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Establishing habits for life.

Hello, MrObsessive here.  I’ve been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD since I was a child (ADD would be the proper term now, I believe), although it’s only the most recent years of my life that I feel things have taken a turn for the worse.  I’m 20 years old, and people have often commented throughout my life on how I’m a relatively smart person and have a good personality.  I’m not trying to brag at all, but one of the things I have been blessed with is a decent intellect, and skills for math and things like that (I scored 36 on the math portion of my ACT).  In the end, though, this only ends up making me more depressed because of my condition.

It all began in full force when I entered high-school.  I had always seemed to be able to keep my interests before then, but upon entering high-school I lost my friends, and didn’t really even get to know anyone throughout freshman year.  To make things worse, I was beginning to feel intense joint pain in my knees, which wouldn’t be diagnosed or treated until halfway-through my sophomore year as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Please understand, I’m not desperately appealing for sympathy here… but… well… bad problems began to arise at this time.  I was depressed, and all I wanted to do was get away from life.  Different people deal with stress in different ways;  the way that I developed to deal with it is to ignore it.  I couldn’t take it, and ended up trying to ignore school, getting mediocre grades, often taking advantage of my intelligence to merely skim through high-school with passing grades, when I could have done so much more.  I couldn’t even keep interest in my hobby… my dream… to become a computer programmer… to develop artificial intelligence for robotic navigation and interface with real-world environments… all I wanted to do was sit around on the computer and avoid all the stress I possibly could.

In the end, things turned out decently for my high-school life, of course, even me pulling it together for a quarter and getting straight A’s, and a good engineering college (Bradley University) recognized my efforts, and accepted me.  I was determined at the time to turn my life around, and to make friends, and finally realize my passion for the creation of great things through computer programming; however, I didn’t realize what I was getting into.  The only thing in high-school that kept my ADD from completely crushing me was the daily routine, the grind, the schedule.  My parents were always worried about me and making sure that I didn’t ruin my grades, too.  At college, though, the daily grind was what you made and what you decided, not the expectations of the people around you.  With my ADD and my bad habits, this is where things started to really fall apart.

When I was in high-school, although I had to intellect to understand what was taught very well, I abused it and instead used it to get things that absolutely needed to be done as quickly as possible so I could spend the rest of my time either contemplating or performing the obsessions that I had developed.  I hadn’t learned to control my ADD at all… the intense habit that I had was to simply follow it’s will whenever possible, regardless of the consequences.  When I went to college, like many other things in my life, I started with a strong will, but I soon lost interest once it became a chore to do so and attended classes less and less, continually telling myself that I could catch up later because of my intellectual capability.  Telling myself that lie… that was a lie… because… whether or not I was capable of doing all of the work at the last minute, all I ever did was follow my ADD, and ended up flunking nearly everything that semester, even Calculus.

I managed to improve to mediocrity the second semester with the support of extraordinary willpower for a month (during which period I got straight A’s) and the aid of some fantastic friends that I miraculously got to know, although it ended the same with me losing interest… losing to my ADD.  Even straight A’s for a month couldn’t end up in a high grade when the rest of the time was spent with complete disregard for such.  The semester after (the third semester) I managed to miraculously get another chance from the university, but I ended up completely flopping out like the first semester.  Then, this last semester I had to spend at community college, where I even failed to pass all but one class.

Excuse me if all I’ve done is write a biography for you guys to read.  I’ve just had it with all of this, and everything I’ve tried until now seems to only have ended in me getting worse.  I guess I’m just acting as if I’m talking to a counselor, which is someone I hope to be finding soon.  I’ve already seen 4 therapists, though… all without any success whatsoever… I hope this next one can help.

To be specific, a result of my ADD is that I’ve got an internet/computer addiction.  Be it games, youtube, anime, or even just randomly typing something into google in hope of pushing off the stress and loneliness even just a little further, I can’t seem to keep myself doing anything of worth when I’m just a click away from something my ADD keeps telling me will be so much better.  To make things worse, my dream involves always being in such an environment, and I’ve recently miraculously gotten a part-time job involving medical data interpretation (using computer programs) that is suffering because of this as well.

