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Inattentive ADHD

Has it gotten better? What worked

I was diagnosed with inattentive add and depression last month.  I am 39 and have had a hard time focusing and completing tasks all my life, it is very difficult to remember locations and directions, and I have a difficult time sustaining loving relationships and even going out and doing things. Lately it has gotten worse.  I have been more scattered and forgetful, I didn’t want to get out bed….  I am taking 27 mg of generic Concerta and 50 mg of generic Zoloft.  I feel so behind on so many things that I don’t know how to catch up.  Piles of paper and clothes are worrying me… I feel sad just walking in my door and seeing all of this.  I feel disappointed in my self and my life.  I have a good job and great kids. I am a single mom and very lonely. I feel inadequate to meet the challenges of my life.  I have a counselor, eliminated sugar from my diet through the 12 steps, a doctor, clinical nutritional counseling, prayer…. etc. Has any one faced something similiar.  What helped.  Will things keep looking this dark?


Yes, I lived like this for years and finally was driven to do something to help myself.  My therapist got changed to one who actually understood ADD.  The new therapist also had ADD, so we brainstormed the situation.  We came up with some tools for me to use and some solid philosophies for m to use as “mantras” through the process.

He suggested Flylady to help with the domestic side of things.  It took time for that process to become the basis of my domestic routines, but it does work!

The planner is still with me and is probably the most helpful tool I have. 

The biggest motivator for me was turning the tables on myself.  If I was lonely, then I had to look at why I was isolating myself.  Was it shame?  Was it guilt? 

Get involved with some of what your kids are doing.  Do they participate in after school activities?  Why don’t you volunteer for fund raisers and such?

You may also need to look at a change in your antidepressant medication.  They can stop working.  While you are at it, have your doctor check your Thyroid function—all of it; not just the TSH.

Talk to your doctor about all of this.  I mean start with your GP and get his/her “take” on what could be going on with you. 

Frankly, if you do not feel that you are improving your situation with the current “help” that you have, then it may be time for different help.

Nobody can fix this—nobody.  But you can do a lot to help yourself.  Laying in bed does not get anything done except a long term visualization of the inside of your eyelids.  That I no kind of motivation.

Determine a goal for yourself that is attainable in the short term.  Plan how you will achieve that goal.  Then develop a time table to achieve it.  Then start working on it. 

You are a mother so you have responsibilities, but if that is not motivation enough, then you need to look at your “self” and figure out how you are going to change things so that you feel more than adequate and can “be there” for your kids. 

What will you do when your children are not your reason for getting up each day?  You need to create a life for yourself and keep advancing. 

While I understand that “diet” can have its negative affects on ADD, it is also essential that your diet fit your nutritional needs.  There are some things that are essential things for energy; not just sugars.  I live on a low gluten/low sodium/low sugar regimen and my depression is relieved enough to not need medication.  Every antidepressant I took stopped working long before my depression was handled. 

I hope that you can find relief quickly and that the steps you take are the ones needed to take you out of this “dark hole”.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Apr 28, 2014 at 11:34pm

Hello beachbb and Dianne.  I’m sorry to hear you’re having such a difficult time bb. Luckily though, you got a bead on why you likely have been feeling so crappy for so long. I’ve been knowingly dealing with low grade chronic depression for 18 years.  It was discovered 2 years ago that I also have ADD.  It took me years of different therapists and medications to achieve some balance.  Be patient.  You were just diagnosed very recently, and it does take some time to, first, accept the fact that you will have to manage your affliction for the rest of your life.

Pretty daunting, huh?  Knowing what the issue is is the first baby step. Garnering as much knowledge as you can is huge, because it becomes somewhat more tangible when you understand it.

Now, what can you do to start feeling normal?  Have you discussed this with your kids and the people close to you?  I became an open book once I began to accept it.  Don’t be afraid to change your medications if they’re not helping. Start seeing a psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD.  Also - and this is assuming you can afford to do so - make sure you see a psychologist on a regular basis.  Just to give you an idea, I take 4 different medications. For depression I take Welbutrin and Pristiq. For anxiety, generic Xanax. For my ADD I take Vyvanse, which has been something of a wonder drug for me.

