in. From an ADD’ers standpoint, it feels like an injustice – as if the neuro-typical people are making all the decisions, never making mistakes and blindly walking the road of clear and quick thinking – only to create a scene every time we ADD’ers forget, neglect or seemingly are not “trying hard enough”. I would be willing to bet that if he criticizes you regarding something you’ve forgotten or not gotten quite right then you are overly defensive back to him – thinking “how dare he criticize me with all of his screw-ups”. Again, yet another frustrating thing from the ADD’ers point of view. The ADD’er thinks “wow, I get criticized seemingly all day long, and I somehow don’t have the ‘authority’ to criticize”. You have to ask yourself why that is. There’s a deeper psychological aspect going on here – its called subconscious authority or the unwritten alpha complex. I’m not an MD; unfortunately in-spite of having an IQ over 130, I couldn’t complete the curriculum necessary for such a degree. It basically took everything I had to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business. I do have a PhD in observation, however – and the added benefit of having inattentive ADD my entire life. If you think you’re frustrated, you should live a day in your husbands mind. If you think it boosts your husbands self-esteem by forgetting the things described in your post – you are truly delusional. There is simply no way a person would intentionally do the things you’ve described.
Having said all of this, if you don’t meet your husband where he is, then there is really no solution. If you meet him where he is, then there exists the potential for improvement.