I’ve recently switched from Stratera to Vyvance, or however it was spelled, and it seems to be working.  I can concentrate on work when I get myself into it.  But the habits still remain… I can concentrate better now, but the question is, what do I spend my time concentrating on?  I’m still wasting my life…

Why is it that I waste my talents, and that people who struggle severely with understanding material end up with better grades then me?  Why am I such a waste?

...these questions I ask myself often…

...it only makes me more depressed.

I realize my situation more and more, and come to understand myself more and more, but somehow nothing happens.  There is no improvement.  I’m worse than when I started.  I suppose that I’m about to see another counselor… one that supposedly will be able to help me this time.  Carol Roland, I believe.  But things have been coming to a head recently.  My problems have become so bad that I’ve lost track of reality.  I don’t recognize myself anymore, and my dreams that I used to have seem non-existent now in my mind… I’ve trapped myself in a fantasy world of my own obsessions, and I’m less and less in touch with reality as time goes on.  Even so, if I don’t get my act together, and fast, then my ability to attend any good university for my… passion (I can hardly remember the excitement that I know I have for it)... will be completely lost.

Although I don’t mind if anyone even reads this at all, as I know it’s unreasonably wrong, I think I know what will be said if you do.  There are multiple paths for me to take, and I need to accept my ADD as a part of me and lead a life of acceptance of it, moving on to something else.  Or perhaps it’s that it’s all OK because ADD is something I can’t help.

I can’t leave it at that, though.  I NEED to change, and I know that I can’t do it alone.  It’s something ridiculously hard, a wall that rises up even above the sky, this ADD and the habits of my mind that have been developed over several years, that I wish to overcome.  But I don’t want to give up, and in spite of my depression and despair, in spite of the hopelessness that I’ve felt over the years and even now, I wish to change, and I will keep trying until the very end.

That being said, I’m at the point that I can only seem to depend on others due to my pathetic habits… so… if you’re still reading… I’d appreciate your advice.  How can I develop good habits for life?  How do I overcome my ADD (besides the medication) and push my interest to where it should be?  No, rather, how can I keep my interests where they should be, without giving up and losing interest after a week?  I humbly ask these questions… I’ve given up on answering them myself.  I’m now in the hands of those around me (although I’ve never been social and don’t have many friends), and those who read this… so… you kind, gentle people out there… those who are still reading this post which pushed the boundary of reasonable length long ago… any suggestions?

Sincerely,
MrObsessive

P.S. For those of you with worse situations out there, I’m well aware of the fact that people have it much worse than me, but I’m at a breaking point here.  Please forgive me for over-dramatizing my situation, if you could.

Replies

I don’t have any advice for you but just wanted to let you kow you r not alone.  I was more recently diagnosed at age 40.  I have been struggling to keep my head above water and deal with my ADD, I also struggle with Depression.

Posted by laura70 on Jun 29, 2011 at 1:56am

WOW. I am 54yrs.old with adhd&depression;.GET offDRUGS.attends &dprex; by VAVA works.iam 1yr.into it and feel great.

Posted by jstputn on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:02am

Hello Mr.Obsessive,
Reading your story I feel like reading my own story. I have a Masters in Computer Engineering and I am doing my MBA now. I was diagnoised of my ADD just last year. All my life I struggled with studies just passed with minimum grades and I used to think that If I put more effort I can do better. But that is not the case. I felt relieved one I cam to know about ADD. I am obseesed with computers and I can not stop browsing.

I would suggest to stay away from computer as long as you can and spend more time reading books or working on paper rather than computer. I have read lot of books on ADD since last one year.I, myself struggling with impluslivity and not able to stick to make habbits.

I am planning to use the following steps after 20 days ( my MBA completes) to keep me focused and pursue my dreams ( i want to start my own business some day).
1. Minimal Interaction with TV and Computers( I can not stop watching TV and browsing computer)
2. More execrise to get ridoff excess energy
3. Writing on a big white board and tracking progress every day.
4. Spending time in Nature.

Let me know if you come across anything that works for you I will be really intrested to know.