Here’s the hardest part.  You’ve lived your life for 39 years, living your life a certain way.  Habits are difficult to break, especially when those habits are part of your comfort zone.  Don’t expect too much from yourself too soon. You have to change what you can when you can.

The two greatest hindrances to feeling better are expecting you’ll be cured quickly, and not forgiving yourself when you take that inevitable step backwards.  Give yourself permission to fuck up every now and again. It’s gonna happen, so don’t flip when it does.

Try to find a support group. Having other people with the same issues to commiserate with is very cathartic.

I wish you all the best of everything. Feel good!

Posted by Addnjguy on Apr 29, 2014 at 4:42am

Hello beachbb, you are getting some good information from these earlier posts. I am in my 50s and was not diagnosed until I was 42 years old. I am fighting the same but different fight that all of us here are fighting. I do not have any advice to add that you have not already heard. At the end of your post you did mention prayer. I do not know if you are a strong christian, or even if you are a christian, I am assuming you are christian, Jesus has strong shoulders, and prayer is good for the soul . My wife asked me to post a scripture that has helped here deal with her ADD husband, it is from the prophet Isaiah 41:10 fear not, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
I would be, and have been lost without God,s love and grace. I have just said a prayer for you, and hope that you find what works for you. Keep the faith.

Posted by Rancher John on Apr 29, 2014 at 6:07am

Thank you all, I am really glad I found this site and that I had the courage to post.

Posted by beachbb on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:37pm

I am going to my doctor now.

Posted by beachbb on Apr 29, 2014 at 3:38pm

Thanks Diane, Addnguy, and Rancher John,  my doctor increased the Zoloft to 100 mg and Concerta to 36 mg. I hope this helps. Tomorrow I am going to the counselor. Right now I don’t have any goals and I am behind on so much work that it hurts to get started.  I was working from home today (temporarily), but I dropped the kids off at school and stayed in bed most of the day surfing the Internet - I know that won’t work. I am going to pick up my kids now and focus on them and their needs.  But I know I need to make more changes, and I pray I have the courage and strength and faith to look for new solutions.

Posted by beachbb on Apr 29, 2014 at 11:34pm

Wow, this is such a fantastic thread. I hope it can keep going. I’m so glad you reached out beachbb.

I really really relate to what you wrote about feeling so behind that it hurts to get started, so you avoid and surf the Internet and then feel even worse. I know that when I feel behind on things, then I feel bad, then I avoid as well, then I stop looking at my to-do list and planner, then I feel worse and ignore everything but what has to be done, and it can go on and on…and I get addicted to the game Minesweeper instead of getting going. And, I confess, I’m an ADHD therapist and coach and this still happens to me!

Sometimes I feel like what we all need, as well as or even (though I shouldn’t say this grin ) instead of therapists and coaches, are ADHD “buddies,” other ADHD people who understand what we do to ourselves and the secret ways we feel bad. and the whole pattern of delay-overwhelm-avoid-panic-feel bad-delay-overwhelm-avoid-feel even worse, and who can encourage us as we encourage them.

Has anybody ever heard of an ADHD buddy system? What do you all think of the idea?

I’m going to give you the same advice, beachbb that I want someone to give me this morning: Don’t let overwhelm and that feeling of “I’m so behind, I’m awful” keep you surfing the Net today. Just do *something.” One thing that you’ve been putting off. Or two things. You’re a single mother holding a job and raising kids, so you’re already automatically WONDERFUL. No matter how much you think you’re failing, you are a SUCCESS just because you’re doing that and you keep doing it and you keep muddling along like 99 percent of humanity does. Do ONE thing you’ve been pushing away and you’ll feel good today.

I hope to hear more from you, and everybody.

