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Figuring out my ADHD

This is my first post so hi.  I’ve had ADD/ADHD since I was a child.  You see the home movies, I’m running around in circles.  In school I did the first row of problems and said I know how to do that and move on.  Never had a teacher that got it until I was in the 5th grade.  She finally pointed out to my parents, do you see what she is doing?  She is smart, she knows this she just refuses.  BORED.  So I spent my school days in mediocre to bad grades, just getting by with an inability to ever focus on one thing for more than a few minutes.

I cannot remember a time in my life, whether I was 6 years old or today, 44 where this doesn’t affect my daily life in a not so good way.  I own my own business who else would put up with me?  I am good at what I do and my business partner puts up with me probably because I’m able to switch my hyper-focus to work and really get things done.  For instance, I work with someone in reality tv and Sunday I sat down and wrote 3 new reality show concepts back to back to back in like 2 hours.  Then I read them later and go wow, I can’t believe I wrote that.  It’s like a hyper dream.  For years I’ve beat myself up for not being able to focus on much except work.  I’m a terrible housekeeper, I cannot cook, because I get overwhelmed at putting together the ingredients to even make a meal.  I can’t seem to help kids with their homework I get to frustrated.  Lucky for me my husband does most of the cooking.  Also lucky for me he has the personality that is more low key and he tends to balance me out.  After 15 years of marriage we’ve both stopped pretending I’ll be a good housekeeper someday or be able to cook or keep my kids school lives organized.  For the first time in my life I had a talk with both of my kids teachers and said listen, I can’t keep up with what I’m doing half the time let alone keep their homework and assignments.  I asked them if there were really important things I needed to get on them about would they please email or text me to remind?  I actually asked for help and reminders and they seemed to listen and have been messaging me for important things so I can jump on them and make sure it’s done.

I am currently on 60mg of Prozac and 30mg of Adderall a day.  I was on Cymbalta for 10 years but things were falling apart for me and that’s when started to really dig into what is wrong with me and made some changes.  So now meds are good and I am now picking apart by behavior daily trying to really see it, notice it, acknowledge it.  I love my business and my business partner and I want to figure out how to work with this the best I can to keep us both happy. 

I’ve been sharing as much as I can with my partner in an attempt to get him to understand my crazy behavior sometimes and I do think he understands more now than he ever did.  My husband is also enjoying the changes I’m trying to make.  So here is what I’ve been trying to work on and I’m looking for any advice or suggestion or just ways to make things smoother. 

working on a daily to do list which is hard because I write stuff down then never look at it again.  So I’m doing everything in my power to go back and look, cross things off and really work on it. 

Google calendar.  I’ve got this thing texting me an hour ahead of anything and 15 minutes before.  It’s still hard for me to trust but I’m trying hard to get more dependent on it.

Using Siri to remind me things.  Like remind me at 10am I need to call so and so.  Talking right into my phone seems to be easier then typing myself a message.

I spent a weekend rearranging my desk and REALLY digging in to get it into a system I can work with.  Not just cleaning up my desk and then waiting for piles to build.  Looking at it and saying, I’m left handed so obviously I need to keep my planner and calendar and leave space to my left so I can use things things.  I know that sounds simple to most people but my desk for YEARS has been a terrible place I can’t keep together.  Now it seems to be a little more workable.  Love to hear desk tips.

I created an organizer on my desk that is labeled “I don’t know what to do with this”.  That is for when I go through things, know it’s something I need to handle but not quite sure how to handle it yet.  If it’s there, I know it’s not finished and it’s something I need to eventually acknowledge.  As opposed to leaving it in a pile.

Accepting my strengths.  I’m trying to embrace what I’m good at use my ADHD and stop beating myself up for all the things I can’t do.  I’m not apologizing anymore.  This is me.  Sorry my living room is a mess, but I’m not beating myself up about it anymore.

My brain never shuts off and going to sleep can be brutal so I’m working on a little meditation and relaxation at night in an attempt to clear my head so I can wake up more fresher.  This works to a point but again it’s remembering to do and not forgetting what I’m trying to achieve.

Asking myself what I can do now to prepare myself for say something next week rather than waiting until the last second.

I would love to share and brainstorm with others who have ideas, tips no matter how simple. 

Nice to meet you all,
Melissa

Replies

Hi Melissa,
You’ve done all the heavy lifting. And now that you accept who you are and relate so honestly with the school the work and home you have others accepting you. You are way ahead of the game.