Posted by Mr.ADD on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:59am

Many things you write ring true for me as well, mrObsessive. I’m 52. I’ve known I have had ADD since not long after my daughter was born back in 1990. She was diagnosed about the time she was in Kindergarten and she likely got it from me. I took a “screening test” at a doctor’s office and, yeah, that indicated I had ADD, so my family physician prescribed Adderal. But I forgot what the pediatrician/ADD specialist, to whom we took our daughter, said: “You can’t depend solely on the meds; you have to be proactive and take responsibility for your actions.” I got the “official diagnosis” a couple of years ago from a specialist.

I had bounced around from job to job all my life. I originally taught vocal & instrumental music in various public schools - but that was a fall-back thing because after my first year I discovered I hated it and swore “Never again!”

I had also felt called into ministry. Half-way through seminary in the mid-80s, my first wife and I split, and I ran away from seminary, thinking I’d made a huge mistake, fell into a 2nd marriage not long after (HUGE MISTAKE!!!!) out of which came serious problems I’d never foreseen, went through a 2nd divorce, and then got into a 3rd marriage - which somehow has lasted going on 23 years and produced this beautiful daughter, of whom I’m very proud.

I’ve suffered also from depression for most of my life as well - on meds, seeing a counselor - behavioral modification therapy.

The call I felt to go into ministry never really went away. I went to seminary starting in 2002 and finished classwork in December of 2006. I failed three classes while in seminary, but backed up, regrouped, and passed them.

And that’s frustrating, too, because I’m supposedly very intelligent, very creative. In the after test discussion with a psychiatrist - psychological screening we have to take every so often as ministers - she pointed out that there had been numerous times in my life where I’d faced major “roadblocks”, yet, after a little struggle, I’d been able to overcome them.

So. Now I’m serving in my second appointment (first full time appointment) - two churches, one of which is about to close. I’ve made mistakes, unintentionally pissed people off, tried to jump through the hoops which my church hierarchy has (some say arbitrarily) set before me, one of which is Clinical Pastoral Education (basically Pastoral Care / Hospital Chaplaincy). It’s been the CPE that has really blown up in my face because of my ADD - I’ve attempted it 3 times. It’s been explained to me that those with ADD, in order to cope, have a particular ability to “compartmentalize”, but CPE requires that we take everything out of the compartments and mix it all together (It’s a head-heart thing). But I don’t get ordained an “Elder in Full Connection” without CPE. Nor can I stay a “licensed local pastor” without CPE. So, basically, without CPE, my vocation as a pastor is over. My “overseers” have “suggested” that I take a 3 month “Spiritual Renewal Leave” (I’d still have a place to live a salary and health insurance & pension) for three months, during which I take a 3 month long CPE internship. That way I could concentrate solely on the CPE and get it over with quick. But I haven’t been able to get into the program for this summer and I don’t know if it’s really because it was already filled in February or because the supervisor knows me and just doesn’t want to deal with me and my ADD. So I’ve got to wait on that until next summer, which means (if I successfully complete the CPE program) the earliest I could be ordained is summer of 2013. If I’d been able to successfully navigate the hoops, I could have been ordained a few weeks ago.

Recently, I’ve felt like, “I don’t care.” I’m empty. Don’t feel the call anymore. Dread getting up outta bed . . . heck, not just Sundays, but pretty much every morning.

The problem is, If I’m not in ministry in some capacity, I’ve no idea what in the world I would do for a job/career/vocation. Not a good thing when one has $50K+ in student loan debt after seminary. So I can’t afford “additional training”.

I met with a good friend this last Saturday morning for breakfast - he was one of my seminary profs, now living / ministering in Toronto Canada. He gets me pumped up, he acknowledges and celebrates my gifts and my talents, and also points out the gift that ADD is (can be / should be) and the gift of being myself. Then Sunday morning rolls around and after worship, I feel just as I did before meeting with my friend Saturday morning. Blah!!

I’m seeing in addition to my counselor an APRN at an ADD Specialist’s office. She’s been trying to help me with my meds. Have tried several on the amphetamine salts side and now am on Focalin XR - 30mg in the morning and then 10mg late afternoon / evening.

So. One would think that a person such as a minister (heck, even one who professes a religious faith!) would have extra help with this situation - prayers, faith, etc. Well, maybe it does, cause maybe I’d be a whole lot worse without. I don’t know. Don’t know much of anything right now except I’m feeling spiritually empty and pretty much burned out.

