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ADHD Adults

ADD: Inattentive Type


I have just been diagnosed with ADD, Inattentive Type, and I’m interested to hear from other people who have a non-hyperactive version of ADD.

My story: I was always a dreamy child, and although I had no trouble in grade school, I had a very frustrating and often upsetting time in junior high and high school. This was due to the typical ADD issues - attention problems, organizational issues, procrastination, etc. etc.

I learned how to cope and adapt for the world of work, although it tended to completely exhaust me. I just started Ritalin which helps tremendously in focusing me and freeing up a lot of energy. I am not so exhausted after work now.

I am very disorganized at home with papers, clothes, general stuff, and still struggle a lot with that. Fortunately at work there are more structures in place to help me organize - like Outlook for appointments, paper calendars, files. I don’t know why I seem to resist using these at home, although I do use my cell phone calendar to keep on track for appointments.

Mostly though, I have this feeling that I’m forcing my consciousness to focus and be like everyone else’s (less so with the Ritalin), which is a bad feeling that leaves me feeling stressed out.

That’s a little bit about me…look forward to hearing about you…

Thank you.


Welcome to my life. Disorganized chaotic lack motivation forgetful feel like the world is spinning so fast that I can’t keep up. I take Ritalin but find it can make me agro if I’m focussed on doing something and can’t do it and I also suffered with depression on and off so I take efexor and that helps. I don’t know. I’ve just come to the conclusion that I can only be who I am and that’s what makes me me. Non add people have limitations in other ways so comparing myself to them will always keep me down. So I say who cares. A great song says “I lost my keys…. Ring my phone…. This is the stuff that drives me crazy .... I forget how blessed I am…” my kids say this is my song lol

Posted by Ninnie69 on Jul 05, 2011 at 5:30am

Sounds very familiar to me as well! 

Trying to improve your “mindfulness” and setting up system/tools that work WITH your brain wiring takes a bit of work, but trying to do things like “the rest of the world” can be very stressful and sometimes feel downright impossible!  We are out-of-the-box thinkers who do things better when we can do them a little differently sometimes.  Figuring out what that means for you can be a bit of an experiment, but it’s definitely worth the effort!

You’re not alone!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jul 05, 2011 at 7:43am

I am the exact same way. I can’t even find an employer that will tolerate it. Its so frustrating because I’m not doing it on purpose.

Posted by Cherid03 on Jul 05, 2011 at 7:59am

I set up systems but then forget the new systems lol

Posted by Ninnie69 on Jul 05, 2011 at 4:22pm

Thanks everyone for all of your comments. It is so reassuring to hear that our stories are so familiar, although I’m so sorry that you all are having the same struggles.

One area that I find so puzzling is motivation and “get up and go…” I feel like I HAVE the motivation, I just can’t USE the motivation consistently. What is up with that? That’s a weird one.

I’d like to be able to live out the strengths of ADD more than the struggles…Lynne, I like your idea of creating systems that work with the ADD-wired brain instead of banging my head against the systems that just don’t fit. I will have to explore that a bit…

Has anyone read Hallowell and Ratey? (Driven to Distraction, Delivered from Distraction, etc.) They talk about how tenacious and persistent ADD’ers are, how we don’t give up.  Looking back, and looking at myself now, I’d have to say that is mostly true. Score one for ADD.

Thanks again everyone for your responses.

Posted by sukirunsfast on Jul 06, 2011 at 7:21am

I am also ADD-Inattentive type and was also diagnosed as an adult—about 4 years ago (although I’d suspected this was my issue for a long time, but, you know, couldn’t pick up the phone and make an appointment for an assessment…).

I think the exhaustion from conforming to normal expectations and the inability to harness motivation are unique to ADD versus ADHD. I suffer from the same bad feelings you described regarding medication. While my Vyvanse allows me to function—it softens my square-peg corners so I can squeeze into the round holes of professional life—it doesn’t make me feel good about myself, my work, or my accomplishments. If anything it helps me feel better about myself at home—I am a better spouse when I can clean up around the house and pay my bills, etc—but in my professional life I feel like I just don’t fit any of the obvious career options in front of me.

I imagine the suggestions from others about improving your organization at home will help. As for the issues of inertia/motivation and feeling like you’re doing the things your brain is uniquely good for…I hope we both find good ideas in these forums.