Posted by Larry Letich, LCSW on Apr 30, 2014 at 4:32pm

Thanks, Larry,  I am so proud of myself for getting in motion today.  I gathered up all of the overwhelming papers and am creating a to do list.  Then I am going to rank them A= do now, B=soon, C=last priority.  I am going to start on an “A” list item now.  I am already feeling better for taking action and also from meeting a friend and praying.  I am learning that I have to cut myself some slack for not being able to do all the things I want to, the way I want to and just do my best and not worry.  I went to an intense exercise class yesterday and I am hopeful that if I can keep it up, exercise and nutrition may be helpful in having more energy.  And believe it or not, fixing dinner for the kids and hearing them say—“Dinner’s good, Mom.” lifted my spirits.  I know that I can keep going for them and for me.

Posted by beachbb on Apr 30, 2014 at 8:05pm

That’s fantastic, Beachbb. Everything you’re doing is exactly spot-on—exercise, seeing a friend, making a list, praying, good nutrition, cutting yourself some slack and even making dinner! Exercise btw actually has been shown to help quite a bit - check out psychiatrist John Ratey’s book “Spark” on how much research there is that shows how physical exercise is good for the brain and helps people with ADHD.

Remember that when things look especially dark and you’re having all those horrible self-attacking thoughts, you’re not seeing things the way they really are at all. It’s just your brain giving you a very distorted picture of what’s really true, like one of those “fat” mirrors at the fair. You’re a single working mom, which means you’re on a very long uphill trek without a partner. That’s a lot for anyone to deal with. You deserve a ton of gentle and calm reassurance and encouragement, *especially* from yourself. Then just choose one thing you’re avoiding (it doesn’t have to be something really big or hard) and do it. Also, seek out friends and other supportive people who will remind you how good you are when you forget.
All the best!

Posted by Larry Letich, LCSW on Apr 30, 2014 at 9:37pm

In addition to the other suggestions on thyroid, check your cortisol and sex hormones. You may be starting perimenopause.

Low thyroid will make your brain and body run poorly. Low OR high cortisol can mess up your thyroid hormones. Sex hormone imbalances, not just high or low but relative to each other can complicate it also.

I wasn’t dx’d until a few months ago at 58. All the above made my lifelong low to moderate level symptoms worse.

I hate to rely on meds. I tried all feasible alternatives, amino acids, high protein diet, low salicylate diet, worked on my thyroid, adrenal and sex hormones, all helped but not enough. I was starting perimenopause at the same time the worst stress of my life hit with the violent death of my husband. 7 years later my life has turned around from wanting to die myself to being wonderful. I found true love again 5 years ago. The shifts as my body started to readjust to stability and happiness again took time. But something never returned to the same levels 7 years ago. Menopause? long term effects of the stress? age? No clue.

My symptoms have been life long and waxed and waned with puberty, lifestyle, stress, etc. Heavy exercise from my 20’s through 40’s was one of the best things for me but my body can’t tolerate that at almost 60. I’m still very active and need exercise or I’ll go crazy and take everyone around me with me. Vigorous hiking is now my best choice.

Exercise if you can, look at a website called stop the thyroid madness for what sorts of tests to do on thyroid, natural dessicated thyroid medication if you are low and the cofactors needed. Most docs don’t test the right stuff. And results of free T3 should be near the TOP of normal, mid to low normal is a statistical norm, not optimal range. Check out food intolerances, salicylates/phenols make me worse. Wheat makes me worse, but I tolerate rye, barley and oats. Chemical sensitivity, go green. Many highly scented household and personal care products make me worse.

For me, adrenaline was the drug of choice. I know I need adrenaline rushes. Adrenaline can help drive dopamine into the brain of some types of AD/HD where the receptors are not as sensitive as the norm. Along with other things like increasing blood flow to the brain, raising blood pressure—I run low BP and that means low brain function, dizziness, and more. Not fun. That was fine as long as my body could deliver the adrenaline. I suspect my body was trying to substitute adrenaline/epinephrine for the brain’s adrenaline—norepinephrine. That and dopamine can both be involved in ADD.

After 2 years of sorting out the food, hormones, amino acids and such, I finally had enough. I had worried that a stimulant would stress my adrenal glands too much. Wrong, it took stress OFF as I didn’t need to try to use adrenaline so much.