(BTW - we’ve tried all sorts of “natural” remedies, both I and my daughter. As I’ve said elsewhere, usually involves “buying in to the program”, maybe even becoming a sales person for said remedy / program, and has done neither of us any good. Besides which, I have insurance that covers the meds. I can’t afford the natural remedies and the program.)

Posted by TrainManJack59 on Jun 29, 2011 at 2:59am

You sound a good deal like me. I wound up at age 30 sitting on someone else’s couch staring at the floor. I had already spent several years avoiding the mental-health treatment system when I found help that does not involve authority figures. My route out has been 12-step recovery. With the help of a woman who loved me, I stumbled into Emotions Anonymous, which attempts to give people with emotional issues tools for getting a life. Shortly after that, I added Al-Anon, for family and friends of alcoholics, to my life. I still attend Al-Anon meetings twice or more a week. Another year after finding Al-Anon, I realized that I myself am an alcoholic. Eventually I made my way to Alcoholics Anonymous and I’m still there as well, now 21 years sober. Hundreds of these fellowships exist; most people fit into one or more.

I was finally diagnosed with ADD in my late 40s. I have tried three medications and I saw a psychologist on and off for about three years. None of that had any effect that I could determine. Along the way, I discovered that I have a very unusual IQ (very high verbal, low-end “performance”) and most likely a still-undiagnosed learning disability.

I have found it possible in recovery to do exactly what you requested: build healthy, useful habits. Nowadays I get out of bed promptly, begin my day with meditation, and continue by doing what I need to do. I am now 54 and I carry a 3.81 GPA full time as a communication major. I take many of my courses online so that I can have flexibility about when I do what, but that does cost me the personal interaction I also value. If you take that route, be sure to attend an accredited school.

Of course, numerous other resources exist to help people with ADD or with other issues. Please keep trying. Whether or not you use what works for me, something will work for you.

Posted by foothillbilly on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:06am

There is a men’s telephone support group available, free, send an e mail to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) for info on it.  (the 0 is a zero in the e mail address)

Posted by B Strong on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:33am

I, too have a similar life line, except I was diagnosed in my early 20s. Discovering I have ADD, first by myself (I’m studying Social Sciences) and soon after confirmed by doctors, I made sure I looked into my campus services. For example, I was put in touch with Disability Support Services and they informed me of the services offered, if any. The referred me to the campus Psychologist and she and my regular Psychiatrist became sort of a tag team for me; this was because I also work.

In grade school, I was the “smart girl”, really, this is how people (students, parents, and teachers alike) would refer to me. Not that I’m saying people call me dumb now, but my intelligence was better proven in those years. I was a Talented And Gifted (TAG) student and always was at least a grade level above in classes.

I find it necessary to compartmentalize my life (Work, School, Church, family etc) and try not to blur the lines too much, or it seems as if my life is like an ABC piece of gum. I am not on meds; I use dance, yoga and some water exercises to calm my nerves and center my train of thought along with other coping mechanisms. I see a counselor regularly and try to maintain some sort of a routine (I don’t have a cow when it doesn’t end up as planned; well…not too much).

I make lists, using pen and paper, and literally cross items off as I complete them; I sometimes make one of what I done, like a reverse to do list-surprisingly this helps too.

I also set up a reward system for my day, or when I need to complete a certain task-including studying. The rewards aren’t like $$$ or even a new pair of shoes, it’s more like the following:

At work:
When a task, a portion of a project is complete or I’ve been working consistently for say, 45minutes… my treat is a walk around the office to get a piece of candy off a co workers desk.
…a glass of water
…I may actually take a break and walk around the block, make a phone call, send a personal email, read an online paper, playing a round of online Scrabble, etc.
…Facebook
…Twitter…etc

In terms of my coursework – and it’s helped me at work as well- I had to realize my learning style. I’m more of a audio-tactile. I find writing down what is heard or needed to be remembered (this is how I get to “touch” the info) helps. When studying, my tutor, mother, friend or even I would read aloud directly from the textbooks, and study guides while I took notes or made index cards.  Depending on the class subject, I may ask the professor I can record the lecture, if not already done so via the class or the university Disability Support Services.