Posted by katewala on Jul 06, 2011 at 11:28pm

I asked my sister to remind me to call my Dr. when I need a Rx refill. I was at her house and saw on her refrigerator, written on her calender her reminder
To remind me.
I could do that.
P.S. Cat is grooming and the noise he is making is driving me nuts.

Posted by Wereyousayingsomething on Jul 07, 2011 at 3:51am

If I could have the time back spent looking
Endlessly for misplaced items. Daily I look for
Things. Example. Where is my coffee? Still sitting
On the Keurig.
It’s frustrating and makes me feel so
Angry. I am so sick of this.
I don’t do anything as long as I have the time
To put it off.
I have let important people in my life fall by the
Wayside. I have hurt my Mother beyond my own
So sad

Posted by Wereyousayingsomething on Jul 07, 2011 at 5:57am

Hi, Yes I am also this way, 53 years old and diagnosed about 4 years ago. I find it hard to keep a job, due to misunderstandings of mine and others’ words. I get upset when interrupted with small stuff, while hyperfocusing.
On Concerta now. I am out on temporary disability, due to anxiety about getting fired. Should I try for permanent or try again (for the 5th time)? I get bullied and those same people are attacking my work. I’ve had to take blood pressure and anxiety meds just to work. ADD doc is moving across the country and there is no replacement for her. I am also diagnosed with depression and excessive daytime sleepiness (almost narcolepsy).

Posted by waytogo on Jul 07, 2011 at 10:16am

as i read these posting i think wow ! i might have found a place weir people might understand what i’m going thru .i’ve spent 43 yrs of my life thinking i was never going to be happy or understood,there might be hope for me afterall

Posted by tryan88302 on Jul 07, 2011 at 10:38am

Thank God Im not the only one. I have all the same problems. I have been on adderallxr it works for a few hours out of my day and there are side affects but they are worth going through some anxiety problems for the result.

Posted by redeemed714 on Jul 09, 2011 at 2:00am

I’m exhausted…

Posted by aldavis08 on Jul 09, 2011 at 2:55am

I’m 54 and just found out that I had ADHD.  Actually, it was the third doctor to tell this.  The first two were nice and polite, so I ignored them.  The last one was the complete opposite.  While I don’t like him, at least I finally listened.  So, here I am.

I was debating myself if I maybe belonged in this section.  I can lose an argument with myself without winning.  Then, I saw this line from ninnie69,

“I set up systems but then forget the new systems lol”

Boy, that is perfect.  I never use systems, just set them up and forget them. 

Thank you.

Posted by Loisen on Jul 09, 2011 at 5:11am

Oh yes, 49+ and just diagnosed and trying to get some meds going that will actually help me to focus and motivate myself. I have isolated myself from family, potential friends and co-workers to help keep my sanity.

Paperwork is beyond comprehension for me so I too use the computer to no end for bills, weight watchers, Appointments of all kinds, I don’t know if I could go on without my iphone.
  At least now, although kind of late in life, I finally have hope of WAKING UP to the world.

  Hey Loisen, lets have an arguement, Oh wait, we would both lose ha ha ha hah a ha, That is if we could even get it started….

Posted by TXDarlinLOL on Jul 09, 2011 at 5:39am

  You are all describing my life!  I am 50. I feel like I am finally “waking up to the world.”  At least I know why I can hardly remember anything from school.. I graduated, got mostly B’s and C’s.  I went on to Court Reporting school and had tenacity to die for… only 3% of students become working reporters. I also worked full time in court and then taught court reporting before I had children.  I make great money, and thank god I don’t have to pay attention to what they say as I type!  I can space out like nobody’s business.  Some how, I hear it, type it and it appears on the screen, but I don’t always remember hearing it. 
  I used to get so much done around my house… perfectionist.  Then I would go up and do transcripts after working, etc., etc., but for some reason now as I’ve gotten older, I just hypefocus and barely get anything done unless, it is due tomorrow!  Otherwise I get lost on my computer…“oh, yeah, I wanted to loook up….” etc., etc.  Then I gotta check Facebook.  It’s driving me crazy!  Luckily my husband pays the bills.  I do clean the house every day, but after that I just want to do what I want… not what I shoulld.
  I just lost my mother a year ago and she was like my life coach in retrospect… and now I feel like a lost kid waiting for someone to tell me to Get it Together!