You might check out a book and website for the mood cure. Amino acid supplementation might help along with the other tips on how to guesstimate what neurochemicals are imbalanced and non med ways to try to readjust them. I did get some benefit just not enough.

Posted by Gadfly on May 02, 2014 at 5:33pm

Gadfly,thank you for the suggestions.  I had been wondering a little about perimenipause and thyroid stuff because everything seemed to be harder to deal with and I am about to be 40 (not that that is bad, I just was wondering if some of the changes were my body’s response to something.)

I am going to request a full physical and look up tests to see if they might be helpful when I talk to my doctor in a few weeks.

Posted by beachbb on May 02, 2014 at 5:50pm

This is the first time I have ever posted anything, anywhere on the internet to people I don’t know!!  I HAD to write because it feels like I DO know you folks.  I’ll try to be brief (I have a tendency to avoid writing because I get bogged down in more detail than is necessary) because, for now, I just wanted to say a couple of things to all of the people involved in this thread.

CONNECTION - that is what triggered that “little voice” inside of me to say “you HAVE to respond to this; you’ve missed many opportunities, just DO THIS ONE THING!”

To beachbb - thank you for showing me how and giving me the courage to put myself “out there”

ALL of the things talked about are the “things” that I live everyday and think about and want to change and don’t know where to start and . . . (You get the idea!)

ADDnjguy - thank you for your comment regarding how long these “habits” have been a way of life for us, and that they won’t change overnight, so expect that “inevitable step backwards”

Larry Letich, LCSW - I resonate so clearly with that horrifying cycle of overwhelm- to the point that I don’t even look at my “to-do” list - just play a game that puts my brain in another “gear” - then feel worse because the to-do list is still there - then panic - and the cycle goes on and on

I also like your idea of a “buddy system” because the first thing I mentioned above was CONNECTION (Dr. Hallowell emphasizes feeling connected as No. 1 priority) - wanting to feel connected to people who understand what I struggle with on a daily basis is why I decided it was time to reach out in SOME way (thanks again beachbb)

I said I would try to be brief (ha!); but I will close by saying that I am 57, have seen a trusted psychologist for a number of years (as well as a psychiatrist for med management);  like many of you, have struggled with depression, anxiety, and some of the other debilitating conditions that often accompany an ADD diagnosis (my ADD diagnosis was only 3-4 years ago) 
I have two wonderful grown children and a husband who does the best he can to understand ADD (but who really can who doesn’t “experience” it DAILY?)
I have my first grandchild due June 19 - I want my life back!!

Thanks for listening to ALL of you!

Posted by jsac on May 03, 2014 at 9:40pm

Hi jsac!!!

Posted by beachbb on May 05, 2014 at 6:21am

i feel like i’ve found a bit of long lost family online! I too feel the same panic cycle with my to do lists and have been overwhelmed by basic life for so long. I have just had a third child and want to be able to do things other than the basics for them and myself, but i just can’t. i have never been diagnosed or gone to see anyone but have just realized this is me! spot on! I think i need to find a time management ADD inactive specialist but I have no idea how to find one. Should i go to my general practitioner? Search online? No idea.

Prayers for all of you. One thing today, right. I can do that. Fun to choose the one thing that’s been languishing forever on my list.


by the way, we should all join a forum where we can talk. and share helpful words. anyone know a place?

Posted by rana128 on May 05, 2014 at 7:43pm

beachbb, thanks so much for responding just by saying Hi!!!  I mean that because it feels so good just to know you “heard” me. 

rana128, I know what you mean by the feeling of having found “part of your long lost family.”  It is comforting to not feel so alone and isolated, and know that other people REALLY GET what you are experiencing in your daily life, because they are too!

I am trying to take some of the suggestions above that were written a couple of days ago, i.e. Pick one thing and DO just that one thing.  Each ONE thing leads to another ONE thing - one day at a time.  It’s nice to know there are others out there dealing with the same lack of motivation (or whatever the sympton is at a given time) - in time I hope to “feel” more connected and not so isolated.

Posted by jsac on May 06, 2014 at 10:47am

Hello, beachbb, and everyone,

I have inattention ADD, depression, anxiety and insomnia, and wasn’t diagnosed until I was 50. Since this all went on for so long without any help, I was really in a hole.

