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ADHD in Women

Recently diagnosed and feeling very overwhelmed

I am 21 years old and was diagnosed with
Combined Type ADHD about 6 months ago.
I have a 15 month old daughter, a full time
job supervising two group homes, and live
with my daughter and her father in a small
apartment.

I have always been told I have ADHD but
due to my moms lack of understanding
I was never officially diagnosed or treated.
When I sought treatment on my own I was
relieved with the diagnosis and hoped that
medication would turn things around. I also
suffer from anxiety and depression. I have
recently switched from Adderall xr 30mg
to concerta.

I am at a point where laundry or dishes have
not been done in months, I have a large
amount of student loans and bills I can’t
seem to pay on a consistent basis, and
if I make a mistake at work I feel like a
complete failure and shut down. I am in
therapy to address these issues. I just feel like
there is no light at the end of the tunnel that
is my chaos.

Replies

My son was on concerts for a few years as a kid and he had a horrible time with this med (insomnia, anxiety, depression, etc.) we switched to Focalin XR because his doctor said it had fewer side effects and it did plus it’s a newer med for ADHD. Anyways, you are very, very young and you have a child and work and have a boyfriend which may be a help or a henderience to your life. My son who is 15 feels like you, if he makes a mistake, he really gets upset and depressed. He is in therapy too because he’s shy and in a gifted school which is a big stress for him cause the kids are very mature and he’s immature due to ADHD and he’s very smart and can’t relate to average people/kids. The therapy helps but to a point really. Maybe you should go on anti-depressants. I went on Celexa for anxiety and PMS myself. I don’t have ADHD and I love this medication. He has done so much for my mood. Maybe talk to your doctor about going on Celexa and changing to Focalin XR instead on Concerta. I think Concerta is not a good med for ADHD. It had more side effects then Focalin XR and it caused insomnia and anxiety for my son. He takes 25 mg a day of Focalin XR and he’s 5’9, 175 pounds so that might give you some sort of base on how much to take a day. Maybe you only need 15-20 mg a day. Good luck. There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Pray to Jesus and he will help you.

Posted by Pink ginger on Apr 05, 2014 at 7:08am

My first suggestion would be to get a planner that is big enough to handle work stuff and personal stuff.  If there are things that have deadlines then they need to be in your planner along with the tasks that you need to get done for you, your daughter, and your home.  If you have a smartphone, use it to its best advantage and put reminders in there, as well.

Bills need to be paid or utilities are shut off.  New deposits are needed when that happens, so it can be quite an expense. 

The problem with laundry not being done is that you end up buying more clothes and pretty soon there is no space in which to put them.  You said you have a small apartment…

Start with a list of your bills and typical expenses.  Make that one column.  Next, add four more colums so that you can title them:  Due Date, Amt Due, Date Paid and Amt Paid.  Photocopy that list an make no less than 14 copies.  Now you have on copy for the next 12 months and a couple extra until you make new copies.  Keep that list in your planner.  Get a pad of sticky notes and put one up where you will see it every day….  Check My Planner!  Do that every day, even when you are not at work so that things get done on time with the bills. 

When you come home each evening, have dinner, clean up afterward, take some time with your daughter, but after she goes to bed, sit down with the bills, your planner, and your checkbook and pay any bills that have come in before they come due again.  I put a mark by the bills that have arrived, but are not yet due and keep them in a small bin on my desk.  Before you leave your desk, enter any new events, check your schedule for the next day.

The laundry situation will not take care of itself, so why not take a day and do all of it at the same time at a launderette?  this will probably mean giving up a Saturday, but it will be worth it to have it done.  Then schedule time in the week to do your laundry.  Even if there is a laundry in your building, you cannot tie up their machines for an entire day, so opt for the launderette.

Organize your days.  Set up a reasonable routine for yourself so that the things that need doing get done.  Set reminders in your phone so you do not forget what you have determined to do.

Talk to your doctor about the meds and have him look into the treatment for combined type ADD.  He may need to make changes.  You are already making changes.

Pay bills with your bank’s online bill pay.  If you send out checks and need proof of payment, you can download a copy of needed items.  It is quick and convenient.  There may be a nominal charge, but it is much lower than late fees and interest being added due to delinquency.

Posted by Dianne in the Desert on Apr 05, 2014 at 7:50am

I loved Dianne’s suggestions. I would also add that you should call your doctor. It sounds like you need your meds adjusted too.

Posted by chrisd on Apr 05, 2014 at 9:53am

Yes you definitely want to speak with your doctor and get your meds checked.  You may need to adjust the dosage and/or add a secondary medication.  The right combination will reduce your symptomology and you will feel better able to handle your life.

Good luck to you!

Mitzi

Posted by Mitzi Maine on Apr 05, 2014 at 4:40pm

A great way to handle bills is to set them up on auto-payment. They will always get paid that way. Most companies and lending institutions have this service available.

Also, if you can afford it, get some help with the laundry and cleaning. There are services for both. If they are a huge hindrance, and you can afford to pay for someone to take care of them, why not do that and get them off your plate? It will help you to feel better about yourself as well.

Hang in there! It takes time to put systems in place.

Penny
ADDconnect Moderator & Mom to Tween Boy with ADHD and LDs

Posted by adhdmomma on Apr 07, 2014 at 4:47pm

It sounds like you may be on too of a high dosage of medication if it doesn’t seem to take the “edge” off of the feeling of being overwhelmed. If you are taking too much, it won’t work. I’m 42 years old and only take 5 mg of Adderall XR. It helps me not get so overwhelmed so I can handle all the daily demands of taking care of 3 teenagers, running a household and working part time. You should find a psychiatrist that specializes in ADHD medication.

