Just Diagnosed With ADHD (Adults)
Newly diagnosed - 47 years old
I could probably write a dissertation here but will try and keep my story somewhat short. I am here today because about a month ago my wife was extremely upset with me because she found out that I was taking money from our savings account to cover bills in our checking account and never said anything to her about it. I even had “borrowed” some smaller amounts from the kids’ savings account. I say “borrowed” because in my mind I was planning on selling a few things on eBay to put the money back in. Judging by the tense and utter look of disgust on my wife’s face, my fumbled attempt at explaining my behavior didn’t exactly work. It was also the breaking point for what had been building for many years: years of her doing most of the housework even though I’m home all day. Years of her giving me advice and me not doing anything about. Years of her being responsible for keeping the kids organized for school. And years of our finances getting worse and worse.
Our financial situation has been weak for a long time since my wife is the only one working. I did have an eBay consignment business that I did okay with a few years ago, and I even rented some office space because I thought I would be more productive if I got away from the distractions of my house, and I also wanted to start a computer repair business there since I was pretty good at that stuff. Well, I was actually more distracted at the office since I had nobody looking over my shoulder, and I could surf the net, not answer phone calls, anything but sell the eBay items sitting on the big table in the middle of the room. Eventually, I stopped selling things for my customers and didn’t even let them know I still had some of their stuff. And then I completely stopped going to the office, and I was already behind on rent so I stopped paying that.
I have been searching for work, but mostly searching, and searching, and searching. I find a lot of jobs that interest me, but don’t send out resumes because I have to do a customized cover letter, and I put it off to do other things and eventually I say to myself “oh yeah I better send something out” only to find that the job posting was now a week ago and it was probably too late to do it.
I could continue with a plethora of such stories filled with my procrastination, avoidance, bad decision making about money, hiding paperwork at a job in desk drawers, getting written up at work for failing to do things, stopping my relationships with friends for no real reason, alcohol dependency, video game addiction, an obsession with porn, and much more. But before I go on, I don’t want to paint a completely bleak picture of myself because I do have good qualities such as coaching, serving on a Little League board of directors, being friendly and well-liked, and creative especially musically.
Back to my premise of why I am here today. The argument with my wife over the saving’s money was indeed the turning point. She finally said that she thought there was something wrong with me and that I needed to seek help because she couldn’t help me. So after many apologies by me, many tears, and an hour of calming down I sat down on the couch with my tablet and for some reason, maybe it was a subconscious thing or desperation, but I googled adult ADHD.
I started reading forums on sites like this and then a bomb went off in my head. There were people just like me out there! Story after story of those whose lives had paralleled mine. I started to feel hope. Finally there might be an answer for so many of my shortcomings. Indeed, Adult ADHD was real thing. And best of all, there were stories of people successfully getting the help that was needed to live a better life.
For those knowledgeable about ADHD it might have taken about 10 seconds of reading some of my story to figure out what in 47 years I never knew about and apparently either did anybody else to the point that they might suggest I get help. Some people had said to me half-jokingly a few times that I had ADHD, but heck it was just the way I was, right? Besides, I figured it was something that was only a real problem in kids like the ones I coached in baseball that can’t pay attention to anything and always have to be re-directed; and I would joke to other coaches that their Ritalin had worn off. Little did I now that the joke was on me, and I was the one that needed the Ritalin.
After all my research, I told my wife I thought I had attention deficit disorder. She said “oh yeah, you have that”. She said it so carefree and with such indifference that it was painfully obvious she knew nothing about the devastating effects untreated ADHD can have on people’s lives; and how impactful it had been on mine.
I met with a therapist a month and a half ago, and she asked me a lot of family questions, and things about my past like school grades and school behavior. I had been late for the appointment so we couldn’t get too deeply into things so she only heard the tip of the iceberg of my problematic history. I also never told her why I was late: I had to drive back home because I forgot the paper with their street address. When I got home and found the paper I then realized I never wrote down their address or didn’t have their phone number either. They had called to confirm the appointment but I deleted their called ID from the phones in my house because it said psychiatry and I didn’t want anyone to see it . I couldn’t even remember the name of the therapist or the Doctor’s office she worked in. I spent about 15 minutes doing all sorts of lookups and finally a name looked kind of familiar and I called the office and luckily it was the right one. I should have told her that story—that reveals so much of who I have been.
At the end of the initial meeting the therapist said I had to get an EKG, a blood test, and gave me some questionnaires for my wife and I to do. I did what I was supposed to and went back in a couple of weeks. She glanced at the questionnaires and she said the patterns of answers were ones she had seen before and were typical of someone with ADHD. She went over prescription options and prescribed Ritalin which I have been taking for 9 days in increasing increments.
In the last few weeks I have read two books about adult ADHD. I am not sure if it is the medicine, the changes in my belief structure about who I was and am, or a combination of both; but indeed I do feel differently. I am not running around the house going from distraction to distraction. I find I am more focused in the present moment. I am starting to connect with people I knew in the past in order to help my job search. I don’t believe I would have done that before. It’s like the fear and anxiety are no longer stopping me.
When I think of the past now it is like my problems formed a giant ball of yarn that had knots everywhere, and got bigger and bigger and more impossible to unwind to the point of being simpling overwhelming. Now that I have some answers for my behavior and am taking the necessary steps to change for the better, it seems the knots are all loosening.
It is only a start though and it’s going to take me a long time to repair all the messes I left behind, and all the bridges I’ve burned. Most off all, I need to help my wife get educated about me, and the possibility our boys may have this; and though they may not have obvious signs now it may manifest itself at some point. If that happens we need to be ready to handle it so they don’t go through what I did.
I do apologize for the length of this posting, but maybe it’s a positive sign that I can focus this long while writing. I do hope it offers some insight for those that might have ADHD. You are not alone…and I wish you the best in your journey.
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