I’ve gotten help for all of the above, but one cloud that continues to hang over my head is shame. Not remembering names. Forgetting everything. (A daytimer helps a lot, and I use Post-it Notes on the bathroom mirror to remember appointments.) Feeling socially awkward. I persist, and put myself in social situations often, and don’t give up. I feel shame for not “having it together”. I’m a homemaker, and getting dinner on the table is so hard, every day. Thankfully, there’s $5.00 burrito Mondays at a nearby restaurant, and date night out with my husband, and popcorn on Saturday nights. If someone asks me to bring food to a gathering, I’m overwhelmed. (I try to be the one bringing juice.) Another thing I feel shame about is not being able to remember facts about current events. I avoid having conversations about events or issues that are in the news, and feel really dumb because of this. I did test with a high IQ when being diagnosed with ADD, but a continual frustration is that I don’t have “access” to my memory. It’s inconsistent, as you all know, I’m sure. Sometimes I have perfect recall, other times I feel like I have no memory. More shame.

The Ritalin-type medications have ceased to work for me, but I take it anyway because it gives me a tiny boost in motivation. It makes enough of a difference to help a little bit.

For depression I take Wellbutrin, but that wasn’t enough, so I also take Abilify, which is very expensive. For the anxiety I take half of a tablet of Alprazolam, and for insomnia, a whole tablet.

Thank you all for your really great comments. I found them comforting and helpful. I know I’m not alone.

Posted by Other1623 on May 12, 2014 at 2:41am

Thank you other1623. Having group support helps.

Posted by beachbb on May 12, 2014 at 2:44am

I feel exactly the same shame, Other1623. I can have a conversation with someone about a topic i love, and have loved my whole life, and not be able to contribute specific things because my memory is so bad when i need it. I can’t even remember my phone number or husband’s birthday when i am under pressure. it’s like i have a pane of glass separating me from the information and i know right where it is. ah well. my iphone has helped a lot with this. i have an app called “hello” which you can use to put people and their info in. I hesitated for so long because i dont’ like using crutches, as I was afraid it would make my memory worse, but I’m trying it now.

anyone else have an app suggestion for anything add related?


Posted by rana128 on May 13, 2014 at 12:05am

Hi there Beachbb and everyone. I’m really new to this too but I’m happy i found this thread!  I can relate to everything being said.

I have recently been diagnosed with inattentive ADD , 6 weeks ago. I have always had low level depression, but somehow functioned. My depression is usually related to the fact that life is just so exhausting!! My mind is full of constant self-doubt, endless inner conversation, indecision, irritability, ideas, ... but then in a social situation my mind goes blank with nothing to say!! Then I berate myself and wonder why I’m not normal. I always felt 30s behind everyone else, which affected me so badly add I’m not dumb. At least I know why now!! I’m glad to finally have this diagnosis at least i understand why.  You are not alone with this….

I have been started on vyvanse for 6 weeks and it helps in the day with motivation. I still have dark moments and negative thoughts,  analysing everything and bedding very self critical, and I have decided after years of fighting it,  I want to try an antidepressant.  I just want a break from the constant negative self talk! I’m really interested to hear that some of you are on wellbutrin and I think I want to try it. I’d love to know if it’s helped with depression??

I have no way conquered any of this but when stuck,  panicking about a list, be so strict on yourself and say “which one unpleasant thing will I do today?” And pick just ONE - only ONE. One by one,  day by day you’ll get there.  (Right- now I need to listen to my own advice ha ha)

Posted by Sorceress on May 15, 2014 at 2:37am

Regarding apps, I just started using one called task hammer. It’s simple.  You have a character,  and get points when you complete real life tasks. You put tasks in with reminders etc. I had a massive list for my first day,  and got thru only one or two,  but I got my points!

Posted by Sorceress on May 15, 2014 at 2:41am

Re: Clutter Buddy?? Connect and control clutter idea

Hi, I am new here, 38 years old female, diagnosed relatively recently.  Does anyone here want to start a buddy system (or kind of a “clutter companion?”) - like recommended above by Larry above.  I find it is motivating to do things with a “kindred spirit” buddy who is also struggling to move toward a similar goal.