Most important: DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP. REWARD YOUR TRIUMPHS AND LEARN FROM YOUR MISTAKES. ASK FOR HELP WHEN NECESSARY.

http://smilesjustcuz.blogspot.com/

Posted by BlkThumbelina on Jun 29, 2011 at 3:54am

I make lists . . . and lose them.
I use my laptop to take notes and make reminders - and that’s totally okay according to the books on ADD I’ve read - and people push back, saying “It creates a barrier between us.” It’s like someone telling a blind person, “You can’t use your cane.”
But the asking for help is good - if I can get into the habit. I was taught a long time ago not to ask for help. But I also know I have the permission to ask for what I need.

Posted by TrainManJack59 on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:10am

Wow.  Well, first off, I guess I didn’t expect so many well meaning/well thought out replies.  I’d first like to say thank you all for reading my frustration put to the keyboard.  To be more specific:

Mr. Add: Thanks for the advice!  I know that getting away from these things that I’m obsessed with is important, even if I want to learn how to program.  Perhaps I was looking for someone to confirm that, and that’s why I was hesitating.  I still have the issue that I have to work 20 hours a week on the computer, but… you’re absolutely right.  If I don’t take action, it won’t stop.  Also, now that I think of it, if I can strongly develop good habits in place of the computer, then maybe I will be able to use it again.  I’ll be sure to let you know if I have any breakthroughs myself. smile

PastorJack59: You know, I once thought of going into ministry myself.  A thing I didn’t mention was that the first year I spent in high-school was at Quigley Preparatory seminary.  Granted, this was catholic ministry, so it’s not the same thing, but I just thought I’d bring it up.  Another thing I’ve had trouble with myself as of late is prayer and faith, and I’ve been thinking about how I never seem to keep that up, too.  Even so, I still don’t think it’s right.  It’s another part of my battle, keeping my faith alive, and I think you should persevere as well.  You’re probably a much better person than I am.  Keep striving to know god, and don’t give up.  God is Good.  Things will always turn out all right, whether or not you think they do, as long as you follow and come to understand God’s will.  That being said, from one Christian to another, may God bless you on your way.

foothillbilly: Thanks for the advice.  It’s nice that you had someone who loves you help you out… I guess that’s just another problem that I need to overcome.  Getting to be more socially active, that is.  It’s good to know that you were able to overcome your problems and get the GPA you truly have deserved.  You’ve inspired me to keep going on to as many therapists as I need to until I find a recovery technique that works for me.

B Strong:  I seem to be kind of a youngster around here… not sure exactly what a men’s telephone support group is.  I might be able to end up in group therapy, but I’ll look into it.

BlkThumbelina: I’ve been trying to improve my lifestyle by exercising more recently, having signed up for a 2 month membership at a gym.  Although I’ve been going faithfully, somehow my problems still persist outside of the gym.  I’ve been thinking about yoga/martial arts too, as it would be a great way to try and overcome my arthritis, and my sister has suggested yoga.  This has yet to be decided, of course, but it’s part of the struggle for the recovery that I’m still fighting for, despite the ineptitude that my ADD creates for me.  I guess I kind of just feel that I’m alone in my struggle, but I’ve lost weight and I do feel better.  It’s definitely something I’ll try to continue, but as I’ve said, I’m going to need to persevere with my interest in it, and that’s the real struggle that’s yet to come, or rather, is already upon me.

I appreciate the advice that all of you have given me.  There is still much more yet to come, and this has provided quite a bit of encouragement.  Be sure to keep going yourselves, too.  What’s important is to not give up… no matter how many tries it takes. smile

Good luck with it, everyone!

Posted by mrObsessive on Jun 29, 2011 at 4:42am

Mr. Obsessive,

As you’ve heard most people responding to this thread say already, your story is similar to mine, although I am much older (41) and was just recently diagnosed.

I have always been considered intelligent.  I was in the gifted program, I love math, and I know I have a high I.Q., but I have never felt intelligent.  Nothing interested me (except for math - and then I didn’t get all As in math either), and I didn’t have many friends.  When I was recently diagnosed, I was both happy that I found that I wasn’t just lazy or totally unmotivated, and I was sad too, because I felt like I had lived my whole life depressed and thinking that I was so flawed and maybe knowing sooner and being medicated might have helped me.