Yes, there are tips and protocols with watches, paper and plans but you may get just as much out of helping one other person (or a group of persons in a support group setting) than you would any place else. The sharing will help all around.

Your motivation and enthusiasm is making all the difference.

Posted by John Tucker, PhD, ACG. ADHD Coach on Dec 31, 2013 at 6:47pm

Thanks! Even though it’s something I have always known about and been diagnosed with it’s taken me 44 years to figure it and just the acceptable that this is who I am is already making all the difference in my life.  It was reading so much on this site that really finally made that door in my brain open!

Posted by msnuggie on Dec 31, 2013 at 9:21pm

Good for you! Gives me hope.

Posted by Juggler on Jan 01, 2014 at 12:02am

Thank you so much for sharing!  I am still learning - and am overwhelmed with information - but am trying to accept myself as I am.  I also have been trying to get my desk organized because as hard as it is already is to do schoolwork, it is 25 times as hard when you don’t know what you have or where it is!  I have actually been enjoying it!  I have also been trying to make lists and write everything down (but we have a similar problem with looking at what is written…..)  It’s so nice to know I am not alone.

Posted by SuzieSubie on Jan 01, 2014 at 12:05am

I’m can see my self being so ADD but I need some strength to ask for help. I joined this site yesterday.
You write about organizing your desk. It makes we want to cry. I never cry, is that also an ADD thing not to cry? My desk and office are such a mess. I clean my desk a few weeks later its a mess again. My boss was mad at me for a month for not doing all these boxes laying around in my office. Full of the papers that accumulated from years of keeping things on my desk. I started one box, I found the title to my car there.  I was almost ready to just dump all the boxes in the garbage. Now I just keep on pushing off checking the other boxes.

I wrote a post yesterday in the men’s thread

Posted by caringman on Jan 01, 2014 at 1:17am

Isn’t it nice to have a spouse that makes the effort to understand our crazy ways instead of constantly pointing out how easy it would to"blah blah blah” you fill in the blank. I have my own job also I raise cattle, they do not seem to mind when it takes me 20 minutes to find the bucket that I have been carrying around the whole time. I did not find out I was ADD until I was 40, I am now 52. I am so happy for you. You have a good start at learning how to not let this thing run your life. God bless you.

Posted by Rancher John on Jan 01, 2014 at 2:27am

Never apologize for your uniqueness. I am a 67yo male diagnosed w/ Adhd 2 years ago. And I relate to all you describe.
Find a support group, for many it is quite therapeutic to share and learn from others with adhd. Addition, subscribe to the magazine ADDitude. It has been a very helpful resource to me.

Posted by ahimsa on Jan 01, 2014 at 4:48am

You started a great discussion!  An interesting thing is that ALL people, ADHD or not, have a “catch-all spot” as I call it.  For some, it’s their kitchen table, for some it’s their desk, etc.  Mine, like you, is my desk.  I will go through and organize every so often to make “neat” piles, and I do know where everything is, but then it gets out of control very quickly, mainly the next time I check my mailbox (which is usually once or twice a week…ha!).  Doesn’t help that I’m in the middle of 5 books, 1 textbook, and 3 or 4 magazines, and those are also all over my desk.  It’s only quarter to 8pm here.  You just made me want to organize my desk! LOL I love your idea of the “I don’t know what to do with this right now” organizer.  I definitely need one of those!  I bought, at the dollar store, 2 stackable shelves, the type where you would have “incoming” and “outgoing” paperwork.  Right now they’re filled with junk, but it would help a lot if I could actually do something with them and use them in an efficient way.  I once had a shoebox that was labeled “VERY IMPORTANT PAPERWORK ASAP.”  I found it about 2 years after I had last seen it.  LOL Guess the paperwork wasn’t that important after all!

One of my big problems is getting sidetracked.  Like yesterday, I was trying to dump my bag of cat food into containers and I ended up cleaning out the bottom of the closet where I store the containers, which ended up with me rearranging the shelf above that, and then the phone rang, and then I got to checking email, then watching youtube videos, and finally, at some point, got back to the closet and the cat food.  It’s like I just around from activity to activity without finishing the one I started first.  It boggles my mind.  My mind just doesn’t THINK that way.

I just downloaded an app on my Android phone called Routinely.  It’s supposed to help with and remind you of things that are routine and to help you create a routine for yourself.  I’m scared of routine because I get bored so easily, and I have absolutely NO concept of time, and I’m really scared to give this app a shot, but I’m pretty desperate right now.  There are other apps out there too that can help with prioritizing (I suffer tremendously with that as well) but the ones I found were all for iPhone.