(A quick aside…by the way Larry, it is refreshing to read yor post, Larry - that you are a therapist LCSW who specializes in ADD, who is amazingly humble enough to admit an example in which you, as kindred ADD’r, are affected! Thank you for your openness).

Back to what I was saying…
A “Clutter buddy” illustration/ example:
I HATE exercising alone.  When I exercise with someone who also has this same goal, I tend to do it/start it because I feel connected.

Maybe this could also work with conquering things like throwing out clutter on a regular basis? I think members so far of this thread would all be excellent for this…maybe set up private messaging to start it up? I am not sure if this site allows for private messaging, am brand new to the site.

Also, I sincerely hope we can keep the thread to continue, I’m happy to have found it!

Posted by Fireflyte on May 15, 2014 at 11:50pm

Hi Squirrel,
Glad you are here.I just hired an organizer to help me declutter and organize my house. I got a really good price deal. We have done 2 rooms and they look great. I tried to get my sisters to buddy up but they were busy and nothing definite emerged…

Posted by beachbb on May 16, 2014 at 1:02am

Glad to hear that professional organizer is working for you!!  The thing is, its too prohibitly expensive, even with a good deal…thanks for reply!

Posted by Fireflyte on May 16, 2014 at 1:46am

Squirrel, excellent idea. It seems rare to find people who are inattentive, it is a boon to have found similar people. If anyone would like to share their email address, we can just chat about whatever and copy all in. I will collect them, if there is a PM system on this site, and share mine as well.


Posted by rana128 on May 16, 2014 at 7:30am

Thanks, Rana, the email list is a great idea.  I think the organizer just had mercy on me and cut me a great deal because it’s not something I could normally afford.

Posted by beachbb on May 16, 2014 at 3:02pm

Rana I private messaged you, thanks

Posted by Fireflyte on May 16, 2014 at 7:00pm

Re: Clutter buddy/buddies (see above posts) - does anyone want to share what time zone we’re from? To better understand when we’re more likely to log in to this thread, lol…

I am in E.S.T. (Eastern Standard Time)

Posted by Fireflyte on May 16, 2014 at 7:11pm


I may have missed it in the conversation, but was Adderall suggested for you? I have heard that this is a common medication for AD/HD inattentive types. I started it last month after finally being diagnosed with AD/HD inattentive type (and possibly depression), and I found it to be immediately helpful with the issues you discuss. Feeling overwhelmed and desperately behind in all aspects of life, like a failure, etc. With Adderall I feel confident, capable, and doing the things that need to get done is easy, effortless. I don’t like everything about being on it, like I am now a little lost regarding my identity (35 years of struggling and coping, poof! gone. also the things that have made me suffer so long, poof! gone) and I’m wondering what’s next. But in general, it has really helped me feel normal, that is, like a normal person.

Good to see everyone respond so favorably to this thread. I hope to connect with the community more fully.

Peace, Tea

Posted by TeaAmongRoses on Sep 05, 2014 at 5:08pm

I’ve felt the same way for several years since I’ve started my professional path towards graduate school 4 years ago. I’m really happy to have found this forum, especially since it’s so hard to find anything , even online, on what Inattentiveness looks like for the lot of us.

I am so eager to get out of my fog of adhd-i, being hsp, and depersonalized. I’ve had adhd-i symptoms all my life and was never treated or diagnosed. However, as an adult, I’m trying (despite feeling like i take 5 steps ahead and 20 steps back at times) very hard to get to a better place in my life, where I can stop feeling so tired when I utilize my brain and then not retain any information. The only way I learn is when the information touches my heart, and it’s hands-on experience. I value this, but I would really like to learn better. 

I want to live my life!

I’ve learned so much from all three—but I want to function and share my strengths with other people and this has been so hard to get out of- this dense fog. Looking forward to connecting with you all.

Posted by tigerlily86 on Oct 06, 2014 at 6:38pm

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