I have been on Vyvanse for about 3 weeks, and before that, I was on Adderall for a few weeks.  Vyvanse gives me more energy and I am more motivated to get done what I don’t wish to get done.  But, I was also disappointed because I expected the medication to “fix me” and make all of my bad habits and disorganization just go away.  I have since realized that it doesn’t help; I need to help myself, but I feel like I am more motivated to do so than without medication.  I am also on an antidepressant, which might help you, too.

I am currently in a field that I enjoy (teaching).  Nothing else has ever interested me, so I barely passed and found it boring.  But, I knew I had to get through the boring coursework to get to the courses that I do enjoy, and I found that I was much more attentive and did much better (I have my Master’s degree because I found that I wanted to teach when I almost had earned a Bachelor’s degree in Marketing).  It took me a long time to get through college, but it was worth it.

I think you shouldn’t give up hope.  Try a new therapist.  Do some research.  Try pursuing your dreams, even if you have to suffer through some boring courses to get there.  It will be worth it.  You do need to find a way to have some structure, I think, and maybe have a plan, in my opinion.  Exercise has helped me, too.  But, I think it’s important to set small, attainable and manageable goals along the way so that you’re not overwhelmed and you don’t feel like it’s hopeless.

I find myself addicted to the computer as well, and I don’t think you should give that up (since it’s something you look forward to), but you might try scheduling a certain amount of time during the day to get on the computer as a reward after you take care of other stuff that might not be as exciting or interesting.  I think you will feel better as you start accomplishing things you didn’t feel that you could before.  I know, as I get more organized around my house, I start feeling better about myself, which is more motivation.

I wish you luck.  I’m glad you found out early and are trying to reach out.

Posted by Jenstew on Jun 29, 2011 at 5:57am

mrObsessive,
You are right, the responsive posts are thoughtful and caring. I think we ADDers are a caring and sensitive bunch, partly because we have experienced many of the same issues you are experiencing. We all seem to want to help others to work through issues and perhaps short-circuit the experience-based learning!
At the risk of boring you, let me just say that I empathize with what you wrote. I sm 67, and was diagnosed only in 1999, so I had many years to develop bad habits or good coping mechanisms. Thanks to God, many coping skills were very helpful.
One major point: depression caused me to seek help, and led to my diagnoses additionally of anxiety and ADD. Much of what you wrote made me think of my experiences with depression. As you seek another therapist, consider depression caused by your ADD, or chemical imbalance, which mine seems to be.
BTW, I hope you are looking for a cognitive psychologist. They are equipped to help. I think they are particuliarly good with intelligent ADD people because they can actually coach you, tell you what they think rather than only asking questions to lead you to an insight.
In my experience, depression was addressed first, then ADD. I didn’t really expect a “magic bullet”, nor did I find one. ADD is part of who I am, for better or worse. Therapy did cause me to consider years of difficulty with an explanation for the difficulties. Some things are still HARD! Non-ADDers don’t understand how some things so easy for them are hard to impossible for us. It is as if you told a diabetic, “Just get over it! You are not trying hard enough!” I can’t explain that procrastinating is not what I want to do, but it is what happens. I used increasing anxiety to push me to action. As I got closer to a deadline, anxiety would let me hyperfocus until I got something done. Tough way to live!
After diagnosis, eventually meds helped me to be myself. But, ADD is still part of me. I still have to work at being on time, on starting a project sooner than the last minute, on remembering tasks or appointments, on trying to organize and prioritize. I use an iPod Touch, an iPad, and computer to help me.
I just retired as a vice president of compensation, benefits, and HRIS for a large corporation (25,000 employees in North America). A lot of people helped me along the way, allowing me to use the wierd thinking ability I have, which took years for me to trust. I never could understsnd the answers teachers were looking for. I later discovered the “correct” answer was too simple for me to believe that was what they wanted. I had already gone way past that answer to a point it would take hours for the class to reach. But I didn’t know that. I just knew I never was in step with everyone else!
Sorry for the long post. Going on and on is another characteristic I have to fight. I literally don’t know when to stop!