I’ll keep checking this thread.  I’m interested to see what others have to say about this too!

Posted by LittleD1981 on Jan 01, 2014 at 5:51am

I’m enjoying reading all these notes.  The all sound like me.  I didn’t know what was wrong with me until I was 50, at the end of a 10 year relationship.  He was overly neat and could not understand why I had problems taking care of my home and the time problem.  One day he brought his daughter over when I was cleaning and said that’s why I won’t marry her.  I didn’t understand me I just accepted what I could and could not do.  To help me focus and to sleep white noise or nature sounds stop my mind from roaming.  It helps me to read.  I’m a lousy housekeeper but what helps me is to put the stove timer on and only allow me 15 min. On a chore.  I have to switch to another chore and come back to it later.  This makes it fun.  Add classical or jazz without t words it wii keep your mind from roaming in that 15 min.  I notice a manager talking to herself she said it’s to help her with her work.  I said I have to try that.  It works if I can remember to do it.  It helps when you’re walking to get something and forget.  I tell my self out loud that I’m going to feed the cat as I’m walking to do it.  I like using Franklin Covey’s appointment and Calendar binder.  I have a place to make my appointments, write notes and joint down to dues for that day.  I just have to get the money to get the refills.  My problem though is depression.  It comes from Post Traumatic Stress which keeps me from doing things.  I can’t afford a therapist at this time so I have to for e my self to do things as simple as going to the library.  I’m glad I saw these notes.

Posted by brina on Jan 01, 2014 at 11:17am

Thanks for sharing… I am 48 and I finally am meeting with an adhd coach…I take adderall and zoloft and I’m very happy that I’m taking action in this. I have a good, challenging job that I really like and also being sober 12 years has helped me feel I can compete in this world… Although it can be tough sometimes…

Posted by press on on Jan 02, 2014 at 11:45am

I came in to check this thread this morning and I could have cried!

Even writing it down and being honest felt scary and I am happy to meet others.  I want to thank everyone so much for sharing it helps.  I was reading my husband your comments and as much as he actually does seem to get this is real and I it helped him too.

I’m going back to read more carefully and address some individual points but wanted to say THANK YOU before I forget to! smile

Posted by msnuggie on Jan 02, 2014 at 4:36pm

caringman, you wrote—I found the title to my car there.  I was almost ready to just dump all the boxes in the garbage. Now I just keep on pushing off checking the other boxes. - See more at: http://connect.additudemag.com/groups/topic/8587/#sthash.cCHR5nXC.dpuf

Let’s talk about the desk.

I SO relate to that.  I found my husband’s social security card in the mess in a pile and I wanted to do the exact same thing just pitch it all.  I read somewhere about OHIO Only Handle it Once.  I am making an effort to have a garbage can by my side so I don’t just open the envelope and throw the empty envelope my desk.

I also asked myself some honest questions.  First I looked at how my desk was set up.  I’m left handed and I had no empty space to my left to write anything!  I had my printer and scanner there.  So something as simple as moving my printer and scanner to the right side of my desk and opening space for me to keep a big desk calendar and a little notebook was key.  I was trying not to think to hard or to much and snowball a bunch of other ideas or solutions I tried to focus on that one little thing, where do I write things down? 

I’m in the vintage and antiques business and I found a big metal tool cabinet with lots of little drawers flat ones and ones the size of the old card catalogs.  I put all markers and highlighters in one.  I also deposit a lot of checks via online banking so I am using a little drawer just for those deposited checks instead of them being all over everywhere.  Still have lots of empty drawers and I’m not going to force myself to find a use for it I’ll never use.  I’ll wait til it happens and I’ll know when something else needs a permanent spot.  Here is a link to something similar and I cleared the whole desk and pushed this up against the wall towards the back of the desk.  http://tinyurl.com/mrt3kpm

I also got 4 metal organizer shelf things that go on top of the metal boxes.  One now holds just printer paper and I labeled it.  We have shows in 3 states, TX, MI and IL so I reserved a little shelf for contracts for each state or show.  So it’s as simple as one of these old things. http://tinyurl.com/mva24lq.  All things get entered in the computer anyway but I often need to refer back to hard copies.  I may try to get into a habit where I scan them and put them into the computer, but baby steps. 