Posted by toosensitive on Jul 10, 2011 at 1:52pm

I was diagnosed with ADD as a child but now that I am an adult it has not gone away but seems worse. I do not take any meds but I do take vitamins which help somewhat. I am extremely forgetful and only 23! I have to write lists for everything and keep a calendar. I also use my iphone for the organizational apps. I am a neat freak at home and I’m really organized but I think I do this because of my bad memory. I get distracted very very easily and it takes me much longer to accomplish tasks but I do them to the best of my ability. People I work with and friends have commented to me about being ADD before I even told them I was!!! This is how I know I have it because others can easily see it. I also lose track of time easily and cannot focus or concentrate. Does that sound familiar to you guys?

Posted by Missbrowneyes on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:11am

Yeah. Very familiar. My study is a mess, I’m incredibly forgetful and yet at the same time I can remember the most trivial of stuff. It’s like 90% of the time I feel like a complete idiot - the other 10% of the time, I’m asleep.

Posted by TrainManJack59 on Jul 12, 2011 at 8:43am

Wow, BetterDays!  What a wonderful post!  I especially like #6 and #10!  We are so very hard on ourselves, and that doesn’t get us anywhere!  When we start being a little kinder to ourselves, and acknowledging and giving ourselves credit for the improvements we are making (even if they’re such tiny babysteps only we can see them!), our challenges can start to take a back seat to our strengths. 

It’s a really important change in perspective, and it can work WONDERS!

Lynne Edris, ACG
Life & ADD Coach

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jul 14, 2011 at 7:28am

BetterDays…I’m printing out your reply & sticking it up in a place where I can see it as it’s the advice I’ve been looking for. Thankyou!

I’ve been coming back to this thread since it started but couldn’t concentrate enough to really absorb the answers.

At first I was excited about this Forum, but recently have become overwhelmed as there are so many threads, so many sharing the same type of story as mine, but I was not really putting into ACTION many of the wonderful suggestion to bring the changes I need in my life to become more productive in my retirment. Sitting at a computer, reading about what others ADDers do is very interesting but just another form of procrastination for me.

Even the way you set out your reply, clearly in point form allowed me to read & comprehend it easily. That was an Aha moment as my mind gets foggy & drifts off easily…I blame too much internet use - scanning, jumping from one tidbit of info to another.

I was starting to lose hope but your post has given me a little boost again. I was going well for 6 months after I was first diagnosed & no doubt have made some changes to alleviate the frustration & anxiety but when I asked my husband to read my ADD books so he could understand what I was going through & to my shock & amazement, he identified with the check list & has been recently diagnosed, I feel I have lost the expected support I had hoped for & am more of a supporter for him.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. No wonder he never picked up my symptoms & vice versa. His psychiatrist said being co-dependent is not uncommon in ADDers.

I’m your Inattentive type with distraction being a huge issue for me. He’s your inflexible focussing type & it seems to me he’s benefiting from his diagnosis & medication, change of diet & increased exercise more than I am as he’s focussing more, where as I’m being distracted by him more!

I was previously diagnosed with Bipolar & Anxiety and am also taking medication for that which is not something I feel comfortable about, but I’ve an intuitive feeling that so much of my stress can be managed as per your list of suggestions instead of expecting the pills to motivate me to make the changes required.

I’ve started working with a Naturopath 6 months ago as it’s my intention to wean of the medication -Dexamphetime under the guidance of both my Doctor & NP and use exercise, nutrition & creation of structure & routine to manage my ADD.

Thanks again and also thanks to you Lynne (I’m also a Lynne grin. I’ve been very encouraged by your very helpful replies on this Forum.

I just bought an Iphone & added some Apps to help with reminders etc. but I’m now mindful that unless I can make something that helps me become part of a routine & stick to it for at least a month, it’s just another bright, shiny distraction.

Posted by serenity on Jul 14, 2011 at 9:10am

Hello, Sukirunsfast, its nice to meet you. You are diagnosed with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Predominantly Inattentive Type (ADD) which is noted by impaired attention and concentration.
Typical symptoms of inattention include:

Not paying attention to details and making careless mistakes
Having trouble staying focused, and being easily distracted
Appearing not to listen when spoken to
Forgetful in daily activities
Trouble staying organized, planning ahead, and finishing projects
Losing or misplacing books, homework, toys, tools or other items
Not seeming to listen when spoken to
Not following instructions, and failing to finish schoolwork, chores or duties on the job
Avoiding or disliking jobs that require mental effort or concentration

I read about these symptoms and typical behavior here

These symptoms clearly match with your story. Tell us more about yourself. It is good that you have manages to organize yourself now.

Posted by PsychSeas on Aug 14, 2012 at 12:10am

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