Also, when you get frustrated with your child, don’t be hard on yourself. You are the perfect mom for your child. It is a blessing that you have been diagnosed with ADHD when she is young so you can be aware of your triggers. I wasn’t diagnosed until five years ago and wish I knew back when I was an overwhelmed mom when my kids were little. Operating in the role of mom is one of the hardest (and most rewarding) jobs that an ADHD woman can do in her lifetime. Hang in there.

I would also highly recommend that you hire a house cleaner. This will take a huge load off of you!

Posted by 3+meADHD on Apr 08, 2014 at 7:50pm

Praise yourself for what you have accomplished at such a young age of 21. You have a family, finished schooling, supervising 2 group homes. Wow!
Everyone makes mistakes and it is those who choose to learn from them, will move forward. Don’t let yourself get too stuck in negative self talk. Continue with your Doctor care for medication and your therapist to help you one step at a time. Good for you to take the steps.

Posted by Caring Counsellor on Apr 09, 2014 at 2:28am

That last paragraph in the OP is me to a tee.
Laundry? You mean pile the clothes on the floor when I take them off and toss them around frantically each morning attempting to find something that isn’t stinking yet?

Dishes? I go through cycles of overwhelm, depending on my stress level, with all of the household chores. I confided my issues in a co-worker and she is GIVING me a dishwasher. I’ve not lived in a home with a dishwasher in about 17 years. If you don’t have a dishwasher, buy some packages of plastic forks and paper plates and use those for a while until you can get the dishes under control.

Bill pay has dramatically improved my life. I’ve got everything scheduled and I don’t have to worry about forgetting it.

ASK FOR HELP. I finally realized that I hold everything in because I’m terrified of failing and being criticized. But, I started talking honestly to my husband and he is MUCH better at finances than I am. So now, he handles most of the finances. I don’t have to constantly have that thought running through my head: did I forget something? Will my phone be turned off? Also, I’ve decided to own my ADHD. I’ve told a few close friends what’s going on and asked them to not judge me. And, they don’t. And that has gone a long ways towards helping me not judge myself.

And, one last organizational thing: http://www.bulletjournal.com/
I recently found Bullet Journaling and it’s the only calendar system I’ve been able to keep up with. I think it’s because it’s everything all together in one notebook. I can use it as a brain dump, to do list keeper, calendar, etc. I just keep the index at the front going and I can find most things. I made two changes to the set up as laid out at the link. I added a spread of pages at the front where I have holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries laid out. I reference this when I set up each month’s new page and tasks. After that spread I added another one that is “Future Planning” and I just simply add dates that aren’t for the current month onto that page and, again, reference it when I set up a new month. I really like that you don’t worry about filling out anything in advance, you just turn to the next open page any time you need to add something.

You can do this. You’re already more successful than you realize.

Posted by sarac on Apr 09, 2014 at 7:33pm

You have a lot on your plate right now.  Take a deep breath and tell yourself it will all work out.  The best suggestion I can give you is find someone to help you get together a routine (written down).  If you have a friend or relative that could help you to accomplish those tedious tasks (dishes, laundry) that we ADHD people struggle so hard to keep up with - it makes a world of difference when someone is beside you as you work.  I am old enough to be your mother so I have struggled with this along time and know it is so very difficult to get everything we feel needs to be done accomplished- accept help from any that offer- you are worth it!  I just have to add that your mom probably is ADHD also- so try to forgive her for not knowing how to help you.  I found out what was wrong with me when my daughter was diagnosed, but still had no clue what to do next.  Be kind to yourself and enjoy your baby!  Please let me know if you need someone to talk to - I would love to help.  Any chance you live in SC?

Posted by MHL on Apr 10, 2014 at 8:55pm

You have a lot going on in your life, so my advice is to keep things as simple as possible.

For bills, I make them ALL due on the same day.  As I’m on Social Security disability I only get paid once a month, so I made all my bills due when I get paid.  All you have to do is call whatever the company is and ask that your billing date be switched.  Makes it sooooo much easier, and that way something doesn’t get buried and forgotten about.  I like the concept of Automatic bill paying, but I know I would forget that the bill already came out of my account, think I still have that money, and end up trying to spend what isn’t there, and then overdrafting my account.  So, I just take about an hour a month, pay all my bills, and I’m good to go!  Oh, yeah, and I have them all set to paperless, so NO clutter and paper pile-up at the desk.

As for household chores like laundry and dishes.  I was really behind on so many things not too long ago.  It had been years since I had done dishes.  I would use the same bowl, utensils, and cup over and over and just wash those.  I was so overwhelmed with everything that was piling up around me, and someone suggesting to me to make the chore a specific day, such as Monday is for laundry, Tuesday is for dishes, Wednesday is for vacuuming and sweeping, etc.  It was hard at first, because I’m not one for routine (BORING!) but after a couple weeks, I found out it wasn’t so hard, and on top of that, I was staying CAUGHT UP on everything!  Living alone, laundry was less than a load a week!  Just a couple dishes each week.  Now I know you have much more than that to deal with, but that’s why your boyfriend is there to help!

And, yes, definitely talk to the doctor about the medication situation so you can make sure you’re on the right one at the right dosage.

Good luck!

Posted by LittleD1981 on Apr 11, 2014 at 6:38am

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