So that’s where I am on the desk so far.  I’m trying to keep it really simple.  I know my behavior I have to ask myself, will I remember this? Will I actually use it this way?  I’ve cleaned by desk 10000 times but it’s the first time I’ve ever gone at it this way.  I hope it works!

Posted by msnuggie on Jan 02, 2014 at 4:55pm

One of my big problems is getting sidetracked.  Like yesterday, I was trying to dump my bag of cat food into containers and I ended up cleaning out the bottom of the closet where I store the containers, which ended up with me rearranging the shelf above that, and then the phone rang, and then I got to checking email, then watching youtube videos, - See more at: http://connect.additudemag.com/groups/topic/8587/#sthash.5SpMO8z2.dpuf

this is constant for me too, at least you remember to get back to things. HA!  I have heard of routinely and I think I will try that!

Posted by msnuggie on Jan 02, 2014 at 5:00pm

Hi, Melissa!

After nearly 20 years of being treated as “manic depressive”, I had had enough!  I made an appointment with a new psychiatrist and told him what I thought was going on with me.  He listened, then scheduled some tests specific to ADD/ADHD.  He confirmed what I had already figured out.  ha! 

While reading your entry above, I found myself thinking that I was reading my own “story” or that I had found a “Twin separated at birth”. 

My desk is still a disaster zone.  The door to the home office stays closed because no one should be subjected to that kind of mess.

But, in reading your ideas and the suggestions from the other writers on this board, I will be making some changes and hoping that I will be strong enough to maintain it.

I do have one bonus feature in here.  My husband took a very old computer desk, put an old refinished solid core door over the top of the desk, which gave me a huge work surface.  Then he bought a small bookcase and stood that up on one end of the desk so I have a place for my binders and other books.

The bookcase is on the right side.  On the left is my printer on a small paper storage cabinet so I have easy access to paper and ink.  In the middle I have my laptop, pens and pencil holder, and a desktop file folder holder for pending items.

This is much better than it has been in the past, but I want it to be better and easier to use without the clutter.

Thank you all for the great ideas!  I am off to plan my office cleanup and see where that takes me.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Jan 04, 2014 at 10:42am

OMG Melissa just reading this almost made me cry!  No one understands me.  I come from the generation that doesn’t believe ADD is a real thing.  Everyone gets mad at me, thinks I am just lazy,have had it easy most of my life or that I just refuse to grow up.  It affects my depression.  I am on prozac and Lamtrigine because my shrink believes I am also Bio-polar.  I never did well in school.  I am a hairdresser which was supposed to be temporary until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life which apparently is nothing.  I can not take retalin or Adderall they make my anxiety and anger worse.  I am hoping to try Stratera but also really need to find an affordable psychologist that specializes in add.

Posted by Carolina9 on Jan 05, 2014 at 12:23am

Hi Melissa! I also have ADHD, and can’t cook for you-know-what….. I’m not that organized , but working at it. I use my iPhone to create lists if I am going shopping, and the times I’m. to fighting with SIRI, I’ll use SIRI to remind me of stuff. I also use the reminders feature on my iPhone and iPad. I have the Inattentive type of ADHD.

Posted by Lilapsophile on Jan 05, 2014 at 5:06am

Hi everyone, just checking in!

still working on staying “aware” daily of my ADHD and what it does to me and how can I help it not make me crazy. 

My desk has gotten a little messier as I look around and I see a few little piles beginning to develop.  I am desperately trying to “remember” my problem and what is happening with me.  Sometimes I get so busy that I just have to go and push it all out of my head to get things done.  Then when I come back down to earth I realize I’ve spent days forgetting about routines, plans, alarms etc.  I’m back to out of control me.  So I’m back and working on some simple routines.  Like—

today I’m writing down in my new little notebook things I need to work on tomorrow so I can declutter my head and not start freaking out because I’m trying to remember everything I might need to do tomorrow.  I also have this new obsessive compulsive thing where on every page I write across the top WRITE IT DOWN and in the middle of the page LOOK with arrows that go up and down.  I’m famous for writing things down and then never looking at it again.

I wouldn’t say I’ve had any dramatic changes since my last message but I am still keeping it up all front so I can keep trying to work on things and develop habits that help and not hurt.  I really do thank heavens for this site.  It’s changing me I can feel it and even these small things do make a difference.  Happy Sunday everyone!

Posted by msnuggie on Jan 19, 2014 at 6:18pm

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