Posted by CadillacDave on Jun 29, 2011 at 7:59am

You would really benefit from talking with a good counselor.  I know I did.  She helped me “forgive” myself, accept myself, and come out of my sort of stiff way of conducting myself.  She even told me I was hanging around with people who were too conformist for me!! I knew instantly she was right.  Now I’ve let myself go more spontaneously, sillier, more playful, and I’m much happier.  She helped in many ways.  But I had to visit with three dud counselors before I found the right one, so don’t give up!!!

Posted by Lyndis on Jun 29, 2011 at 8:22pm

Mr. Obsessive -
I was not diagnosed with ADHD until my late forties, struggled all through school (thought I was stupid, crazy, or lazy), felt different from my family, bounced around different social groups,got similar comments from teachers. Heard a lot of, “if she only had more confidence and worked harder.” Went to Jr. college only a couple of semesters before going from job to job, taking classes here and there.  Had successes here and there for awhile, needed to move on to something new.  I was able to pull myself together enough in my late thirties to get a couple of college degrees and a good job. ( granted I had to study in the library study carrels with ear plugs, record and listen to lectures over, study, study, study, re-read, re-read, re-read, use mneumonics, make up songs about subject matter to recall it, etc.).

  Since my diagnosis, Concerta, dietary and routine changes and trying many strategies suggested here, things are better and improving.  I cannot recommend enough to exercise daily (outside is even better for me mentally) and Yoga has been huge for me!!!  Yes, there are girls and guys in the class.  I can breath and relax like never before, have made new friends, gained in strength, flexibility, and balance (both mentally and physically), and have been able to gain in my ability to quiet my mind.  Now people even comment on my positive attitude and confidence (certainly not the case before) and say that those qualities are what draws them to me.  Yes, I still have some dark days.  One cannot always be the poster child for positive thinking.  Now I realize when I do need to have alone time, or be with just one or two people versus large groups, and when I need to around many people.  I mix it up.  I also avoid people with negative attitudes, as their bad energy adversely affects me.

I feel as though people understand me more now, because I have a greater understanding of myself.  If you start to feel like something is becoming too routine mix it up.  For exercise, I also do pilates, walking, cycling, dancing, sailing, kayaking, whatever is available and that my mind and body decide is what it needs that day. It also places me around a variety of different people at different times, so that I really appreciate them when I see them. If I backslide on the exercise, I really notice, and find a way to get back on track. 

Also, forgive yourself when you are not living up to your expectations. You are not a bad person. The fact that you are seeking help at your age and seem ready to accept it and learn healthy ways to address your challenges is amazing.  I don’t wish the grieving process of feeling like you may have wasted so many years of your life on anyone.

So,  Breath, drink a glass of water, take a shower, do a fancy dance in your underpants,  to release the bad thoughts away.  Whatever it takes.  It is a long, ongoing process, and I feel your pain, disappointment, frustration, and sometimes sheer exhaustion.  There is hope!!!

We are all here for you. I will put you in my prayers. Namaste

Posted by Phoenix on Jul 01, 2011 at 4:37am

Mr. Obsessive
I have a six year old with ADHD, Sensory processing disorder, food allergies, eczema, hayfever and is ahead intellectually by atleast 2 years.  He started reading at 4 yrs old.  He was quite uncontrollable and almost got kicked out of pre-school many times due to his anger and agressive behavior.  We took him to a naturopathic doctor at 4 yrs old and it changed my sons life and ours!  He was diagnosed with Leaky Gut caused by Candida (too much yeast in his intestinal gut) this caused his intestines to be inflamed and that cause all of his food allergies/sensitivies which cause eczema.  We put him on high doses of fish oil and a candida diet and withing 30 days 90% of his eczema was gone!  He was seeing a detmatologist has lots of medicine and had 2 staph intections due to his eczema.  In 30 DAYS this doctor cured him 90%.  I knew the power of food after that.  Due to his intestines being inflammed he couldn’t absord nutrients and toxins were in his blood stream.  After a year on a severe candida diet and nutritionals he calmed down a little.  What really made a HUGE difference in him was testing his neurotransmitters.  It is a urine test with a Naturopathic doctor.  We found out his Serotonin was very low.  After 3 weeks of supplemental Serotonin he became a different child.  He was able to sit for circle time and wasn’t throwing chairs and climbing up poles and staying up there. 

Last Fall in kindergarten he was doing so well we let him participate in snack he could eat wheat/gluten, dairy and some sugar.  After 30 days of getting one of these a day he started to stutter, develop and eye tic and throat tic.  He was very hyper which caused all of these things.  Those foods inflamed his intestines and increased his heart rate.  Two weeks after we stoped participating in snack at school the stuttering and eye tic went away.  It took longer for the throat tic and hyperactivity to taper down.

The foods we eat are like medicine or poison to our bodies.  Foods that you are sensitive too will increase your heart rate which will cause hyperactivity.  Also, your intestines are inflamed which causes less nutrients to be absorbed and toxins in your blood stream.  This affects your neurotransmitters.  That would be Serotonin which control so much and GABBA which is related to anxiety. 

We have my son stable because he is on a pretty strict diet.  We give him a treat 1x a week and he doesn’t get in trouble at school and has some friends now.  We also have him on high dose of fish oil and 10mg of Serotonin, 5 billion probiotic and a multi-vitamin.  He may have to eat this way for the rest of his life. 

Brenda Watson has shows on PBS that explains the gut and how it is connected to arthrits and depression(like you mentioned).

I too am a Christian and will pray for you to find a way to get yourself better.  Pray for the Lord to show you how to get better, so that you may serve him better.

God Bless you and your journey to good health, peace and joy.

Posted by NaturalMom on Jul 01, 2011 at 11:12pm

Mr.Obsessive:
That’s more formal than you had it. ANYwho. Shows where my attention is or isn’t.

ANYwho. I . . . hesitate to bring religion / Christianity into the conversation, but it’s part of who I am and what I have to deal with in dealing with the ADD.
You said, several . . . what do we call these things, the semi-luddite said . . . Posts? Responses? ANYwho. You said several of those back, referring to me, “You’re probably a better person than I” or words to that effect.
No, no, no - he said, half tongue in cheek - Jesus said that only God is good when someone called him “good teacher”. I’m no better than anyone else.
BUT - and here’s the important part for those of us with ADD . . . or, I guess, pretty much for anyone - we’re no worse than anyone else, either. Hear that? Let’s all say it together:

“We’re no worse than anyone else!”

We’re not broke, we don’t need fixed. We are and as I told someone else recently, in the words of Abraham Joshua Heschel, rabbi and mystic, “Just to be is a blessing. Just to live is holy.”

I’ll step down from the soapbox - but one last word and that word for all of us is “persevere.” In the struggle there is growth.

And Happy Canada Day. wink

Posted by TrainManJack59 on Jul 02, 2011 at 12:08am

Wow! What a great group we have here!!  Such thoughtful and caring responses—I’m very impressed!

I have heard a story very similar to yours from dozens of adults with ADD who have come to me for help.  Some of them well into their 50s and 60s before they understand why they struggle how they do.  You are not alone by any stretch!!  One of the most common complaints I hear from prospective clients are about unrealized potential. 

We have a saying in ADD Coaching that, “Pills don’t teach skills.”  While medication can help us focus sufficiently to learn new skills, it’s not a magic solution.  A well-trained ADD Coach can work wonders in helping you learn to develop the systems and tools to improve your functioning and fulfillment, and help you life a more productive life.  And help you to stop beating yourself up!  (That is not a plug for myself or my business, but for the profession!) 

The ACO (adhdcoaches.org) is a good place to start looking at ADD Coaches, if you are so inclined, because they require appropriate training of their members.  (Coaching is an unregulated profession, which means anyone can call themselves a coach!)

IMO, the blame and shame we attach to our own shortcomings can be the most debilitating side-effect/symptom of our ADD brain wiring! A good coach will aim to help you learn about ADD (and the unique ways it shows up in you) and what works for you to manage your challenges, so that you can start to let go of some of that blame and shame and start putting your natural strengths and talents—such as your amazing creativity and out-of-the-box problem solving abilities—to work to manage your challenges without guilt, blame, and self-flaggelation. 

Hang in there!  The fact that you’re here and looking for help is a huge start!!

Best of luck!

Lynne Edris

Posted by ADD_Coach_Lynne on Jul 02, 2011 at 1:01am

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